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When Associate Professor Brian Bagwell began developing MSU Denver’s Bachelor of Science degree in Fire and Emergency Response Administration (FERA), he wanted the first course to be numbered 3430 to honor the 343 firefighters killed on 9/11. A firefighter for many years, he was also on a team of psychologists who worked for a year with New York police officers who responded that day.

Passion and experience drive MSU Denver's Fire and Emergency Response Administration program and it shows. MSU Denver has earned the "Certificate of Recognition" from the National Fire Academy ? Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education (FESHE) network ? one of only a few colleges and universities in the country and the only four-year university in Colorado to do so. As a result, for each FESHE course you complete, you will receive a National Fire Academy certificate, signifying the high level of training you have received.

Encompassing all emergency services response disciplines, MSU Denver’s Fire and Emergency Response Administration program will provide you with foundational skills in fire research, emergency response administration, personnel safety, emergency management, community risk reduction and disaster planning and control. A major part of the FERA program is service learning, so you will have the opportunity for field experiences such as fire and emergency awareness exercises and arson investigations that involve direct interaction with citizens and community partners, such as the American Red Cross, the Center for Excellence in Aerial Wildland Firefighting and many Denver fire departments.

As a graduate of MSU Denver’s Fire and Emergency Response Administration degree program, you will have a competitive edge in the emergency response job market by increasing your administrative and management knowledge, as well as occupational and life safety awareness. You’ll also be prepared to face new challenges in technology, human resource management and fiscal responsibility.

Learn about scholarships for Fire and Emergency Response Administration students.

Benefits of Earning Your Degree at MSU Denver

Because MSU Denver’s program is a great way for firefighters and first responders to gain the education and certifications to advance in their careers, many current professionals have chosen to earn their bachelor of science degree in Fire and Emergency Response Administration, including those working for the Denver, Aurora, South Metro, Littleton, Golden and Franktown fire departments.

Career Opportunities for Our Graduates

forest fire inspector, wildfire scene in the mountains, firefighters on the job, and firefighters working actively against a wildfire

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2016 Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median annual salary for firefighters was $48,030; the starting salary in the Denver Fire Department is approximately $52,000 and in four years grows to $72,000.

The BLS Handbook lists a median salary of $70,500 for emergency management directors, which does require several years of experience.

As a FERA graduate, your career path might include working for a fire department, FEMA, the Red Cross and other emergency response agencies in positions such as:

  • Firefighter
  • Fire officer
  • Fire inspector
  • Fire investigator
  • Forest fire inspectors and prevention specialists
  • Fire prevention supervisor
  • Emergency management technician
  • Emergency and disaster response technician
  • Emergency management specialist
  • Hospital emergency preparedness administrator
  • Emergency dispatcher
  • Emergency planning and response manager

Hear from our students:

“As a newly appointed lieutenant in the Denver Fire Department, I have already begun to utilize the skills and training that I’m acquiring from the FERA program to implement new administrative strategies in my department. FERA students today will be the leaders of local fire departments and emergency management teams tomorrow.”

Ahmid Nunn, MSU Denver '18, is a lieutenant in the Denver Fire Department.


All Fire and Emergency Response Administration courses are part of a nationally standardized curriculum based on the National Fire Administration’s National Fire Academy ? Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education (FESHE) Model Curriculum and meet the higher education criteria of the National Fire Protection Association and the International Association of Fire Chiefs.


Brian Bagwell_Fire Emergency Response AdminBrian Bagwell

FERA Coordinator and Associate Professor Brian Bagwell, MSU Denver ’92, brings 23 years of experience as a firefighter/paramedic as well as his expertise as a doctor of psychology to the classroom. Bagwell has presented locally and nationally on topics that include campus and workplace violence, critical incident stress management, trauma, treating claustrophobic firefighters and perception of threat and de-escalation of violence strategies for first responders, employers and mental health clinicians.


Kevin Hammons_Fire Emergency Response AdminKevin Hammons

Lecturer Kevin Hammons’ experience includes 10 years as a fire and explosion investigator for IRIS Fire Investigations and 20 years with the Aurora, Colo. Fire Department before retiring as deputy chief and fire marshal. Hammons has developed and presented customized training and National Fire Protection Association courses for clients around the world, including in the U.S., Australia, China, Croatia, Israel, New Zealand, South Africa and Thailand, among many other countries.

Featured Alumni

“It’s great to give back, especially within the community that my department serves.”

Matthew Pitrone, MSU Denver ’16

Denver Fire Department.

Alumni at Work

As a new degree with relatively few students to date, MSU Denver’s Fire and Emergency Response Administration program hasn’t yet compiled much information about graduates. However, they have been hired by UC Health, the Denver Fire Department and a northwest wildland firefighting group.

Sample Classes

A model building on fire as a demonstration

  • Applications of Fire Research
  • Disaster Planning and Control
  • Political and Legal Foundations for Fire Control
  • Fire Dynamics
  • Fire-Related Human Behavior
  • Managerial Issues in Hazardous Materials
  • Fire Protection Structures and Systems
  • Cultural Competence for First Responders
  • Analytical Approaches to Public Fire Protection

Facilities and Resources

The MSU Denver Fire and Emergency Services Club offers you the opportunity to participate in community activities and share experiences with other FERA students.

MSU Denver is located on the Auraria Campus adjacent to downtown Denver.

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