Firefighters protect Alaska by protecting the state from dangerous urban and suburban fires. There are 147 fire stations serving the state, and firefighters do beyond just fighting fires! They also make sure homes and buildings are equipped with the proper tools for fire safety, investigate fires, and provide emergency medical services whenever needed.

There are approximately 1,150 firefighters employed in Alaska. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that the fire science field will grow around 7% from 2012-2022. Candidates with higher level education and experience will be favored for employment in competitive positions in the profession.

Alaska Fire Service Careers 10th Percentile 50th Percentile 90th Percentile
Firefighters $20,260 $50,860 $72,850
Fire Service Supervisors $41,940 $62,580 $89,540


While fire science may be an intimidating profession due to all the physical requirements and dangerous situations firefighters work in on a daily basis, it is definitely a worthwhile career for those looking to grow in the field. Earning a certificate or associate degree from a community college is a great start for those looking to test out the waters. Associate degree programs can be completed within two years and offer basic courses in fire safety, history behind fire service, and some basics on how to handle hazardous materials, to name a few.

Four-year degree programs are available for current firefighters looking to get promoted and take on a higher level position in the field. A higher degree increases the chances of employment in this competitive career. At the bachelor’s degree level, students can expect to learn about more in-depth fields within the fire science realm, such as fire inspection, arson investigation, and emergency services management, to name a few. Many graduates at the bachelor and master’s levels often end up taking on administrative and supervisory positions in the fire science field.


While fire science programs are on the limited side in Alaska, the few that are available are excellent programs offering rigorous curriculum and a diverse variety of hands-on opportunities.


Alaska’s remote geography and long distances between regions make distance learning a convenient option for those looking to pursue a fire science degree online. Students are able to learn a majority of the required coursework on the web via a virtual classroom, especially at the basic level (history of fire science, fire chemistry, hazard materials handling, etc). As they move up in coursework, they may be required to show up to a local facility to complete tasks or projects in-person to get the necessary hands-on experience as an aspiring firefighter.

Online programs are great options for students because they allow them to “attend” a majority of their classes from virtually anywhere with an Internet connection. In an online learning environment, students are expected to communicate with their professors either via email, chat programs, or on Skype, participate in group class discussions, and submit assignments via the web. Meanwhile, students can consider volunteering, interning, or working part-time for their local fire department to gain real-life experience with other firefighters!