Harper College

Associate in Applied Science

Earn your degree in fire science technology

Career optionsLiberal Arts icon

  • Firefighting
  • Hazmat emergency response
  • Investigation
  • Safety and prevention

Get a comprehensive overview of fire science technology with this 60-credit-hour associate's degree program. You’ll prepare for the fire department application process and for positions in industrial safety, fire prevention, insurance investigation, fire investigation, hazardous material spills and public education. The program is applicable to both current firefighters and fire officers, as well as those individuals interested in entering the fire service field.

Take classes in fundamentals of fire and emergency services, fire behavior and combustion, fire prevention principles, firefighting strategies and tactics, hazardous materials, emergency services safety, building construction for fire protection and more. 

A.A.S. degree program plan

This 60 credit-hour program in fire science technology is designed to allow students to master fundamental principles in fire and emergency services, fire prevention principles, fire behavior, firefighting strategy and tactics, fire investigation, hazardous materials, as well as the basics of urban, rural, and wild-land firefighting. Many of the courses offered have course approval with the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal. The program also provides current firefighters with the education needed to broaden their career paths. This degree program is recognized through Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education (FESHE), a network of the U.S. Fire Administration's National Fire Academy. Many fire departments now require an AAS degree in Fire Science Technology before the student is eligible for entry-level positions while other fire departments offer promotional and salary incentives to graduate.

F = Fall only course S = Spring only course U = Summer only course


Number Course Title Credits Category
ENG 101 3 AAS General Education

Description:  Emphasizes the writing of expository prose. Introduction to the critical reading of nonfiction prose. IAI C1 900

Prerequisite: ENG 096 with a grade of C or better. Other placement options: english-placement-grid.php ESL students need one of the following options: ESL 073 and ESL 074 with grades of B or better; ESL 073 and ESL 086 with grades of B or better; ESL 073 and ESL 099 with grades of B or better; ESL 073 with required writing placement test score; or ESL 074 with required reading placement test score.

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024

FIS 100 3 Program Requirement

Description:  Provides an overview of fire protection; career opportunities in fire protection and related fields; philosophy and history of fire protection/service; fire loss analysis; organization and function of public and private fire protection services; fire departments as part of local government; laws and regulations affecting the fire service; fire service nomenclature; specific fire protection functions; basic fire chemistry and physics; fire protection systems; introduction to fire strategy and tactics.

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024

FIS 121 3 Program Requirement

Description:  Explores the theories and principles of how and why fires start, spread, and are brought under control. Students will be able to relate the principles by which fires spread with the appropriate methods of control.

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024

FIS 122 3 Program Requirement

Description:  Provides fundamental information regarding the history and philosophy of fire prevention, organization and operation of a fire prevention bureau, use of fire codes, identification and correction of fire hazards, and the relationships of fire prevention with the built-in fire protection systems, fire investigation, and fire and life-safety education.

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024

MGT 150 1 3 AAS General Education

Description:  Introduces arithmetic as a tool of business. Topics include fractions, decimals and percentages, computations of interest, bank discounts, depreciation, commissions, compound interest, payrolls and taxes and graph and chart design. Students must score satisfactorily on a mathematics placement test prior to registering for this course.

Prerequisite: Math placement options. mathplacement.php

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024


Number Course Title Credits Category
FIS 103 3 Program Requirement

Description:  Introduces basic principles and methods associated with fireground strategies and tactics as required of the company officer. Emphasizes the incident management system, fire behavior, basic firefighting size-up, pre-fire planning, engine company and truck company operations.

Prerequisite: FIS 100 and FIS 121 with grades of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024

FIS 104 3 Program Requirement

Description:  Studies the components of building construction that relate to fire and life safety. Focuses on firefighter safety and the elements of construction and structure design as key factors when inspecting buildings, preplanning fire operations and operating at emergencies.

Prerequisite: FIS 100 with a grade of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024

FIS 132 3 Program Requirement

Description:  Reviews basic chemistry, storage, handling, laws, standards and fire fighting practices pertaining to hazardous materials. Emphasis on identification, labeling, handling, firefighting, and mitigation of hazardous materials emergencies. Students who wish to satisfy the Illinois Office of the State Fire Marshall Certificate Requirements must successfully complete this course as well as the required practical skills evaluation prior to taking the state examination by the Authority Having Jurisdiction (A.H.J.).

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024

PSY 101 + 3 AAS General Education

Description:  Investigates human and animal behavior with emphasis on the scientific nature of contemporary and classic psychological investigation. Emphasizes psychological theories, principles, and research applications. Introduces the divisions of the American Psychological Association. References biological processes, sensation, perception, learning, memory, thinking, emotional life, mental disorders, intelligence, aptitude, personality, development, daily life and everyday problems. IAI S6 900

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024

SPE 101 3 AAS General Education

Description:  Theory and practice of oral communications. Development of poise, confidence and skill in speech organization and delivery. Emphasis on frequent speaking, development of standards of criticism and selection and organization of material. IAI C2 900

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024


Number Course Title Credits Category
BIO 260 or

Description:  Introduces the anatomy of the human body; the following systems studied either regionally or systemically: integumentary, skeletal, articular, muscular, circulatory, lymphatic, nervous, respiratory, digestive, excretory, endocrine and reproductive. Includes some introductory histology. Specially designed for students in health careers, biology, and physical education. Strongly recommended preparation: One year of high school biology with a grade of C or better taken within the last five years, or BIO 110. (NOTE: Lab science credit.) Formerly BIO 160. IAI BIO 920C

Prerequisite: Placement into ENG 101. english-placement-grid.php

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024

NTR 101 3-4 AAS General Education

Description:  Introduces the science of nutrition and its relationship to health and disease. Nutrients found in foods, their digestion, absorption and metabolism by the body; cultural, socioeconomic and psychological influences on food selection; and application of these concepts to promote good nutritional health and prevent disease will be covered.

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024

FIS 102   F   3 Program Requirement

DescriptionThis course is only offered in the fall term.

Introduces the student to the role of the company officer. Provides an introduction to basic management theories, practices and functions with an emphasis on fire service leadership from the perspective of the company officer. Provides an introduction to the organization and management of a fire department and the relationship of government agencies to the fire service.

Prerequisite: FIS 100 and FIS 121 with grades of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024

FIS 145 3 Program Requirement

Description:  Provides instruction to individuals in the fire and emergency services. Provides basic fundamentals in human relations in the teacher-student learning environment, methods of instruction and proper methods of writing lesson plans.

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024

FIS 260 3 Program Requirement

Description:  Provides a foundation of knowledge and understanding of safety as applied to emergency services. Examines the need for safety in the everyday performance of all aspects of their jobs and gain an understanding of the essential elements needed to reduce accidents and injuries.

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024

FIS 280 + 3 Program Requirement

Description:  Introduces students to the rich history of firefighting throughout the world, explaining how traditions in this profession vary widely from country to country. Provides students with an understanding of those differences in fire equipment, mobile apparatus, strategy and tactics, as well as fire prevention, suppression, and investigation procedures involved in firefighting around the world. Focuses on the world’s major fire organizations and how they directly relate or differ from the American Fire Service.

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024


Number Course Title Credits Category
FIS 106 1 Program Requirement

Description:  Studies fire science career and employment possibilities in the fire service. Includes observation practices at various fire departments and attendance at a seminar to discuss related experiences. Students will gain an accurate perception of how their personal and professional goals match with the fire service, as well as learn about ways to reach their goals. Specifically, the course challenges students to look at their values, interests, and skills as they relate to a career in the fire service.

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024

FIS electives2 14 Program Requirement

1 - MGT 150, MTH 080, or MTH 101 or higher is acceptable.

+ - This course meets the World Culture and Diversity graduation requirement.

2 - Choose at least 14 credit hours from the following courses: EMG 101, EMG 103 (S), EMG 107 (S), EMG 253 (F); FIS 109, FIS 200, FIS 210, FIS 212(F), FIS 230(F), FIS 240(U), FIS 250(S), FIS 270(S).

Program learning outcomes

  • Determine the origin and causes of fires.
  • Apply skills to identify and solve firefighting problems.
  • Apply tactics and strategies to emergency fire incidents.
  • Respond to emergencies related to hazardous materials.
  • Demonstrate fire safety and emergency scene safety procedures.
  • Demonstrate fire prevention procedures and techniques.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of arson investigation procedures.
  • Demonstrate ability to function as a member of a team.
  • Demonstrate physical fitness and health consciousness.
  • Utilize technical fire protective and suppression equipment.
  • Effectively communicate within and outside the organization, in both written and oral formats.


Next steps

For more information about Fire Science Technology, contact Admission Outreach at 847.925.6700, or submit a request information form. You can also apply online.

Last Updated: 12/14/23