Best Online Bachelors in Fire Science Degrees for 2023

Bachelor's Degree in Fire Science Career Options & Salary

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Overview of a Bachelor’s in Fire Science

The job market is slated to show a dramatic uptick in demand for firefighters in the foreseeable future. In response, colleges and universities have been putting more energy into developing programs for firefighters or students who wish to earn a fire science degree, such as a fire science bachelor’s degree. Completing an online or traditional fire science degree, you'll have the skills, knowledge, and credentials necessary to boost your firefighting career to the next level.

In your fire science program, whether it's online or in-person, you will learn more about how fires start, spread, and how to prevent the destruction they cause. Programs also feature courses that emphasize leadership and management functions, such as working with budgets and ethical concerns. Every course you take will inform your role in public health and safety. Below are some of the subjects you might study:

  • Building Inspection - Hazardous Materials
  • Fire Prevention and Fire Protection
  • Wildfire Science
  • Disaster Planning and Control
  • Fire and Emergency Management - Fire Resource Management
  • Fire and Emergency Services
  • Emergency Medical Services
  • Fire Administration
  • And More
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Bachelor's fire science degree programs have many positive attributes. Chief among them is the fact that you will learn much about your choice of profession. Four-year fire science degree programs for firefighters will educate you on the very nature of fire, how it spreads, and how to prevent it. You will also learn about fire and emergency services, personnel management, public policy, and even how to work with a budget and resource manegement.

A bachelor's degree program typically offers other opportunities, as well. You may be able to augment your fire science major with a minor concentration in an area such as management, leadership, disaster planning and control, public policy, or political science, though these are likely less easy to access through online learning.

On top of the incredible intellectual benefits, your career will receive a boost as well. Firefighters with a degree are able to command higher pay, promotions, and heightened responsibility around the firehouse. Since degrees are relatively rare in the profession, yours will help you stand out from the pack and gain access to supervisory positions.


While there are many positive aspects of a Bachelor's Degree in Fire Science, there may also be drawbacks. One of the biggest drawback is the up-front financial outlay. You may have to take on debt to complete your degree, even if it is earned online, and there's no iron-clad guarantee that your salary will increase enough to make the expense worth it. While a degree is often worthwhile, it is not a sure-fire investment.

Along the way to your degree, you will also see that college takes a lot of your time. It may be difficult to schedule time to study and complete assignments. This means that you will need to schedule your studies to accommodate both your work and your family life. Students who attend online must also be careful to set aside time to do their schoolwork.

Another consideration is that, while your Bachelor of Science in Fire Science Degree may put you ahead of the pack, there are still position which may require a master's degree.

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What are the Best Online Fire Science Bachelor's Programs?


University of Florida

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $6,381
    • Out-of-State: $28,659
  • Net Price: $9,809
  • Retention Rate: 97%
  • Graduation Rate: 91%
  • Total Enrollment: 53,372
  • Undergrad Students: 34,931
  • Graduate Students: 18,441
  • Diplomas Awarded: 0
  • Grads Salary: $75,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 17:1
  • University of Florida

American Public University System

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $7,360
    • Out-of-State: $7,360
  • Net Price: $11,916
  • Retention Rate: 98%
  • Graduation Rate: 49%
  • Total Enrollment: 50,047
  • Undergrad Students: 40,362
  • Graduate Students: 9,685
  • Diplomas Awarded: 37
  • Grads Salary: $73,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 23:1
  • American Public University System

University of Cincinnati

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $12,598
    • Out-of-State: $27,932
  • Net Price: $20,827
  • Retention Rate: 88%
  • Graduation Rate: 73%
  • Total Enrollment: 40,826
  • Undergrad Students: 29,933
  • Graduate Students: 10,893
  • Diplomas Awarded: 14
  • Grads Salary: $72,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 19:1
  • University of Cincinnati

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $7,188
    • Out-of-State: $20,622
  • Net Price: $15,682
  • Retention Rate: 85%
  • Graduation Rate: 66%
  • Total Enrollment: 30,146
  • Undergrad Students: 24,175
  • Graduate Students: 5,971
  • Diplomas Awarded: NA
  • Grads Salary: $70,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 20:1
  • University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Colorado State University

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $12,331
    • Out-of-State: $31,613
  • Net Price: $18,320
  • Retention Rate: 85%
  • Graduation Rate: 69%
  • Total Enrollment: 32,428
  • Undergrad Students: 24,792
  • Graduate Students: 7,636
  • Diplomas Awarded: 16
  • Grads Salary: $70,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 16:1
  • Colorado State University-Fort Collins

Lewis University

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $35,472
    • Out-of-State: $35,472
  • Net Price: $18,312
  • Retention Rate: 80%
  • Graduation Rate: 60%
  • Total Enrollment: 6,437
  • Undergrad Students: 4,306
  • Graduate Students: 2,131
  • Diplomas Awarded: NA
  • Grads Salary: $73,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 14:1
  • Lewis University

Western Illinois University

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $13,669
    • Out-of-State: $13,669
  • Net Price: $11,666
  • Retention Rate: 77%
  • Graduation Rate: 51%
  • Total Enrollment: 7,490
  • Undergrad Students: 5,854
  • Graduate Students: 1,636
  • Diplomas Awarded: 18
  • Grads Salary: $67,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 13:1
  • Western Illinois University

Bowling Green State University

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $13,061
    • Out-of-State: $21,049
  • Net Price: $16,684
  • Retention Rate: 79%
  • Graduation Rate: 62%
  • Total Enrollment: 18,142
  • Undergrad Students: 14,988
  • Graduate Students: 3,154
  • Diplomas Awarded: 21
  • Grads Salary: $66,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 19:1
  • Bowling Green State University

Salem State University

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $11,675
    • Out-of-State: $18,480
  • Net Price: $19,704
  • Retention Rate: 74%
  • Graduation Rate: 59%
  • Total Enrollment: 7,242
  • Undergrad Students: 5,716
  • Graduate Students: 1,526
  • Diplomas Awarded: 18
  • Grads Salary: $68,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 14:1
  • Salem State University

Columbia Southern University

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $5,775
    • Out-of-State: $5,775
  • Net Price: $11,241
  • Retention Rate: 62%
  • Graduation Rate: 30%
  • Total Enrollment: 18,533
  • Undergrad Students: 13,254
  • Graduate Students: 5,279
  • Diplomas Awarded: 527
  • Grads Salary: $73,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 39:1
  • Columbia Southern University

Anna Maria College

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $40,208
    • Out-of-State: $40,208
  • Net Price: $25,617
  • Retention Rate: 65%
  • Graduation Rate: 50%
  • Total Enrollment: 1,492
  • Undergrad Students: 1,126
  • Graduate Students: 366
  • Diplomas Awarded: 73
  • Grads Salary: $78,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 12:1
  • Anna Maria College

New Jersey City University

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $15,072
    • Out-of-State: $25,364
  • Net Price: $13,756
  • Retention Rate: 77%
  • Graduation Rate: 39%
  • Total Enrollment: 7,550
  • Undergrad Students: 5,844
  • Graduate Students: 1,706
  • Diplomas Awarded: 25
  • Grads Salary: $68,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 14:1
  • New Jersey City University

Fayetteville State University

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $5,379
    • Out-of-State: $16,987
  • Net Price: $7,016
  • Retention Rate: 66%
  • Graduation Rate: 36%
  • Total Enrollment: 6,726
  • Undergrad Students: 5,661
  • Graduate Students: 1,065
  • Diplomas Awarded: 44
  • Grads Salary: $59,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 17:1
  • Fayetteville State University

Waldorf University

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $23,666
    • Out-of-State: $23,666
  • Net Price: $20,345
  • Retention Rate: 26%
  • Graduation Rate: 52%
  • Total Enrollment: 3,025
  • Undergrad Students: 2,523
  • Graduate Students: 502
  • Diplomas Awarded: 70
  • Grads Salary: $67,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 25:1
  • Waldorf University

Eastern Oregon University

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $9,696
    • Out-of-State: $22,386
  • Net Price: $15,436
  • Retention Rate: 70%
  • Graduation Rate: 28%
  • Total Enrollment: 2,853
  • Undergrad Students: 2,586
  • Graduate Students: 267
  • Diplomas Awarded: 39
  • Grads Salary: $61,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 15:1
  • Eastern Oregon University

Liberty University

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $22,713
    • Out-of-State: $22,713
  • Net Price: $27,891
  • Retention Rate: 81%
  • Graduation Rate: 62%
  • Total Enrollment: 93,349
  • Undergrad Students: 47,988
  • Graduate Students: 45,361
  • Diplomas Awarded: 25
  • Grads Salary: $57,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 17:1
  • Liberty University

Purdue Global

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $10,125
    • Out-of-State: $14,436
  • Net Price: $3,802
  • Retention Rate: 33%
  • Graduation Rate: 29%
  • Total Enrollment: 43,927
  • Undergrad Students: 33,192
  • Graduate Students: 10,735
  • Diplomas Awarded: NA
  • Grads Salary: $50,700
  • Student-to-faculty: 28:1
  • Purdue Global

College of Southern Nevada

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $3,848
    • Out-of-State: $11,534
  • Net Price: $7,773
  • Retention Rate: 80%
  • Graduation Rate: 16%
  • Total Enrollment: 29,965
  • Undergrad Students: 29,965
  • Graduate Students: 0
  • Diplomas Awarded: 10
  • Grads Salary: $52,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 21:1
  • College of Southern Nevada

Certificate vs. Bachelor's

If you have an online associate degree in an area unrelated to fire science, you might be tempted to return to school for a certificate. After all, you can complete a certificate program in a year or so; it costs less and the added credentials are sure to boost your marketability. However, you should consider an online Bachelor of Science in Fire Science instead.

A four-year degree will take longer and cost more, that is true. However, the long-term benefits in terms of your salary and job opportunities may outweigh those concerns. Furthermore, if you ever decide to leave the firefighting profession, a bachelor's degree will help ease your transition, regardless of what path you choose.

What Fire Science Bachelor’s Degrees are Available Online?

  • Online Bachelor of Science in Fire Science
    A BS in Fire Science is probably the most common degree conferred in this field. A BS is fairly interchangeable with a Bachelor of Arts, but generally a BS indicates that you have focused more on analytical and scientific topics.
  • Online Bachelor of Applied Science in Fire Science
    A BAS typically indicates that your degree focused on career-minded topics that are specific to the occupation. This might suit your professional goals, but keep in mind that students sometimes have trouble transferring their BAS credits to a graduate program. If this concerns you, you can discuss the matter with your academic adviser.
  • Online Bachelor of Arts in Fire Science
    A BA in Fire Science may be a bit less common than a BS, but the two degrees are often nearly identical. Every program is unique, but generally a BA degree will put slightly more emphasis on non-analytical or non-scientific subjects such as public policy, ethics, and management topics. Review your program's curriculum to make sure you are going to study the topics most pertinent to your particular career path.
  • Online Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in Fire Science
    Most applied degrees come from programs that focus more on occupational issues rather than purely academic topics. Your instruction may rest on course with less rigorous academic research. For this reason, you’ll need to think about how well your credits might transfer. You might also see what you can learn about the instructors' backgrounds, as someone with experience in the field will be better able to prepare you for it.

Admission Requirements

To enter an online Bachelor's program for Fire Science you will need a high school diploma, or the equivalent. You will also need to supply sufficient scores on the SAT or ACT, as well as an admissions essay and letters of recommendation. Though not every program will have such requirements, if you intend on applying to multiple schools, you will likely need all of those items for at least a few applications.

If you already have an Associate Degree in Fire Science from another school, you will need to have your official transcripts sent to your new school. Additionally, you may be well served by including information regarding your experience as a firefighter, if any. On that note, some fire science programs require that all applicants be certified firefighters in their state.

How long does it take to earn a Fire Science Bachelor's Online?

Though most Bachelor of Science in Fire Science degree programs are designed to take four years, the duration largely depends on you. Some students skip all summer breaks, take extra classes, and generally immerse themselves in school so that they can graduate in three or three and a half years. Most students, however, take up to six years to graduate.

Before you apply to a baccalaureate program, take time to consider how you can manage to maintain a full-time course load while meeting your work and family obligations. To help realize this goal, seek out schools that offer at least some online courses.

Potential Careers in Fire Science with a Bachelor’s

  • Firefighter
    Firefighters need only a high school diploma and the physical ability to fight fires. The job generally entails several days straight, living in the firehouse, interspersed with similar stretches at home where you might pursue online courses or otherwise strive to advance your career.
    The average salary for firefighters is $48,400.
  • Fire Inspector
    This profession entails inspecting buildings to make sure that they have adequate fire safety equipment, unobstructed egress, etc. Fire inspectors also investigate suspicious fires to determine the cause of the fire and how it spread, to either make a case for or against arson.
    Fire Inspectors earn an average salary of $52,100.
  • Fire Chief
    This position requires a great deal of administrative wherewithal, as well as a deep knowledge of emergencies and proper responses. You'll need to implement protocols to ensure that your team has the best equipment possible and is adequately staffed to handle any sort of emergency.
    This position pays an average salary of $79,700.
  • Forester
    Foresters need to have a deep knowledge of fire science, especially those who work in the western states, where fires have increased in number and severity in recent years. You will also spend a good deal of time collecting census data in the forest.
    The average salary for a forester is $52,000.
  • HazMat Removal
    This job might entail clean-up after a fire, but this work can also be a valuable part of fire prevention. You will need to know about how certain volatile chemicals interact and how to best handle them to avoid problems, such as an environmental disaster. HazMat removal work might be great experience for future firefighters.
    These workers earn an average salary of $39,400.

Options to Advance

If you are working in a fire station and want to advance, you can take two general, non-exclusive routes. First, and most traditionally, you can work hard and let your experience be the primary force in your advancement. Your experience is bound to provide lots of practical on-the-job skill and knowledge, but it won't necessarily give you an edge over the competition.

On the other hand, you could pursue an online Bachelor's Degree in Fire Science that will give you an edge over those who don't have a degree. When you earn a degree, you are able to effectively leapfrog many years in the trenches to achieve a broader base of knowledge. Your knowledge base in emergency management, the science of fire, and public administration will help you not only manage a firehouse with utmost efficiency, but it will help you facilitate relationships with your city, county, or state officials.

Frequently Asked Questions

How could having a bachelor’s degree in fire science help you?

It’s true that you don’t need to have a bachelor’s degree in order to work as a firefighter. In fact, you can do just as much in firefighting with an associate degree and experience as you can with a bachelor’s. However, many who pursue roles in firefighting find that they wish to move into new roles or gain new skills after they’ve worked in the field for a while. By earning a bachelor’s degree, you can make it easier to earn EMT certification, move into supervisory roles, or even into niche firefighting roles with the park service or in large prison facilities. These opportunities, however, are somewhat rare, and that makes them competitive. By earning a degree, you can find yourself well on your way to earning the position you most want.

At what age can you become a firefighter?

This may not be a question you have considered, unless you are very young, but it is pertinent. Those who are under 18 years old can be involved in firefighting activities in a limited way by joining a department as a junior firefighter. This will help you decide if you want to work your way up into a full firefighting role later on. However, there is also an upper age limit in place in many fire departments. This is often between 28 and 35 years old, considered to be the age at which performing the duties of a firefighter becomes more difficult. This age is not standardized across the country, so you should check with your local department if you are somewhat older and considering getting into the field.

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