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  1. #1
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    Question Online Degree Program Questions

    I am working on my B.S. in Business Mgmt. right now while working part-time at the local fire department as well as EMS. I am positive my career lies within the emergency services and I want to gain as much education early in life so that play time will come later. I am debating on whether or not to put off my Business degree another year to go to paramedic school or to pursue an online fire science degree while working on my business degree or to just wait on paramedic and the fire science degree until I finish my business degree. Anyone with advise on the advantages and disadvantages to having any of the above in the fire service please comment. Also, I am looking for a good, valuable, strictly online fire science or related degree program. I live in Georgia and know of no school that offers a four year fire science program in Georgia. Please offer advise on the good and bad online degree programs. I do not want to waste time or money on a BS "online degree". I am looking for a proven, user-friendly, valuable program. Thanks for your time.


  2. #2
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    Two of the most well known colleges offering on-line degrees are Thomas Edison State College in NJ and Charter Oak State College in CT. Charter Oak offers a concentration in Fire Service Admnistration. I am currently erolled at Charter Oak. Make sure any college you choose is regionaly accredited and has a commitment to distance education. There are many degree mills and scams out there. I spent many months researching distance learning programs before I decided on Charter Oak.

    Distance learning is not an easy out to get a degree. With my work and family obligations, it would be impossible for me to take classes every week for 2 years to finish my degree.

    One of the best sources for information on distance learning can be found at Degree Info The message board has some very helpful individuals who will help guide you to the right school and program for your needs.
    -------------------
    "The most mediocre man or woman can suddenly seem dynamic, forceful, and decisive if he or she is mean enough." from "Crazy Bosses"
    -----------------------------------------------
    Genius has its limits, but stupidity is boundless.

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber Salman1's Avatar
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    Wink Accredited Distance Learning Programs

    I've recently completed my BS in Fire Administration from State University of New York Empire State College. I transfered many courses from Seton Hall Univ., Kutztown Univ, and a community college. My first choice in picking a distance learning program was the accreditation through the National Fire Academy and I originally looked into Oklahoma State University and University of Maryland. Depending on your program choice, the NFA recommends various colleges/universities throughout the country. I believe John Jay College started the distance learning program many years ago, in the 70's, and many FDNY firefighter's attended classes there. Regardess, do your research and begin with the NFA's recommendation's. Empire State College was recommended through their distance learning program with S.U.N.Y. You basically have region's that do distance learning through certain colleges/universities. Empire State College was recommended for the Connecticut or New England region. It's a great program and the courses are challenging and interesting. They adapt your program based on prior learning that you personalize with your advisor. I think most if not all distance learning program's are accredited but not necessarily through the NFA. That shouldn't be a factor necessarily. I don't believe Charter Oak is accredited through the NFA nor is Thomas Edison but they are equally good schools for various programs depending on your needs.

    The distance learning programs, again, can be challenging depending on your lifestyle. I believe we pick this because of our inabilities to attend regular classes as traditional students do. Also, research schools that can also offer you higher learning with respect to Graduate degree programs etc. through the same school. This would prevent acceptance and conflict's between two colleges when it comes to transferring your BS or BA for a graduate program.

    Good luck in your endeavor's. It's a long road that will benefit you in the long run regardless. I took a beating for attending a supposed "Matchbook University" so don't get discouraged. Most that gave me grief barely passed high school and couldn't possibly even consider a college degree program. I did my time and was accepted to a few Big East schools, attended one and also one state university. Educate yourself as much as possible. I know that with my BS I can possibly leave the fire service (as if I would) and keep me more competitive with other people in the civilian world. Also, the National Fire Academy issued a certificate of completion for my core fire courses. The same courses are also available at the NFA if you attend the academy there.

  4. #4
    FossilMedic
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    Your decision should be based on what your target employer wants. Generally speaking, obtaining your state or National Registry paramedic certification greatly increases your chances of employability.

    MY opinion, in decending order:

    1) Obtain paramedic certification (warning - will take more than one academic year)

    2) Complete your business degree

    3) Complete on-line fire science degree

    With few exceptions, obtaining a fire science degree does NOT increase your value as a firefighter candidate.

    Consider these links:

    Getting hired:
    http://www.nvcc.edu/home/mward/hmtl%...%20PROCESS.htm

    Description of fire science undergraduate degrees (with links):
    http://www.nvcc.edu/home/mward/hmtl%...%20degrees.htm

    Mike
    former NVCC Fire Science program head

    Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine
    The George Washington University
    http://home.gwu.edu/~mikeward/

  5. #5
    MembersZone Subscriber Salman1's Avatar
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    Default I agree with Mike...

    I chose to complete my BS because I started it before I was a firefighter. I only naturally pursued the Fire Administration program because I was already a career firefighter. One point...If you are already pursuing higher education, stick with it. If you intend on getting your paramedic licensing/certification, do so only because you are going to use it to get into the fire service but stick with it once you are in. Many so called "paramedic's" use the cert/lic as a crutch to get in and happily drop it after their contract/time is in as a medic. These types of medic/ff's are not often looked upon too well. Remember, on the outside world (civilian not public service), state fire certification's and paramedical cert's program's will not always get your foot in the door like many Associates and Bachelor programs will. My program was Business Management & Economics with a major in Fire Admin. If I must leave the fire service, I have a BS in Business so that may hopefully help my endeavor's to get a job in the corporate world etc. Real life experiences in the fire service, military, emergency services is good, but many manager's and perspective employer's don't care about your state cert's in FFI, FFII and even paramedic unless it is a health field or hospital oriented position you are looking for. Either way, finish what you start, go for the paramedic if it will help you get in the door. Finish the degree programs as soon as you can to keep you competitive when it comes time for promotion etc...AND if you unfortunately have to leave the public service sector and get a job on the "outside world"...

  6. #6
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    Default

    Random thoughts:

    1. Mike is 100% correct.
    2. Thomas Edison State College is a joke.
    3. I have my BS in Fire Science from University of Maryland University College (www.umuc.edu). It was an outstanding program, but it is not cheap.
    4. A fire science degree will prepare you for promotion or a specialized position in the department, such as prevention, investigation or haz mat. It will not make you more valuable as a candidate. I think that many fire science programs are less than honest with kids about this fact.
    5. Check the National Fire Academy Open Learning Program for more colleges with online programs.
    6. You may find that your BA degree will translate more easily into a Public Administration degree. Again, it won't make you a better candidate, but may make you a more attractive candidate for promotion.

  7. #7
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    This thread goes a bit hand in hand with this thread:

    http://forums.firehouse.com/showthre...ight=paramedic

    Really this decision falls back on what do you really see yourself doing in 5-10-15-20-even 25 years down the road.

    Realistically, even the BS in Fire Science is only going to help you in the fire service IF you're a full time employee. So many guys wash out of the fire service as part timer/POC's.

    No disrespect to you intended, but are willing to bet 50k that you'll still be a firefighter in 15 years. People change and careers change...stick with finishing your BS in Business Mgmt. If you finish that degree and you're still in the fire service, then go for your medic license.

  8. #8
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    the University of Florida also has an online fire science degree. I have been looking at it myself but haven't started yet. They offer registration three times a year I believe.

    http://www.bcn.ufl.edu/pde/Fire-html/

  9. #9
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    Does anyone know about the fire protection engineer degree at the University of Maryland? I was looking at it, and the course. Seems it would be tough enought just to get accepted. What's the fire protection engineer program like?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ffman02
    Does anyone know about the fire protection engineer degree at the University of Maryland? I was looking at it, and the course. Seems it would be tough enought just to get accepted. What's the fire protection engineer program like?
    Bad news. The FPE is extremely tough to get into and extremely tought o complete. It is math and research intensive.

    Good news. It will provide you with a degree in Fire Protection Engineering, that would allow to become licensed engineer in most states. This is a rapidly growing, very lucrative field. Employment opportunities I have seen lately include the BATF, several major cities, insurance cos., the NFPA, Fortune 500 cos. and private consultants.

    Bad news. This degree will not help you get a job as a FF.

    Good news. This degree will not help you get a job as a FF.

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