Jackson State launches fire science program


People seeking a career as a firefighter or current firefighters who want to climb the ranks can benefit from a new degree in fire science at Jackson State Community College.

The associate of applied science degree was recently approved by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Jackson State’s accrediting agency. The fire science program, which will begin next fall, is open to any college-ready student pursuing a career as a firefighter.

The program offers two tracks: firefighter and leadership administration. It is a good place to start for students looking to enter the field or advance their careers, said Dr. Tom Pigg, dean of Health Sciences and Computer Information Technology.

“Firefighters need a degree to advance to higher levels,” Pigg said. “This is an opportunity that West Tennessee has never really had. A lot of existing firefighters and volunteer firefighters would benefit.”

Jackson State met with local fire departments to determine the need for the program. Course subjects include fire safety, prevention and investigation; codes and standards; emergency services; and fire behavior and combustion.

Part of Jackson State’s mission is to provide accessible learning opportunities and strengthen the workforce. Another part of its mission is to serve the community.

“This program will allow the college to strengthen the current and future workforce and prepare those students to serve the community in a variety of ways,” Pigg said. “It will prepare students to graduate with demonstrated competence in knowledge of the fire service and leadership roles, skills in the performance of their duties to reduce loss of life and property from fire and other hazards, and behavior reflective of the professionalism and compassion of the fire service.”