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View Poll Results: Should an Associates, or a Bachelors degree be necessary for a career in the FD?

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  • Yes

    14 35.00%
  • No

    22 55.00%
  • Undecided

    4 10.00%
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  1. #21
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    theboxalarm; great link, sorry it took a while to respond.

    I feel that the state run classes can give you the tools you need to be an effective and safe firefighter.

    Their has been a call for education in the real world. The paper pushers of the world want that degree. So I feel that the upper management needs paper in a relevant subject area. Management, Accounting, Law. Fire Science? No, the fire science degree is a culmination of the state classes mixed with the gen ed of any college program.

    In my case, I started with the college's fire science program so I could learn what I could prior to getting on a department, and gettinng some real experience and education.

    I guess the bottom line is if you want a degree then go for it. I just don't feel that it needs to be a requirement for a firefighter or lower level supervisor.


  2. #22
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    theboxalarm; great link, sorry it took a while to respond.

    I feel that the state run classes can give you the tools you need to be an effective and safe firefighter.

    Their has been a call for education in the real world. The paper pushers of the world want that degree. So I feel that the upper management needs paper in a relevant subject area. Management, Accounting, Law. Fire Science? No, the fire science degree is a culmination of the state classes mixed with the gen ed of any college program.

    In my case, I started with the college's fire science program so I could learn what I could prior to getting on a department, and get some real experience and education.

    I guess the bottom line is if you want a degree then go for it. I just don't feel that it needs to be a requirement for a firefighter or lower level supervisor.

  3. #23
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    Is a degree important? to me yes to some people maybe not but I don't believe it should be required to get a job in the fire service. It would be beneficial and should be encouraged once the employment has been obtained. However the best education a firefighter can obtain is experience and to use and share his/her experience with other members just like the old timers do and any higher learning obtained will also help.

  4. #24
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    My dept. recently went to requiring 2 year degrees. I recently received my BS in Fire Science, and I think it has to help. As competitive as ff has become, anything to set you apart has to help. I do not even believe that it matters so much what the degree is in, having a degree shows that you can start something and finish it off. you can see something through. I think that speaks volumes for your character. Not that someone who does not have a degree can not follow things through, just an example. I fought and fought with my university after they changed graduation requirments on me my final semester. It would have been a lot easier to just give up. It ended up adding a whole semester to my studies, but it tought me valuable lessons also. Also, it allows you to do other things. I want fight fires forever, but accidents happen. I minored in math. IF something was to happen, I always can teach or something along the math lines. Or I can go back and teach ff at the university level. Anything to set you apart from everyone else coming through the door helps. It shows this is something you have worked for, not just something that you drove by and decided to try.
    Keep going. I did not think I would care about getting done. But when my diploma finally came it the mail it almost made all those late nights and stupid assignments worth it. I did say almost. Good Luck.

  5. #25
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    Talking been there, done that

    As having been there and done that, I would like to comment about degrees in the fire service. I have an Associates in Fire Science Technology, and a Bachelors in Industrial Risk Management. I can tell you that as far as being a firefighter, experience is the best. Degrees can and will help you learn new things, reinforce old things, and prove to yourself and others that you have the determination to improve your knowledge. In no way can a degree replace on the job experience and additional hands-on training through the job and fire schools.

    Degrees will pay off down the road when it comes to educational incentives some departments pay for having a degree, and it can play into a factor if you are looking into eventually becoming a ranking officer, depending on the department.

    I hope this helps some, and you can NEVER go wrong with increasing your own knowledge.

    Best wishes, and there is light at the end of the tunnel!!

  6. #26
    Senior Member FireFighterMO's Avatar
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    A Football player once quoted his coach as saying, "A mind is a terrible thing."

    I believe some chiefs feel this way too because I get a 'look' almost everytime I ask a question.

    "How can I be in violation of this policy for my actions when three pages over I would be in violation if I didn't act in this manner? I don't know what kind of degree one needs to understand these S.O.G.'s, but I'm obviously not qualified."

  7. #27
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    I have a little different of a spin off from the original topic, but I do think degrees will be the way to go in the future. What I have noticed in my 10 years of fire/ems service is that your later generations of Generation Xers' will say yes to this question, and your baby boomers will generally say no. Soceity changes, attitudes and behavior patterns change, and we all know that the fire service is the last to change. While I think that some college credit is not a bad hiring qualification, I feel that the fire service should have high standards for its leaders. Does having a degree make you a better "firefighter" yes and no, it depends on the basic fire service training to build that foundation. But I'll take an educated firefighter with some braun, then just the braun. And if your gonna lead me, lead me in all aspects, its great that the captain and chief know fire behavior because they've done it for anywhere over 15 to 20 years, but when in front of the public and city officials that education is gonna come into play. Image helps, whether you what to agree with it or not, every little thing counts, from proper grammar and spelling on memo's, budgets, SOP's etc. There was nothing worse for me in the military then one unit I was in where the 1st Sgt really had on education, but a mouth, with poor language skills and even worse when he sent memo's out. And I have to agree with my experience that I have also notice that those who know the least tend to be the loudest. Education is not to be feared, it is a tool, it molds a person, teamwork and following orders is a personal problem, that may involve more then the person itself, not the education, you'd be shocked what you'd learn from them, and how much they are trying to soak up from you. I used this quote quite often in classes and over the past few years, If you were a rookie, would you pick yourself to be your mentor?
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    The above is my opinion only and doesn't reflect that of any dept/agency I work for, deal with, or am a member of.

  8. #28
    Forum Member MIKEYLIKESIT's Avatar
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    Default Wishes he was smarter

    Firefighting is a never ending learning experience.I voted no on the idea that it should be a requirement to have a degree. That dosent mean I am anti-education. It is what you DO with the knowledge you gain that is important. All the paperwork in the world dosent mean diddly if you cannot apply it in a real life setting. Firefighters should be encouraged to continue their schooling, not only in fire related topics.In Illinois,we have a wonderful certification program for the fire service. The training is good a diverese. i am thinking of getting a degree in education or business because I believe they have more "real world" applications. There are a ton of firefighters with bachelors degrees these days. I remember when an associates was considered a big deal. This is good. Just remember, there are only so many Chiefs jobs available out there. NOW GET BACK TO STUDYING!

  9. #29
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    Default Fire Service or Not

    I worked hard for my degree in Computer Science and it is something of great pride to me. I worked in the computer industry for a while and now I will be changing careers for the fire service in six months.

    I'd say a degree can help you to expand as an individual in everyday life, not just one area of study.

    Knowledge is power. Think, for instance, how much more effective something as simple as a memo is when it is stated in a clear precise manner with no grammar or spelling errors. People perceive you by the way you look and the way you communicate. I don't know how many posts I've read something like "I no what I'm talking about to. . . ". How many people have you met who you can show something to and they can reproduce it flawlessly, however, when they are faced with a variation of the original task they can't deduct how to compensate.

    You absolutely do NOT need a degree to be successful and you can't teach common sense. However, there is no reason not to get extra education if you have the time, money, and opportunity. This world is large and life is so short. I'd like to know as much about it as I can.

  10. #30
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    Default Education is good!

    In response to should a degree be a requirement, I see both sides of the coin, but I lean toward a negative, especially in the volunteer side. Training on the other hand should, and is in most places, a requirement.

    I must agree with many others. Knowledge is a key to success. That knowledge can be obtained in many ways, through an education (no a purchased degree, old fric), on the job training, experience, etc. How you go about that is up to you. I would encourage you to continue with your degree.

    I am a college graduate with a bachelor's in engineering. Someone stated that they find educated people have a bad attitude. I have to agree that in some cases, this is the truth.

    From my experiences I have found that a college degree is a stepping stone. I shows an employer that "Hey, I dedicated 4+ years to this field and I am interested, rehearsed, and ready to learn." On the other hand, it gives the student the chance to see if this is a field of study that will suit him/her. If they are bored or cannot stand what they are doing in college, it is a good time to change fields because it will not get any better in the field. You find out quickly if your field of study is something that you want to spend the rest of your life doing. If not, the time is now to change.

    The big problem with some educated people is attitude after graduation. They feel as though they are able, capable, and ready to tackle anything and you cannot tell them anything. This could not be further from the truth. A college degree, in my humble opinion, is nothing more than a starting block, something that gives you an edge to build on. It is the foundation for a continuous learning process that will, or should, end only with your final breath. The ones that feel they know it all following reception of that "piece of paper" are only fooling themselves.

    Experience is something I feel is unsurpassed. Experience cannot be bought, it cannot be read in a book, it cannot be taught. But for those who study hard, keep a good attitude, and continue to learn, education can be a valuable tool in the 'ol tool box. But in turn, if you have the knowledge you have to know when and how to apply that knowledge to everyday experiences. It works hand in hand with the valuable experience one gains by working in the field. If properly applied, an education can lead to many positive experiences in the workplace, versus learning many things the hard way.

    I will agree with CaptStan, education is not a requirement for a good officer/employee/whatever. I know several people that don't have a college eduacation and to some, would not know anything compared to me, the college graduate. BS. My dad is an excellent example. He has always pushed me to be all I can be. His life experiences have taught me alot. Why? Because I kept my mouth shut (other than asking a zillion questions as always), my ears open, and my eyes focused. It is amazing what you can learn just by doing those few simple things. Juniors/cadets should heed to these.

    To me, education and experience work hand in hand. Keep a positive attitude and everything will be A OK.

    Remember, the dumbest person will teach you something if you give him the chance, my dad always said.
    Begin with the end in mind.

    Be safe out there!!

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