Whether you’re looking to become an entry-level firefighter, fire inspector, fire investigator, or an emergency medical technician, Nebraska offers many academic opportunities for potential employment. The state is home to 365 fire stations with 1,500 fire science personnel serving the communities throughout Nebraska.

Certificate, associate, and bachelor’s degree programs are all available at colleges and online schools for students to pick from, depending on their career goals and interests. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that those with higher education have better chances for getting supervisory and managerial positions, which generally offer competitive compensation.

The chart below illustrates the average annual salaries for firefighters, fire inspectors and investigators, and fire service supervisors in Nebraska.

Nebraska Fire Service Careers 10th Percentile 50th Percentile 90th Percentile
Firefighters $18,840 $46,560 $70,530
Fire Inspectors and Investigators $36,270 $51,700 $70,050
Fire Service Supervisors $28,210 $41,430 $66,850


Before starting a career in fire science, hopefuls must undergo academic and physical training. The profession requires firefighters to be physically fit, which means dedicating time to lifting, hiking, and engaging in cardiovascular activities, for example. As for academic training, Nebraska is home to a variety of great institutions that offer excellent degree programs from the certificate to the bachelor’s degree level.

Students will explore the theory and practice of fire science regardless of which program they choose. On the certificate level, students will gain a basic understanding and practice the basics of firefighting, handling hazardous materials, and learn how to provide basic EMT services in an emergency situation. Associate degrees take two years of full-time learning to complete, and will delve in deeper in the different realms of fire science. Additionally, students will take general education courses like English and math to build strong communication and reasoning skills required for any kind of work after graduation.

Those looking to take on supervisory or managerial roles will benefit from furthering their education and earning a bachelor’s degree in fire science. This degree generally takes four years of full-time study to complete, and goes into way more detail as far as coursework goes. Some classes students at this level can expect to take including fire strategies and tactics, fire dynamics, and building codes and inspections, to name a few.


Nebraska has a variety of colleges and institutions that offer fire science degrees on the certificate, associate, and bachelor’s degree levels. See the list below to explore your school options in Nebraska.


Nebraskans may find commuting to campus to be difficult because the state is so expansive. Those who don’t live near a college will benefit greatly from distance learning programs. Fire science students can learn material on the web by watching lectures online, interacting with their professors and peers via chat programs, and submitting assignments electronically via email, for example.

Because firefighting is a hands-on field, students may be required to meet occasionally on-campus to complete projects in-person. Fully online degree programs are also available, however, students in these programs are encouraged to volunteer or intern at a local fire department to gain the hands-on and real-life experience needed to work efficiently in the field. Getting actual work experience is also a great way to put the book material into practice on the job!