Students in fire protection technology programs learn to use the latest
technology to save people and property from fires. These are the people who
install fire alarms and make sure fire protection systems -- like sprinklers
-- are kept in working order.
In the U.S., people who want to work as fire protection technologists often
take fire protection engineering at a college or university. Since this
degree is offered mostly at the master's level, a lot of people take an
undergraduate degree in another engineering field, such as mechanical or electrical.
Then they go on to a master's in fire protection engineering.
"During the five years, the student earns the BS [bachelor of science]
degree in a traditional engineering discipline and then the master's degree
in fire protection engineering," says David Lucht, a professor in the fire
protection engineering program at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts.
Students need a willingness to help people, good communication skills,
courage and endurance.
Steve Spivak heads the fire protection engineering program at the University
of Maryland. He says students need a good academic record, good SAT scores
and a willingness to learn.
In high school, take as many math and science courses as possible.
"Students should focus on the science and math classes. Chemistry is not
a requirement for acceptance but is highly recommended. Computer skills
are essential for success," says Stu Evans. He is head of the fire protection
engineering technology program at a College.
Students are also encouraged to get involved in service groups in their
communities. Taking CPR and EMT (emergency medical technician) courses
is also a good idea.
"Community service is a good indicator," says Lucht. "While we don't teach
firefighting here, sometimes we find high school students who have been involved
with a local fire department are especially motivated and committed. The Boy
Scouts of America also offer fire service and emergency medical explorer posts."
There are organizations that certify and register fire safety professionals.
Among them are the International Society of Fire Safety Instructors and local
firefighting organizations. Joining these groups helps with networking and
Besides tuition, students will have to pay for textbooks.
Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see: Health
and Safety Engineers
Find a variety of information about fire engineering
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