Approximately 140 students complete fire science programs every year in Arkansas at one of the state's three accredited fire science schools. A significant number of these fire science graduates come out of the Arkansas Fire Training Academy at Southern Arkansas University Tech. Although the number of graduating fire science students is relatively low, their job prospects are wide-ranging. In addition to firefighting and fire service administration, potential career opportunities also include inspecting structures for fire safety or analyzing and investigating the causes of fires.
Approximately 2,510 firefighters work in Arkansas, along with 160 forest fire inspectors and prevention specialists, and 510 first-line supervisors of firefighting and prevention workers.
Fire science education in Arkansas is limited to certificates and associate degrees. Programs range in focus from fire and emergency response to fire science technology to fire services management. Degree programs explore the knowledge and skills that aspiring fire professionals need to enter the workforce, while also offering preparation for specialized career choices. Two-year programs generally cover the basics of fire and fire prevention, including fire chemistry, fire administration, basic investigation and legal issues surrounding the field of fire prevention. Online studies are not available for fire science but can be found in programs centered on safety and hazardous materials management.
All of the accredited schools in Arkansas provide studies in both fire science and emergency medical services. This setup encourages "career laddering," which helps to prepare graduates for entry-level occupations, with supplemental knowledge acquired on the job. This career prograssion allows fire professionals in Arkansas to glean the bulk of their knowledge not at the academic level, but through hands-on experience in the real world.
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