Virginia employs approximately 8,420 firefighters, 4,630 emergency medical technicians and paramedics, and 1,620 first-line supervisors to protect residents, land, and property from fire loss and damage. These professionals are responsible for not only fighting fires, but also investigating them, coming up with ways to prevent them in the future, and medically treating individuals at the scenes of fire when necessary.

The annual wages for firefighters in Virginia vary depending on education, length of service, and continued training, to name a few. See below to get a feel for what a firefighter, fire inspector and investigator, or fire service supervisor might make on average at the 10th, 50th, and 90th percentiles in Virginia.

Virginia Fire Service Careers 10th Percentile 50th Percentile 90th Percentile
Firefighters $29,170 $44,330 $64,500
Fire Inspectors and Investigators $34,500 $50,040 $80,760
Fire Service Supervisors $27,390 $44,930 $80,280


A college degree is not required for one to become an entry-level firefighter in Virginia. However, hopefuls do have to undergo extensive training to ensure that they are knowledgeable and well-prepared for any type of work a firefighter has to do. With this in mind, students in the state can get direct training from fire departments in their area, or enroll in a program offered at a fire academy nearby. Great fire academies worth considering in the state include Herico County Firefighter Recruit Academy, Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Academy, and Tidewater Regional Fire Academy.

Those wishing to take it a step further and open themselves up to more career and promotion options in the fire department can consider earning a college degree in fire science. An associate degree will take two years of full-time study to complete, and students will get exposed to the fundamentals of fire science, such as the history behind it, fire chemistry, and basic tactics on how to treat patients and handle hazardous materials on the job. Additionally, students will take elective and general education classes. These classes are designed to make students well-rounded employees in the workforce.

Firefighters wanting to pursue a managerial or supervisory role will stand out with a bachelor’s degree in fire science or a related specialized field from an accredited four-year university. For example, students wishing to specialize in the medical aspect of firefighting can pursue a bachelor’s degree in public safety with a paramedic/firefighter track from Hampton University in Virginia.


Virginia students can consider the following institutions in the state offering degrees in fire science, public safety, and emergency services management. Browse through the list below to narrow down your choices!


Busy Virginians will benefit from web-based learning, which give them an opportunity to earn their degree in fire science online while attending to their personal obligations. They are able to essentially craft their own everyday schedules and fit in fire science learning whenever is best for them.

Students taking online classes are expected to participate in class by virtually attending lectures (usually video lectures posted by professor on a program like Blackboard), engaging in class discussions online, and submitting assignments via email, for example. Strong time management skills, the ability to work well independently, and reliable Internet connection are all vital for success when it comes to online schooling.

In addition to completing coursework online toward a degree, students are also highly encouraged to either volunteer or intern for their local fire department to gain the required hands-on experience expected of a firefighter.