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As wildfires ravage the West Coast and communities all over the country work to boost their fire response readiness, demand for professionals in fire science continues to rise. Online associate's degrees in fire science, including concentrations in fire prevention and fire suppression, allow you to achieve a practical knowledge base while you continue to work full-time.

Online fire science degrees can cover a broad range of topics. Courses might include fire prevention, international fire codes, fire prevention systems and extinguishers, and fire service rescue practices. Because of the nature of the subject, online associate's degrees in fire science include a hands-on component. You might train on-site in a burn building, smoke tower, or fire pit.

Fire science degrees can help you prepare for entry-level positions in firefighting with specializations in fire investigation, hazardous material, or pump operations. You might also earn your associate's degree to advance toward a management position in the fire service.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), "Employment of fire fighters is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2014." Fire fighters often receive benefits packages including medical and liability insurance, sick leave, vacation time and paid holidays. And though no degree can guarantee a specific job or salary, in May 2014 the median annual salary for fire fighters, according to the BLS, was $45,970.

Sources

"33-2011 Firefighters," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes332011.htm

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