Redefining the Classroom

Strong Academics and Hands-on Emergency Training

The Bachelor of Science Degree, Fire Science Generalist Certification is designed to prepare graduates for careers in the area of fire protection, prevention, investigation, education, fire equipment service/supply and emergency planning.

Did you know?

The LSSU Fire Science Program was the first internationally accredited bachelor's degree in the United States. There are only four accredited programs today.

For those who are going to pursue work in a career fire department, a minor in Paramedic Technology is recommended. Others may select a minor which is more applicable to their own career aspirations such as management, computer technology, public administration, environmental science or other area. It is further designed to either guide a pre-service student from high school through university or to build on an existing associate degree in Fire Science.

"All of my professors have welcomed me here with open arms and have always been able to help me whenever I've needed assistance. The small class sizes that LSSU offers give me an optimal learning environment because I receive more personal interactions with professors and students that I wouldn't receive at a large lecture hall. My peers have been extremely friendly with me and continue to challenge me to achieve my academic goals. As I move forward in my career, I desire to be a full-time firefighter and paramedic for a fire department. I also aspire to give back to the communities of people that have taken the time to help me achieve my dreams."

--Drew Eichenser
Fire Science Student

Students can receive state/national certification in a number of areas:

  • Firefighter I and II Michigan certification
  • Wildland Firefighting certification (USFS S130, S190, and I220)
  • Certificate in the Incident Command System
  • Hazardous Material Awareness Level
  • Hazardous Material Operations Level
  • 40 hour Emergency Response Technician - HAZWOPER (29CFR 1910.120)
  • Michigan First Responder card
  • Basic EMT certification
  • Paramedic License

The paramedic program allows students to obtain a strong academic degree and hands-on emergency medicine training.  There is an associate degree in paramedic technology, a certificate program in paramedic training and a minor in paramedic technology. This program is designed to allow students to be certified as an Emergency Medical Technician- Basic after the first year with little or no previous training; and as a Paramedic at the end of the second year.  Graduates will be eligible to challenge state and/or national licensure examination for both EMT- Basic and paramedic license.

Accredited Program

The program’s IFSAC (International Fire Service Accreditation Congress) membership is also advantageous. LSSU’s Fire Science program is the only four-year brick and mortar institution that is accredited in the Midwest, and one of two institutions in the state of Michigan (LCC’s Associate program is also IFSAC). LSSU was the first 4-year institution accredited through IFSAC. The importance of this accreditation is best illustrated in the number of out-of-state students the program regularly brings to LSSU and by the number of employed graduates in the fire service field.

Bachelor of Science for Fire Science accredited by the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress, 1700 West Tyler, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078. Phone: 405-744-8303.

School of CJ/FS/EMS Recognizes Leadership and Community Service of our Students

Core principles at the School of Criminal Justice, Fire Science & EMS are leadership and sacrifice, and when students take the initiative to get involved in the community for good causes, they are recognized for their service.

Fire Science students Ben Reina (Naperville, IL) and Terry O'Haire (Belvidere, IL) volunteer their time on weekend evenings at War Memorial Hospital.  Along with Trent McAlary (Jenison, MI), these gentlemen have started a mentoring program for all freshmen and sophomores within Criminal Justice, Fire Science & EMS.

Student initiatives such as this help create sustained service in the local community.  They also serve as examples to fellow colleagues and students, showing how volunteerism is important.   They also show the community the type of students we have in our School and at LSSU.


Hands-on Experience

Courses which illustrate experiential experiences include: FIRE301 requires students to prepare a pre-fire plan/survey for use by a fire department or other agency; FIRE101, FIRE111, FIRE219, and FIRE220 are required for LSSU students to earn their Firefighter I/II and Hazardous Materials Operations certifications; FIRE315, CJUS341, and FIRE301 are all preparatory courses that will eventually allow students to earn certifications in leadership, investigations, and code enforcement; it is encouraged that all Fire Science student earn EMT-B and paramedic licenses. FIRE211 requires the ability to use hydraulic calculations to establish a required fire flow, requires the use of ICS/UICS, necessitates the evaluation of building construction involved in tactics and safety, and requires the ability to use personnel and equipment in the most expeditious way to account for fire safety. Students do not receive any credit for life experience in or out of the fire service.

Kayla Linke is pursuing a Bachelors in Fire Science (Generalist) with an Associates in Paramedic Technology.  She came to LSSU because she had several friends and coworkers who came here for the same degrees.  They recommended the university because of its small class sizes and the fact that a bachelor’s degree was being offered in her field.

Linke stated that she has always had an interest in the medical field.  Once she joined her fire department, it was affirmed that she wanted to have a full time career in fire fighting and emergency medicine for life.  Since the two programs go hand in hand, it has enabled her to pursue this.

Linke stated, "Aside from the academic component, I have also learned the benefits of coming to a smaller institution where the professors take a more active role.  They know me by name, and it is a very personal environment.  They teach us life lessons in class because they have lived what we are looking to do and they pass down experiences so that we can get the real life aspect of our careers while still in the class room."     

Linke stated that after graduation in 2016, she plans to relocate out west and work for the Forest Service, and would like to serve as medical personnel on a smoke jumping crew.  "I love fighting fires and being able to tie my medical training into doing what I really love," stated Linke.  

Quality Matters

The Fire Science program’s membership in IFSAC indicates that its course offerings, institutional support, and qualified faculty are working together in completing their educational mission. As such, IFSAC is a peer driven, self-governing system that accredits both public fire service certification programs and higher education fire-related degree programs. The Fire Science program was initially accredited in April 1998; the first four-year institution to be said accredited, the program successfully was reaccredited in February 2014.

In addition to the program accreditation, the Fire Science program is evaluated by a third party for training. The Michigan Firefighter Training Council (MFFTC) provides written and practical examination for those students who complete their Firefighter I/II course work. The scores on the written test (200 questions) cover the IFSTA (International Fire Service Training Association) curriculum; the practical examination completion rate is also taken as an indicator. In addition to the firefighter certification, MFFTC also evaluates several other certifications the Fire Science program offers through course work. It should be noted that the state of Michigan will be becoming an IFSAC state; this will allow LSSU students to be even more marketable for employment outside of Michigan.

Fire Science Generalist students who earn a minor in Paramedic Technology are also covered under an accredited body. The Committee on Accreditation of EMS Programs (CoAEMSP) has issued a Letter of Review for LSSU’s Paramedic Technology Program, indicating that the Program has satisfactorily met the core information of the Standards and Guidelines for the Accreditation of Educational Programs in the Emergency Medical Services.

Career Outlook

Nationally, employment of firefighters and investigators is expected to grow by 9 percent.

  • Starting Salary Range: $35,178 - $40,000

Based on the most recent alumni survey (2013), 60% are employed by municipal fire departments, 10% employed with public safety departments, 15% work in the industrial setting, 5% are in graduate school, and the remaining 10% work in various private-sector, fire service related agencies and companies.

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