Thread: which college?

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    Default which college?

    I am going to be a senior in high school this year so it is time to decide which college to go to. I am going to major in either Fire Protection or Fire Science. I've narrowed my choices to Oklahoma State University or University of New Haven. Could anyone (especially if you've gone to these schools) give me some further information on them. I am looking for info on campus life, the programs at each school, opportunities to join fire department while attending college, job opportunities after I graduate and anything else you think might help me. Thank You, FireExplorer13

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    This was actually discussed recently on this forum, but I will suggest you also look into UMD at College Park (you can apply to live in Hyattsville or CP's stations). And seriously consider fire protection engineering unless you plan on becoming a paid ff. I went to UNH and did the Arson Investigation (now Fire Investigation) and Fire Sci. Administration double BS and because of where I live, I am still looking for a job five years later.....And I can't afford to move anywhere else.....

    I bumped up the previous discussion....
    Last edited by DianeC; 09-02-2002 at 02:51 PM.
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    Maryland is a great school. I went to John Jay in New York City. It was great. I even interned with FDNY. It was great.
    This space for rent

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    Don't rule out WPI.

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    Fire Explorer -
    OSU is a fire protection engineering technology degree program at the Bachelors level. This program is TAC-ABET accredited. TAC-ABET is important since in many states graduates of engineering technology degrees can sit for the Professional Engineering exams. I don't know what your career interests are, but if you are looking at anything with regard to fire protection engineering, fire protection system design, etc. a B.S. TAC-ABET (www.abet.org)program should be your minimum. You can pursue a fire protection engineering PE and/or NICET (www.nicet.org) certification in fire sprinkler design, fire alarm system design, or special hazards system design with a engineering technology degree. At the engineering technology level, you could also pursue a B.S. in mechanical engineering technology or a combination program electrical/mechanical engineering technology and take OSU fire protection courses in a distance format. OSU offers many of its courses via distance learning and you can get a Certificate in Fire Protection Engineering Technolgy. That would be a decent combination. Gives you some options if you don't want to go to school in OK.

    Out of an OSU program your probably looking at working for a fire sprinkler/fire alarm company doing design work or moving into property loss prevention with a property insurance carrier as two major options. I have a good friend who is an OSU grad and he works a loss prevention specialist for a major property insurance carrier. After you have some experience and if you can get your PE, you can probably move into positions as the FD Fire Protection Engineer, college/university campus fire protection. Most of these jobs typically require a B.S. in engineering, but with a solid engineering technology degree from OSU, some experience, and your PE, you could very likely move into "engineering" territory. You would be at a slight disadvantage to engineering graduates, but once your out of school for a few years, its experience, performance, and attitude that start to play a big role outside of your degree.

    As someone mentioned, University of Maryland has the B.S. in Fire Protection Engineering that is EAC-ABET accredited. Your could also look into Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, MA. I think there you would have to go with the 5 year B.S./M.S. Your B.S. would likely be in Mechanical Engineering or Civil and you would get a M.S. in fire protection engineering. If you go the engineering route, definitely want an EAC-ABET accredited program. Or another option would be to get a mechanical or civil engineering degree and then go to WPI or UMD for a Masters in FPE. Not sure what you are looking at with regard to cost, but WPI isn't cheap. I'm not sure about UMD. As a lower cost option, go to your state university for your B.S. in mechanical or civil engineering and pay instate resident tuition and then you just have to pay for basically one year at UMD or WPi for your masters. If you want to cut your costs even further, go to a community college and get a 2 year engineering science degree and then transfer to your 4 year B.S. program at your state university. Many states have transfer programs from the A.S. engineering science to the B.S. engineering degree.
    Very wide range of options with an engineering degree. If it's even a possibility, go for the engineering degree over the engineering technology. I also know of an individual who got his B.S. at OSU in FPET and then got a Masters in FPE from WPI. You would probably need to take some engineering deficiency courses, but a OSU/WPI or OSU/UMD B.S./M.S. would be very strong.

    Check out the following web sites, to look at some fire protection related jobs:
    www.fpejobs.com
    http://www.enfp.umd.edu/stud/job.htm
    www.fpconnect.com
    www.nfpa.org (Careers section)

    A lot of different ways to slice it. What do you want to do when your out of school? Take a look at the jobs posted at these sites and see which ones interest you and then look at the qualifications.
    Let us know what you think your career interests might be and we'll see what else we can come up with.

    Sorry I don't know much about the New Haven program although if it is not a TAC-ABET or EAC-ABET program, I would be careful about it.

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    Explorer,
    Just realized you are from New Hampshire. You could do a mechanical or civil engineering degree from UNH and then a WPI or UMD FPE masters. Also, just thought of it. WPI offers most of its FPE grad courses via distance. You probably could do something like a B.S./M.S. from UNH/WPI. You could take WPI FPE courses via distance learning as your senior year electives in a BS engineering program at UNH. You would finish your BS with probably 3-4 WPI FPE grad classes completed. Then either move to Worcester to finish your M.S. or finsih up via distance learning from whereever.
    Good Luck.

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    but WPI isn't cheap.
    = understatement of the year award.

    I believe it's up to 33k a year now. And because my parents were 'smart' enough to save money for my college education, they gave us a whole $750 loan- for the four years! It was worse then getting nothing. Fortunately I got extensive outside help in the form of scholarships.

    At the very least, come take a tour of WPI and/or meet with Prof. Barnett (although he's in Australia at the project site right now, wait til mid Sept).

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    MuddyBrook
    What do you think of the state university engineering B.S.at let's say a UNH, UMASS, UCONN in mechanical/civil and then WPI for the FPE masters?
    The WPI tuition justs seems like a lot of $$$ for liberal arts classes, core math, your statics, dynamics, mech of materials, etc. These are all bread and butter engineering courses and the state university engineering programs often have very good mechanical, civil, electrical, etc.
    You get a mechanical engineering B.S. with a UMD or WPI masters FPE degree and that is very, very strong and you always have a B.S. mechanical engineering degree to fall back on.
    What would UCONN instate tuition be compared to WPI?

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    Consider Maryland. They have one of the best Fire Protection Engineering schools in the country. You can live at one of the nearby stations(not just Hyattsville and CP, so visit many). Our station has many students and previous students. If you do decide to live at a firehouse, it can be a great opportunity. You get free room and board. You ride calls at night and on weekends. Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute (part of the university) trains most of the local firefighters and is recognized as one of the premier fire training organizations in the world.

    go to Berwyn Heights VFD for info on live-ins and station info or email me for info, if interested
    THE ABOVE REFLECTS MY OPINIONS AND IN NO WAY REFLECTS THOSE OF MY DEPARTMENT.

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    I went to school at OSU. OSU is an excellent school if you want to work for either a fire dept. or with some type of private industry as a fire protection engineer or loss prevention specialist. OSU's Fire Protection and Safety Engineering Technology program is geared more toward engineering courses and that means alot of math and science courses( Chem 1 and 2, Physics, Calc for tech 1 and 2, statics, etc....) Thats not to say you cant go to work as a Firefighter because you can. I have a few friends that I know of that went to work for some larger fire departments. Most got hired on their first try to so this degree looks good on a aplication. Their are also a few Vol. Depts. around Stillwater that you could check into; Ripley Vol. Fire Dept. use to reserve some vol. positions for students. Hope this helps some. http://www.okstate.edu/ceat/fpst/
    Shawn Clark
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    I.A.F.F. Local 176
    Tulsa, OK

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    I went to Central Missouri State University in Warrensburg. They have an (Industrial) Safety Management / Fire Science BS Degree. It is around 23 Safety Management courses, with 12 or so Fire Science courses. They are the same courses you get with the AA degrees, all engineering, sprinkler systems, chemistry / physics...etc.

    You can get hired at the city FD part time paid, and they also started an ambulance service right when I left. I worked there as a FF/ medic for a couple of years. Good experience, used to be a fun place anyway.

    It is a good degree because you can have a seperate career in Safety Management on the side or as a backup. I used to teach EPA Safety courses for a private company on my days off.

    I got hired in St. Louis County two months after moving here, but, you almost have to have a medic license.

    CMSU, little known, but it will get you just as far as the rest.

    BTW...it is an inexpensive university. 45 min from KC.

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    Hope this helps:

    http://www.newhaven.edu/psps/firescience.html

    Couldn't find anything re. affiliation but there is a student chapter of the CT Valley of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers if that means anything.

    By the way, cilfd I think you were referring to Uni. New Haven when you mentioned UNH (with UCONN and UMASS) and it is not a state school. It's tuition is up there, close to $25,000 when you add all the "extras". Uni. of New Hampshire (the other UNH) may be a state school.....

    One also has to consider location -- MA and CT are closer to NH and one can drive back and forth for holidays, etc...UMD is near three airports and Amtrak. I'm guessing OSU is near an airport?

    Scholarships available:
    International Association of Arson Investigators (I believe for HS Seniors only)
    International Association of Fire Chiefs Foundation (they're deadline is August 1 every year and awards are given in the early fall, plus you can "win" multiple times -- I applied four times and received four awards).

    For New Yorkers:
    New York State Association of Fire Chiefs (was a spring deadline, may have been moved up and the awards are given at the June Chiefs Convention).
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    I asked this queestion a couple of months ago and several people were telling me that Texas A&M has a good fire science program also....you could look into it there....I know its a long way from home but it could be worth it.
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    You might also check out NH Community Tech. in Laconia. Pretty good fire
    science program from what I've heard.
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    I have a degree in Fire Science. If you are involved in the fire service or some related activity (fire prevention, fire investigation, etc.), this degree will help you alot.

    However, if you are young, and have a brain, definitely opt for the engineering aspect. There will always be tons of work out there for a FPE (there aren't that many of them). You can work in various fields (consulting, insurance, planning, investigation) and will make gobs more money.

    You need to face reality. With civil service rules being what they are, a metro fire chief does not have the latitude to make a college degree any more desirable than a guy off the street who scored high on the test. He is shackled by the system. Don't give up the dream of working for a paid department, just don't be sucked in by those who might tell you that the degree will get you a job working in the middle of hell.

    BTW, what the degree WILL help you do, is when you get on, you will have a leg up in the competition in terms of a knowledge base, study habits and life experience in the promotional testing realm.

    Good luck. Remember, look at the big picture.

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    MuddyBrook
    What do you think of the state university engineering B.S.at let's say a UNH, UMASS, UCONN in mechanical/civil and then WPI for the FPE masters?
    The WPI tuition justs seems like a lot of $$$ for liberal arts classes, core math, your statics, dynamics, mech of materials, etc. These are all bread and butter engineering courses and the state university engineering programs often have very good mechanical, civil, electrical, etc.
    You get a mechanical engineering B.S. with a UMD or WPI masters FPE degree and that is very, very strong and you always have a B.S. mechanical engineering degree to fall back on.
    What would UCONN instate tuition be compared to WPI?
    UConn in state tuition would be around the order of $12,000 a year I believe, maybe $15,000 with room and board. But, every school is different.

    I would say, if at all possible to do four years of undergrad work at WPI, if one is planning on doing graduate work there of course, do it. While all the state schools have very strong engineering programs (I was very close to going to UMass) from what I've heard by talking to Prof.'s and my friends at these schools, WPI is far more intense as far as material. The main reasons I would say to go to WPI five years would be-

    1. You know what to expect. You're familier with the 4 term/3 class schedule, you're adjusted to the workload, school, professors, campus, people, etc. The establishment of resources, personal and physical, can be a huge asset, one not had if one just got the MS from WPI. It can mean the difference of passing and failing from what I hear.

    2. I don't know if you can finish an MS in only 1 year if 4 years weren't spent at WPI to begin with. One of the reasons an MS can be had in only a 5th year is because we take 2 more classes a year than other schools, 8 class more by the end of 4 years. So really, if you get down to it (I don't know what it is for other FPE schools) you're getting 6 years worth of material for the price of 5.

    3. While other state schools may have comparable undergrad engineering courses, there are some 3 and 4 level courses that are unique to WPI which carry through to FPE.

    4. WPI really does offer some great opportunities, for instance, junior projects can be done overseas at WPI project centers for no more cost to you than the plane ticket. I'm going to London right after Christmas for 7 weeks for this. There are several other unique opportunities yielded to undergrads at WPI.


    So, if money makes it an impossibility, than 4 years elsewhere and FPE at WPI works, but it really is far better to do undergrad work here as well.

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    MuddyBrook -
    No question, a UMD FPE BS or a WPI BS/MS - those are clearly very good choices, no question about it. When I went to school, money was a major issue (I was accepted at WPI - didn't go couldn't afford it) and I had to pay my own way or take loans, etc.
    I was trying to come up with some alternative paths and I'm generally a state university advocate. Personally, I don't think going into major debt is good idea. I don't know this young man's financial situation etc. and also whether he is looking at a full blown engineering degree. That's why I mentioned the state university ME/Civil option followed up with a Masters in FPE. A lot of states even have transfer programs where you can start at a local community college with an AS in engineering and transfer to a 4 yr school. Good way to start easy on the $$.

    If he isn't interested/ready, etc to go the full blown engineering route, I would very highly recommend an engineering technology program. You can sit for the PE eventually in most states, pursue an engineering masters with some deficiency courses, etc.

    I actually like the engineering technology route myself. I work with graduate mechanical, electrical, civil engineers, many with PEs, etc every day and many of them who work in FPE don't know squat. In reality from my perspective, probably 80-90% or better of FPE practiced today is actually at the engineering technology level. It is about codes and standards, building construction, fire protection system design, etc. - if you look at an OSU program or a mechanical or civil engineering technology degree, that is exactly what you find. The problem is that employers typically want engineering degrees, not engineering tecnology degrees, and I think that is too bad.
    A combination program which pulled from fire protection, mechanical, civil, and electrical engineering technology focused on the fire protection would be a killer program in my opinion.

    Well, good luck on your program.

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    University of New Haven!

    email me if you would like some more info.

    My partner graduated from there 3 years ago and I did about 10.

    Dave

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    The ironic twist in the college degree..........

    In this area anyway......

    Most of the departments that pay really well don't care if you have a PhD. in Fire Science Overlord with 10 years on FDNY. If you don't have a paramedic license, you can't even apply.

    The really big city FD's usually don't care about paramedic, but they usually don't care about degrees either.

    I started medic school at 19 and got licensed at 20. I was working on the BS degree during the day and going to medic school at night. Had the degree at 22, and had worked as a medic and FF for 2 1/2 years.

    The degree may or may not help you get in the door, but it will help you with promotion points. You are required to have at least an AA to make captain in mt dept.

    My point is, consider medic as well. It will make you much more marketable than a degree, but the degree has it's place once you get in.

    My two cents anyway, might just be my situation.

    Good Luck

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    Default WPI...........

    Wpi is a good school to get your degree in Fire Engineering, and also the students who participate there are all firefighters in there own towns PLUS.........anyone in the FPE program there can Work and Stay with the Auburn Fire Dept ( suburb of Worcester and also does mutual aid into the city )as long as the maintain there grades and meet the requirements of Auburn Fire....deffinately worth checking out !!!..email me if you want more info on this

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    Are you involved with WPI or Auburn West jaddie?

    Not all the students going for FPE are firefighters. Very few actually. There are four students staffing Auburn West right now...

    BTW, I think you offended a lot of Auburn-ites by calling Auburn a suburb of Worcester

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    Default MuddyBrookGuy...

    I was on Auburn Fire up until a cpl years ago, then moved to Ft.Lauderdale for awhile, I was on when the concept of WPI/Auburn Fire was first thought of back in the early 90's when we had the West Auburn Station closed at the time. and like i said i left a few years ago...lol at suburb ( lost for words at the time )And to this day, it still is a great thing..coverage on that end of town and the jakes get to learn , stay and go to school all at the same time

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    Default Eastern Kentucky anybody?

    May I jump in, please?

    I took my explorer son to the Ohio Fire Expo this summer and a guy from the State Fire Marshall's office had graduated from Eastern Kentucky U. and raved about their program. I believe he went to Maryland for his Masters after that.

    Anybody know anything about EKU? Thanks in advance.

    Cathy

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    Yech, jaddie, how can you go from good ole' New England to Florida?

    I couldn't live without the snow storms

    Yeah, next year I really want to live in West, as a matter of fact, the guys are gonna show me around this weekend, I figure, get my foot in the door early.

    By the way, I know they have two engines at West, 750 gallons a piece I think... I read an article on their website about them going to a non-hydranted part of town for a res. basement fire, mentioning they only had about 4 min. of water. Is there room in that station for a small tanker? My dept. is replacing our single axle ET 1500 gal. in favor of a tandem axle 2000 gallon, but I figure if there are parts of west's distric w/o hydrants, 1500 gallons of extra water would help out a lot until help came. Plus it would be a bargain!

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    Sorry I haven't been able to reply. I started school so I've been busy. Thanks for all the info. I've ruled out WPI because of the cost. My top choices are OSU and UNH. I don't want to go the path of getting an engineering degree then getting a masters in fire protection because i don't want to be in school that long. As for my career plans, I'd like to be a full time firefighter and maybe do something with fire protection systems on the side. Thanks for all the info.

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