1. #1
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    Lightbulb College degrees? For officer ranks

    I am seeking information from Career Departments that use College Degrees as stepping stones to move up in rank. Example: To go from firefighter to Lieutenant you have to have an Associates Degree in Fire Science, then to go to Captain or Higher a Bachelor Degree in Fire Science or Buisness Adminastration and so forth.
    Does your department even consider using College Degrees as extra points in the promotion process? Do they even include college degrees that do not even have anything to do with the fire service?

    Does your Fire Chief have a Bachelor Degree or was that in the critera for his appointment?

    Thank you for responding.
    This is my opinion and not the opinions of the Carmel Fire Department.

  2. #2
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    A college degree means nothing until the rank of Deputy and then it may be questionable. Our promotional system is based solely on a written test and seniority. You take the test, if you pass you are placed on the list and promoted by seniority. After completing three years as Captain, you are eligible for the Deputy's test. This involves a written and oral exam. You are again put on the list by seniority but the Chief can choose from the top three on the list. He may choose someone with a degree over one without but it posessing a dergree doesn't get you any points.

  3. #3
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    Most of the job openings for the rank of Fire Chief that I have seen posted require at least an Associates degree in Fire Science or a related field aong with a prerequisite number of years of experience in a supervisory rank.

    For the other officers ranks, a degree helps when it comes to training and experience points on an exam, but it by no means is a requirement.

    In my community, we get 10% of our base salary for having ans Associates degree in Fire Science or a related field, 12% for a Bachelor's degree. This goes for all the ranks.
    ‎"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

  4. #4
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    There was an article here about a year ago from a department in Louisiana, I can't recall the name of it though, where the chief wanted to implement a degree requirement in order to get promoted and the union local was fighting him on it. It made no sense to fight it as it only made the officer more qualified and gave them a wider pool of knowledge to pull from.

    If you look all over the South, most Chief of Department positions require a bachelor's and many want a masters in business administration and the like. Personally, I think this is a good move. You must run a department like a business so you need a chief with a business background and information.

    I personally am wrapping up my Bachelor' in Fire Science and will finally graduate this May - it's about freakin' time, and most of my courses have been to the mangerial side of things.

    In my experience of reviewing several programs, most Associate's degrees are operationally based, with ICS, Tactics and Strategies, Haz-Mat, Code Enforcement, Building Contruction, Hydraulics, etc..., that are great building blocks for the average knucle dragger (read hoseman ) and better if you wish to become a company officer who is going to be the initial IC untile the deputy or chief arrives.

    The Bachelor's programs I have seen are all managerial programs for when you hit Captain, Deputy, and even the Chief's position because it goes into collective bargaining, Being the IC, interpersonal communication and group dynamics, ethics, Fire Service Law, and the like.

    In this modern changing world of the Fire Service where the number of fires are WAY down we need to enhance the diminishing experience we have under our belts with education and training. I do not think that it is a bad thing to pursue a degree adn it should be encouraged.

    I think that the requirement may be a bit much though, at first. Give everyone two or three years to get a degree and say you either have to be on the job for 4 or six years to become an officer or have a degree, only because it will take anyone a while to get the training, educational, and experience under their belt to be able to handle the responsibilities and read a situation when you have the bugle on your collar and ride up front.

    If you look around at several departments though, Tampa, FL, Dallas, TX, and several other departments require at least some college education even to be appointed to the department. Education and educated recruits are the way of the future fire service whether anyone likes it or not.

    Ladies and Gentlemen, stay safe.
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  5. #5
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    Fire service leaders will frequently deal with others from the community who have higher degrees. The manner in which a fire officer deals with others outside of our little world of fire fighting/emergency service the more respect our profession gets. That respect pays off in the future.

    Additionally, how much of an officers time is spent controlling fires/emergencies as oppossed to leading people and managing other resources? I'll bet that even in the busiest companies in the busiest departments that the time spent in non-emergency job functions is greater than emergency functions. Much of this comes from knowing things that aren't taught at the Academy or OJT.

    Just my two cents.

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