1. #1
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    Default Volly Academy vs. Community College Academy

    Any thoughts on which academy would be a better choice?

    A local volunteer dept holds an academy which, I've been told, is a little less formal, has a more flexible schedule, and offers significantly more hands-on time with live burns. Our local community college, on the other hand, follows much more closely to the paramilitary structure but offers less flexibility with scheduling and less live burn time.

    I don't see any problem with the drill instructor approach, in fact I can see many benefits. Also, schedule flexibility is no issue, so the real difference to me is the live burn time the volunteer dept offers vs. the community college academy.

    Does anyone have any experience with this?

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    Here is the question you need to ask: Does the college fire academy provide state certification? My guess is that it will be much more recognized that the volunteer academy. You want to be marketable when you complete your academy. Since there is no set standard for the volunteer academy, other fire departments often do not recognize the value in it. It certainly helps you for the local department, but it may not with other fire departments.

    An academy that is certified by the state fire marshal's office follows the state guidelines.

    Paul Lepore
    Battalion Chief
    www.aspiringfirefighters.com

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    As stated earlier, make sure that the one you attend will provide certification for your state and preferably is accredited so that you can get the certs pro-boarded.

    I would guess that the community college is more strict because it is teaching to state or national standards. That will probably provide more "portable" training, meaning that it's more likely that other departments in the state or outside of the state will accept that training.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eng34FF View Post
    and preferably is accredited so that you can get the certs pro-boarded.
    What does it mean to have my certs "pro-boarded"?

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    Quote Originally Posted by synergy View Post
    What does it mean to have my certs "pro-boarded"?
    Proboard is a national certifying agency that allows your certs to be recognized in states other than the one in which you were trained. Most states recognize Proboard. For example, I was trained in Florida and will soon be relocating to Maryland. I got my certs Proboarded so that I won't have to repeat the academy or go through a long reciprocity process. It's kind of like the National Registry for firefighting. Do this, especially if you plan to move out of state. It will make life a lot easier.

    To answer your question. I would do the community college route. This insures that your training is up to fire service standards and will get an actual certification. If you insist on taking the VFD option, ask questions about the program. Is it accreditied? Does it have a high pass rate? Some volunteer departments don't put a whole lot of thought into their programs, so get as much info as you can on it. The other thing about vfd programs is that many only train you to the FF1 level. Most, if not all community colleges train up to the FF2 level, which is what you need to get hired these days in most places. It certainly wouldn't hurt to look at EMT afterward also. Some places won't even let you test without that. Good luck brother.
    Last edited by merchan5967; 01-01-2010 at 01:17 AM.

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    Thanks guys. From all the advice here it seems that the community college route would be the wise decision. I'm positive that the college offers FF1 and FF2, and I was almost certain that the VFD offered the same. The fellow I spoke to at the FD said their program included everything that the college program did, but his selling point was that they offer more live burn time. The college, however, uses the same training facility (and instructors) as the city, so I also think going with them may be advantageous if I ever plan on getting on with the city (which I do).

    Merchan5967, thanks for the explanation on proboarding. Comparing it to the National Registry makes it perfectly clear. I have done some time in the field as an EMT, plan on returning, and have continued to take EMS related classes so hopefully that will help when applying with a dept.

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    Quote Originally Posted by synergy View Post
    Thanks guys. From all the advice here it seems that the community college route would be the wise decision. I'm positive that the college offers FF1 and FF2, and I was almost certain that the VFD offered the same. The fellow I spoke to at the FD said their program included everything that the college program did, but his selling point was that they offer more live burn time. The college, however, uses the same training facility (and instructors) as the city, so I also think going with them may be advantageous if I ever plan on getting on with the city (which I do).

    Merchan5967, thanks for the explanation on proboarding. Comparing it to the National Registry makes it perfectly clear. I have done some time in the field as an EMT, plan on returning, and have continued to take EMS related classes so hopefully that will help when applying with a dept.
    No problem bro. If you really want to improve your chances I strongly recommend going to medic school whenever you think you're ready. I plan on doing that when I get out of the Air Force in a few months. Good luck dude.

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    I faced the same decision basically, with going to a College Academy, vs a reserve academy. I chose the college academy because of not only the para militaristic aspect but also because the college credits. If you are working toward any type of degree, which I worked towards, it really comes in handy. Also I was able to go into an oral board and was able to say that I completed a full 14 week academy, which shows that you know what your getting into.

    However, both have pro's and cons, and each department has its own outlook. I couldnt see you getting dinged for either one. Also, I dont know how the structure for the volunteer academy would be, but the College academy's usually have a class leader, and if your able to put that you were in that position, it would only add frosting on the cake.

    Good luck in either endeavor.

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    I personally went through a department's academy, not a community college. The thing was this was a career fire department that opened it's academy to volunteers. It was a great program with experienced instructors. It had the same paramilitary structure as the community colleges and was BIG on PT. It was a great academy and has had only one person fail the state test since it's inception. This kind of pass rate is rare in Florida.

    On the other hand, my department runs it's own FF1 program. Lots of hands on, which is fun, but they still haven't tested because the details of the schedule weren't ironed out in time. The last calss got done amost 6 months ago and still haven't tested because there was not a first responder class. Some departments throw their programs together like that and don't do so well, so be cautious when looking at this option.

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