Nevada is not all about Las Vegas and Reno; however, firefighters and first responders must serve those booming cities along with the smaller towns and stretches of remote deserts, forests and wildlands. There are 1,660 firefighters and 210 fire inspectors and investigators that serve the Silver State. Skilled wildland firefighters can respond to blazes in the towering Sierra mountain range, while city fire engineers determine the safety of hotels, malls, and busy cities during fires and natural emergencies. Students can prepare for these careers at schools, colleges and universities offering certificate and degree programs.
Factors affecting wages for fire investigators, fire inspectors, and fire prevention specialists include service area (cost of living), training and advanced specializations, and experience. Below are annual salaries for core fire service occupations at the entry (10th percentile), median (50th percentile) and advanced (90th percentile) levels:
|Nevada Fire Service Careers
|Fire Inspectors and Investigators
|Fire Service Supervisors
Nevada students who seek an education in fire science in-state have two choices: certificates or an associate degree. Entry-level firefighters are required to complete training and pass the state and national exams (Firefighter I and II), but firefighters who wish to move up the ranks typically pursue a degree in fire science. Likewise, fire inspectors and investigators often need a college degree and work experience to remain competitive in the job market. These levels of training are offered by the colleges and universities in Nevada.
On the certificate level, fire science students in Nevada learn through coursework in EMT basics, fire protection, hazardous materials, codes/ordinances and basic wildland firefighting. The associate or two-year degree program mirrors certification requirements while also including courses in fire company management, building construction, firefighting tactics and strategy, and legal aspects of emergency services. Associate and bachelor’s degrees often require general education courses like English, math or history, which may enhance communication skills that can be useful in the workforce. These programs and courses vary between schools, and finding the right college or university is the next step.
Potential fire science students have a choice when it comes to training and education. Nevada colleges and universities such as these offer a certificate or associate degree in fire science:
|DEGREE LEVEL||STATE||SCHOOL NAME||PROGRAM NAME|
|Associate||Nevada||College of Southern Nevada||Fire Science / Fire-fighting|
|Associate||Nevada||Great Basin College||Fire Science / Fire-fighting|
|Associate||Nevada||Truckee Meadows Community College||Fire Prevention and Safety Technology / Technician|
|Associate||Nevada||Truckee Meadows Community College||Fire Science / Fire-fighting|
|Award (<2 years)||Nevada||Truckee Meadows Community College||Fire Prevention and Safety Technology / Technician|
Don't get discouraged. Some of our best employees tested 4 or 5 times for several departments. Also, get some fire/EMS education and become involved in some volunteer work surrounding the industry. That will pay off in the end.
Getting formal education in the form of associate and/or bachelor’s degrees in fire related fields is great, but a balanced education of fire and other areas like business management or public administration helps to round out one’s education. You end up being a more versatile employee, who is able to see more than just the fire side.
Our 24/7, anything goes town makes for a non-stop 911 system. We have large hotel resorts, with 60 story towers, and farmland just outside the city and everything in between. Add in the high temperatures, two million residents, 7,800 square miles of response area, and low staffing.
Program Name: Fire Science Technology
Program Description: Truckee Meadows Community College features a choice of studies, including a degree program in fire science technology. For students who wish to explore wildland firefighting, the college recommends the fire science degree with a wildland firefighter workshop certification.
For more information, visit the TMCC Fire Technology page: http://www.tmcc.edu/firetech/
Those planning a career as a structural firefighter can attend the Fire and Rescue Academy. Truckee Meadows Community College's Fire and Rescue Academy goes above and beyond most certification-geared programs. It offers preparation for certification on both the state and the national level: NFPA Firefighter I & II, Hazardous Material First Responder, Vehicle Extrication, Basic Wildland Firefighter, Incident Command, Firefighter Safety and Survival, and Driver/Pump Operator Awareness. Certification for NFPA and Nevada Standards depends on finishing the requirements: the Firefighter I credential can be earned upon successful completion of EMT-Basic, while Firefighter II can follow upon successful completion of the internship in fire science.
Refer to the school’s webpage to find out more specific information: http://www.tmcc.edu/firetech/academy/
Program Name: Fire Science and Technology
Program Description: College of Southern Nevada (CSN) is the largest institution of higher education in Nevada, with campuses in Las Vegas, North Las Vegas and Henderson as well as numerous other sites and centers. CSN strives to build service-oriented students who gain experience before entering into the field. The educational staff is the cornerstone of the program, bringing their expertise to a younger generation of fire service professionals. Programs encompass a certificate of achievement in fire science, with a firefighting emphasis, or an associate degree in fire technology management. Related options include an EMT certificate of completion and an associate degree in emergency management administration.
Typical coursework spans fire behavior and combustion, wildland firefighting, building construction, legal aspects of emergency and occupational safety. Studies in fire prevention could include the history and philosophy of this discipline, the organization and operation of fire prevention agencies, the use and application of building codes and standards, fire inspections, fire and life safety education, and fire investigation.
Components of certain classes may be available online, for example, in the fire behavior and combustion or fire prevention courses. Programs also include an internship with a local fire station. Completion of the internship in firefighting can give students the experience to meet NFPA criteria, making them eligible for the Nevada Fire Fighter I exam. In addition, completion of the basic wildland firefighting course can qualify students for the National Wildland Fire Certification red card.
To gain a perspective of the fire science program at CSN, proceed to the school’s website: http://www.csn.edu/fire
Online learning programs in fire science take advantage of technology in order to reach students with remote locations or variable schedules. A good number of Nevada residents live in rural areas, away from colleges and universities. Students in distance learning programs can work toward their fire science certificates and degrees through archived lectures, video conferencing, electronic assignment submission and web-based materials. Many programs also require some form of field internship due to the hands-on nature of firefighter training. Independent online colleges based outside Nevada also provide options such as associate degrees in fire science, bachelor's degrees in fire administration and graduate degrees in emergency services administration.