Being a “fireman” has been and still is one of the most popular jobs listed by grade school-aged children when asked what they’d like to be when they grow up, yet few children find themselves pursuing this path once they move beyond adolescence and begin to consider career options and college paths.
While it’s true that not everyone is cut out to work in fire safety and science, the jobs, roles, and tasks performed by firemen, firewomen, and others working in related fields form an essential part of our neighborhoods’, communities’, and nation’s safety. If you were one of those kids who used to dream of one day braving burning buildings, who let the rigors of the “real” world keep you on the path to what some would call a more practical route, don’t give up just yet. Here are five reasons you should get a degree in fire science.
1. It Will Give You a Leg Up on the Competition
If you already know you want to be a firefighter, then getting your bachelor degree will give you an edge over others who are also interested in the job. Getting hired by a fire department can be difficult, because most fire departments find that they have a lot more applicants than they have job openings, which makes even getting an interview a highly competitive endeavor. While entry-level positions usually only require a high school education, when you arm yourself with a degree in fire science, you’ll easily move your resume to the top of the job applicant stack over people who lack four-year degrees altogether or who have degrees in a different field.
2. The Job Is Secure
While getting your foot in the door at your local fire department can be difficult due to the ratio of jobs to applicants, for a highly qualified applicant, the job is not only within reach, but it’s also both in demand and stable. Regardless of the shifts in the United States economy, firefighting will always be needed. Especially because firefighters are first responders to emergencies of all kinds, including fires, the job is essentially recession-proof, which is something few industries can lay claim to. And, because a degree in fire science also enables you to embark on other fire- and public safety-related careers, you have a multitude of other job options available should you ever want to try your hand at something else.
If your dreams of firefighting were deemed little more than the musings of a whimsical child who didn’t understand the necessity of making money to pay bills, then you’ll be happy to learn that firefighters earn a decent wage.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly rate for firefighters is over $21 an hour, while the median salary sits over $45,000 a year. Also, depending on the job to which you aspire within fire science and safety, you can make quite a bit more than that. Fire chiefs, for instance, make over six figures in some markets.
4. So Many Different Jobs
Another great feature of earning your fire science degree is that it can lead to so many different types of jobs and career paths — fighting fires is just one of them. Here are some of the jobs for which a degree in fire science prepares you:
- Fire chief or fire captain
- Arson investigator and fire inspector
- Police officer or detective
- Fish and game warden
- Forest ranger
- Forensic science technician
- And more!
Whether you enjoy the rush of emergency response or the predictability of conducting fire inspections in commercial and residential buildings, a fire science degree can prepare you for a satisfying day-to-day work life and career.
5. You Can Work 9 to 5 — or Not
Because fire science can be so broadly applied to such a wide variety of jobs, whether you’re looking forward to working a 9 to 5 job, or you loathe the prospect, you can find something within the field of fire safety and science that works for you. Few industries allow for such a variety of types of work and hours, which is yet one more reason why a degree in fire science is a good move for the right person.
Live your childhood fantasy of becoming a firefighter, or your adult fantasy of working as a game warden, by obtaining a degree in fire science.