Since Oklahoma is filled with urban areas, farmland, and rural settings, fire service professionals are in high-demand to protect the state’s residents and property. The state employs many skilled professionals to educate the public on fire safety, fight and investigate fires, and respond to emergencies. Oklahoma is home to 726 fire stations across the state. Aspiring firefighters can start their career by pursuing education in the field at one of Oklahoma’s colleges offering fire science programs.

The yearly earnings of firefighters in Oklahoma vary depending on experience, education, and type of department. Here’s a quick glance at annual salaries for firefighters, fire inspectors and investigators, and forest fire prevention professionals in the state at the 10th, 50th and 90th percentiles.

Oklahoma Fire Service Careers 10th Percentile 50th Percentile 90th Percentile
Firefighters $17,990 $35,770 $54,580
Fire Inspectors and Investigators $39,510 $59,550 $90,630
Forest Fire Prevention $20,480 $26,740 $36,470


While it is not mandatory for students to have a college degree to become an entry-level firefighter, it is highly recommended as many jobs today are being offered first to those who have higher degrees.

Students can pick between community colleges and four-year universities to get a fire science education in Oklahoma. At the certificate and associate level, students will be introduced to the basics of fire science. Some topics of study may include fire chemistry, firefighting tactics and techniques, and basics of hazardous materials handling, to name a few. Students enrolled in a four-year university will learn the basics, but also be exposed to the more in-depth areas of fire science. Those seeking to take on supervisory and managerial roles will benefit from earning a bachelor’s degree, as many fire departments require higher education and experience for these positions. Some colleges in Oklahoma even offer PhD programs for those who want to conduct research and teach society the effects of fire and the way fire moves and consumes.

In addition to classwork toward a fire science degree, students interested in the firefighting field are expected to complete paramedic and EMT training. Many colleges in the state recommend that students go through this training as early as possible. EMT certification allows firefighters to respond to accidents and emergencies to prevent fire loss and injury as a result of a blaze.


Before becoming a firefighter, it’s important for students to find the right college and program to suit their career goals. Narrow down your options with this list of Oklahoma colleges and universities that offer fire science degree programs.


With technology becoming more and more prevalent in our lives, online education has become the norm for many students, especially those with busy schedules and personal obligations to attend to. Current firefighters looking to advance their career and take on managerial, administrative, or supervisory roles can start by earning their bachelor’s degree and taking classes online in one of Oklahoma’s colleges!

How does distance learning work? Students are expected to watch lectures online (often in video format), and participate in class discussions with other peers and their instructors on the online classroom portal. Instructors can be easily reached via email for submitting assignments or asking questions for clarification on any topic covered in class. Since virtually everything takes place online, a reliable Internet connection is a must. Students with a drive to succeed, strong time management skills, and the ability to work well independently will thrive in an online learning environment.

General education and elective classes can be taken entirely online; however, some fire science classes may require students to meet in-person occasionally to complete hands-on projects designed to prepare students for firefighting. If not this, students may be encouraged to volunteer or intern for their local fire department to get a feel for what a day in the life of a firefighter looks like. Doing this will also allow students to network and work with professional firefighters and get a good idea of what will be expected of them when they graduate and are looking for work.