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

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  • Yes

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  1. #1
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    FFMcDonald's Avatar
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    Question How Important is education?

    As I write this, I am smack dab in the middle of my pursuit of a Bachelors Degree in Fire Protection and Safety Technology.

    I am right in the middle, and at this point I am in the 'middle of the tunnel' so to speak.... the only problem that I have is I can't tell if there is a light at the end of the tunnel - or if it's an oncoming train

    My question for you out there in Forum land is:
    How important is getting my Bachelors degree - when all I want to be is a firefighter?

    I can see the value in having my degree, I think it will help me once I leave any departments 'probationary' period...

    What do you think?


    And no - I don't think you can put out fire with a book. But a think that one of the most important tools a firefighter has is the grey, spongy mass between his/her ears.
    Marc

    "In Omnia Paratus"

    Member - IACOJ
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    -- The opinions presented here are my own; and are not those of any organization that I belong to, or work for.

  2. #2
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    Default Hmmm

    The answer to the question lies in you. I think that those who "honestly" go about getting degree's are to be congratulated. Keep this in mind. Right now all you want to do is be a firefighter. That can change due to unforseen events. It is good to have that degree in the event you need it.

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    I saied to yes to your question, but for the volunteer service I say no becasue myself being volunteer we don't have the time. I know some people that are paid didn't have the time before the professional but I think that should common practice. The education is the main part of the service, without education in anything there would be nothing.

  4. #4
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    An educated firefighter is a better, safer firefighter...

    Not to long ago, the public's perception of what was needed to be a firefighter was brawn, not brains. This might have worked in the days of the hand tubs, but with the issues that we deal with today, such as EMS, hazmat, terrorism, as well as firefighting, building construction, confined space and trench rescue requires knowledge and training.

    Remember, Those who know the least, know it the loudest...including some of those who post on the forums!
    Last edited by CaptainGonzo; 03-28-2002 at 09:22 AM.
    ‎"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

  5. #5
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    Remember, Those who know the least, know it the loudest...including some of those who post on the forums!
    Isn't that the truth Gonzo

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    Default

    I would say that degrees are important. Some in the public still think of firefighters as being of "strong backs and weak minds". Every time a firefighter gets a degree, the fire service becomes more professional to the average citizen.

    In the area I live in, many police departments require 4 year degrees. While I don't think we should start requiring bachelors degrees, it should be noted that the public sees these police officers as being well educated professionals, and treat them better than they would otherwise (how much respect did sheriff roscoe get?).

    Simply because an applicant has a degree does not mean the s/he will be a better firefighter- we all know people who are "book smart/street dumb". We've seen the top student in the paramedic class who can't start an IV, or the cadet with the top test scores in the fire academy who can't tie a bowline. I do think that the average firefighter will benefit from a degree. College courses increase communication skills (better communication with the public), build creative problem solving skills (which could help during unusual rescue or fire situations), and can improve chances for promotion. You also get to meet all sorts of babes in college classes.

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    Ferq

    Well put. it is not just a degree with respect to the fire service it is also somethign to use throughout life outside of the fire service.

    Try to avoid this though:

    BS In Something

  8. #8
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    Get the education! Knowledge is a treasure that should be pursued by any means possible. Go for it! You never know what the future holds in store for you...and you just might need to fall back on some of the things you've learned along the way. Besides, firefighting is a physically demanding occupation....and an injury, however small, might send you looking for an alternate career.

    Good luck!

  9. #9
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    Get the degree, knowledge is power. The higher your education level the better prepared you are for life and its changes, period.

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    Default Helps out in the Long run

    I don't necessarily think that a degree should be required. There are some people who just don't want to go, but it doesn't mean that they won't make good firefighters. A degree can help in the long run though. If they ever wanted to retire and move on, a degree will get you a good paying job.

    Megan

  11. #11
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    Should a degree be required, no. Is a degree helpful, I think it is. For getting on a dept Id encourage you to finish your degree. ITs alot better to be able to say you stuck with it and finished the job then not completing what you started. Id also, during winter break and summer get a good grunt job in a factory or construction that way you can show you also know what it is to work hard. Then going into the interview youll have the degree and experience as a grunt.

  12. #12
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    knowledge is power...yes...but is it necessary to be a good fire chief, effective leader, battalion chief etc...NO it is not.

    Should it count..yes...but experience should also count for a lot also.

    I have worked with folks that have a degree in fire science and they leave a lot to be desired.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
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    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

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    knowledge is power...yes...but is it necessary to be a good fire chief, effective leader, battalion chief etc...NO it is not.
    Who Cap!


    I have to take exception to the inference that knowledge is not needed to be good at anything. Knowledge can consist of knowing when to follow orders. I am assuming you mean college degree's, not knowledge in general. Without knowledge of traffic safety, I might have been run over this morning.

  14. #14
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    quote FF McDonald:
    My question for you out there in Forum land is: How important is getting my Bachelors degree - when all I want to be is a firefighter?
    Is it essential? Like most of the other people here I say no. But your education is yours, no one can take it away from you once you have it. DFD3 made a good point stick it out, and work grunt jobs during the summer. You are at the difficult point where it seems you have been doing this forever, and you feel like you have forever until you are done. (I have been there, BA in Chemistry) Stick with it. You can apply what you learned in obtaining your degree to other fields if the firefighting thing doesnt pan out.
    Good luck in your pursuit of knowledge!
    Shawn M. Cecula
    Firefighter
    IACOJ Division of Fire and EMS

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    Default

    I'm a little late on this, but I definitely agree with Gonzo's words of wisdom

    Anywho, a degree should not be required for a career in the fire service, but it should be encouraged. A post high school degree can only help an individual especially in the field of firefighting. Possibly requiring a degree for an officer position higher than the company level would be a good idea though. Nothing beats experience except the experience plus education.

  16. #16
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    Should a degree be necessary? Absolutely not!

    In my 21 years in the fire service, I have seen no evidence that a degree makes a better firefighter. In fact the opposite is true, I have found firefighters coming on the job with degrees generally have bad additudes. You know the type, know it all, superiority complexes.

    I would much rather have people with a work history behind them. Someone with a trade etc. Many of the "new breed" are critical of the fact that in my time we hired a lot of 'jocks'. Well I'll take a jock anytime over a prussy-prima donna college boy. At least the jocks knew what team work meant and weren't always looking for ways to climb up the ladder by stepping on someone else. A Bachelor of Basketweaving degree is of no use on the fireground and a BS is exactly what the initials imply. At least when it comes to fighting fires and saving lives.

  17. #17
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    Default clarification

    theboxalarm

    Ok..clarification... I meant Knowledge in the form of a piece of paper saying "degree." Knowledge as far as OJT, Experience, Training Sessions and Seminars etc is what makes a firefighter and an officer...NOT a Degree.


    (PS>>>Who are you? You seem to know a great deal about a lot of stuff...and I mean that in a respectful way...no sarcasm)
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
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    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  18. #18
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    (PS>>>Who are you? You seem to know a great deal about a lot of stuff...and I mean that in a respectful way...no sarcasm)
    I am a nobody which I like just fine. I am no expert in anything and the only thing I have to offer are my opinions. I don't ask that anyone follow anything I say. I just like to be able to discuss and debate. I enjoyed firefighting more than anything else in my life. Now I write about it, sometimes poorly. In short I am just an average guy. I tried to be an expert once but I wasn't qualified. So there you have it Brother

  19. #19
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    Default

    I think it's always good to have something to fall back on. And if you need an education to further your firefighting career, get it now while you're still young. It's harder to go back to school if you've been out a while or if you're working whacky shifts.... We really can't predict the future of the fire service.
    "When I was young, my ambition was to be one of the people who made a difference in this world. My hope is to leave the world a little better for my having been there."
    -- Jim Henson (1936 - 1990)

  20. #20
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    I'm probably slightly biased in my opinion since I have a college degree but here it is anyway. I feel that degrees are very helpful because the process of earning one teaches you to think outside the envelope. However,I have known people with higher educations that have absolutely no common sense and therefore make poor decisions. On the other hand I know people with just a high school degree who have much to offer and make good, sound fire ground decisions. Does it really matter, I don't know. It seems in todays professional settings that degrees are being stressed as a means of advancing your career.

    To touch on the statement that volunteers lack the necessary time to get a degree is ludicrous to me. The key word is volunteer, you don't have to be at every call and meeting, you volunteer. Take the time to further your education because it certainly can't hurt you or your future.

    Be safe out there!

  21. #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.

  22. #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.

  23. #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.

  24. #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.

  25. #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!!

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