Wildfire-prone California employs more firefighters than any other in the United States.The federal government’s 2014 National Climate Assessment report projects that increasing warming and droughts caused by climate change will contribute to an increase in wildfires in California. Therefore, it's not surprising that 64 of the state's 112 community college campuses offer fire science courses. Besides certificate programs, two colleges offer bachelor’s degrees, and one university offers a master’s degree in fire protection engineering.
Santa Ana College, home to California's oldest fire technology program, is among the state's community colleges offering certificates of training for completion of fire science-related courses. Students at the Southern California campus can receive certificates in Firefighter I, Auto Extrication and Hazardous Materials First Responder. The college also offers Rescue Systems I, Fire Control III, ICS 200 and Low-angle Rescue certificates. At Northern California's College of San Francisco, students can earn California Firefighter I, Fire Officer and Fire Protection certification.
Associate Degree Programs
Students at Northern California's Los Medanos College can receive an Associate of Science in Fire Technology upon completion of a two-year program. Courses include the study of fire behavior and fire prevention, as well as emergency medical technician training. Northern California's Sierra College is among other community colleges offering an associate degree in fire technology. The program at Sierra College was designed under the guidelines of the state, National Fire Academy, Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Bachelor's Degree Programs
Cogswell Polytechnical College in Sunnyvale offers a Bachelor of Science in Fire Science. The program, which includes classroom and online courses, requires a concentration in Fire Administration or Fire Prevention/Technology. Because the program is sponsored by the National Fire Academy's Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education Program, students also can earn National Fire Academy certification. Students at California State University-Los Angeles can earn a Bachelor of Science in Fire Protection and Technology. In addition to fire protection courses, the program requires courses in business communications, public administration and political sociology.
Master's Degree Program
At California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, on California’s central coast, students can earn a Master of Science in Fire Protection Engineering. Graduate students at the university’s College of Engineering learn how to use science and technology to protect people and property from fires. They learn how to evaluate buildings for risk, design systems to better control and investigate fires. Students also learn how to work with architects, other engineers and local fire departments to better protect communities.