Going for the Gold Tassel: Getting a Doctoral Degree

Dr. Burton A. Clark discusses two words you did not learn in firefighter rookie school or in any course you have taken – doctrine and doctorate.


The concepts of doctoral education and firefighter are not usually connected in the same thought by anyone in the fire service, higher education or society in general. At the beginning of the 20th century, “firefighter” and “bachelor degree” were not thought of together. Today...


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Dr. Burton A. Clark, EFO, CFO has been in the fire service for 34 years. He was a firefighter in Washington, DC and assistant fire chief in Laurel, MD. Clark is the Management Science Program chair at the U.S. Fire Administration’s National Fire Academy and serves as deputy director of a National Emergency Operations Team for the Department of Homeland Security. He is a part-time instructor for the Maryland Fire Rescue Institute, adjunct professor of research at Grand Canyon University and dissertation advisor at Nova Southeastern University. Clark holds a B.A. in business administration from Strayer University, an M.A. in curriculum and instruction from Catholic University and an Ed.D. in adult education from Nova Southeastern University. He studied fire science at Montgomery College, emergency management at the Emergency Management Institute and national security at the National Defense University, and is a graduate of the National Fire Academy Executive Fire Officer Program. Clark is a nationally certified Fire Officer IV and Chief Fire Officer designee. He writes and lectures on fire service research, safety and professional development.