The Fire Service Operations A.A.S. degree is designed for students without firefighting career experience. The program is designed to prepare students for entry-level jobs in the fire service. The program will culminate with students completing fire academy training and performing a capstone internship with a local fire department.
The program will prepare students for various careers related to entry-level firefighting. Students will learn about the characteristics and behavior of fire, strategies for extinguishing fires, coping with hazardous materials incidents, and administering emergency medical assistance to injured persons. Students will learn about the fire service through both classroom and hands-on instruction. Hands-on instruction will cover areas such as use of hoses, nozzles, ladders, forcible entry tools, ventilation equipment, and supplied-air breathing apparatus. Instruction will also cover techniques for search-and- rescue and self-survival.
Nature of Work—Using appropriate methods and equipment, fire science personnel attack and extinguish fires, cope with hazardous materials incidents, and are familiar with rescue techniques. In addition, they can administer emergency medical assistance to injured persons, maintain fire-fighting apparatus and equipment, conduct fire inspections and investigations into the cause and origin of fires, and are knowledgeable of general building construction and related building codes. They also prepare and submit various fire and inspection reports, prepare and conduct training programs for in-house and outside personnel and supervise firefighters in emergency and non-emergency situations. Fire science personnel may work in urban and suburban areas, airports, chemical plants, other industrial sites, and rural areas like grasslands and forests.
Related Job Title—Firefighter, fire officer, fire prevention personnel, fire investigator, public safety personnel, industrial firefighter, industrial loss prevention personnel, insurance personnel and military firefighter
Transfer Option—Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (Capstone). The program is presented off-campus in River Grove, IL. Western Illinois University Open Learning Fire Science Program. See academic advisor for more information.
Employment Outlook—Employment of firefighters is expected to grow as fast as the average for all occupations through 2016 as fire departments continue to compete with other public safety providers for funding. Most job growth will occur as volunteer firefighting positions are converted to paid positions. In addition to job growth, openings are expected to result from the need to replace firefighters who retire, stop working for other reasons, or transfer to other occupations.
Median annual wages of fire fighters were $45,250 in May 2010. The middle 50 percent earned between $31,180 and $58,440. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $23,050, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $75,390. Median annual wages were $44,800 in local government, $45,610 in the federal government, $25,300 in other support services, and $37,870 in state governments.
Median annual wages of first-line supervisors/managers of fire fighting and prevention workers were $67,440 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $53,820 and $86,330. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $40,850, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $108,930. First-line supervisors/managers of fire fighting and prevention workers employed in local government earned a median of about $69,000 a year.
The median salary in Chicago for
fire service is $44,585. Salaries range between $23,292 to $65,881. Source:
For job and internship listings and job search assistance, contact the Job Resource Center in the Student Services Center, S202, at (708) 974-5737.