1. #1
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    Default Bachelors in Fire Science - Worth it?

    I'm curious if going after my Bachelors in Fire Science is going to be worth it to me. I'm 21 and have been out applying for full time career departments now for about a year. I've got an Associates in Social Sciences, which is 60 credits, and most of them would probably transer. Between the job I currently have, and flying all over this great country looking to become a career FF, I don't really have the time to attend a university, so my option has turned to doing it online.

    My question is, how will a degree in Fire Science help me in my quest to become a firefighter? Or is it just going to be something to help me elevate once I'm in a fire department? Should I be more concerned with doing this or going to EMS school? I'm currently NJ FF1 and everythign else required by the state (confined space awr., hazmat awr./ops., CBRNE awr./ops., I-100/700) but I have no EMT license to speak of. The reason being is that I live in New Jersey and am addimently applying outside of the state, where most departments require their perspective state's EMT license, of which would be difficult to get, seeing as I'm applying all over, it doesn't seem like getting 25 different states EMT licenses would be the best course of action.

    Has anyone ever gotten their degree over the internet or a "distance learning'" program from a nationally acredited college/university? How did it work out for you?

    I'm just shootin in the dark here. Trying to pick up the pace and possibly make myself look a little better. Thanks for all of your help.

    -PW
    Last edited by TrentonFF; 06-13-2006 at 10:52 AM.

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    Thumbs up Ok............

    Here's a shot............ Contact the University of Maryland's University College in College Park, Md. They have some Fire Programs, and work closely with the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute (MFRI) which is another part of the University system. MFRI is the State's Fire/Rescue training organization. Try www.MFRI.org they may have info or links to whhat you are looking for. Also, There is a regular here on the Forums, Mike Ward, who is very familiar with such matters, I'll try to find him and ask him to add to this.
    Good Luck.
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    As usual, sound advice from hwoods.

    I have my BS in Fire Science from UMUC. I am also an adjunct faculty member in the Fire Science Program at Sussex county Community College. Here is my take on your questions.

    1. In reality, a BS in Fire Science will have little to no effect on a FD's decision to hire you to a full-time position. That said, it will not hurt you, either. A college degree in general shows a maturity and dedication that is a positive trait.

    2. It is a shame that some college level fire science programs market the degree as a means to get hired. It may help from a networking standpoint, but the overwhelming majority of FD's ni this country do not have a college requirement for entry level positions. Your BS degree in Fire Science will help you in three areas: 1. Promotion exams 2. Entry level positions in non-fire service agencies such as insurance and private consulting 3. Positions after you retire.

    3. Becoming a paid FF, especially in NJ, is extremely hard. Very little weight is given to your background and past accomplishments. Much weight is given to your place of residence and factors that have been determined to be miportant by the US Department of Justice. For that reason, having a Plan B is a good thing. That college degree could be a very impotant piece of a Plan B.

    4. University of Maryland University College is a first rate institution. It is extremely user-friendly, has extremely competent and enthusiastic faculty and is an answer to the problem of obtaining a degree from a first class institution when you do not have the time to attend classes on campus. Another outstanding higher learning institution that offers distance learning opportunities is Eastern Kentucky University. Ron Hopkins is the guru of fire science educators. One word of advice: DO NOT EVEN LOOK AT THOMAS EDISON STATE COLLEGE! It sucks.

    5. EMS School is a positive for FD's every place else but NJ. Since ALS is hospital based in NJ, there is no need for a FD to make this a requirement. Many of them will incorporate an EMT curriculum into the first year training a recruit recieves.

    6. If you really want to be a career FF, do what you are currently doing and get the hell out of NJ.

    Email me at wendtcfi@optonline.net if you need any other info on fire science programs or degrees.

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    Here is the link for University of Maryland University College.

    www.umuc.edu


    It is an outstanding program and they are also affiliated with the NFA so for all your Fire Science courses, you receive your NFA certificate. I am about halfway through my BS in Fire Science. It is challenging, rewarding and well worth the cost. Online courses require a great deal of discipline as your grades are based on your research papers and the online forum type discussions that you have in each class. On average I have to write 3 research papers (12-15 pages per paper) per class and there are an average of about 10-12 conferences per class per term. That requires a great deal of reading and research. But it is well worth it and I love it.


    Good luck to you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by superchef
    Here is the link for University of Maryland University College.

    www.umuc.edu


    It is an outstanding program and they are also affiliated with the NFA so for all your Fire Science courses, you receive your NFA certificate. I am about halfway through my BS in Fire Science. It is challenging, rewarding and well worth the cost. Online courses require a great deal of discipline as your grades are based on your research papers and the online forum type discussions that you have in each class. On average I have to write 3 research papers (12-15 pages per paper) per class and there are an average of about 10-12 conferences per class per term. That requires a great deal of reading and research. But it is well worth it and I love it.


    Good luck to you.
    Yeah, I forgot to mention that part. That may sound like alot of work, but when you look at it that you can do the work at a time and place to fit your schedule, it doesn't seem so bad.

    I still remember sitting at the computer, drawing isobar diagrams for my Meteorology class at 0200 in the morning.

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    Keep in mind that, God willing, you will retire from the service with many years left. You could become a cause & origin expert in criminal or civil litigation - having the college degree would help you build an impressive resume as an expert witness.
    Proud member of the IACOJ.

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    Whether you want the degree or not is up to you. It definately won't hurt to get it. Since you're flying all over the country, San Antonio is hiring again. Here's the link with application/testing info. (no residency requirement)

    http://www.sanantonio.gov/safd/pdf/2...ment-Entry.pdf

    -here's the FD site if you're curious, good luck to you.
    www.sanantoniofire.org

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    A degree is a degree, all departments like them. If you really want to get hired in a short amount of time. Get your Paramedics license, the west coast is full of departments looking for Fire/Medics.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeWendtCFI

    I still remember sitting at the computer, drawing isobar diagrams for my Meteorology class at 0200 in the morning.
    Remember, the closer the isobar lines are drawn, the louder the politicians are talking. That IS what makes the wind blow. Right?
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    As far as EMT is concerned, if you get your NR EMT cert most states should allow you to then get a state license based on that.

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    Wow. Lots of response Excellent, just what I was looking for. A few questions based on your responses (hope you don't mind):

    After doing extensive online searches, I did find that UMUC was a top ranked "distance learning" school for the BS in Fire Science. Then I found Columbia South, but am going to go ahead and apply at UMUC if I do decide that this is the proper course. I guess the best way to go about this is just call up one of their councelors?

    George: I know. I've watched you continually state that New Jersey is probably the worst as far as career hiring goes and although I haven't been at this too long, I finally took the hint a while back and have since sincerely started looking out of the state. Just don't want to move to another state only to be accepted in yet another state, so I'm going to try and stay put and use NJ as my "Base of operations" so to speak.

    Superchef: When you started there, did you have any college credits that you transfered? I'd be tickled pink to find out that they take the majority of my General Education courses so I can just get to the nitty gritty of the bulk F.S. courses and expedite the process. You say you're in the middle, how long have you been at it? Is it a standard 4-5 courses per term type situation? Or 1 class per month? How are they broken down?

    Fireta: How does one find out where and when the national registry class/test is in my particular area? Further, if I was NR EMT, I should be able to go to, say, a fire department that requires their perspective states EMT-b license? I have a vauge understanding of what national registry is simply because, as George put it, there is no push or requirements for a FF in NJ to get EMT. It is more or less optional.


    Sorry again about all the questions. I just see the ball rolling faster and faster toward my future the more I get everything squared away and situated. Thanks guys!

    -Pat

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    Pat
    Give UMUC a call. They are very helpful and will answer all your questions. I did have some credits that were transferrable. It depends on what your courses are and what college you received your credits from for your general education. UMUC operates on a Fall, Spring and Summer term system. I work full time so I can only take two classes a term and I take all three terms. That is all I have time for to keep up my good grades and sanity.

    You can take as many classes per semester as you want to. A full load would be about 4-5 classes per semester. No worries on asking questions. Fall semester starts September 5. Go for it!

    cheffie

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    I transfered just under the maximum amount over to UMUC from Jersey City State. They took it all, including EMT and Police Academy.

    Cheffie's right. Call them. In my experience, they will bend over backwards to help you.

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    Houston is one of the few FDs I can think of that require college credits. They want 60 in any discipline, but down here the Fire Academy at the community colleges is 60 credits. Those that run that route usually end up in the fast track class.

    TX Commission now recognizes IFSAC so if you have FFI, FFII, and HazMat Ops it's $25 and a piece of paper to get the TX Commission seals. HFD runs a 24on, 24off, 24on, 5 days off schedule so it is a good thing for 2nd jobs or taking classes. Education is a key to opening more doors of opportunity. I have my BS in Comp Sci, working on MBA in eBusiness, and I'm thinking that I'll take up the BA in Fire Administration after than. Western Illinois does the distance classes for TX through NFA. TX is also a NR state for EMT. Lots of options for taking that around here also.

    And i'm with George, get out of the northeast. I relocated from suburban Philly, took a pay cut to come to TX and made more take home. No state or local taxes here, and the cost of living today is half of what it was in PA when we left 7 years ago.

    Good luck and happy studying. - Brian

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    Quote Originally Posted by TrentonFF
    Fireta: How does one find out where and when the national registry class/test is in my particular area? Further, if I was NR EMT, I should be able to go to, say, a fire department that requires their perspective states EMT-b license? I have a vauge understanding of what national registry is simply because, as George put it, there is no push or requirements for a FF in NJ to get EMT. It is more or less optional.

    -Pat
    www.nremt.org for more information than you'll care to read as well as testing locations.

    I can only speak for Colorado, but if you had your NR and came here, all you would have to do to get your state cert would be to send proof of your NR cert to the state and pass a background check, and get fingerprinted. Also most departments would probably work with you to help you get your state cert.

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    There is almost automatic reciprocity given to NREMTs inthe Northeast.
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    This message has been made longer, in part from a grant from the You Are a Freaking Moron Foundation.

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    Why not get your degree and get a high paying corporate job and be a real firefighter - a volunteer !! remember - 90% of firefighters nationally are volunteer - and that is what this great service is all about !

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    Quote Originally Posted by FirstDueCTVol
    Why not get your degree and get a high paying corporate job and be a real firefighter - a volunteer !! remember - 90% of firefighters nationally are volunteer - and that is what this great service is all about !
    *stir stir stir*

    this pot is almost done.

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    Exclamation

    Quote Originally Posted by FirstDueCTVol
    Why not get your degree and get a high paying corporate job and be a real firefighter - a volunteer !! remember - 90% of firefighters nationally are volunteer - and that is what this great service is all about !
    OH SWEET JESUS! Is there any need for this?

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    No offense, because I am a volunteer, but if what I wanted was a high paying corporate job, I'd do it and wouldn't be a FF. This is in my heart to do and getting payed to do it fulltime is a perk.

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    Getting back to your original question. My opinion is that you obtain advanced life support certification to enhance your hiring prospect and then pursue an online bachelor's degree to enhance your promotability/qualifications for a supervisory position.

    Obtaining an EMT-Intermediate or EMT-Paramedic will place you at the front of a hiring list in many metro fire departments. It is either a required (many Florida departments) or a preferred qualification.

    Unfortunately, there are no online programs for the paramedic program. Committee on Accreditation on Educational Programs for the Emergency Medical Services Professions maintains a list of programs that they accredit. http://www.coaemsp.org/

    There are no New Jersey accredited paramedic programs. That does not mean that they do not offer them, just that none of those programs have taken the effort to obtain CoAEMSP accreditation. I can grant 28 semester hours of transfer credit for folks that have obtained their paramedic certification through one of those 220+ schools.

    On to fire science ...

    As Harve and George mentioned, the University of Maryland University College offers a Degrees at a Distance BS in Fire Science Management. They are one of seven colleges or universities that offer the program that was developed by the National Fire Academy.

    Here is the link:
    http://www.usfa.fema.gov/training/nf...rams/distance/

    There are other programs. FDNY is raising the minimum requirements for promotional exams, requiring bachelor degrees for battalion chief candidates. When I was at Fort Totten last month for an American Council on Education review of FDNY courses, some of the guys said that they are taking classes at Thomas Edison State College (NJ): http://www.tesc.edu/prospective/unde...gree/bsast.php

    I have assembled an overview of most of the colleges and universities that offer a bachelor "fire science" degree, check out this link:

    http://home.gwu.edu/~mikeward/Overvi...%20degrees.htm

    Assistant Professor Michael J. Ward
    Undergraduate DE Degree Coordinator
    Emergency Health Services Programs
    Department of Emergency Medicine
    The George Washington University
    2150 Pennsylvania Ave., NW. Ste 2B-406
    Washington, DC 20037

    http://home.gwu.edu/~mikeward/
    Last edited by MikeWard; 06-22-2006 at 05:36 PM.

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    Thumbs up Yep!........

    Thanks Mike!
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    Unfortunately, there are no online programs for the paramedic program.

    Oh, that's probably quite fortunate!!!

    Sorry Mike, just had to chuckle at the way you phrased that sentence!!!

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    Default Story behind that quote

    Quote Originally Posted by Dalmatian190
    Unfortunately, there are no online programs for the paramedic program.
    Oh, that's probably quite fortunate!!!
    Sorry Mike, just had to chuckle at the way you phrased that sentence!!!
    No problem Someone paid me to consider how to move aspects of an initial paramedic training course online.
    • The students will do the book or classroom work online
    • Local hospital(s) will provide the clinical opportunities - need paid preceptors
    • Employer provides skill instructors and equipment to work on the psychomotor skills
    • Student will take the National Registry examination
    Now this concept violates the ems regulations in dozens of states, is not approved for CoAEMSP accreditation and may not be accepted by the National Registry.

    link to JEMS 2004 guide, accredited programs: http://info.jems.com/jems/2004resources/accred.html#IA
    link to list of New Jersey Paramedic and EMT schools: http://www.rescuehouse.com/content/s...new_jersey.php

    By law, MICUs in New Jersey are hospital-based and highly regulated by the State Department of Health. http://www.virtua.org/page.cfm?nav_id=453

    New Jersey Department of Health EMS site: http://www.state.nj.us/health/ems/index.html
    Last edited by MikeWard; 06-14-2006 at 05:51 PM.

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