5 Best Online Colleges with Online Degrees in Fire Science in 2023

Fire Science is essentially the study of how fire behaves and provides the basis for understanding how to prevent fires, respond to emergencies, and investigate fire-related accidents and crimes. Most fire professionals, if not all, have a degree in Fire Science. However, understanding Fire Science is essential for effective firefighting and promoting community safety and disaster management.

Online Degrees in Fire Science - fact

Individuals with a comprehensive education in Fire Science are capable of analyzing fire patterns that allow them to develop proactive prevention strategies as well as efficiently manage emergency situations. In doing so, they can effectively implement measures that mitigate fire risks and ensure the well-being of everyone in the community.

Featured Programs

Students who want to build their future careers in the fire prevention and protection industry can obtain the necessary education and training by enrolling in Bachelor in Fire Science degree online programs. These programs feature a comprehensive curriculum on fire dynamics, hazardous materials management, fire investigation and emergency planning. Students can also gain hands-on experience and theoretical insights directly applicable to real-world scenarios involving fire services.

The popularity of online education has allowed educational institutions to offer the online Fire Science degree program beyond fresh high school graduates and GED certificate holders. These days, even working professionals, including active firefighters looking to upgrade their careers, can now obtain their Bachelor’s degree, thanks to the flexible mode of learning that online programs can accommodate.

The Lowdown

A Bachelor in Fire Science provides many opportunities for individuals who want a career in the fire industry. While an Associate in Fire Science may equip individuals with the fundamental knowledge and skills related to firefighting and emergency response, a Bachelor’s degree provides a deeper understanding of advanced concepts like fire behavior analysis and fire prevention strategies as well as an intensive training that develops transferable skills like leadership, management and research skills.

Bachelor-level Fire Science programs also often cover broader fields like public safety administration, emergency management and community risk assessment.


Several schools across the country are offering a Bachelor in Fire Science. To make your search more convenient, we have rounded up the institutions that offer online degrees in Fire Science at Bachelor levels based on certain criteria.

In essence, each of the best online Bachelor in Fire Science programs on our list is known for the following features:

  • May be completed 100% online or in a hybrid format, especially for institutions with dedicated fire labs,
  • Has comprehensive coursework that covers essential Fire Science topics like fire behavior, emergency response strategies and hazardous materials management,
  • Offers student support services, including online tutoring, career or academic advising, and technical support,
  • Allows credit transferring of previously earned college credits, training or work experiences,
  • Employs faculty members who are experienced professionals in the fire service field,
  • Has accreditation from industry-recognized accrediting organizations such as the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC),
  • Has affiliations with fire service organizations, providing students with networking opportunities and access to additional resources.

Check out our Methodology for more information.

5 Best Online Bachelor’s in Fire Science Programs

Purdue Global

Purdue Global

Online Bachelor of Science in Fire Science

Purdue Global offers an online BS in Fire Science degree program to fire service professionals and those who are interested in building a career in this field. The curriculum puts emphasis on the analytical approaches to fire protection and investigation, planning for disaster and fire defense, reduction of community risks, and fire protection structure and system design.

This degree program requires students to complete a total of 180 credits (120 semester credits), including 45 credits from Core courses and 110 credits from Major courses. Some of the courses the students will take include the following:

  • Community Risk Reduction for Fire and EMS
  • Advanced Principles of Firefighter Safety and Survival
  • Research Analysis for Fire Emergency Services
  • Fire Prevention Organization and Management

The program is International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC)-accredited.

The US Fire Administration has recognized Purdue Global as an official Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education (FESHE) institution.

Furthermore, Purdue Global also has institutional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission or HLC.

What Makes this Program Unique:

There are many possible ways to have your previously earned credits applied toward this BS Fire Science degree, including the following:

  • Earning credits from fire service associations and academies that Purdue Global has an articulation agreement with,
  • Earning certifications from an organization accredited by the IFSAC or the Pro Board,
  • Completing courses from the National Fire Academy.

Students have the option to personalize their degree with a Business Foundations Concentration, which equips them with a comprehensive understanding of business management, marketing strategies and organizational financing.

Did You Know?

The Accelerated Master’s Degree Options allow students in this BS Fire Science program, and many other Bachelor’s programs, to have certain credits applied toward a Purdue Global master’s degree in various fields like Criminal Justice, Legal Studies, Public Administration and Human Services, among many others.

Eastern Kentucky University

Eastern Kentucky University - Online

Online Fire Science Bachelor Degrees (Online and Hybrid)

Eastern Kentucky University offers three Online Fire Science Bachelor Degrees, namely:

Offered through EKU Online, all of these Bachelor’s programs require 120 credit hours, including 42 credits from Upper-Division courses.

The IFSAC accredits the Bachelor’s degree programs. The BS in Fire Protection & Safety Engineering Technology is also accredited by the Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET.

SACSCOC or the Southern Association of Colleges & Schools Commission on Colleges granted EKU accreditation to award degrees.

What Makes this Program Unique:

Online students under the Fire Science degree programs are provided with free textbooks.

Courses are delivered by well-experienced faculty members including nationally renowned instructors, former firefighting professionals, engineers and investigators.

A variety of student support services are available including free online tutoring, personal advisors, and career assistance.

Students can transfer as many as 90 hours of credit toward the Bachelor’s program.

Did You Know?

The US News & World Report has recognized the University as among the best universities offering online degrees.

The University has provided an Online Learning Quiz that can be taken by students who want to determine if an online program is suitable for them.

California State University San Marcos

California State University San Marcos

Online Bachelor of Science in WildFire Science and the Urban Interface

The 100% online Bachelor of Science in WildFire Science and the Urban Interface degree offered by the California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) is the only program of its kind in the state. It is made possible by the collaboration of fire associations at the national, state and local levels to produce a new generation of Fire Science specialists, from firefighters to key decision-makers.

This Bachelor’s program requires students to complete at least 120 units to graduate, including at least 30 units of the Major to be completed at the University.

The curriculum essentially focuses on wildfires and the wildland-urban interface to address societal needs regarding public safety. Some of the courses include:

  • Chemicals and the Environment
  • Emergency Management, Operations, and Administration
  • Fire Ecology
  • Firefighter Health and Safety
  • Research Methods and Design
  • Wildfire Law and Economics
  • Senior Experience in WildFire Science
  • Firefighter Stress, Behavioral, and Mental Health
  • Land Use Planning and Community Resiliency
  • Natural Resource Management

This Bachelor’s program, coursework, and schedules are designed for working professionals and even active firefighters who might suddenly have to work a large fire or attend to emergencies while still in the program. It’s also designed for individuals seeking career advancement and those pursuing a career in the fire industry.

CSUSM has obtained full accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

What Makes this Program Unique:

The program is developed by experts in the fire industry, including the International Association of Fire Fighters, National Institute of Standards and Technology, U.S. Forest Service,  CAL FIRE Local 2881, Los Angeles County Fire, and many others.

Online students can opt to join a WildFire Science cohort, which means they will work through the curriculum with the same group of students to achieve their degrees. Cohorts typically promote stronger bonds, support systems and professional networks.

Did You Know?

California, where CSUSM is based, is the most wildfire-prone state in the country. The state’s largest wildfire is the August Complex fire that burned at least a million acres in August 2020. The deadliest one was the Camp fire in November 2018 which killed 85 people.

American Military University

American Military University

Online Bachelor of Science – Fire Science Management

West Virginia-based American Military University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Fire Science Management degree program, which aims to equip students with the journey-level experience that leads to a successful career in fire protection and prevention services and that turns them into leaders in fire response activities. This program is open to all students including those with high school diplomas or GED certificates.

The degree program requires students to complete 120 credits to graduate, including 30 semester hours of General Education courses and 66 semester hours of Major courses.

Some of the courses in this program are:

  • Emergency Planning
  • Emergency and Disaster Incident Command
  • Fire Behavior and Combustion
  • Fire Protection Systems
  • Principles of Fire & Emergency Services Safety & Survival

Students will also have to take the final program requirement Senior Seminar in Fire Science, a senior capstone course where students apply what they learned by analyzing specific program-related problems and issues.

This BS in Fire Science Management has obtained the approval and accreditation of the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC). It also fulfills the academic standards set by the US Fire Administration’s Executive Fire Officer Program.

The Higher Learning Commission has approved the American Public University System (APUS) accreditation, which American Military University is a part of.

What Makes this Program Unique:

Students may transfer as many as 90 credits toward the degree.

There is no fee for both the admission application and the transfer credit evaluation. There are also no costs for textbooks and eBooks.

Did You Know?

American Military University was founded in 1991 with the initial goal of providing distance education programs that are relevant to the careers of a number of mobile military learners with specific needs. Today, the university system, which AMU is now a part of, is among the largest providers of online higher education to students worldwide.

Waldorf University

Waldorf University

Bachelor of Science in Fire Science Administration

The BS in Fire Science Administration degree from Waldorf University is only available online. Full-time students can finish this program in an average of four years.

This Fire Science Administration degree program requires a total of 120 credits for students to graduate, including a Major requirement total of 60 credits and a Core requirement total of 60 credits. Some of the courses in its curriculum include the following:

  • Disaster Planning and Control
  • Industrial Fire Protection
  • Managerial Issues in Hazardous Materials
  • Fire-Related Human Behavior
  • Fire Investigation and Analysis
  • Fire Protection Structures and Systems

The degree program has met the academic standards to be a part of the Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education (FESHE) Recognition Program.

Waldorf University is Higher Learning Commission-accredited. It is also a member of the Council of Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

What Makes this Program Unique:

Students can add a Public Relations Concentration to their BS Fire Science Administration degree, which will equip them to build trust and transparency between fire departments and their community.

The program has courses that align with the academic prerequisites of the National Fire Protection Association, the National Fire Academy and the US Fire Administration.

Did You Know?

Waldorf University’s current structure was initially intended as a Waldorf hotel, which became vacant after just four months of operation due to the intense competition between two simultaneously built first-class hotels.

Frequently Asked Questions

What career opportunities are available with a bachelor’s degree in Fire Science?

A bachelor’s degree in Fire Science opens the door to various career opportunities beyond traditional firefighting.

For one, Bachelor-degree graduates can pursue roles as fire inspectors, fire chiefs, fire investigators, emergency management specialists, fire prevention analysts, safety coordinators and public safety administrators.

Furthermore, the bachelor’s-level program equips graduates with practical, transferable skills such as management, leadership, communication, problem-solving and analytical skills, which are valuable in public and private sectors like government agencies, industrial settings and consulting firms.

How does a Bachelor’s degree in Fire Science differ from certifications obtained through fire academies?

A Bachelor’s degree provides a more comprehensive education that covers practical firefighting skills and advanced concepts in Fire Science, such as fire investigation and analysis, protection systems from fire hazards, disaster response, fire dynamics and modeling, public administration and leadership.

While certifications obtained through fire academies are essential for entry-level firefighting positions and hands-on skills, a Bachelor’s degree offers a more holistic understanding of the field that opens doors to supervisory, administrative and specialized roles.

Certifications and a degree can provide a well-rounded foundation for a successful career in Fire Science.

Is it possible to complete a Bachelor’s in Fire Science online while working full-time as a firefighter?

Yes, it is. Many online Bachelor in Fire Science programs are designed with the flexibility to accommodate working professionals, including firefighters who might need to work on a large wildfire while in the program.

Online programs give students access to course materials and lectures at their convenience, making it feasible to balance their studies with their full-time firefighting responsibilities.

Keep in mind, however, that time management and self-discipline are crucial in ensuring successful progression through the program while juggling work and even personal commitments.

Summary Points

  • Fire Science is the study of the behavior and patterns of fires in order to understand how to mitigate fire risks, respond to emergencies, and investigate fire-related incidents.
  • While an associate degree in Fire Science or certifications from fire academies can bring you into entry-level firefighting positions, having a bachelor’s degree in the same field can upgrade your career to the next level.
  • Different institutions may differ in the curriculum of the Bachelor in Fire Science degree they offer, and thus, it’s important to look into the coursework in detail or discuss your goals with the program advisor.

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