Fire Science Career Information | NorthWest Arkansas Community College

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Career Information

Having an Associate of Applied Science degree in Fire Science Administration and Technology can give you an advantage over other applicants with only a high school diploma and practical training, and may open up advanced career opportunities.

Fire science degree graduates can find career opportunities in the following areas:

  • Firefighting
  • Private fire protection
  • Safety and stop-loss
  • Insurance agencies
  • Fire inspection
  • Fire investigation


Job Requirements

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standard 1001 defines the standards for firefighter qualifications, essential job tasks and job performance requirements. 

  • Wearing personal protective ensembles and self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), performing fire-fighting tasks (e.g., hoseline operations, extensive crawling, lifting and carrying heavy objects, ventilating roofs or walls using power or hand tools, forcible entry), rescue operations, and other emergency response actions under stressful conditions while wearing personal protective ensembles and self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA),
    including working in extremely hot or cold environments for prolonged time periods
  • Wearing an SCBA, which includes a demand valve–type positive-pressure face piece or HEPA filter masks, which requires the ability to tolerate increased respiratory workloads
  • Exposure to toxic fumes, irritants, particulates, biological (infectious) and non-biological hazards, and/or heated gases, despite the use of personal protective ensembles and SCBA
  • Depending on the local jurisdiction, climbing six or more flights of stairs while wearing fire protective ensemble weighing at least 50 lbs. (22.6 kg) or more and carrying equipment/tools weighing an additional 20 to 40 lbs. (9 to 18 kg)
  • Wearing fire protective ensemble that is encapsulating and insulated, which will result in significant fluid loss that frequently progresses to clinical dehydration and can elevate core temperature to levels exceeding 102.2°F (39°C)
  • While wearing personal protective ensembles and SCBA, searching, finding, and rescue-dragging or carrying victims ranging from newborns up to adults weighing over 200 lbs. (90 kg) to safety despite hazardous conditions and low visibility
  • While wearing personal protective ensembles and SCBA, advancing water-filled hoselines up to 2 ½ in. (65 mm) in diameter from fire apparatus to occupancy [approximately 150 ft. (50 m)], which can involve negotiating multiple flights of stairs, ladders, and other obstacles
  • While wearing personal protective ensembles and SCBA, climbing ladders, operating from heights, walking or crawling in the dark along narrow and uneven surfaces, and operating in proximity to electrical power lines and/or
    other hazards
  • Unpredictable emergency requirements for prolonged periods of extreme physical exertion without benefit of warmup, scheduled rest periods, meals, access to medication(s), or hydration
  • Operating fire apparatus or other vehicles in an emergency mode with emergency lights and sirens
  • Critical, time-sensitive, complex problem solving during physical exertion in stressful, hazardous environments, including hot, dark, tightly enclosed spaces, that is further aggravated by fatigue, flashing lights, sirens, and other distractions
  • Ability to communicate (give and comprehend verbal orders) while wearing personal protective ensembles and SCBA under conditions of high background noise, poor visibility, and drenching from hoselines and/or fixed protection systems (sprinklers)
  • Functioning as an integral component of a team, where sudden incapacitation of a member can result in mission failure or in risk of injury or death to civilians or other team members
  • Working in shifts, including during nighttime, that can extend beyond 12 hours


Job performance requirements based on certification at the Firefighter I and II levels

  • Locating information in departmental documents and code materials
  • Receiving an emergency call and dispatching a response to a reported emergency
  • Receiving emergency and non-emergency telephone calls
  • Receiving and transmitting messages on the fire department radio system
  • Responding to an emergency scene on an apparatus
  • Establishing and operating in work areas at emergency scenes
  • Donning and doffing (taking on and off) personal protective clothing
  • Using self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) in emergency situations
  • Using ropes and knots to hoist tools and equipment
  • Forcing entry into a structure through doors, windows, or walls for search and rescue or fire suppression
  • Operating as part of a team at an emergency incident
  • Exiting a hazardous area
  • Setting up a using ground ladders
  • Attacking a vehicle fire
  • Extinguishing fires in exterior Class A materials
  • Conducting a search and rescue in a structure as part of a team
  • Attacking an interior structure fire as part of a team
  • Performing horizontal and vertical ventilation on a structure as part of a team
  • Performing overhaul activities at a fire scene
  • Performing salvage activities to conserve property
  • Connecting a fire department pumper to a water supply
  • Using a portable fire extinguisher to extinguish incipient (early) Class A, B, and C fires
  • Using lights and portable generators to illuminate an emergency scene
  • Turning off building utilities
  • Combating a ground cover fire
  • Operating, inspecting, cleaning, and maintaining ladders,  ventilation  equipment, SCBA, ropes, salvage equipment, and hand tools based on manufacturer’s or departmental guidelines
  • Cleaning, inspecting, and returning fire hose to service
  • Performs complex firefighting tasks, and assumes and transfers  command within the Incident Command System (ICS)
  • Completing basic incident reports
  • Communicating the need for additional assistance at an incident
  • Extinguishing ignitable liquid fires using foam suppression concentrates and nozzles
  • Coordinating an interior attack line at a structure
  • Controlling flammable gas fires
  • Protecting evidence and determining fire cause and origin
  • Extricating victims trapped in a motor vehicle
  • Assisting technical rescue operation teams
  • Performing fire safety surveys in a private residence
  • Presenting fire and life safety information to small groups
  • Preparing pre-incident survey
  • Maintaining power plants, power tools, and lighting equipment based on manufacturer’s instructions
  • Performing annual fire hose service tests