Sorry but a college degree doesn't prove anything of value to me. If you want to hire smarter people, make the test harder. You want better educators, make public speaking part of the test or training.
My point is, what do you want out of the prerequisites?
Right now I can explain how every perquisite our FD has directly impacts the position. We do not require a degree but do recognize it monetarily.
I've worked with plenty of guys with and without degrees, some are better than others, but the degree rarely is the tipping point. And AS degrees in Fire Science? Unless it's one of a few great schools: Next to useless. In the time spent going to school, a new firefighter can learn the same information with practical application and gain experience to boot.
I'm not against degrees, just show me what you think you'll gain. I'd still rather have guys with GED's, some mechanical aptitude and a work ethic than most of the college grad FFer's I've seen in recent years.
Exactly the case you see today. Police get lots of money from the govt and typically aren't touched in financial times like this, because of crime.
Simple analogy is that if your neighbor's house catches fire and burns down, you feel for your neighbor, but you don't concern yourself too much with a fire in your own home. However, if your neighbor's house is burglerized, then you are on edge and WANT the extra police protection. People just don't think about the fire service until THEY need them, whereas you can see crime every day on the news. I don't think that has much to do with police having more formalized education vs the fire service.
what do you mean? How at all was my comment bring the conversation down to a lower level. It appears you aren't used to having discussions with firemen. There's nothing in my post that is controversial or would be seen as insulting. Everything I have said can be backed up by facts.
I appreciate your odd response, but don't try to be the mommy of the discussion
There are minimum requirements to go interior around here, its FF1. Not that it guarantees a good firefighter, but no required training or license will guarantee good results. My county also has progressive training requirements as you move up in rank. These requirements serve as a licensing if you want to call it that.
The fact is that most departments give a written entrance and physical type test, that any one that had more than three grains of sense can pass it and may get hired, providing that their background isn't that bad to keep them off the department.
Having a degree before you test and are hired is a plus for you. Getting an AA while you are in your first 5 years or so will be a great plus for you getting promoted.
I have no idea how Minnesota runs their operation or even how the fire departments up there operate only what I read in the papers about one a year back.
One thing I do know trizahler26 is that your profile doesn't indicated if you are in the fire service or not. I was probably doing this job several years before you were thought of, but in any case, you come in here and ask a question and the members have provided some answers to you. Take it as it is and move on. Don't insult these guys for taking their time to give you an answer, by giving some snippy replay! :eek:
One thing that we have NOT addressed (or I missed it,) is the inherent differences in the jobs that we are discussing. A Paramedic practices Medicine. Fact. So, the requirements for that position should reflect the educational level that is needed for one to do the job. A Police Officer (sort of) practices Law. An Officer who is engaged in the work of apprehending and charging a felon is also involved in building the case against that person, and must be able to function well in that arena (Jason, George, any other LEO wish to weigh in on this point?) Firefighters have jobs that move in other areas, and the requirements are, and should be, different. Also, Firefighting is the field that uses the largest percentage of Volunteers of anything out there. Police, Libraries, Schools, Parks and Recreation, and other Government and Private organizations all use Volunteers in some form, in some areas, but none comes anywhere close to the Fire Service. That point alone makes changing or extending educational requirements a very difficult position to justify. Personally, I have a lengthly Training resume', but no degree, and I do not see any advantage to having one. In the years that I have left to serve in an active role in Field Operations, my National Pro Board Fire Officer IV Certificate will suffice........
Outside of the Fire Service, I have a question about College Degrees in general: Why does everyone think that a Degree is so absolutely necessary?? There are a lot of Jobs that do not, and shouldn't require a Degree, and those jobs pay better than most "Degreed" positions. Case in point: I went thru Jr. and Sr. High School with a guy who I'll call Jimmy. After High School Jimmy went on to College and got a Degree in an Engineering field. A month out of School I went to work in a Firefighting Position with our State Forestry Service. Jimmy had a series of positions in his field, but didn't last for a career in any of them. He'd work for a firm for a few years, they would lose a contract or finish up a job, Jimmy would be laid off (fired) and be looking again. I changed Jobs twice, both in Firefighting, and got a full retirement at age 43, enjoying every step of the way. Both of us are now 67, I'm enjoying doing exactly whatever I want to do, He's clerking in a Building Supply Store, still trying to find some stability. And, then there's Richie, who went to School with us. He dropped out in the 11th grade, and tried a few things, ending up as an "Over the Road" Truck Driver. Today, I still see him from time to time, and he's no longer Driving, except at his VFD. Since he now owns the Trucking Company, his 30 some drivers do the work on the road, he spends his time in the office and in doing good deeds in the Community. I guess my point is that the road to success isn't always paved with sheepskin.
Maybe because the only people who think degrees are necessary are those who have them. Probably because it makes them feel like they've achieved something and are much more intelligent than everybody else.
"there are no volunteer police officers."
Sure there is. They're called a reserve. A lot of them paid for their initial training out of their own pockets.
How many communities rely on volunteer firefighters for primary fire protection services?
Maybe that has something to do with the difference in training and funding?
I see some very good points and some totally wrong information.
First of all, there are several places across the country that have "volunteer" or "reserve" police officers and rely on them quite heavy. However, it does seem to be more in the rural areas of the midwest or in the upper east coast is mainly where they use them. Quite often the small towns in my county rely on reserve deputies for their towns when they had sickness, vacation, injury leave, etc. If it wasn't for the reserves, they wouldn't have law enforcement.
Most reserve corps. (I'll call them reserves) are state certified police officers just like the full time guys except they are part time, get very little wage or none at all. My personal experience as a reserve for 6 years was first we were total volunteer. Not a dime paid to us. The Sheriff's Office paid for our training during night classes in exchange for several years of good service. Then FSLA came in and said we had to be paid so we were paid minimum wage. The reserves around my area were used in all kinds of capacities. In my department we were used to fill vacancies due to vacation, sickness, etc. in all divisions; Jail, Bailiff, and Patrol. Each area required different training and it was exactly the same as the full time staff. We were used for special events, undercover work, drug enforcement, any special enforcement (such as traffic, ordinance, or special projects and grants), alcohol enforcement, SWAT support, intensive patrol, public education, and natural disasters too. Basically we were the Sheriff's posse, to be called up and used for anything that needed special attention with more staffing.
Why would anyone do that part time you might ask? It is for the new guys trying to get into a full time position but also for the people who don't want a career in it, the retired people, the people who want to be part time. Personally, I thought it was fun to take a car and go patrol whenever and wherever I wanted. I had some great training and great experiences too.
Second...and to address your questions.
Law enforcement and the fire service are two totally different fields that happen to cross paths and happen to be at the same place but doing two totally different functions during an emergency. In just about everywhere in the country, law enforcement is a full time job. Some departments are supplemented with part time officers or reserves but most places, even the smallest towns, have at least one full time position. Conversely, most places have a volunteer or part-time/paid on call fire department and the minority of places have a full time department. This is the main reason for state and federal grant money is more for law enforcement. Another reason is that law enforcement takes more time. There are always things going on for police to handle, and once in a while, something for the fire department to handle. There are simply more law enforcement calls.
Crimefighting is also a tangible thing. You can see results of enforcement with crime rates that go up or down and public opinion. When crime goes up, people think it's aweful and want more cops on the street. When crime goes down, they think "man, we got too many cops, all they do is eat donuts all day." Fire prevention isn't tangible. People think that because there are no fires, we don't need a fire department. People think because there are no fires they have a great fire prevention program. No....it's simply that you have been lucky and your day will come. The spotlight is only on the fire service when there is a big fire, then people expect you to be there within 2 minutes and if not, they question why they don't have a full time fire department. Basically it is public perception that the fire department is a good ole boys drinking club.
As far as training....most fire service training is geared toward the volunteer fire service. Less hours and just the basics. At least in Wisconsin, all firefighters, full time, part time, or volunteer need the basic state certification. Like people said, every department is different in what they require. At least there is a minimum standard of training statewide. One big difference in training is that law enforcement needs more training because they deal with more aspects. They need firearms, law, defense and arrest tactics, EVOC, baton/OC/taser training, basic investigation, etc. Then they can specialize in areas. Basic fire training doesn't take as long and isn't as many topics. Likewise, after the basics are done then they can specialize too.
The point I'm making is that you can't really compare the two. They are two totally different job functions and the public perception between the two is 100% different. When I used to tell people I am a fireman, they said "wow, that's really cool." When I used to tell people I was a cop they looked at me funny, stepped back and said "oh, I see" as they raised an eyebrow. Everyone loves firemen but hates cops.:D
I do like the idea of a NATIONAL fire service standard of training however the dynamics of firefighting varies from region to region. The demographics are totally different too. There is no need for me to learn how fight fires in a skyscraper like FDNY does everyday when the tallest building in my area is 3 stories tall. There is no reason for DCFD to learn how to fight wildland fires like LAFD does. Yes, some background and some basics about all aspects should be required and are taught now, as it should be. But...the US is different it wouldn't work like in the UK or some other places.
Oh, and I totally agree with what Chief Harve said too.
(sorry I got wordy):o
In Texas, the Texas Commission on Fire Protection is our certifying agency. Each discipline, such as fire suppression, fire investigation, ARFF, and etc. has four (4) levels of certification - basic, intermediate, advanced, and master.
To apply for basic ceritification in Texas, an individual must complete a 468-hour curriculum, hold Emergency Care Attendant (ECA) or higher certification from the Texas Department of Health (or equivalent emergency responder training), and pass the commission examination (written and performance).
Once certified as "basic" in whatever discipline(s) you hold, you may progress to higher levels of your discipline through a combination of experience, training, and education.
For example, a basic structural firefighter may advance to an intermediate firefighter, advanced firefighter, and ultimately to a master firefighter. A master firefighter must have "12" years of certified service and and 60 hours of college - 18 hours of which must be in fire science courses.
Originally Posted by DonSmithnotTMD View Post
Maybe because the only people who think degrees are necessary are those who have them. Probably because it makes them feel like they've achieved something and are much more intelligent than everybody else."
I don't have a degree. Not everyone needs a college to "better themselves". In fact your statement is exactly why DonSmithnotTMD may feel that people with education are stuck up in some way. And I knew plenty of people when I was in college who did NOTHING to make themselves a "better" person in their years at school. Yeah they got a degree, and yes they probably make more than most at their first "real" job. But I would never consider them "better" than many of my FD co-workers who didn't have degrees. I had 9 years at a small-medium sized department making 60K a year. I moved to Seattle and took a job with the cable company making 24K a year. I trained myself in computers and now make 70K a year as an I.T. professional with the Fire Department, all in just 4 years. I'm just using salaries as a way to gauge how quickly I moved up in I.T. without a degree. Degrees and schooling do not make people better, only people can make themselves better. The other supposed purpose of a degree is so that you are exposed to something other than what you are majoring in. My interests, reading, and knowledge of the "liberal arts" is far more rounded than most of the people I know with degrees.
My take on it? Make the written harder but don't require a degree to apply. DO require further schooling to promote or get higher pay. Anyone who has worked shift knows that firefighters more than ANY other profession have the time to do some sort of schooling. I've worked with guys who ran all sorts of businesses on their off time. I have no problem with that, but if you are a full time career firefighter for a department of any decent size and pay, you need to remember what your "real" job is. If you have time to run a plumbing business or a contracting business, what ever it is, then you have time to get some sort of degree in a Fire related field.
I think that sometimes too much importance is placed on having just ANY Bachelors degree. If it's something applicable to the fire service, great, if not... They don't hire I.T. professionals with English degrees unless they can show that they have the computer experience and knowledge needed to do the job.
To the person who said that some of these people may not feel challenged at their job as a firefighter, I can't agree more. We had a chief of Operations who had a chip on his shoulder about firefighters participating in anything other than going on calls, training, or polishing the engine. I went to him to let him know that I wanted to help our 1 person I.T. staff with anything that was needed to move the department forward tech-wise. We were close to getting MDT in the vehicles, and they were starting to see the need for more GIS technology in Ops and also Prevention. He made it clear that I was never going to be sent to a class or do any work to help with these projects. The problem was that none of our chief officers had much of a clue when it came to technology (not a slam, just the way it is), and the technology guy was so clueless when it came to the fire service... People who want to move up and run the fire department need to understand areas other than just firefighting. You will need staff that can make financial decisions, political decisions, and technology decisions. Technology is very expensive. I've seen decisions made without enough knowledge of the field and then you end up with a product that doesn't do what you need and can't be changed enough to fit. If the citizens knew what their public employees had just wasted a bunch of money on they'd be screaming bloody murder....
bottom line, education is valuable, but not all education happens in the classroom.
I didnt mean to say that by bettering yourself you are then better than someone. That wasnt the point. What I mean is there is no way to say that by taking a fire science degree program and actualy applying yourself that you won't better yourself as a overall rounded firefighter. You arent better than anyone else when you graduate, but you are most certainly better than you were before hand.