I'm looking for some serious feedback on the following:
I'm 25 years old and have a degree in Business Finance from a 4 yr college. After 4 years of working in this field I know I've made a mistake in my career. Although I value my business degree very much, I know that by continuing along my current path I will certainly remain miserable.
I've always been interested in EMS and Firefghting but as I explained, I chose a different a path out of high school. No one to blame but myself .
Last year as I took a step back to look at my options I kept getting drawnback to EMS with an ultimate goal of becoming a Firefighter.
I've taken the first step and enrolled in an EMT-B training course to start, but I know when I've completed that in June I'll be looking for something more.
Here are a few of my questions:
Will my business degree be of any use to me now or in the future should I choose to pursue career in Firefighting?
Since it hasn't been that long since I graduated a lot of my non-business courses (english ,science, math) could be applied towards a fire science degree. How much would it help to have this and a business degree?
Am I crazy and or wasting my time trying to change???
Sorry about the very long post. Any honest feedback, good or bad will be greatly appreciated. Just looking for some opinions based on everyones experiences on the job. I won't hold anyone to anything.
Thanks in advance for your time.
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03-04-2002, 11:25 PM #1
- Join Date
- Mar 2002
Need some serious feedback!! Please!!
03-05-2002, 12:06 AM #2
- Join Date
- Dec 2001
- Rhode Island
what about apply for a job somewhere like galls? working in a fire supply business...?
03-05-2002, 12:57 AM #3
This choice of yours sounds like you have thought it out for a while, and that is good. Firefighting is my third career in my 32 years so starting over for someone as young as you should not be a problem. The business degree sounds like it would come in handy in two places in the fire/EMS world. First is if you go to work for a billing ambulance corps. Any organization that takes in money, either for profit or not, needs a good businessman. Second is the bugetary woes of a Chief of Department. The chief has several businesslike duties that most of us front line guys would get "Brain-lok" over like annual budgets, salaries, equipment spending and so forth. I hope this helps a bit and as the husband of a woman who is going for her MBA I can say you can never have enough degrees.
Good Luck"What makes a person run into a building others are running out of?...Character."- Dennis Smith
03-05-2002, 12:59 AM #4
Go for it... and by all means apply the credits you have toward a fire science degree. Down the road your business degree may be of some use, cant hurt ya!
And to answer your basic question, NO it is not a waste of time, this is a great profession.
03-05-2002, 03:57 AM #5
- Join Date
- Nov 2001
- Norfolk, Virginia
You pose an interesting question. I too went to college right out of high school, earned a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration, and went to work "using" my degree. At twenty eight years old, I realized I was not happy with my career choice, and decided to pursue a career as a firefighter. At thirty, I joined a fairly large fully paid fire department (almost 500 members), went through rookie school, spent nine years as a firefighter on an engine company, two years as a Lieutenant on a ladder company, and have been a Captain since 1994. Along the way, I used my existing college credits to help earn an Associate's degree in Fire Science.
I can say unequivocably that your education and work experience will not be wasted in the fire service. Fire Departments are faced with organizational challenges just like businesses and other government agencies. Fire Departments are unique in a way, you generally can only get hired in at the very bottom (firefighter) or at the very top (fire chief), so you're going to have to "pay your dues" and learn the firefighting/rescue part of the job (if you're anything like me, you'll enjoy this part of your career.) Once you've done this, your business degree and your firefighting experience will provide a somewhat unique combination...one that I think you'll find helpful.
I'm in my nineteenth year now, and I've worked on a variety of projects throughout my career dealing with staffing issues, firefighter pay, retirement, worker's compensation, risk management, and grant applications (both as a union officer and as a fire officer.) In all of these areas, I found my business degree to be a tremendous help. Remember, municipal fire departments are a part of city government, and fire departments have to deal with all facets of the organization...finance, human resources, city attorneys, fleet management, etc.
Fire Departments need professional managers, people that can deal in the world of budgets, finance, human resource management, risk management, etc. Take a look at the command structure that's used in the "Incident Command System" that's universally used by fire departments....finance, planning and logistics are three staff functions that are always included. The management of Fire Departments is becoming more and more professional, and more and more firefighters and fire officers are pursuing management degrees (I'd venture to say that most "metro" fire chiefs have at least a bachelor's degree, and many have master's degrees as well.) Most city departments even provide tuition assistance to their employees, to assist them in earning college credits and/or degrees, so your plan to pursue an Associates degree, or even a Master's degree, will most likely be supported by the department.
I can honestly and without hesitation tell you that I've enjoyed my career in the fire service immensely, and that I've never regretted my decision to change careers. From someone that was in a similar situation that you find yourself in, I'd like to wish you the best in whatever decision that you make.
Last edited by FireCap1; 03-05-2002 at 04:00 AM.
03-05-2002, 09:02 AM #6
Not a Waste
I'm with firecap - it's not by any means a waste. I also have a Business degree. I have chosen to keep a career in the business world (I'm a business analyst in an IT shop) and volunteer Firefighter and Rescue Tech - but that's because I like what I do. I can have the best of both (including the larger salary that goes with the desk job).
I can tell you that my education has come in handy many times. A fire department is a business when it comes down to it - and someone needs to look after that. After all, better money management means more equipment (i.e. toys) for the department.
Go back and apply your credits to a fire degree, there is no reason not to while you still can. That will give you more than an edge later in life.
Go with your gut - make sure you are happy in what you are doing - if you're not you'll be very sorry later!Susan Lounsbury
Winston-Salem Rescue Squad
Griffith Volunteer FD
03-05-2002, 09:34 AM #7
- Join Date
- Aug 2001
Your degree can only help you. I never got a degree but several of the other guys in the house started the same way you are. Unhappy behind a desk and needed to make a change. Many of them gave up high paying careers for a fire service career. None have ever said they regret it.
Some departments give incentives for education and degrees. I know that if you have a four year here you get $1500 more a year. So now I'm the one in school and working. Best of luck.
03-05-2002, 09:56 AM #8
Will your degree help you in the fire service? Yes, Yes, Yes!!
I went to college right out of high school, and left after 3 semesters to take a job as a firefighter. It didn't take me long to realize that formal education was necessary for me to achieve my goals in the fire service. I returned to school while I worked and recieved my degree.
It is good that you are taking EMT right now. If you are serious about the fire service I would join a volunteer organization nearby, and then apply to alot of paid organizations. Don't get discouraged if you don't get a job right away. Stick with it.
As far as your education goes, I am sure that you took many magagement courses. If you wish to climb the fire service ladder, this will help you a great deal. Just look in the classifieds of Firehouse or any other trade magazine and you will see that to be a Fire Chief, you need a degree. I was just promoted to captain in my career department, and my education gave me the extra points to move from 6th to 2nd on the list.
Like the other posters have said, the fire service IS a business, and you need to know how to mangage, budget, and handle personnel issues. I think that you have made an excellent decision to enter the fire service. You won't get rich here, but that's what part-time jobs are for.
03-05-2002, 04:44 PM #9
You did not waste your time...education is an important part of a firefighter's career. You should be able to transfer a lot of credits towards a degree in Fire Science.
As you climb the career ladder, the things you learned in your BF degree will help. The job of a fire chief today is more business administration and dealing with the financial constraints of the budget than it is fireground operations."The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY
03-05-2002, 09:50 PM #10
- Join Date
- Mar 2002
- Chillicothe, OH
is their a chance of joining a volunteer dept.
u may find that it may be very enjoyable and it may give u a way to vent so ur current job isn't so bad.
03-06-2002, 06:10 PM #11
- Join Date
- Apr 2001
yes a degree will help. More and more depts. are requiring AS/BS degrees. It boils down to a10 year firefighter paramedic--no degree will be ranked below a 22 y/o with a BS in nose picking. so good luckFF/PARAMEDIC/CORONER/TRAINING "MY DAY STARTS WHEN YOURS ENDS"
**SEE YOU ON THE OTHER SIDE**
03-06-2002, 07:35 PM #12
- Join Date
- Mar 2002
I can't begin to tell you all how glad I am to have posted this question on the forum. Everyone's responses were all that I had hoped for and more!
I had definitely prepared myself for some possible negative feedback. What I feared the most was that I had waited too long to begin a career in firefighting. As most of you indicated that need not be the outcome for me.
I sincerely thank everyone who replied for their comments and advise. Its truely appreciated.
The first step begins this month with my EMT-B course. In the meantime, I look forward to getting all I can from the website and forums. Its obvious to me after reading many other posts in the forums that the knowledge and experience provided by everyone here is invaluable.
03-06-2002, 08:06 PM #13
- Join Date
- Feb 2001
- Illinois-where pertnear is close enough!
I couldn't help but notice your post. You described it as "very long"! Have you ever read a Mongo or BucksEngine91 post? Your's was a "note".
Along time ago when I was contemplating my college, I looked at two choices: Business and Political Science. After selecting and taking some business courses at the Junior college level, my advisor told me that I had no business in Business. I was always fascinated by politics, as I was a child of the 60s and had the misfortune of watching the "68 Democratic Convention in Chicago; so I set out for a degree in Poly Sci. I can honestly say that I benefited from studying the many different political structures and have used those models to this day. I still suck at math, though.
My son is 25, got his accounting degree, immediately went to work for Arthur Andersen in Chicago, burnt out from their hectic workloads after just two years and got a job with State Farm in, of all places, fire audits. He is currently leading a committee on creating a flood plan for the southern states.
It sounds like you could apply your degree in a similar fashion and while you do that, get on a volunteer department to find out if you really want it and go from there. My son loves what he does. The wussy doesn't want to be a firefighter though. Just kidding; I love him to death and am extremely proud of him.
You are the future, my man; make lots of money, pay alot of taxes so that you can support me in my old age!
The fact that you made the commitment to your college degree demonstrates that you have the heart and the drive to make a positive contribution to whatever you choose to do.
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