Reasons for the Certificate

Individuals currently working or aspire to work in the field of emergency response will benefit from a certificate in fire science — particularly firefighters who want to broaden their knowledge without enrolling in a degree program. A fire science undergraduate certificate will help three groups working or planning on working in this field.

One group are current firefighters who want further training and education in subjects related to their profession.

The second group is those who understand the benefit of further education. Perhaps, this will open up additional job opportunities.

The third group could be a subset of the above two groups. These are individuals who, because of their job duties, need more technical information. They want to learn more about fire hazards, the chemistry of fire, explosives, and use of firefighting equipment.

A Certificate in Fire Science will benefit those interested in fire service, public safety, and emergency management. Additionally, many of the certificate programs are available at community colleges and online universities. Attending a local community college at night and weekends, as well as the online format,  should favor the working professional. In addition to convenience, certificates require fewer credits, time, and expense than an associate or bachelor’s degree. Typically, they range from 18-27 credits or 4- 6 courses.

Certificates complement your training at the fire academy, which is imperative for all aspiring firefighters.

Fire science certificates offered online will suit those who must maintain their job and personal life. You will receive the same education as a campus program. However, you should check before committing to an online certificate to see if there is field training. In some instances, online schools may have a partnership with a local fire department in your area for practical training. The field work involves training with firefighting equipment, attending a fire scene investigation, or learning about emergency medicine.

Those who need the convenience of an online certificate can check Columbia Southern University. They are credit-based and taught by qualified faculty members. The undergraduate certificates require a minimum of 12 semester hours. Students have the choice of four courses from this list of six:

  • Principles of Fire and Emergency Services
  • Legal Aspects of Fire Protection
  • Fire Investigation & Analysis
  • Fire Prevention and Code Enforcement
  • Management of Fire Incident Command Systems
  • Terrorism Incident Management & Emergency Procedures

The management option looks at the skills to supervise an emergency. Students learn about the National Incident Management System (NIMS). Created by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), NIMS functions to address all phases of emergencies from prevention to recovery.

Individuals interested in the forensics will examine the dynamics of ignition, flame spread, and room fire growth in the investigation and analysis course. You will learn to compare explosions and explosive combustions, as well as analyze sources of ignition.

Completion Time

Both the associate’s and bachelor’s degree are available online. However, the completion time is two and four years for most programs. The certificate does offer the benefit of pursuing higher education. You may, also, be able to transfer some of the courses to either degree to reduce the time and expense.

Online Examples

One school offering an online undergraduate Certificate in Fire Science is American Military University (AMU). This certificate follows the typical curriculum in that you study prevention, fire suppression, tactics, building construction, chemical elements of fire, and emergency services.

The AMU certificate, as many do, provides a cross-section of courses. These include fire protection, building construction, fire behavior, combustion, and prevention.

Another example may interest individuals who want to attain an administrative role in fire services. Missouri State offers an online undergraduate certificate in Fire Administration that requires only 12 credits. This program provides the student with the knowledge and skills to function as a fire service manager, leader, and administrator. Graduates will be prepared to assume leadership and administrative responsibilities in the arena of fire and emergency services.


Therefore, an undergraduate certificate may afford one or all of these benefits:

undergrad certif fire smart


Certificates offer choices: Hazmat Response, Code Enforcement, Operations, Administration, and Arson Investigation.

You will encounter programs that adhere to the Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education Model Curriculum (FESHE). FESHE acts as an accrediting agency. Their stamp of approval means the fire certificate meets their standards of academic excellence. They work in conjunction with the U.S. Fire Administration and National Fire Academy.

Additional Resources

What Degree Do I Need to Be a Safety Engineer?

What is the Benefit of a Degree in Fire Science vs. Emergency Management?

How much Science is in a Fire Science Degree?

Do I need a degree to be a Fire Inspector?

What is a Bachelor’s Degree in Fire Administration?

What is the Difference between Certifications and a Certificate in Fire Science?

What are my Master’s Degree Choices in Fire Science?