Helpful tips to prepare for graduate study in Fire Science:

  • Have a basic understanding of Fire principles.



Think of the following Industries

  • Insurance companies
  • Claims Companies
  • Law Offices
  • Local Fire Departments
    • Fire Fighters
    • Hazard Inspectors
    • Arson Investigators
  • Federal Govt
    • US National Parks (forest rangers)
    • Dept of Emergency Management
    • US Fire Administration
  • State Emergency Management Departments
  • Private companies (Places like Sikorsky have their own fire department)
  • Universities
  • Fire Labs
  • Forensic Labs

  • Include any certifications you have (EMT, Paramedic, Red Cross, etc) or any licensures (Private Investigator License)
  • Include any advanced training you may have received (National Fire Academy, Training Methods, Firearms, etc)
  • When experience, include courtroom testimony (“testified in over 100 cases”)
  • Include professional organizations
  • If anything has been published, cite it.
  • List any awards.

Fire Fighting

  • Please prioritize the following in order of importance to you: Career, Family, Friends.
  • Suppression, Prevention and Public Education, rank them in order of importance in the Fire Service and explain your reasoning.
  • What have you done to prepare for a career in the fire service?
  • Why do you want to be a firefighter?
  • What is the most appealing aspect of being a fire fighter?
  • What is the advantage of working in teams and why is team work so important in firefighting?
  • Why are honesty and integrity important in fire fighting?
  • What would you do if:
    • While shopping for groceries duty a citizen approaches you and asks why his tax dollars are paying for you to hang out and shop at the grocery store. He is obviously very upset and angry.
    • You see a fellow firefighter slip an expensive watch into his turnout coat during overhaul.
    • While on scene at a medical aid you are asked to go back to the Engine to get a piece of equipment. In route to the Engine you notice that its placement is blocking traffic. Traffic is backing up and an irate citizen is yelling for you to move the Engine. You are not the Engineer.
  •  Arson Investigation
    • What are the main responsibilities and job duties of a fire investigator?
    • What are the knowledge elements you obtained from your education, training and work experience would support your fire investigator career?

Career Resources for Fire Science Majors:

Fire Science Degree Types:

Fire Science MS

Public Safety MS

Fire Administration MS

Master in Public Administration

Fire Service and Homeland Security MS

Master of Science in Leadership

Hazardous Materials Management Certificate

Fire and Emergency Management Administration PhD

Career Paths:

Master’s Degree:

  • Fire Chief
  • Fire Inspector
  • Fire Investigator
  • Emergency Management Director
  • HAZMAT Director/Manager
  • Prevention Specialist


  • Professor
  • Researcher
  • Policy Analyst

Fire Inspectors (Fire Investigators, Fire Control Officers, Fire Hazard Inspectors, Fire Operations Foresters, Fire Prevention Inspectors, Fire Safety Inspectors)

Median Salary:$54,020

Outlook: +6% (average)

Firefighters (Fire Equipment Operators, Fire Engine Pump Operators)

Median Salary:$45,970

Outlook: +5% (average)

Claims Adjusters, Appraisers, Examiners, and Investigations

Median Salary: $62,300

Outlook: +3% (slower than average)

Career Resources for MS Fire Science:

Salary and job outlook information

Job Title Median Salary Outlook
Fire Inspectors $54,020 +6% (average)
Fire Fighters (Fire Chiefs/Captains) $45,970 +5% (average)
Claims Adjusters, Appraisers, Examiners, and Investigations $62,300 +3% (slower than average)
Emergency Management Directors $64,360 +6% (average)

Arson Investigation

Fire Administration

  • What style of leadership have you adopted?
  • How would you deal with a policy change from management that you disagree with?
  • In your opinion, what is the one glaring deficiency in your department and is there anything you feel you can do in this new position to correct or alleviate this deficiency?
  • How do you go about resolving conflict?
  • What does leading by example mean to you?
  • How would you handle the following scenarios:
    • Drinking or drugs on the job
    • Stealing on the job
    • Conflict with another employee
    • Irate citizen
    • An employee crisis at an emergency
    • Sexual harassment
    • Racial situation
  • Please outline the progressive disciplinary system for our department. Do you have any experience in implementing progressive discipline?
  • Describe a time when you made a decision that was unpopular with the rest of the crew. What were the circumstances and how did the situation work out?
  • What special projects, committees, or programs have you been involved with? What was your role on them and what was accomplished during your tenure?
  • You have been assigned to plan a multi-company battalion drill. What topic would you choose and what steps would you follow to coordinate the drill?
  • What will you do to prevent harassment in the station?
  • A firefighter receives a needle stick from a transient patient, what do you do?
  • Describe the Firefighter Bill of Rights and how they affect you.
  • You’re assigned to a crew that breeds negativity and mistrust of fire administration. They are very vocal with their beliefs to the point that it is impacting the morale of your crew and anyone who works on or around your shift. What would you do and why?
  • You are first in on a structure fire and are implementing the Incident
  • Command System. You assume command and start assigning resources. When would you assign a RIC (Rapid Intervention Crew) team?
  • You are a Captain assigned to an engine company with a mutual aid strike team that has been deployed to a brush fire in another county. The temperature is 90 degrees, humidity is less than 15 percent and Santa Ana winds are gusting at 30 miles per hour. When your strike team reaches its destination, your engine company is assigned structure protection on an approximately 3,000 square foot single family dwelling. The structure is located on a hill with heavy brush and minimal brush clearance. You have determined that the brush clearance is adequate and gives you dispensable space to protect the house. Following the department’s wild land firefighting policy, how are you going to accomplish this assignment?
  • You are the Engine Company Captain and are first in on a working high rise fire on what appears to be on the 15th floor of a 20 story high rise building. Describe your actions.

Public Safety Management

  • Share an experience in which your ability to consider the costs or benefits of a potential action helped you choose the most appropriate action.
  • Provide an example in which collaboration with other officials to prepare for an emergency helped you improve an emergency procedure program.
  • Describe an experience in which your advice to management or another group about technical systems or another process caused an improvement in your company or helped your employer.
  • Provide an example of when you set expectations and monitored the performance of subordinates. What guidance and direction did you find most effective?
  • Share an experience in which you successfully communicated directly with the public.
  • Provide an example of a time when you successfully organized a diverse group of people to accomplish a task.

Share an example of a time you represented your company to an external source in person, in writing, or by telephone in a difficult situation or circumstance.

  • Become an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), most departments require you to be certified.
  • Volunteer at local volunteer fire departments in order to gain experience.
  • Stop by fire departments to ask personally if they have any openings.
  • “Employers look for candidates with personal skills and attributes which fit the company and role. Those candidates who are keen, interested and have the ability to adapt to different situations and challenges will be the most successful in finding jobs.” – Nathan Davies, Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents Health and Safety Consultant
  • Constantly upgrade your knowledge and skills in the field and pursue recognized professional certifications (Certified Safety Professional, Certified Industrial Hygienist, etc).
  • Develop background experience in global relations.