4 Degrees For the Firefighter That Wants to Become a Leader in the Fire Service

If you are a firefighter or someone looking to become a firefighter with some very lofty firefighter promotion goals you will need a degree to get there. There are some degrees that are obviously geared for the future firefighter, but so many other options as well. Let’s explore. 

Types Of Degrees


An associates degree is a degree that generally takes two years to complete, assuming you are taking a full course load. An associates degree can generally be received from a community college or online. A popular associate's degree for the firefighter is fire science. 

Bachelors (Of Science or Art)

A bachelor’s degree is a degree that generally takes 4 years to complete, if taking a full course load. Your two year associate's degree can transfer into a bachelor’s degree if you decide to further your education. You can either get a bachelors of art or a bachelors of science. A Bachelor’s of Art degree is a degree that is received for a program in the liberal arts such as, Art, Psychology, Sociology, Business and so on. A Bachelor’s of Science degree is a degree that is received when you major in a science related program such as Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Economics and so on. 


A master’s degree is a postgraduate degree awarded to an individual after anywhere from one to three years of coursework. At the receipt of your degree the individual should have extensive knowledge in the field in which their degree was given. At this point most firefighting positions do not require a master’s degree but as time goes on and you move up the ladder you don’t know what the future may hold. 


A doctorate degree is the highest level of degree that can be earned. A doctorate can be broken down into two different degrees, a professional doctorate degree or a Doctor of Philosophy Degree (PhD). The difference being, “professional degree places more emphasis on real-world problem solving and the practical application of knowledge as opposed to exploring new advancement or ideas in research and analysis.” In order to be eligible for a doctorate degree you must first obtain a masters degree and spend many more years completing coursework, research, experimentation, and a dissertation. As with a masters degree most jobs in the fire service do not require a doctorate at this time. 

Degrees That Will Be Beneficial to the Firefighter

  1. Fire Science

A fire science degree is exactly that, it teaches you to understand the science behind fire to encourage prevention and safety. At the end of a fire science program you should be able to, “detect hazards, manage emergencies, and coordinate responses to fire.” Additionally students will learn all about leadership, history, fire prevention, and investigation. Fire science degrees can be given as associates or bachelor degrees. It is one of the most common among firefighters and gives students a wide range of skills and knowledge necessary to being a successful firefighter. 

  1. Fire Administration

If you receive a fire administration degree you will learn all about administration, fire safety and fire investigation. This degree is an excellent choice for a young firefighter that knows they want to move up the ranks in the fire service as high as possible. This major will give you the knowledge to not only be a firefighter, but also be so much more. 

  1. Fire Technology

A fire technology degree teaches students, “the organization of fire prevention and suppression techniques; fire behavior, combustible materials, extinguishing agents, hazardous and toxic material; fire protection techniques and systems; fire command and fire management.” A fire technology degree gives the future firefighter a well rounded education in all things firefighting. 

  1. Emergency Medical Service Management

A degree in Emergency Medical Service Management focuses on preparing students for incident management. The goal of the degree is to give students the skills necessary to protect the safety and security of society. An Emergency Medical Services degree is a great degree for a firefighter who wants to be in charge, who wants to lead teams in disaster scenarios. A great degree for a future leader in the fire service. 

The Takeaway 

Currently you do not need a degree to become an entry level firefighter, although you do need to graduate from a fire academy. However, if you want to become a leader in the fire service, you will likely need a degree the higher up the ranks you go. As more time passes it is also safe to assume the education requirements will change and more positions in the fire service will require a degree. So, if you hope to be a high ranking officer in the fire service, now is the time to decide what to do with your education.