Skip navigation

Eight things to know about TCC’s Fire Science program

  1. The program can be completed 100% online.
  2. Every professor is either an active or senior retired fire officer, including program head Rick Dienst, a deputy fire chief in the Air Force for 22 years. He is in his 18th year at TCC. Other faculty are TCC alumnus, Ed Elliott, former fire lieutenant for the City of Chesapeake; and Travis Halstead, a retired training officer for the Virginia Beach Fire Department.
  3. TCC’s articulation agreement with Southern Illinois University Carbondale allows students who graduate with an Associate of Applied Science in Fire Science Technology to transfer into SIU’s Fire Service Management bachelor’s program.
  4. Your experience could jumpstart your associate degree. Current firefighters and former military can receive academic credit, which shortens your time to a degree. Fire academy graduates generally receive eight credits. Licensed emergency medical technicians can also receive credit for their prior education.
  5. Students can take classes year-round in fire science. In addition to the typical 16-week semester, students can take classes in the 12-week session or eight-week session and during the summer.
  6. If you’re already a firefighter, TCC’s fire science program can help you earn a promotion. In some jurisdictions, completing TCC’s Career Studies Certificate in Fire Science Supervision makes you eligible for a promotion. Many who work as firefighters are eligible for tuition reimbursements from their employer.
  7. Former military members are ideal for the demands of this profession. “They’ve got the discipline for this,” Dienst said. Three-quarters of the students in the program are former military, many of whom use their GI Bill benefits for tuition.
  8. TCC is one of two fire science programs in the state. Thomas Nelson Community College offers the other.

Need one more good reason to consider TCC’s fire science program. “I don’t know too many firefighters who don’t like their job,” Dienst said. “At the end of the day, you feel like you accomplished something.”

For information on the program, reach out to Dienst at or at 757-822-7209.