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Fire Science Student Resources, Scholarships, and Support Services

Fire science is a rewarding degree, and this guide can help you make the most of it. Whether you’re looking for networking opportunities, financial aid options, or another type of support, here are the top resources you need to know about as a fire science student.

Author: Timon Kaple
Editor: STEPS Staff

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A fireman holding a little girl and her teddy bear in front of a fire truck.

College can be challenging to get through, even for the most determined student. Between figuring out how you’re going to pay for tuition to late nights studying for exams, the path isn’t easy. But there’s help out there if you know where to look. As a fire science student, you can take advantage of many scholarship opportunities and student resources designed with you in mind. In this guide, we provide a closer look at some of the best scholarships, resources, and support services for fire science students. After looking into these financial, academic and career support options, you’ll be in a better position to achieve academic success and financial stability while pursuing your degree.

Campus and Online Support Resources for Fire Science Students

Colleges and universities today offer a wide variety of resources for both on-campus and online degree seekers, including those in fire science programs. For distance learners, most schools today offer remote access to academic advisors, tutoring services, writing centers, and library resources to ensure that you are equipped for academic success. Let’s take a detailed look at the various student support services for on-campus and remote learners.

University Student Support Centers and Services

It’s important that fire science students take advantage of university student support centers and services before entering the workforce in order to make meaningful connections to professionals in their local area or wherever they wish to pursue a career. Fire science programs provide you with access to professors and advisors who have relationships with local firehouses, municipal fire companies, and junior firefighter leagues to help you transition from school into a full-time career. In addition to working directly with academic advising centers on-campus and online, schools provide fire science students with access to supportive professionals in financial aid and career services offices. While you might not attend one of these schools, here are two fire science programs with excellent student support resources that will give you an idea of what to look for.

1

Purdue University Global

At Purdue University Global, online public safety degrees are very career-focused, with a curriculum and support services that focus on helping learners meet their long-term goals. Fire science students in this program develop practical, hands-on skills to prepare them for the job market upon graduation. Working with Purdue Global’s academic advisors and career services center, fire science students can also take advantage of the best volunteer or entry-level experiences to position themselves for advancement in fire science careers in the near future. Additionally, Purdue Global ensures that students work toward additional certifications in areas like CPR and emergency first response that help bolster applications for those pursuing fire science careers and related public safety jobs.

2

Anna Maria College (AMC)

AMC offers both a Bachelor of Science in Fire Science and a Master of Public Administration with Fire and Emergency Services Specialization. This Catholic, liberal arts college prides itself on offering an updated resources site for its fire science students. The site covers current events and provides personal stories from students in this major, including articles that explain the need for knowledge in mathematics for these careers, how technology is changing the firefighting industry, how to bolster a resume for the competitive job market, and more. AMC also features a student success center with a career services office that is dedicated to supporting online students. Remote fire science learners can take advantage of career workshops, resume building services, and an active job board. Fire science majors can schedule personalized advising appointments to help them prepare for entry-level careers in firefighting and public service jobs that match their skill set.

Articles, Videos, Books and Podcasts for Fire Science Students and Professionals

Public Service Degrees: STEPS Guidebook What Can You Do with a Fire Science Degree For prospective and current fire science students who want a detailed look at the types of jobs available for degree holders in the fire science field, this is a valuable resource. The STEPS guidebook gives you an inside look at the careers accessible to graduates with associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees in fire science.

Pikes Peak Community College (PPCC): Fire Science YouTube Channel PPCC offers an extensive YouTube channel with videos created by teachers and students that are easy to digest. The videos offer details on fire academy applications, prior learning assessments, potential degree paths, job interviews, equipment and safety inspections, firehouse etiquette, and more. Both prospective and current fire science students will find the diverse array of videos to be quite informative.

Firewise Consulting YouTube Channel Created by Dr. John DeHaan, a forensic scientist with over 40 years of experience in fire science, fire investigation, and crime scene reconstruction, this site features excellent video resources for both new and advanced learners in the field.

Association for Fire Ecology Podcast This association recently launched a new podcast focusing on wildfire management, adaptive management strategies, environmental factors in wildfires, and climate change. It is also a good resource for new and seasoned professionals in the field to learn about current events.

Southwest Fire Science Consortium The Southwest Fire Science Consortium created a podcast called Hot and Dry for listeners interested in current events in the field, including the devastating wildfires in California this year. Episodes also feature interviews with scientists from the Wildland Urban Interface and reputable fire science professionals.

Fire Science Professional Associations and Student Organizations

Fire Science Exchange Network The Fire Science Exchange Network serves as an information hub for the latest information in the field, as well as resources and funding opportunities for scientists, decision-makers, and fire safety practitioners. Online users can access research documents, relevant publications, and newsletters. Although it is not a member-based organization, the network serves as a liaison between regional wildfire science programs around the U.S.

Fire Research Institute The Fire Research Institute is a nonprofit organization that houses one of the largest holdings of educational materials on firefighting and wildfires. Users can subscribe to a free monthly electronic newsletter that includes the latest publications in the field. They can also gain access to training manuals, dissertations, peer-reviewed journal articles, videos, and more.

International Fire Chiefs Association (IFCA) IFCA is a worldwide association of emergency responders and firefighters along with experts in terrorism response, natural disasters, search and rescue, and public safety policy. The site features an education and learning section with information on in-person conferences, online courses, fellowship programs, and scholarship opportunities.

National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) NFPA offers members a worldwide network of professionals in fire science, technology, and education. Members can contact experienced college professors, education administrators, and instructors in the field for fire science-related discussions, collaborative projects, research initiatives, and supplemental learning and teaching materials.

National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) NVFC offers online educational materials for students and professionals in firefighting, emergency medical response, and public safety. It also sponsors a variety of volunteer programs that help prospective firefighters and fire science professionals gain experience in the field, including the National Junior Firefighter program.

Fire Science Social Media and Online Communities

Reddit Fire Department Community Students can use this Reddit community to search for a wide variety of postings including available jobs in fire science and education, career advice, or topical firefighter humor.

Firehouse.com Forums This online forum is an information bureau for aspiring firefighters and current professionals. Dozens of threads cover career advancement and training, fitness, fire safety, fire investigation, and much more. Users can create their own posts and ask questions for community feedback.

FireScience.gov on Twitter This popular Twitter account shares the latest news in wildfire science, including links to valuable articles and resources for students and young professionals. The account is quite active, providing regular updates on current events of interest to students pursuing careers in fire science.

Dr.FireScience on Twitter This social media account is run by a professional applied science system engineer with a Ph.D. in fire ecology. They provide regular updates on fire science-related topics, current events, and resources.

UC Berkeley Fire Research Group This university-run research group, composed of several institutions in California, offers online educational materials, remote seminars, fire science news, and current events. This is a great resource for students to understand the academic and research components of fire science and what professionals today are doing to battle wildfires and other natural disasters.

Support Resources for Students in Online Fire Science Programs

Fully online and hybrid degree programs are becoming increasingly popular around the world. To offer support for the growing number of remote students, many companies and institutions are offering resources for prospective and current online learners, including those in fire science programs. Here are five excellent resources for online learners.

STEPS Guide: How and Where to Earn Your Fire Science Degree Online Our guide to online fire science degrees is a helpful resource for current and prospective fire science students. The guide will help you find the best schools, explore what types of learning formats are available to you, and understand your career options after you graduate.

Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute Student Guide Michigan Virtual provides this guide to online learning for new students. The site includes an excellent summary of online learning formats, successful habits for remote students to develop, and important topics to consider before choosing an online program.

How to Be a Successful Online Learner: 9 Tips & Strategies Interesting and helpful article from Northeastern University offering important advice for succeeding in a college-level distance learning program, as well as setting yourself up for future career success.

STEPS Guide: Netiquette and Communication for the Online Classroom Proper and effective communication is an essential skill for all online learners. Our STEPS netiquette guide will help you develop good habits when it comes to communicating with your professors and fellow students online.

Purdue Global Fire Science Blog The Purdue Global blog helps students in online fire science programs develop habits for success. The blog also includes career guidance, fire science education news, and highlights of current trends in emergency management.

College-Sponsored Scholarships in Fire Science

While any form of financial aid is helpful when pursuing your education, college-sponsored scholarships in fire science are the best option. This type of funding is advantageous for several reasons, including the fact that these scholarships are usually recurring awards that provide funding for students with strong academic performances. Secondly, college-sponsored scholarship programs are intentionally designed to support the academic endeavors of learners in your program and your school.To find out more on college-sponsored scholarships in fire science at your school be sure to contact the financial aid office or speak with the program director or chair of your department.

The following schools are examples of the amazing support college-sponsored scholarships provide to fire science students around the U.S.

1

Columbia Southern University (CSU)

CSU offers a variety of scholarships for students in fire and emergency services studies. Some of these scholarships come from within the university, while others are the result of partnerships with outside organizations. The university fire scholarship is offered to two students majoring in fire science or fire administration, with one deadline in the spring and the other at the end of the summer. The award covers tuition costs for up to 60 credit hours in the online program. The money goes directly toward the recipient’s tuition for up to three years or until they complete the online program, whichever occurs first. The cost of textbooks is included.


CSU Fire Scholarship

Amount

Full Tuition Remittance for 60 credit hours

Deadline

3/29/23 and 8/27/23 (annual)

Eligibility

Prospective recipients must possess a high school diploma or equivalent (GED). Applicants must also begin course work within 90 days of the date that they receive the award. Recipients must maintain a 2.0 GPA or higher to remain in good standing with the department and continue receiving tuition remittance.

How to Apply

Fill out the application form on the scholarship webpage. Applications requirements include 200-300 word responses to three essay questions.

2

University of Cincinnati (UC)

UC offers multiple online degrees in fire science, including a Bachelor of Science in Fire and Safety Engineering Technology and an Associate of Applied Science in Fire Service Technology. Two $1,000 scholarships are awarded to new students who have already completed an accredited associate degree in fire science. Applicants need to submit accompanying documents explaining their career goals and background in fire service. The school also offers the Barbara Barkley Memorial Scholarship and the Chief William Flamm Memorial Scholarship for fire science students. These awards provide recipients with $1,000 and $2000, respectively.


UC Bennett Family Scholarship

Amount

$1,000

Deadline

12/3/2022 (annual)

Eligibility

Open to applicants with an associate degree in fire science who are newly enrolled in UC’s BS in Fire and Safety Engineering Technology program. Scholarship selections are made by a panel of current and retired fire chiefs and officers from the local Cincinnati area.

How to Apply

Apply via the application link on the scholarship webpage. Application requirements include a description of the applicant’s background in fire science and career goals once they’ve earned their BS degree.

Private Scholarships for Fire Science Students

Fire science students can also find excellent scholarship opportunities outside of their school through private sources. These scholarships, which can be specific to fire science students or include students in related areas of study, may be more competitive compared to other scholarship types.

Here is a list of 15 excellent private scholarships that will help you finance your education and position you for success.

Amount

$1,000-$10,000

Deadline

4/29/23 (annual)

Eligibility

Applicants must reside in and have graduated from a high school located in Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, or Vermont. Alternatively, applicants may attend a college or university located in the New England area. They must also be registered as a full-time student in a bachelor’s or graduate degree in fire protection engineering or related discipline.

How to Apply

Students can apply online using the application provided on the scholarship webpage.

Amount

$5,000

Deadline

34/7/23 (annual) or until 500 applications are received (whichever is first)

Eligibility

Applicants must be high school seniors or graduates planning to enroll part-time or full-time in programs focused on fire science, law enforcement, or emergency medicine. Must be enrolled in a two-year or four-year college, university, or vocational/technical school.

How to Apply

Apply online using the Scholarships America link on the scholarship webpage. Applications must include academic transcripts, one letter of recommendation, and the first two pages of the applicant’s most recently filed IRS form 1040.

Amount

$1,000 to $3,000

Deadline

7/1/23 (annual)

Eligibility

Available to high school graduates (or equivalent) and current college students who will be participating in fire protection programs at their universities. Financial need, interests, special abilities, and other factors are considered in making award selections.

How to Apply

Download and print the application form here. Submit the completed form and all other required documents (including transcripts and two letters of recommendation) by mail prior to the application deadline.

Amount

Covers the cost of academy training.

Deadline

1/31/23 and 7/2/23 (annual)

Eligibility

This award is for individuals over 17 years of age who wish to pursue fire academy training at a local facility. Funds are paid directly to the training facility.

How to Apply

Follow the instructions on the scholarship webpage to apply online. Applicants must include a personal essay based on an interview that they conduct with a local firefighter that includes discussion of why the applicant wants to pursue firefighting as a career.

Amount

Tuition costs plus $1,000.

Deadline

9/15/22 (annual)

Eligibility

Applicants must be members of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) with documentation of activity in their local chapter as an officer or committee member.

How to Apply

Applicants need to submit a completed application form, a personal essay that answers the questions provided in the form, and a brief statement outlining their participation with their local IAFF affiliate. Applications are accessed on the scholarship webpage.

Amount

$5,000

Deadline

2/1/23 (annual)

Eligibility

Sponsored by the International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI), this scholarship is available to current IAAI members (and dependents) with junior or senior standing in an undergraduate program consistent with the IAAI’s mission (e.g., fire or forensic science, fire protection engineering, fire/explosion investigation).

How to Apply

Apply via the application link on the scholarship website. Submittal materials include a “narrative” describing the applicant’s goals, need, involvement in the fire safety industry, and community service experience.

Amount

$2,000

Deadline

4/1/23 (annual)

Eligibility

This award is for female students who are seeking a post-secondary education (community college, technical program, bachelor’s degree program, etc.) in the United States leading to a career related to global environment, health, and safety. Multiple awards may be given each year.

How to Apply

Apply online via the application link on the scholarship webpage.

Amount

N/A

Deadline

3/1/23 (annual)

Eligibility

This scholarship is for children, spouses, and life partners of fallen firefighters honored at the Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Emmitsburg, Maryland. Children must be 30 years old or younger and under the age of 22 at the time of the firefighter’s passing. Applicants must possess a high school diploma or GED and plan on pursuing undergraduate or graduate studies at an accredited Institution. A 2.0 or higher GPA is expected for consideration.

How to Apply

Visit the How to Apply for NFFF Scholarships webpage for the most recent application information.

Amount

$5,000

Deadline

6/1/23 (annual)

Eligibility

Available to undergraduate (sophomore or higher) and full-time fire protection engineering or administration master’s students at an accredited four-year U.S. or Canada college or university. Program must be traditional classroom-based.

How to Apply

Apply online via the application link on the scholarship webpage.

Amount

$1,000

Deadline

6/1/23 (annual)

Eligibility

Open to Phi Theta Kappa members currently enrolled in a fire science, fire technology, or other public safety associate degree program. A minimum of 50% of the program must be completed by the June 1 application deadline. Applicant must hold permanent or temporary residency in the college’s country or possess a visa considered appropriate by the college.

How to Apply

PrAccess the application through the Phi Theta Kappa Scholarships webpage.

Amount

$1,000

Deadline

3/1/23 (annual)

Eligibility

Available to students at two-year and four-year colleges and universities studying subjects related to “career ladder as a first responder”. Past awardees have included both undergraduate and graduate students in majors such as Fire Administration, Fire Protection Engineering, and Forensic-Science-Crime Investigation.

How to Apply

Complete the printable application form which can be downloaded here and mail in by the application deadline. Submittal materials include official high school or college transcripts, letter of recommendation, and 500-word essay describing the applicant and his/her future goals.

Amount

$2,500

Deadline

3/31/23 (Annual)

Eligibility

This award is for full-time undergraduate and graduate students that have at least one year remaining in their academic programs. They must also be current members of the Student Association for Fire Ecology (SAFE). Students from underrepresented populations are encouraged to apply.

How to Apply

Apply online by filling out the application form and submitting a personal statement and resume.

Amount

$2,500

Deadline

2/1/23 (Annual)

Eligibility

Available to children of firefighters killed in the line of duty who plan to enroll in a college or university in the U.S. or Canada. Selections based on financial need, aptitude promise, and demonstrated academic achievement.

How to Apply

Download the application form and submit by mail along with all required documents, including academic transcripts, a personal statement, and two letters of recommendation.

Amount

$3,000

Deadline

4/19/23 (Annual)

Eligibility

Open to current members of the International Association of Wildland Fire enrolled in a master’s or doctoral program studying wildland fire or a related subject.

How to Apply

Check the scholarship website for application information. Requirements include a completed application form and essay.

5 Tips for Winning a Fire Science Scholarship

Applying for scholarships can be a competitive process. Fortunately, because fire science is a relatively small field, there are more opportunities to make your application shine. Here’s a list of the top five tips to keep in mind while creating your scholarship applications.

  • Tip #1: Complete All Application Requirements
    Each scholarship has a specific set of requirements that you need to keep a close eye on. You want to make sure that your applications are spotless and include all necessary materials for consideration.
  • Tip #2: Give Your Recommenders Enough Time
    Many scholarship applications, including those for fire science awards, require students to obtain letters of recommendation from previous teachers, employers, or representatives who can speak to their character traits and work ethic. Be sure to give your recommendation writers enough time to write a compelling letter on your behalf; at least three months before the scholarship deadline is recommended.
  • Tip #3: Have Someone Check Your Work
    Completing a scholarship application can be a time-consuming, exhausting process. With this in mind, you must have somebody else look over your materials, including your essay, to make sure that there are no errors and to verify that you meet all of the requirements with quality materials that accurately represent you.
  • Tip #4: Apply for Big and Small Awards
    You should apply for as many scholarships as you can, provided you are a good candidate. This includes both large and small financial awards. Even small local scholarships are worth your time. Typically, they receive fewer applicants, so your odds of winning may be much higher.
  • Tip #5: Try Again
    Whether you received a financial award that ends after one year, or you didn’t receive any awards at all, it is important that you reapply and try again the following year. Be on the lookout for more frequent seasonal deadlines for some awards, as you might not have to wait as long to start applying again.

Other Ways to Fund Your Fire Science Degree

Fire science students can also find ways to pay for college through other financial aid options. Both federal and private student loans are available. Federal loans typically offer better interest rates and repayment options for students. Four different loans are available through the government for fire science degree-seekers:

  • Direct subsidized loan
  • Direct unsubsidized loans
  • Direct Plus
  • Direct consolidation loans

There are also employer-sponsored tuition reimbursement plans and loan forgiveness programs. Some fire departments offer tuition reimbursement programs for firefighters after so many years of employment. The government also offers the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Program: Educational Assistance Benefits for spouses and children of fire and emergency public safety officers who have been killed or injured in the line of duty. Alternatively, fire science students may be able to obtain work-study positions through their department or school. Work-study programs provide undergraduate and graduate students with financial need part-time jobs working on campus.

For more information on funding opportunities for your fire science degree, check out our financial aid guide and public service student loan forgiveness guide.