Volunteer State Community College offers two options in Fire Science Technology, a Professional Certificate and Associate’s Degree in Applied Science.
The certificate program is designed to prepare students in practical firefighting applications and management. Six core courses are required: Principles of Emergency Services, Fire Protection Hydraulics and Water Supply, Fire Prevention, Fire Behavior and Combustion, Fire Protection Systems and Building Construction for Fire Protection.
Certificate students must take two other Fire Science Technology courses for a total of 23 credits.
Degree students take the same six core courses plus four general education courses and more electives. Electives include Hazardous Materials, Strategy and Tactics, Rescue Awareness, Spanish for Emergency Respondents, Legal Aspects of Emergency Services, Leadership Development and Fire Investigation.
Education continues on the job. Entry-level workers in large fire departments often spend several weeks at a training center or academy. They learn how to use axes, chain saws and other rescue equipment. CPR and local building codes are important parts of the training, too.
Local governments employ about 9 of 10 fire fighters, and requirements for working in the field vary by location. Most cities and towns require written and physical tests. More and more fire fighters today have had some education after high school, which increases their chances of getting hired in a field that is fairly competitive.
The Nashville Fire Department, for example, requires entry-level fire fighters to have a high school diploma and complete a five-month training program at the Nashville Fire Department Training Academy. Those with two years of experience in fire fighting, fire prevention, arson investigation, building codes enforcement or related emergency work can apply to be Fire Arson Investigator I. An Associate’s Degree in Fire Science or a related field can be substituted for the two years of work experience.
Members of the Nashville, Gallatin, Columbia, Goodlettsville and Hendersonville fire departments help Vol State keep its program up-to-date by serving on an advisory committee.
Check out Vol State’s Fire Science Technology program
At Vol State, all major courses meet U.S. National Fire Academy standards. The National Fire Academy also offers training, courses and specialized study.