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    Post Madison WI Question

    Hello there! I am currently 18 years old and In the next few years, i am hoping to apply for Madison Wi. My question is, I was wondering if i should go to school to get the fire science degree. I know most departments, including Madison do not require the degree. But will it give you you an advantage? Will the guy with the degree look better than the guy without the degree? Any feedback will be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks
    Last edited by TMFD22; 12-07-2007 at 07:55 PM.

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    In short..YES Get a degree or some form of education. You are 18, you definately have time to work towards a degree and then a career.

    Just because a department doesn't require a degree, doesn't mean you shouldn't get one. Any degree for that matter, bachelors, associates, whatever. It is probablly the best thing you can do in your life. Also you don't limit yourself to one particular department. You could spend years waiting for that job to open, when you could get a job somewhere else.

    Madison looks for personality in their hiring...how you can fit in, but what if you don't make on this hire, or the next and so on. Do you really want to limit yourself? I lived in Madison for awhile, went to MATC there, interned at a dept there...got the career now 2 hours from Madison.

    You can start working on a degree, possibly get hired, then it is up to you. Then again though, many depts that don't require any higher education to get in, may require it for promotions.

    Even though a degree is not required, it still looks better on a resume. Also shows ambition towards being a FF or if a bachelors, it shows you can accomplish something. Being 18 it can be difficult to convince the hiring panel you are serious about being a FF, but have really no type of life experience.

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    BTW...I see you are in Appleton. Take a look into Fox Valley Tech, they have a good fire science program. Also look at all the career depts around you. GB, Appleton, Neenah-Menasha, Oshkosh and so forth....All require some type of education. Do you really want to limit yourself to Madison or Milwaukee?

    Education will only help you.

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    Thanks for the advice. Right now I am waiting for a position to open up at the local paid-on-call department, and this summer i will be getting my FF1. I am also looking at a few medium sized Career departments in the area, to gain expierence before i go on and try to get in with Madison or Milwaukee. I am also seriously concidering Green Bay. And i think they require a degree in fire science, but im not sure. So i guess your probly right about trying to my degree.

    Thanks again for the advice
    Last edited by TMFD22; 12-07-2007 at 07:55 PM.

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    Green Bay does require a degree. That is a change from a few years ago where FF1 and 2 would suffice for qualifications. The other thing is if you are just looking to get on another dept waiting for Madison or Milwaukee to open, really is not the right attitude to have either. There are many good departments and all have plus's and minus's. If you take a job at one department, just waiting to go to another, well do you really care about the community there? Do you care you took a job from someone who really wanted to be there? Do you care you cost the dept money for training, gear, physicals, etc. Then how do you say at an interview, I just want a job now until such and such department hires me.

    If you do that and want to go somewhere else, at least put a few years into that department before just up and leaving. This is just something to take a look at.

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    It seems like these days, if a department doesn't require a degree, they still mainly hire people who have a degree of some sort. The degree doesn't necessarily have to be in fire science, but it will help a little if it is. Definitely finish a degree, but see if you can find a college that offers a degree while working on getting you paramedic license. That way you can kill two birds with one stone, because fire departments look very highly upon candidates who are certified paramedics.

    Volunteering is also another way to really make you a more appealing and well rounded candidate. Here again, you don't necessarily have to volunteer on a fire department or emergency medical service, because all long-term volunteer experience looks really good. Volunteering fire and EMS is going to teach you a lot, but so will volunteering for the Red Cross or United Way.

    Not that I want to push the military, but having been in the military is also very helpful. If you're still in the service, though, it may hurt your chances because employers don't like having to work their schedule around the government's, and also because you might get called away. On the other hand, if you've already served, you are often awarded extra points towards any test you take for a fire department, which I know is the case with Madison.

    Also, jccrabby3084 isn't the person I've heard say that Fox Valley Tech has an excellent fire science program.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LightsAndSirens View Post
    Also, jccrabby3084 isn't the person I've heard say that Fox Valley Tech has an excellent fire science program.
    No...he said Fox Valley has a good fire science program.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jccrabby3084 View Post
    No...he said Fox Valley has a good fire science program.
    I'm sorry. What I meant to say was that you weren't the FIRST person who I heard say that Fox Valley Tech has a good fire science program - my bad. I'll just go ahead and edit that.

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    I'm guessing you guys haven't heard since you're out of school and already on full time departments, but the program is changing. The Associate Degree is going to include, FF1, EMT-B, Driver/Operator, and Fire Investigator certifications. They are also changing other things like Chemistry to Anatomy/Physiology. The state of WI is what is changing everything. I can get you guys updated in a couple weeks. I'm going to have to do a little bit of work since I'm halfway through the program and already have FF1 and almost done with EMT-B. I have to convert everything.

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    First to Light and Sirens....I kind of figured what you meant there, just looked funny in the post that's all.

    Clark...as for the programs changing, I'm not sure if you go to Fox Valley or not. They have been very progressive with having all the fire certs as part of the curriculum, FF1, FF2, Driver/Operator-Pumper, Inspector, Haz-Mat and so on. Makes it very easy to walk onto a fire dept like that.

    I went to Madison Tech...there it was a straight A.S. degree. If you wanted FF1 or FF2,,,fine, you went to the fire academy class in summer or one of the other semesters at night. Any additional certs were on your own. I was lucky enough to be an intern at a fire department where they picked up your EMT-B, or any other fire certifications you wanted.

    As for changing chemistry to A and P...don't know if I really agree to that. The fire service relies on a lot of information from chemistry and it is also good to know the basics of chemistry (part of the A.S. curriculum). A&P is good for EMS...not everyone is an EMT though and maybe not as important as chemistry.

    I talked to the lead instructor at MATC (Madison) about Fox Valley to MATC and brought up the idea of certifications. He agreed it may be best too. Although, it does show motivation to get your certifications on your own. Unfortunatly most depts don't have an idea how each school is set up.

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    I go to MATC in Oak Creek(Where they have the Fire Science training grounds like a block from Milwaukee). He said something about how they are requiring every WI school to do this. I'm guessing maybe they liked how things were going with Fox Valley if they were doing it already. When I go in a couple weeks to convert some of my classes, I'll let you guys know what the classes are.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TMFD22 View Post
    Hello there! I am currently 18 years old and In the next few years, i am hoping to apply for Madison Wi. My question is, I was wondering if i should go to school to get the fire science degree. I know most departments, including Madison do not require the degree. But will it give you you an advantage? Will the guy with the degree look better than the guy without the degree? Any feedback will be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks, Evan
    They may not officially require a degree, but it's one of those things where they want you take the initiative and do it anyway - not because you had to, but because you wanted to. It shows a lot more about your character if you finished a degree by choice instead being forced to do it in order to get the job. That shows you're a go-getter who's constantly trying to better yourself.
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    It's funny because the Madison Police Department requires that you have at least 60 college credits after 3 1/2 years, but Mad Fire doesn't. The police department also says that the average candidate usually has a Bachelor's Degree when he/she applies. For some reason the fire department likes to be able to keep their options open, so they keep their requirements to a minimum. They probably realize that just because you don't have a degree, doesn't mean you won't make an awesome candidate. A degree certainly helps, though. I went to Fox Valley Tech for their fire science program and I know that MATC in Madison has a really good program too. I would never discourage you from getting a degree no matter which way you're going in life. The thing that you need to remember is that there's still sooo much more you need to do than just get a fire science degree and a few certs to be a contender for a department like Madison's. You need to figure out what's going to set you apart from the crowd and make you shine. I would recommend going for a fire degree and some certs, but don't drop everything else in your life, because then you become one-sided, and that won't help you get a job either.

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    Thumbs up NSFD hiring soon!

    If I were you, I would look at the North Shore FD. The pay is top notch and the department is mostly run by the Union. Management is a JOKE and really has relatively no power (or so my son says).

    CHECK IT OUT

    www.nsfire.org

    www.local1440.org

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    Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I heard that two candidates from Madison's April, '08 academy have already fallen by the wayside. I was told that one couldn't pass some of the certification tests. TMFD22, if you take the Fire Protection Program at MATC in Madison, then you'll graduate with Fire 1, Fire 2, EMT-Basic, Pump/Op, and HazMat Tech. That way you don't have to worry about taking those tests if you ever make into Madison's 18 week Fire Recruit Academy. You may have some of these certs already, but that'll just make your workload easier if you do MATC's fire program.
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    Hey everyone, I'm new to this forum and I must say that all of the posts are very interesting and helpful. I've seen alot of passion among the Wisconsin folks on this forum. I unfortunately...or fortunately as some might say..lost my office job (insurance) last January after four years of service. After a day or two of reflection, I jumped online, and used my 'cashed out vacation time' to registered for a Wildlands Fire Fighter course in Fox Valley Tech (S-190, S-130, and L-180) in Appleton. I eventually got hired as a 'rider' with the DNR and really enjoyed the experience. Now that the spring fire season is pretty much over, I have an interest in pursuing things a bit further and have been strongly considering more education, and building 'light' fire resume. More structural related than wildland. The upcoming Madison recruitment sounds great and have a special interest considering my girlfriend and kids live south of Madison.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SCSmith View Post
    TMFD22, if you take the Fire Protection Program at MATC in Madison, then you'll graduate with Fire 1, Fire 2, EMT-Basic, Pump/Op, and HazMat Tech. That way you don't have to worry about taking those tests if you ever make into Madison's 18 week Fire Recruit Academy. You may have some of these certs already, but that'll just make your workload easier if you do MATC's fire program.

    Incorrect sir. MATC's fire program does not incorporate FF1,2, EMT-B, Driver/Operator or HAZMAT Tech. Fox Valley's program does. MATC offers a degree program and offers FF 1 and 2 as a seperate academy, but doesn't incorporate that into the dgree program. Any certs you obtain are on your own or if you have a dept backing you. (Of course unless the program has changed to something like Fox Valley within the last year or so) I graduated MATC in 2002 and none of the certifications were offered in the degree program.
    The thoughts and opinions posted here are mine and mine alone and do not reflect the thoughts and or views of city or dept affiliation.

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    Actually, jccrabby, the program has changed since you've been at MATC. Up until last year, they were separate like you said. Now, the Fire Protection program incorporates all of these certs. You can still take the Fire Academy & EMT-Basic classes without going for the 2-year Fire Science Degree if you want. Pump/Op & HazMat Tech are also still held at fire departments around Dane County, but now they're a part of the MATC's curriculum as well. I'm sure that MATC just wants to be competitive with Fox Valley Tech's fire program.

    I know quite a few people who just graduated and some who are still active in the program, which is how I hear about these things.

    Personally, I already had a college degree when I started in the fire service, so like you, I've taken individual classes to receive each of my certifications.
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    All of the Associate Degree programs in WI are basically the same now. MATC in Milwaukee changed theirs as well. There are some classes that are a little different, but the state wanted to keep things similar. This also prevents people from taking 2 years of class before FFI. Then finding out that they can't advance a hoseline or decide that the job isn't for them. Now FFI is in the first semester. You finish with FFI, EMT-B, MPO, Fire Inspector I, HazMat-Tech. Then I took FFII which transferred as 1 credit for an elective.

    The state is also adding more certifications. There is actually an official state cert for Fire Inspector now. I just took that recently. The practical was pretty much a joke. It was a pilot program so things were still forming. About 90% of the students failed at least one part. I know there were plenty of full-timers, including a full-time officer that failed at least one part. Luckily most passed the retake.

    I took HazMat-Technician last year. They tried making an official state exam, but did not get it done in time. I know that there was at least a written exam this semester, but no practical.

    The only downside to this program is the fact that it's 70 credits now. Most can't finish it in 2 years. Especially when there are classes like FFI and EMT-B which may take someone more time to study for.

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    Unhappy

    This all sounds familiar, as I got off the phone with a gal at MATC and had been speaking via email to Rich Heller. I was told by the gal that the Recruit academy is full for the fall, with a pretty good waiting list. I've asked her to send me information and application material for the academy, regardless. Still, I want to see if I could take the FF1 course (according to the lady I spoke with, "Dawn," it is now called 'Principles of Emergency Services'), as well as some other courses such as EMT-Basic, but they don't show a schedule of when these classes are available during the upcoming fall.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Breech31 View Post
    This all sounds familiar, as I got off the phone with a gal at MATC and had been speaking via email to Rich Heller. I was told by the gal that the Recruit academy is full for the fall, with a pretty good waiting list. I've asked her to send me information and application material for the academy, regardless. Still, I want to see if I could take the FF1 course (according to the lady I spoke with, "Dawn," it is now called 'Principles of Emergency Services'), as well as some other courses such as EMT-Basic, but they don't show a schedule of when these classes are available during the upcoming fall.
    Breech, I would check back with Dawn Way about the fire academy. I looked at MATC's class schedule, and I saw that there's a second Fire Academy being offered from 12:30 - 4:30 PM in addition to the one from 8 AM - Noon. MATC may have put together another one due to high demand. Even though it's not being taught by Rich Heller, like the morning one, I wouldn't let that discourage you. You'll get your Fire 1 & 2 certifications out of the deal (provided you pass the tests), and that's all that matters. If both of those are filled, then I would ask Dawn if MATC is offering any satellite classes at fire departments in Dane County. These are courses that are taught by MATC fire instructors and take place at various fire departments. For example, I took a pumper operator course at the Oregon Fire Department this last spring, which was technically a MATC course. I got 3/4 of a credit for it. We get a listing of these courses three times a year and post them up at the department where I volunteer. In order to take a Fire 1 course, though, you have to take an entry level fire course first.

    Dawn Way's email address is dway@matcmadison.edu
    It's far easier to get a hold of her by emailing than by calling. She's always been good about emailing me back whenever I have questions.

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    Talking 5 months later...

    Quote Originally Posted by Surtur View Post
    Breech, I would check back with Dawn Way about the fire academy.......
    I forgot I even posted this! Well the story had a happy ending..so far. I actually got into the academy. A # of people dropped out of the academy after the first month. It started with like 30 or so, and it dropped to like 20. The are also like 3-5 students who don't show up consistantly. The experience has been excellent! Lot's of 'hands on' stuff and the instructors, and firefighters from other dept.'s who stop by to assist in teaching have been great! I also like the fact that you can 'mess around' in 'the Bay' between the AM and PM class to get more hands on practice. I would highly recommend the MATC Fire Academy to anyone. Got my written FF1 Monday, with practical test on December 13, and FF2 Practical on December 19th. Ok, back to studying!

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