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Education and Training

It can be difficult for those conducting prescribed fire, particularly private landowners, to get the education and training they need to burn safely and effectively. The training and education resources on this page, along with events such as learn and burn workshops can help address this issue.

State Training Opportunities

Some states in the South provide prescribed fire training opportunities for non-agency personnel. These opportunities are often connected to the state certified burner program, if one is available.

Other Training Opportunities


University and and College Online Education 

Those seeking to begin or advance a career in wildland fire may need at least some formal education. Online education opportunities are often preferred, particularly for those already working in the field. Below is a list of universities and colleges that either offer individual online fire courses or entirely online fire programs. Please note that some of these programs offer only certain courses in an online format. In addition, some programs are focused on courses related to structural firefighting, however those programs still include courses which may be useful to wildland fire professionals.

This list is organized by state and includes the name of the university or college, the program area, and a link to the program website. An expanded version of this list, including specific courses offered online, prerequisites, and a link to information on tuition and fees, is available upon request.

In addition to these courses, some colleges and universities have fire crews or other hands-on training opportunities. The following schools are examples.

Alabama Fire Dawgs

Clemson Fire Tigers

Kentucky Fire Cats

Most of these campus-based programs exist in the Southeast Region. In 2023 the FireDawgs were featured by the Forest Service, the Associated Press, and picked up in NBC News and the Washington Post.

This article highlights students from historically Black colleges or universities who are participating in a fire academy as part of the 1890 Land Grant Institution Wildland Fire Consortium, a partnership between the U.S. Forest Service and a cluster of HBCUs comprised of Florida A&M University, Southern University in Louisiana, Tuskegee University and Alabama A&M University.

This FAC Learning Network article was written by a forestry student at Alabama A&M University who is a member of the FireDawgs and shares his experiences entering into the world of fire, how he’s developing his role as a leader in this space, and some actionable steps anyone can take to support emerging leaders and voices in fire.

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