There are grants and scholarships available to aspiring firefighters for college level courses in fire science and fire technology. There are also funds to assist working firefighters who want to advance their education. Some grants are provided by state and federal government agencies to fire departments to provide training for personnel while most firefighter scholarships are awarded to individuals pursuing a college degree.
FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency)
Grants awarded by FEMA are sent directly to fire departments. These funds are used to cover the cost of training personnel at firefighter schools and academies. Over 75% of FEMA grants are awarded to rural fire departments and the firefighter grants average about $160,000 each. FEMA grants are awarded through the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program and may be also be used to purchase equipment and to cover other expenses.
The International Association of Fire Chiefs Foundation is a professional association which offers six scholarships of $5000 each to individual firefighters. To qualify for one of these firefighter scholarships, an applicant must have worked at least 2 years as a paid firefighter. The scholarships are intended to be used in college programs leading to degrees in fire science, fire technology or fire engineering. Firefighter training programs are not included in the scholarship program.
The National Fire Protection Association
This organization offers firefighter scholarships and grants to individuals and fire departments to assist local fire departments in improving services and educating personnel. There are four major scholarships awarded to both graduate and undergraduate firefighters for college education in fire related majors. Numerous other grants and scholarships are available through the association and those interested in assistance should contact them for additional information.
Some scholarship programs, like the Cumberland Valley Volunteer Firemen's Association, award scholarships to firefighters in specific areas of the country. To find out about regional scholarship programs, firefighters can contact local and regional firefighter associations for information. Some organizations offer scholarships only to firefighters within a single state, while others offer them to firefighters in several states in a particular region.
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Some colleges and universities offer scholarships to students majoring in fire science, fire technology and fire engineering programs. The amounts of these scholarships vary between schools and are only available in colleges which offer these fire related programs. Some state programs, like the Maryland Higher Education Commission offer reimbursement scholarships to students who graduate with a degree in a fire related major.
Other Grants and Scholarship Programs
Students majoring in fire science and other fire related subjects can apply for non specific educational scholarships as well. In some cases they may be eligible for scholarships from environmental groups or programs. There are comparatively few firefighter scholarship programs offered throughout the country, so students with high GPAs should consider applying for general scholarships that do not specify a major in addition to firefighter scholarships.
Different states may offer scholarships or firefighter grants to those who intend to pursue a career as a firefighter. Aspiring firefighters should check with their state Department of Education regarding scholarships and education grants for firefighters, and take advantage of the numerous grants and scholarship opportunities available to anyone.