1. #1
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    Default Recommended Degrees for Employment Post-Retrement

    I'm a career firefighter/paramedic in a fairly large department, currently five years OTJ. I would like to ultimately live further South, perhaps in Charleston SC, or Savannah, GA. Coastal Texas wouldn't be out of the question, either. We have a 25/55 retirement, or an early 20 year retirement. We also have a three year DROP. I'll be 23 years in at 55 years of age, and eligible for normal retirement. When the time comes, I'll decide between leaving at 20, 23, or 23 + the DROP.

    I want to be employable, with a high salary, if and when I leave. The DROP is irrelevant if I leave for a position that pays in the same ballpark as the DROP benefit. I'm currently completing an AAS in EMS (paramedic degree) to max out on promotional points for the next Lieutenant's exam. What should I do for my next degree or two? I'd be fine with working as an officer or Chief for either an EMS, fire, or fire/EMS department. I wouldn't mind working in admin at a hospital or hospital based EMS organization. Federal or state Emergency Management is also a consideration. Also, what degrees make for a desirable Chief candidate in the fire service? I don't want Fire Science, since it's useless outside of a fire department.

  2. #2
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    four year nursing

    public adminstration, finance, business, the like

  3. #3
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    Considering you want to go South, with your experience in Fire/EMS I would go with a safety/environmental degree. Mine is in environmental, health and occupational safety management. One of the reasons I decided to go that way is because I know several company officers in my dept who work doing safety consulting in a part-time basis or on the side. You can find several job postings as well in the oil and gas industry that are high pay.

    I have been doing safety consulting on a part time basis for the last two years (besides firefighting) and my salary in that field is going over the one I get paid as a firefighter (large city in midwest). Getting your CSP (safety certification) also would help. I recently looked at at position with OCFA in Orange County, CA that required that expertise and post experience like yours would be extremely helpful to have.

    I also have an A.S. in fire science and I am currently working on a M.S. in fire and emergency management administration. However, that B.S. in occupational safety has helped me a lot, in the fire service as well in my side career.

    Now if you want to aspire to a higher position in the fire service, I would suggest you to get a B.S. compete for promotion in your dept, get a M.S. and become eligible for the EFO. Those Chief positions are becoming more and more competitive in my point of view. As stated in the previous post, going public administration would be a better option if that is the case.

    Good luck!

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