The 10 Best Online Associates in Fire Science Degrees

Online Associates in Fire Science - featured image

Fire incidents are, indeed, damaging to lives and property! Every year, fire departments and their firefighters respond to more than 350,000 residential fires resulting in $7 billion in direct damages and 2,500+ lives lost. If you want to become part of the solution, you should consider online associates in fire science degrees! 

Associate in fire science degree programs are the breeding grounds for fire professionals. The diversity of fire science jobs ranges from firefighters and arson investigators to fire prevention product sales representatives. Indeed, it’s among the most versatile associate degrees you can pursue! 

Additional Information: Top 10 Online Associate’s Degrees

Quick Summarization

Online fire science degree programs train students in the fundamental principles and practices of fire science, from fire prevention to fire investigation. Classroom instruction and laboratory practice combined with hands-on internship achieve the program outcomes in a typical fire science program. 

Associate degrees in fire science programs allow for the seamless transfer of credits to bachelor’s degree programs in fire science, fire management, and other related fields. While an associate degree is sufficient for certain fire professionals, a bachelor’s degree is a ticket for career advancement. 


If you’re interested in the work that firefighters do, enrolling in Associate in Fire Science program is your way in!

Typically, applicants need a high school diploma or GED equivalent, standardized test scores, and/or placement exams to be admitted to these programs.

It matters that you pick the right online Fire Science associate’s degree program that fits your needs! Take a look at each of the programs on our list, offered by the country’s most reputable colleges, and determine why they are great options for you:

  • Delivers 100% online or blended coursework to benefit students seeking class scheduling flexibility,
  • Comprehensive curricula that introduce students to the fundamentals of fire prevention, suppression, investigation, and administration readying them for the bachelor’s level or career opportunities,
  • Coursework that emphasizes the development of interpersonal and transferable skills, such as leadership, problem-solving, critical thinking, and communication skills,
  • Transfer Path programs are offered for students who choose to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Fire Science upon completing the associate’s level,
  • A virtual platform or Learning Management System Availability where online resources readily are available and online technical support is offered for ease of use of the learning platform,
  • A full array of financial aid options, including federal financial aid and scholarships,
  • Official recognition from accrediting organizations, demonstrating adherence to academic standards,
  • Positive feedback from Fire Science associate degree students and high regard from industry organizations.

Visit our Methodology page to learn about our program or college selection and ranking processes.

Online Associates in Fire Science

10 Best Online Associate in Fire Science Degree Programs

These 10 associates in fire science degree programs were chosen for their online delivery method as well as valid accreditation, academic excellence, and excellent graduate outcomes. 

Purdue University Global

Purdue Global University

The Associate of Applied Science (AS) in Fire Science program at Purdue University is recognized as an official Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education (FESHE) program. The online fire science degree program is also accredited by the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC). 

Students in the fire science online program gain a strong foundation in fire prevention, firefighter safety and strategy, and code inspection. There’s an internship program for hands-on experiences, too. 

The curriculum consists of 10-week courses that require at least 15 hours of course effort per week. Full-time students can earn 60 semester credits in two years. 

This is a challenging fire science degree online program with a wide range of assessment methods used. Fire science students must demonstrate proficiency in the course outcomes. 

In exchange, students gain a broad understanding of the fire science field and become prepared for work as fire science professionals. The degree in fire science program also covers the technical and legal aspects of fire science including arson. Fire dynamics are also covered. 

Seminole State College of Florida

Seminole State College of Florida

The Associate in Science – Fire Science Technology program at Seminole State features a comprehensive curriculum that empowers fire science professionals. Students learn the scientific basis for fire prevention and fire suppression, as well as fire service leadership. 

Students of the associate degree in an online fire science program also become well-prepared to pass certification exams. These include a fire safety inspector, a fire officer supervisor, and fire instructor I certifications. 

Fire science students also learn about the best practices in fire administration and operations. The 60-credit fire science technology curriculum includes courses in: 

  • Fire prevention practices 
  • Fire behavior and combustion 
  • Fire protection systems 
  • Building construction for the fire service 
  • Occupational health and safety for fire service 
  • Principles of emergency services 

Students must complete a capstone course to earn an associate in fire science degree. 

The degree in fire science program is recognized by the Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education (FESHE) of the National Fire Academy. 

Waldorf University

Waldorf University

The Associate of Arts in Fire Science program at Waldorf University program provides students with an excellent platform for career advancement. Students gain a broad understanding of fire dynamics, prevention, and protection, among other fire science topics. 

The credits earned in the associate degree in fire science online program can be transferred to a bachelor’s degree program. Waldorf’s fire science administration program is an excellent choice. 

Full-time students can earn a fire science degree in two years. All courses are available online only. Working professionals consider it the most accessible degree in fire science. 

The fire science curriculum consists of 60 credits with core courses like: 

  • Principles of fire and emergency services
  • Community risk reduction
  • Fire dynamics
  • Fire investigation and analysis
  • Advanced fire and emergency services safety and survival principles

This fire science degree online program is recognized by the U.S. Fire Administration.  

Tidewater Community College

Tidewater Community College

The Associate of Applied Science (AS) in Fire Science Technology is open for working professionals seeking skills enhancement and career advancement. Fresh high school graduates with a keen interest in fire science are also welcome. 

The faculty members in the online fire science technology program are current and former firefighters. Students then learn from their first-hand experiences and insights. 

The associate degree in fire science technology is designed for completion in four semesters. The 64-credit curriculum features courses in: 

  • Principles of emergency services
  • Principles of fire and emergency services – safety and survival
  • Legal aspects of fire service
  • Hazardous materials chemistry
  • Occupational safety and health (for fire service)
  • Fire investigation

Graduates with a fire science degree become competitive applicants to any fire academy. This is also a well-rounded degree in fire science program with its general education and elective courses. 

University of Cincinnati

University of Cincinnati

The Associate of Applied Science (AS) in Fire Service Technology program at UC Online offers online accelerated 7-week courses. These classes are held on top of the regular 14-week online courses. Note that the program also requires 2-day residencies. 

Students in the Fire Science program are awarded advanced standing when applying for state certifications. These include fire inspector and paramedic certifications, as well as National Fire Academy applications. 

The curriculum of the associate degree in fire science technology includes core courses in: 

  • Fire Tactics 
  • Terrorism for emergency responders 
  • Building construction in fire science 
  • Fire and emergency services administration 

Students in the online fire science technology program must complete a capstone in leadership and ethics course to earn the associate degree. 

Virginia Peninsula Community College

Virginia Peninsula Community College

The Associate of Applied Science (AS) in Fire Science program prepares students for occupations where fire prevention and suppression are key to saving lives and property. The 60-credit fire science curriculum reflects such a philosophy with courses in: 

  • Principles of emergency services 
  • Fire behavior and combustion 
  • Hazardous materials chemistry 
  • Fire protection hydraulics and water supply 
  • Emergency services supervision 

Students in the associate degree in fire science online program must complete either a coordinated internship or a fire administration course. There’s also a choice between a seminar/project and fire risk and analysis course to earn the degree. 

Graduates of the fire science degree online program are competent in fire science management, fire suppression, and arson investigation. A fire science degree is a ticket to getting hired for occupations like a firefighter, fire investigator, and forest fire inspector. 

The online associate degree in fire science program is recognized by the Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education (FESHE) and the National Fire Academy. 

Southern Arkansas University Tech

Southern Arkansas University Tech

The Associate of Applied Science (AS) in Fire and Emergency Response program at SAU Tech is just as valuable as an associate degree in fire science! Students are usually aspiring firefighters and emergency responders, among other aspiring fire science professionals. 

The curriculum consists of 60 credits with courses in: 

  • Fire service tactics
  • Hazardous materials operations
  • Introduction to fire and emergency response
  • Fire service leadership
  • Fire prevention
  • Fire arson investigation

Pre-certification is required for the program. 

Graduates can transfer the credits earned into a bachelor’s degree in disaster preparedness and emergency management, fire and emergency management, or fire science. Transfer options are with Arkansas State University, Purdue Global University, and the University of Arkansas. 

Columbia Southern University

Columbia Southern University

The Associate of Science in Fire Science program at Columbia Southern is recognized by FESHE, a part of the National Fire Academy of the US Fire Administration. The well-rounded curriculum focuses on fire protection and fire prevention for aspiring firefighters. 

The Fire Science degree online program’s 60-credit curriculum consists of general education, core, and elective courses. Students may transfer up to 45 credits to speed up time to completion. 

Students must complete a series of major courses to earn the associate in fire science degree: 

  • Principles of fire and emergency services
  • Principles of fire and emergency services – safety and survival
  • Fire behavior and combustion
  • Building construction for fire protection
  • Introduction to fire prevention
  • Fire protection structure and systems

This is also recognized by the Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education (FESHE). Students are assured that their associate degree in fire science will be recognized by employers and fire academies. 

Casper College

Casper College

The Associate of Applied Science (AS) in Fire Science program accepts fresh high school graduates and working professionals in the fire science field. There are 60 credits in the curriculum consisting of general education, elective, and core courses. 

Fire science students tackle courses like: 

  • Introduction to fire science 
  • Fundamentals of fire prevention 
  • Introduction to wildland firefighting 
  • Hazardous materials 
  • Firefighting strategy and tactics 
  • Advanced firefighting 
  • Rescue practices for the fire service 

The fire science degree program recommends at least two hours of study time for every class per week. Most classes in the fire science degree online program are forum-based. Students answer questions put forth by the instructors based on their first-hand experiences and textbook-based knowledge. 

While the fire science online program has a community service requirement, online students can receive credits for prior training. Just show your certificate of completion for Hazardous Material, Firefighter I, or EMT training. 

Aside from immediate employment, the degree in fire science can be transferred into a bachelor’s degree in fire science management program. Students can also apprentice with local fire departments. 

SUNY Nassau Community College

SUNY Nassau Community College

This is a hybrid program with graduates earning the Associate of Science in Fire Science degree. Students take 50% of online classes and earn the fire science degree after completing 63-64 credits. 

Students in the fire science online program earn the same on-campus diploma, too. Graduates are empowered with a strong foundation in the liberal arts and fire science. The degree in fire science can be earned based on your own schedule for the asynchronous online classes.

Also, see: The 15 Best Online Accredited Trade Schools

Basics of the Fire Science Field

Every associate degree in fire science program has its unique philosophy, curriculum, and pathway. But all fire science programs are designed for the scientific study of fire in all its aspects, from fire behavior to fire prevention and fire investigation. 

Main Areas of Study 

As a scientific discipline, fire science utilizes the principles and practices of science, engineering, and chemistry in studying the causes and effects of fire. Fire science is, thus, a broad discipline that covers several areas including: 

  • Fire behavior 
  • Fire safety 
  • Fire prevention 
  • Fire protection 
  • Fire management 
  • Fire investigation (i.e., arson) 
  • Hazardous materials and their chemistry 

Firefighting is the first thing that comes to mind when we talk about a fire science program for good reason.

Firefighters must possess functional knowledge and skills in fire science, particularly in using firefighting equipment. With advanced classes, firefighters also learn skills in fire administration and emergency management. 

Knowledge of fire protection systems and hazardous materials management is also part of fire prevention and protection. Fire investigation delves into the analysis of fire damage in accidental and deliberate fires. 

Places of Employment 

Every fire science program encourages its students to find the best fit for their personal interests and professional goals in relation to the associate degree. Graduates of fire science programs, however, will find plenty of opportunities in both the public and private sectors. 

The most popular places of employment for individuals with an associate in fire science degree are: 

  • Local fire departments as firefighters 
  • Forestry agencies 
  • Lumber farms 
  • Local government units in non-firefighting occupations (e.g., fire safety officers) 
  • Fire safety technology companies and manufacturing facilities 
  • Public safety agencies 
  • Emergency services organizations 
  • Insurance agencies 

Fire science professionals are also in high demand because of the risk of fire being ever-present, particularly in dry areas. Many fire science professionals also participate in advanced training programs to keep their knowledge and skills updated. 

Overview of Online Associate in Fire Science Programs   

Earning an online fire science degree isn’t as easy as it sounds just because of the study-at-your-own-pace aspect! With both theory and practice covered, an associate in fire science degree has its academic and internship challenges. 

Admission Requirements 

The minimum admission requirement into online associate in fire science degree programs is a high school diploma or its GED equivalent. But be sure to check for more requirements since every online fire science program is different. 

Pre-certification, for example, may be required. Others also require standardized test scores and/or placement tests. 

Average Time-to-completion 

Online students usually have the option between part-time and full-time matriculation but it’s best to check the enrollment policies. Some programs are only available for full-time enrollment. 

In general, full-time students earn an associate in fire science degree in two years. This can mean between four and five semesters including the summer term. Part-time matriculation means a longer time to completion. 

Credits, Curriculum, and Courses  

The typical associate in fire science degree online program has a 60-credit curriculum, at least. But the number of credits can be higher due to elective courses, internships, and capstone courses. 

Online students pursuing a fire science major must also be physically and mentally fit. Most fire science careers are physically and mentally demanding, thus, the fitness requirement. Be prepared to comply with medical examination requirements. 

Hazardous Materials 

Students learn about the identification of hazardous materials and the effects of the best fire tactics for the situation. 

Firefighter Safety and Risk Management 

The course is an introduction to the fundamentals of occupational health and safety in emergency service situations. Risk and hazard analysis, firefighter safety protocols, and control procedures are among the topics. 

Building Construction in Fire Service 

Students are introduced to the principles, practices, and technologies used in building construction in relation to fire safety and fire protection. 

Fire Investigation and Analysis 

The course is an exploration of the legal, technical, and investigative aspects of an arson investigation. Students usually have a fire department officer as a mentor in this course. 

Fire Tactics

The course requires prior learning and experience in firefighting. Topics covered include analyzing fire situations, creating a strategic plan, and commanding the operations. 

Online Learning Technology 

An associate in fire science online program obviously has online classes that students are required to participate in. This is achieved with a combination of learning technologies. Online students must meet the technical requirements to keep up with the coursework and other activities. 

Learning Management System 

The foremost technology used in online fire science degree programs is a learning management system (LMS). Students and instructors use the platform for a wide range of activities including: 

  • Deliver and access learning materials
  • Assign and submit assignments
  • Give and take tests
  • Interact with peers and instructors through discussion boards, forums, and lectures 

Many Learning Management Systems also have built-in productivity and collaboration tools that make student life easier. Digital simulations may also be used to expose students to real-life scenarios without the safety risk. 

Assessments and Evaluations

Grades for academic performance are a must in the associate’s degree in fire science programs. This is because the credits earned for the general education, concentration, and elective courses may be transferred. 

As with on-campus programs, the common methods of assessments and evaluations in online programs are: 

  • Lessons 
  • Quizzes and tests
  • Final exams 
  • Assignments 
  • Capstone 
  • Portfolio 

Students create their portfolios by documenting their training and learnings, such as in the state fire program, military training, and other experiential learning. 

Internship Experiences 

Many online fire science degree programs provide students with internship opportunities. The common places for internships are the local fire departments but other places of employment are also accepted. 

The internship experience is an enrichment opportunity for students to explore the real-world risks and rewards of various fire science careers. As a fire science major, you can determine whether you want to stick to your original plan or consider another occupation in the industry. 

Skills and Traits 

Being a student in an associate in fire science degree program will contribute to the development of the following technical and transferable skills. 

Fire Safety and Prevention Skills 

Fire science professionals are proficient in fire behavior, prevention, safety, and protection, as well as in emergency management. This skill includes the professional ability to use firefighting equipment and technology. Their hands-on firefighting skills can save lives, too. 

Emergency Response Techniques

First aid and CPR are a few of the life-saving skills that fire science professionals possess. 

Fire Inspection and Investigation Skills 

Students develop keen observation skills in identifying fire safety hazards and fire hazards, as well as using basic fire suppression equipment. These skills are essential in occupations like fire investigators or fire inspectors. 

Crisis Management Skills

Fire science professionals keep calm in crisis situations while also being a leader. 

Communication Skills

The ability to clearly explain instructions, crisis situations and emergency plans is a must among fire science and emergency services professionals. 

Other skills and traits include decision-making skills, mental preparedness, and empathy. Physical stamina and strength are also considered a must among fire science professionals. 

Tuition and Financial Aid 

Community colleges and four-year institutions offer financial aid to online students. This means significant reductions in tuition and fees that result in a more affordable fire science degree. 

Check with your local fire department since scholarships may be available.

Online Associates in Fire Science - fact

Careers and Salaries of Graduates of Associate in Fire Science Programs 

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics points to an 4% projected employment growth rate (2022-2032) in fire science careers including firefighters. 

Firefighters ($51,680/year

Firefighters work under the supervision of a fire chief in putting out fires, responding to emergencies, and conducting training drills. 

Fire Claims Adjusters ($75,570/year

These professionals investigate personal injury claims and survey property damages in relation to fire incidents. 

EMT/Paramedics ($36,680/year

These emergency medical services professionals care for the injured and sick in emergency medical situations. Their quick reactions and medical knowledge can mean the difference between life and death for patients while being transported to hospitals. 

Forestry Fire Specialists ($56,780/year

These fire science professionals are instrumental in keeping forests safe and healthy. Their skill sets include identifying fire hazards and suggesting appropriate fire prevention measures in forest settings. 

Arson Investigators ($59,368/year

Also known as fire investigators, these fire science professionals collect evidence, determine suspects in an arson incident, and work with law enforcement.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Should students join professional fire science organizations? 

Yes! Doing so will expand your professional network that, in turn, can open more job opportunities for fresh graduates. 

Are certifications accepted as college-level credits? 

Yes. These certifications include state or national paramedic or EMT training and FFI/II ProBoard/IFSAC Certified. 

Is there a high demand for fire science professionals? 

Yes, there is! With fire being an ever-present threat despite advancements in construction materials technology, building codes, and fire safety technology, the demand will also be present. 

Which is the better choice: An associate in science or an associate in applied science degree? 

For immediate employment after graduation, choose an associate in applied science degree. For the transfer to a bachelor’s degree, an associate in science degree is the better option. 

Are firefighters required to possess an associate degree? 

An associate in fire science degree is the minimum educational requirement for firefighters. 

In Conclusion 

  • Aspiring fire science professionals including firefighters are well-advised to pursue an online associate in fire science degree for career advancement.
  • Not only will you learn the knowledge and skills of the fire science field but you can save lives with your skill set! 

Check this out, too: The 10 Best Schools For Becoming a Fire Inspector or Fire Investigator: Degree and Job Info

Malcolm Peralty
Chief Editor