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Fire Science Technology

Common Questions

Fire Science Technology (photo)

What is it like being a firefighter?

Most firefighters will tell you that there isn't a better career in the world. They're constantly involved with people-responding to emergency calls, visiting schools, teaching classes, hosting fire station "open houses," and attending training. Because they work together as a team, firefighters develop camaraderie, friendships and a sense of family. Whenever there are emergencies-accidents, fires, floods or other natural disasters-fire departments are the first called. Smaller stations and rural districts rely heavily on volunteers. In fact, most of the 300,000 firefighters in Washington state are volunteers. Many rural fire districts have both community volunteers and a paid staff which takes care of administrative duties as well as emergency response. Fire departments in cities and metropolitan areas are staffed by full-time career firefighters who work in shifts.

How do I become a firefighter?

Competition for full-time firefighting jobs is great. Many prospective applicants spend two to five years preparing themselves through training, education, testing and volunteer firefighting experience. Anything you can do to better prepare, physically and mentally, is part of the process.

The SCC fire science program is an advantage to those seeking positions as firefighters. The two-year program offers an overview of the field as well as broad technical training. Graduates receive an associate in applied science (A.A.S.) degree in fire science, which is an asset on any resume and helps open doors to job opportunities. For many, the program is a way of finding out if a firefighting career is the right choice.

  • Because they deal with emergencies, firefighters must be able to remain calm under extreme pressure. Others, after all, depend on them to be the calm in a storm.
  • Firefighting is a constantly changing field, so you need a desire to continue learning. This field isn't going to be the same 10 years from now.
  • Fitness is important. Firefighters should be fit-and committed to life-long fitness-because their firefighting careers may span 30 years.
  • Firefighters must be good communicators-in both written and verbal forms. Everything they do must be documented for legal purposes, and because they're always dealing with people who are not having a great day.
  • Firefighters are action-oriented, and most of them couldn't survive as well at a desk. They like to be in control, which is good because the public expects them to show up and take charge.
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What programs does SCC offer in this field?

SCC offers two degree options: Fire Science Technology and Fire Officer. Both are two-year associate in applied science (A.A.S.) degree programs.

The Fire Science Technology option prepares students for entry-level positions as firefighters for municipal, industrial, state and federal fire departments. The Fire Officer program is designed for experienced firefighters who want to become officers.

Both programs combine technical courses with general education courses which can transfer to four-year schools. These transfer courses benefit individuals who may someday with to advance to the level of battalion chief or above and would benefit by pursuing a four-year degree.

What will I learn in Fire Science Technology?

It gives students the basic skills to enter the field. Students learn to handle basic firefighting and rescue responsibilities. They gain a thorough technical background and build a keen awareness of fire and safety problems.

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What will I learn in the Fire Officer program?

This is designed for people already working in the field who want to become officers. These individuals have firefighting experience and are familiar with how their organization works, but need to build on the global aspects of the field rather than the technical side. This two-year program includes fire prevention, codes, supervision and leadership.

Where will I find a job?

Graduates will compete for jobs with municipal fire departments such as in cities or fire districts which are located outside of cities. In addition, there are private fire brigades in industries like Boeing and Kaiser. Airports and port authorities also have firefighting crews.

Once hired, firefighters often can develop specialties in such areas as training, paramedicine, public education, or fire investigation. These opportunities vary from department to department. Working or volunteering in a smaller department is a good way to build knowledge and skills.

Related positions include rescue worker, fire loss investigator, fire systems technician and dispatcher.

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How much will I earn?

Fire Science Technology (photo)

Entry-level firefighting positions may start at $39,000 annually.

With experience, firefighters can earn as much as $60,000 annually.

Benefits are good in this field, usually including health insurance and retirement programs.

For more information....For more information:
Contact: Spokane Community College
Counseling Center, MS 2151
1810 N. Greene Street
Spokane, WA 99217-5399
Phone:(509) 533-7026 or 1-800-248-5644 ext. 7026
Fire Science: (509) 533-7292
Email:Cindy Walters at
For additional contacts, please
refer to the online directory for this department

You can also submit an online information request
or get our address to write for more information

You may be eligible for free tuition!
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Spokane Community College
1810 N. Greene St.
Spokane, WA 99217-5399
For general information call:
509-533-7000 or
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