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Thread: FF Licensing

  1. #1
    Forum Member trizahler's Avatar
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    Lightbulb FF Licensing

    In the state of Minnesota, we require a law enforcement officer to have an associates degree in law enforcement at the very least to become a licensed officer.

    We also require paramedics to be nationally registered and state licensed.

    Both of these career tracks take a year or two of coursework to become licensed.

    So my question is: "Why does the fire service not require an associates degree in fire science/protection to obtain a license?"

    One would think we are all equal in skill, knowledge, professionalism, and education?
    Last edited by trizahler26; 12-07-2008 at 11:14 AM.


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    oooo here it comes. I'll just say look at FDNY's critics and you'll have part of the answer. I know many dept's that don't have any besides a HS diploma or a few credit hrs of college because of that very reason.

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    Let's talk fire trucks! BoxAlarm187's Avatar
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    While I see exactly what you're saying, you have to keep in mind that a majority of the nationas fire service is volunteer - especially in a state thats as rural of Minnestoa.

    What are going to be the incentives for these volunteer firefighters to take the time to get as AAS so they can put out auto and house fires? Not only do many of them not have the financial means to get a college degree, they don't have the background to prepare them for it either.

    Many places are struggling to get thier volunteers to take 100- to 200-hour Firefighter I and II classes. When you tell them that the new expectation is a college degree, look for the masses to leave the fire service.

    One would think we are all equal in skill, knowledge, and education?
    While that's a noble expectation, I don't believe that an AAS makes KSA's any more equal than a high school diploma does. There are plenty of stupid decision makers out there with college degrees, and high school grads that are some of the most sound firefighters around.

    Not saying that your idea doesn't have some merit, but I think that the hurdles standing in the way would be very difficult to cross!
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    Every dept is different in what they have for minimum qualifications. On the dept I work for an Associates is required in order to apply. In other places extra points are given for education and some dept don't require anything except 18, DL, and HS diploma.
    The thoughts and opinions posted here are mine and mine alone and do not reflect the thoughts and or views of city or dept affiliation.

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    Forum Member trizahler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nameless View Post
    oooo here it comes. I'll just say look at FDNY's critics and you'll have part of the answer. I know many dept's that don't have any besides a HS diploma or a few credit hrs of college because of that very reason.
    Where would I find the articles?

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    Forum Member trizahler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    While I see exactly what you're saying, you have to keep in mind that a majority of the nationas fire service is volunteer - especially in a state thats as rural of Minnestoa.

    What are going to be the incentives for these volunteer firefighters to take the time to get as AAS so they can put out auto and house fires? Not only do many of them not have the financial means to get a college degree, they don't have the background to prepare them for it either.

    Many places are struggling to get thier volunteers to take 100- to 200-hour Firefighter I and II classes. When you tell them that the new expectation is a college degree, look for the masses to leave the fire service.



    While that's a noble expectation, I don't believe that an AAS makes KSA's any more equal than a high school diploma does. There are plenty of stupid decision makers out there with college degrees, and high school grads that are some of the most sound firefighters around.

    Not saying that your idea doesn't have some merit, but I think that the hurdles standing in the way would be very difficult to cross!
    Let us remember the fire service mitigates many more emergencies than just auto and residential fires. The fire service mitigates HAZMAT(Bio./Chem./Rad./Nuc.) situations, technical rescue situations (hi-angle, swift-water, confined space, structural collapses, train derailments), and terrorism situations.

    The fire service also conducts fire safety education, inspections/code enforcement.

    The fire service is being tasked with emergency preparedness, planning, and mitigation.

    The list will grow, it won't get shorter.

    Difficult indeed. I agree. Though it would elevate our profession if everyone were to buy in and work towards it.


    A question I have that compliments this post is; "Why do public agencies like fire departments continue to change their hiring standards to accommodate less academic achievement rather than more?"

    Is it because they are a publicly funded organization?
    Last edited by trizahler26; 12-07-2008 at 12:30 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by trizahler26 View Post
    Where would I find the articles?
    little older than I like, but articles like this

    http://www.thechief-leader.com/news/.../news/008.html

    Basically, anything done which requires an investment by the applicant is seen as "discriminatory". Despite the fact, almost every other profession requires some forward thought by the applicant to gain knowledge at their own cost.



    I'm pro college requirements. I know a lot of the things I've been taught in my fire science classes, that if I didn't hear it there I would have heard it at the coffee table or fire academy. But what happens if you could have used that little piece of knowledge (or needed it!) before your officer and senior guys could teach it to you?



    I never even thought of it being for volunteers. If you want to make them get a degree or something, you either expect to much out of them, or not enough out of the paid guys.
    Last edited by nameless; 12-07-2008 at 11:33 AM.

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    Question

    Here is my 2 cents.....could one of the reasons that law enforcement in this country seems to control alot of the money (grants, budgets, staffing) is because they (at least many) have required their officers to obtain degrees. Also, sorry have to say this, there are no volunteer police officers. Could the combination of education and career status be the reason that law enforcement gets a bigger piece of the pie ? Just playing devils advocate, I know many highly professional well educated volunteers and I have met some well educated/highly trained law enforcement officers who where anything but professional, but i have to ask the question.

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    Forum Member trizahler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcl312 View Post
    Here is my 2 cents.....could one of the reasons that law enforcement in this country seems to control alot of the money (grants, budgets, staffing) is because they (at least many) have required their officers to obtain degrees. Also, sorry have to say this, there are no volunteer police officers. Could the combination of education and career status be the reason that law enforcement gets a bigger piece of the pie ? Just playing devils advocate, I know many highly professional well educated volunteers and I have met some well educated/highly trained law enforcement officers who where anything but professional, but i have to ask the question.
    Interesting. If you look at two of the highest paid professions in the U.S.

    Medicine

    and

    Law

    You might be on to something but I feel it needs more data.

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    its pretty obvious many people (politicians) don't regard the fire department has a job requiring intelligence. Our entrance exams get blasted because they involve reading and math. I took a police test before, IT WAS ALL READING AND WRITING!!

    They'll institute cadet programs that basically turn into, this kids an idiot and needs a job, let him be a fireman.

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    Forum Member trizahler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nameless View Post
    its pretty obvious many people (politicians) don't regard the fire department has a job requiring intelligence. Our entrance exams get blasted because they involve reading and math. I took a police test before, IT WAS ALL READING AND WRITING!!

    They'll institute cadet programs that basically turn into, this kids an idiot and needs a job, let him be a fireman.
    Nameless,

    I can see your frustration but let us keep the conversation at a higher level. Leaders in the fire service lurk on these boards, who knows maybe we could utilize this thread to inform our leaders public and private.

    Though to do so will require many replies from everyone; the more respectful, tactful, fact based replies we can garner the more impact it will have on public and private leadership.

    I do apprecite you passionate response, but let us stick to the facts.

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    Exclamation

    good point nameless, in my town the cops get extra money for college credits, when we asked for the same we where basically told firefighters need strong backs not strong minds !

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    Quote Originally Posted by mcl312 View Post
    Here is my 2 cents.....could one of the reasons that law enforcement in this country seems to control alot of the money (grants, budgets, staffing) is because they (at least many) have required their officers to obtain degrees. Also, sorry have to say this, there are no volunteer police officers. Could the combination of education and career status be the reason that law enforcement gets a bigger piece of the pie ? Just playing devils advocate, I know many highly professional well educated volunteers and I have met some well educated/highly trained law enforcement officers who where anything but professional, but i have to ask the question.
    I know several cities that have reserve police officers. They are required to attend the same training as the full time officers, but they dont get paid. I agree with the more education required for the job the better. I think career firefighters and volunteers should be trained diffrently. Volunteers could easily attend a basic ff class 40 hrs. where as the pros should be held to a higher level 160 hrs for there basic cert.
    FF/Paramedic

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    Quote Originally Posted by TNFF319 View Post
    I know several cities that have reserve police officers. They are required to attend the same training as the full time officers, but they dont get paid. I agree with the more education required for the job the better. I think career firefighters and volunteers should be trained diffrently. Volunteers could easily attend a basic ff class 40 hrs. where as the pros should be held to a higher level 160 hrs for there basic cert.
    This might work well if all they plan to do is lob water on the fire from a distance when they arrive.

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    Forum Member trizahler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FireMedic049 View Post
    This might work well if all they plan to do is lob water on the fire from a distance when they arrive.
    That comment was unproductive. Please refrain, I'm trying to have a professional discussion here.

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    Damn TNFF ... ya had to say THAT!

    I think TNFF has a valid point, which has been discussed over and over, with only namecalling and bad feelings. So there is simply no need to go there again.

    As far as the degree, I really don't think that is something that would benefit an entry level career firefighter and would certainly not be practical on the volunteer level. However, it is something that many career departments are now requiring for promotion.

    On that level, it would certainly be a good idea, though the question of who pays for it would be one for debate I'm sure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by trizahler26 View Post
    That comment was unproductive. Please refrain, I'm trying to have a professional discussion here.
    Well, I disagree with what appears to be an assertion on your part that I was being "unprofessional" with my comment. My comment was certainly no more "unproductive" than your comment regarding just how little entry level training a volunteer firefighter needs.

    My comment was in no way meant as a slight towards volunteers in general, but rather at what appears to be your ignorance regarding what training a firefighter should have before attempting to actually fight the fire from the inside of a burning building.

    The point, which you appear to have missed is that those 40 hours of "entry level training" you referred to will only be enough to prepare you to do little more than be able to operate defensively at a fire scene. It in no way teaches you what you should know before being turned loose on the interior.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Damn TNFF ... ya had to say THAT!

    I think TNFF has a valid point, which has been discussed over and over, with only namecalling and bad feelings. So there is simply no need to go there again.
    I'm not so sure that I was going there, but if that's how you feel, then feel free to not comment on it or move on to another thread.

  19. #19
    Let's talk fire trucks! BoxAlarm187's Avatar
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    Trizaler, you bring up some interesting questions.

    I don't think anyone will deny that our jobs are constantly being added to, and the public's expectations of us increase daily. And, yes, those with formal education can generally better understand the academic side of these roles. However, we have tens of thousands of firefighters across the country who have nothing but a HS diploma that are considered subject matter experts in their fields. Whether it's in technical rescue, hazmat, or any of the other hazard areas we face, these folks prove that a degree doesn't have to be held in order to work safely and smartly.

    Now, am I against degrees? Not at all. I was assigned as a recruit school instructor for three years, and we hired a number of people with AAS, BS, and Masters degrees for entry-level firefighter/EMT positions. A number of them aren't still with us - they simply didn't feel challenged (intellectually) in the firefighting role, and have moved on to do other things. It brings to mind Robert Jordan, the applicant that the New London, CT Police Department wouldn't hire because he was "too smart."

    There need to be people with formal education constantly entering the fire service, and those in the fire service who continue to attain, or add to, their formal education. As you noted, these will be the future leaders of the fire service. However, I personally don't feel that we're doing an injustice to the american fire service by requiring a degree for hiring. I know many people will argue with me, but I've worked with some outstanding firefighters who weren't college educated, had no desire to have a degree (or lieutenant's bars!), and still perform a great job.

    Is the reason that the cops get more money because of hiring folks with college degrees, or is it easier to market crime to the government?
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    Trizaler, you bring up some interesting questions.

    I don't think anyone will deny that our jobs are constantly being added to, and the public's expectations of us increase daily. And, yes, those with formal education can generally better understand the academic side of these roles. However, we have tens of thousands of firefighters across the country who have nothing but a HS diploma that are considered subject matter experts in their fields. Whether it's in technical rescue, hazmat, or any of the other hazard areas we face, these folks prove that a degree doesn't have to be held in order to work safely and smartly.

    Now, am I against degrees? Not at all. I was assigned as a recruit school instructor for three years, and we hired a number of people with AAS, BS, and Masters degrees for entry-level firefighter/EMT positions. A number of them aren't still with us - they simply didn't feel challenged (intellectually) in the firefighting role, and have moved on to do other things. It brings to mind Robert Jordan, the applicant that the New London, CT Police Department wouldn't hire because he was "too smart."

    There need to be people with formal education constantly entering the fire service, and those in the fire service who continue to attain, or add to, their formal education. As you noted, these will be the future leaders of the fire service. However, I personally don't feel that we're doing an injustice to the american fire service by requiring a degree for hiring. I know many people will argue with me, but I've worked with some outstanding firefighters who weren't college educated, had no desire to have a degree (or lieutenant's bars!), and still perform a great job.

    Is the reason that the cops get more money because of hiring folks with college degrees, or is it easier to market crime to the government?
    Considering the largest police dept in the US doesnt require a degree, I think you hit the nail on the head.
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