What's a Degree Worth to Your Career?

How one college gears its fire science program to give professionals an edge in obtaining employment.


Firefighters just put the wet stuff on the red stuff. The cops are the ones that need a formal education. Unfortunately, this is still the way that some people think. Fortunately, it seems that the negative attitude of these misinformed people may be changing. In Massachusetts, for example, there...


To access the remainder of this piece of premium content, you must be registered with Firehouse. Already have an account? Login

Register in seconds by connecting with your preferred Social Network.

OR

Complete the registration form.

Required
Required
Required
Required
Required
Required
Required
Required
Required
Required

The demand for a part-time fire science degree is steadily increasing. As a result, the college has added three off-site campuses in Massachusetts, all at fire departments, in Westwood, Boxboro and Centerville/Osterville.

Students enter the DPS fire science program already having an associate's degree or equivalent and must complete six courses: Principles of Public Sector Management, Fire Science Law, Regulations, Liability, and Ethics, Contemporary Issues in the Fire Service, Incident Command and Emergency Planning, Fire Service Personnel Administration and Collective Bargaining, and Fire Service Interpersonal Dynamics and Communications. Each student must also complete two fire science electives and other required classes.

Anna Maria College is one of only six colleges in the U.S. offering a master's degree in fire science. Here you will find chief officers and aspiring chief officers engaging in education, networking and sharing ideas. The master of arts degree in fire science and administration is designed to develop excellence and prepare a fire service professional for advancement to the upper ranks of a municipal fire service organization. Most of the master's-level students are employed in the fire service.

Students who enter the School of Graduate Studies fire science program must possess a bachelor's degree in fire science or a related field with a minimum overall grade point average of 2.7. Employment in the fire service may be considered in lieu of a fire science undergraduate major. Graduate students must complete 15 courses with an overall grade point average of 3.0. Students in the master's program must complete seven core courses: Ethical Theory, Organizational Theory and Behavior, Essentials of Emergency Management, Command and Control of Significant Events, Fire Service Strategic Planning and Risk Analysis, Fire Service Communication and Technology, and Leadership of Change within the Fire Service.

Students in the master's program must also complete six graduate fire science or related electives. The electives range from Managerial Finance to Fire Service Utilization of the Internet. All graduate-level fire science students also must complete a six-credit Graduate Thesis course.


Joseph P. Guarnera, M.Ed., is director/professor of Fire Science Programs (graduate and undergraduate) at Anna Maria College in Paxton, MA, and a firefighter with the Revere, MA, Fire Department. He also is a coordinator/instructor at the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy, a member of the Massachusetts Institute of Fire Department Instructors, and is certified as a Basic Fire Investigator, Firefighter I and II, Fire Officer, Fire Instructor and Hazardous Materials Technician. Guarnera holds a master of arts degree in education and a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice from the University of Massachusetts in Boston, and associate of science degrees in fire science from North Shore Community College and criminal justice from Bunkerhill Community College. He may be contacted at Anna Maria College, 50 Sunset Lane, Paxton, MA 01612-1198 or by telephone at 508-849-3200 or 508-849-3744.