For all you full-timers, how many of you have a college degree? Did you have a degree when you were hired? Did you need it to be hired? How many of you got your degree after being hired? Does your degree help you "on the job?" Does your degree get you better pay or is it a prerequisite to being promoted? Lastly, are any of you seeking a degree now and does your employer help with the cost? Many questions, many answers...
I was hired without a college degree, I spent two very fun years at college before being hired though. Just this last year I finished my Associates in Fire Science and I plan on continuing through a Bachelors and maybe graduate school before I retire. Our contract provides for tuition and books reimbursement so I'm taking advantage of that benefit.
As far as the degree helping on the job, well it's good when dealing with administrative issues and really large ICS intensive fires. Other than that, it's not a benefit and I get no greater rank or privilege due to the degree. I got the degree to give myself a sense of accomplishment and nothing else.
To be hired on our department, a degree will get you a 10% bonus on a passing score, but you don't have to be degreed to get the job. What's interesting is the veterans' 20% credit is now the same as a Bachelor's degree, 10%. So, we've hired a bunch of former teachers recently, go figure.
Thanks in advance for your posts.
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Thread: College and the job
01-04-2000, 06:06 PM #1benson911Firehouse.com Guest
College and the job
01-04-2000, 09:47 PM #2Ed ShanksFirehouse.com Guest
Bachelor of Arts - English major, Journalism minor, Youngstown State University, 1979
Had it (long) before I was hired by the BFD, and at the time they gave no credit for college. Now they do, even though a college degree isn't a prerequisite for the job. They also give points for EMT and Paramedic, even though we function at a First Responder level.
Does it help me on the job? Well, unless you count my 7-year stint as union secretary, ...
My department hasn't financially helped anyone get any fire-related degrees, as far as I know.
01-05-2000, 12:23 AM #3E7engineerFirehouse.com Guest
A degree, can help in getting promotted, provided that you have some slots open. In my department, it doesn't do anything for you, except getting 50 to 100 dollars a month from the state, depending on AS or BS.
We have a tuition rembersment, provided you pass. The amount refunded depends on the final grade.
01-05-2000, 01:03 AM #4Lieutenant GonzoFirehouse.com Guest
I have an Associate's Degree in Public Communications. When I got on the job I was able to transfer a lot of my credits towards my Fire Science degree. I am just a few credits shy of getting that. We get a 10% of base salary for 60 credits, 12% of base salary for 120 credits. This base salary increase is also figured into our overtime rate. Having a degree helps on promotional exams, with points towards training and experience.
Quite a number of our personnel have their degree or are working towards it.
Take care and be safe...Lt. Gonzo
01-05-2000, 10:45 PM #5mikeyFirehouse.com Guest
I had a few years of college in before getting hired on, but like our original poster it was more party time than study time. After getting hired on I got my Associates Degree in Fire Science and am now working on the Bachelors degree through the NFA's Open Learning program.
My place pays an extra .40 cents an hour to employees with Associates degrees that are fire related, and an extra .85 cents an hour to employees that have a fire related Bachelor's degree. They also pay for all classes that you get a "C" or better in.
The degree helps guys during the hiring process and Captains promotions via some extra points, but it's not required at this point. Management is supposedly going to working on some Battalion Chief job qualifications and I'm sure that at least an Associates Degree will be required for that job when they promote some guys to that position.
As for the college studies being useful on the job, well I learned alot of stuff at college that nobody could have taught me at the station in regards to the administration and management of people issues. When I got my Associates Degree, the satisfaction was almost, but not quite as good as the feeling you get when you go on one of those calls and "save the day".
Take it easy, Mike
01-06-2000, 01:27 AM #6BoothbyFirehouse.com Guest
No I don't have a degree, but I've got enough credits for one. Out here the City will pay your tuition 100% up front for you to go to college so long as you can apply what you learn to a city job. We have several of our firefighter/paramedics who have gotten degrees in nursing and work in ERs on the side. At my station we have one of the guys who came on with me two years ago who has the city paying for his Masters in public administration. The fire department will pay a 6% bonus for a BA/BS, and 3% for an AA/AS. We don't require a degree to get on, but my fire school class was 120 people and everybody had some type of college, and about 80 had BA/BS or higher.
Truck 3 A-shift
01-09-2000, 09:09 PM #7Truck 2Firehouse.com Guest
I took night courses for 5 years,going back to school at the ripe old age of 39! Then again I changed jobs at 36 to become a career firefighter. I earned 31 credits and a Certificate of Completion in Fire Science. The only way college courses can help in promotion here is you need to bring it up to the oral revue board and hope they take it into consideration. A certificate on my dept.gets you $250 per year and a Associates Degree pays $500 per year and they must be in Fire Science. The city offered us a new contract this year that would double these amounts but we voted it down, we are going to arbitration. My college courses did help me when I worked two years in the fire marshals office. All of the core courses were given at our fire headquarters. I took two courses at our local community college which provided the courses at our station.We pay all the tuition out of pocket!If I had it to do over again would I do it?.....LOL can't really say!
01-10-2000, 06:48 PM #8resqcaptFirehouse.com Guest
I have both a Fire Science and EMS associates degree. I was working towards both when I hired on. College is not required for hiring or promotion, however by the next promotional exam. I expect an associates degree will be required for Lieutenant/Captain.
We too have tuition reimbursement that is set up on a sliding scale; 100% for an A, 90% for a B, etc.
We receive an additional $1000.00 for having an Associates Degree and $1500.00 for a Bachelor's. You can receive an additional $500.00 for an Associate's in Business, and another $500.00 for a Bachelor's in Business. So, someone with a B.A. in Fire Science and one in Business receives a seperate check at the first of the year for $2,500.00
Now, I have a question for everyone. I'm looking to complete my Bachelor's in fire science. Does anyone know of a good corespondence course for this?
Any info. is greatly appreciated.
Thanks, and stay low!
01-11-2000, 11:54 AM #9benson911Firehouse.com Guest
In Missouri you should contact Western Illinois University for their Bachelors in Fire Science "Degrees at a Distance" program.
They are one of the 7 universities participating in the National Fire Academy's Degrees at a Distance program and have Missouri as one of their assigned states. To look up Degrees at a distance info, check out...
Good luck. Let us know what you do.
01-12-2000, 09:04 PM #10resqcaptFirehouse.com Guest
Thanks for the info. Mikey also e-mailed about Western Illinois. I checked out all the websites and will probably pursue a Bachelor's through this program. Still have to get more info. from them.
Stay safe, stay low
01-18-2000, 11:36 PM #11PizanFirehouse.com Guest
I was working on my degree when I was hired full time. My departments union contract SEIU Local 73, got us a 5% Education incentive. This is where 5% of our base pay is added back into our salary at each step interval. Thus increasing are hourly rate. This year w/ holiday and projected overtime that raise will equal not 5%, but 8 1/2 %. It is a great benefit. It is also just becoming a prerequ. for promotions.
I have the degree, however I am not a big fan of making the fire service a "college" job. This is still a hands on profession. If a college degree becomes a prerequ. to get a job in this field we might as well start wearing suits and ties.
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