The NFA's Degrees-at-a-Distance Program

Bill Lowe and Joanne Hildebrand review an option for fire service professionals interested in obtaining a college degree, which is one critical element for climbing the fire service career ladder.


Ask recruits reporting to their first day of training, "What are your career goals?" and many will respond, "I'm going to be the fire chief!" A reasonable follow-up question to these enthusiastic, and slightly naive, recruits would be, "What action steps must you take during your career to develop...


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Bill Lowe, MIFireE, EMT-P, is a captain with the Clayton County, GA, Fire Department, where he has worked for 26 years. He has a doctorate in human resource management, a post-doctorate in marketing management, and will complete the National Fire Academy's Executive Fire Officer Program in October 2005. JoAnne Hildebrand is the academic director of fire science at the University of Maryland University College (UMUC), holds the rank of collegiate associate professor and chairs the National Fire Academy Degrees-at-a-Distance Higher Education Consortium. She received master and bachelor of arts degrees, magna cum laude, from the University of Maryland at College Park. She received the UMUC's 2000 Stanley J. Drazek Teaching Excellence Award.