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  1. #1

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    Default Degree/College help

    Hi. We would appreciate any advice on the best path to a career as a firefighter/paramedic for our son who is a senior in HS. I have been helping my son research this, as he will be applying for colleges this Fall. We have been all around the internet and on this board. We're still somewhat confused however. First off, in the next few weeks he will be joining the Explorer Program at the local fire station. He would like to attend a 4-year college and get a degree in Fire Science or if not fire related he would like a major in Entrepreneurship. Our confusion lies here. If he goes for the 4-year degree in Fire Science, how does he actually get the hands-on training to be a fire fighter? Does he volunteer at a fire station and get the training, while in college? When and how would he get his Firefighter I/II? Also, trying to find something where he can get a major in Fire Science and do a minor in Emergency Medical Services. Thus far, it looks like he could do this at Eastern Kentucky University and Lake Superior State University. We've looked into UMD (only Fire)and UMD Baltimore County (only EHS), There doesn't seem to be much out there in the way of combining the two at a four year college. Can anyone give advice on the best way to go about a career as a firefighter/paramedic getting your 4-year degree and experience. He will either plan to get his EMT the summer he graduates or do it in college, but how would he fit the Paramedic side of it in without doing it as a minor? Any further college recommendations?

    Thanks!


  2. #2
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    Look into Eastern Kentucky University or Oklahoma State University as well. Both have 4 year programs that go into both fire issues and EHS. EKU also has a program called Assets Protection and Security which covers loss prevention as a whole. While at eastern you can also do your paramedic if you choose as a minor. Ultimately, certification comes from volunteering and/or taking training classes and not from a 4 year program. There are many two year programs that promise certification, however for the full 4 year programs the focus is primarily academic.

    Do more homework and you will find what you are looking for, you just have to decide what is most important.

  3. #3
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    I just graduated this past summer and at the beginning of the year, I got into EMT school. I was 17 when I started it and passed everything after I turned 18. It's a 6 month class for two nights a week so it went well with my school schedule. Also during that I got on our volunteer fire department where I am now going to test on FF 1+2 at the end of this month and now I am looking into paramedic classes beginning this fall, or starting at the beginning of the year. I'm not getting a degree, but before I turn 21, I plan on getting as many fire certifications that I can so it will increase my chances come testing time. This path so far has worked perfect for me and I have not had any problems with it, and maybe it might work for your son too. Hopefully this helped

  4. #4
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    I graduated from Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste Marie, MI in 2004. You can receive your 4 year in Fire Science Generalist, HAZMAT, or Engineering Technology. Also you can get you National Cert in Paramedic while there too. While I was there I received my FF I/II from the state of Michigan. The only thing is trying to get it transferred over to your state. It took me a little work but I got it done. It is a small campus where you get to meet a lot of great people. If you have any more questions feel free to email me. Budracingjr08@yahoo.com


    http://www.lssu.edu/degrees/degree.php?id=5039
    http://www.lssu.edu/degrees/degree.php?id=5066

  5. #5
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    So far looks like there is some good advice here, as stated it comes down to what you are looking for, how far from home you want to be, and school size.

    However, I will provide one warning about focusing on attempting to obtain certifications. Depending on the departments you are looking to join, though a great place for education and learning, certifications ultimately mean very little in the hiring process. (There are exceptions, for instance some departments REQUIRE certifications in hand prior to hire, but this trend is fading.) Most departments are only looking for candidates that are most qualified to be able to receive training. The only certification to have on hand that is truly the most helpful is a Paramedic or any EMT level going into a department's process. Basically, most career departments want to train their new recruits in house.

    So, don't get me wrong, getting as many certs as you can won't hurt you, but don't expect them to be how you get hired. Focus on getting a degree (2 or 4 year), get in physical shape, and study for the tests. It comes down to how much you want the job, so every little step will help.

  6. #6
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    ok here's what i did... i just graduated in may from Southern Maine community college up here in southern maine. its a two year fire science degree and you get an associates degree in the program, but the school also offers a program for a live-in student program which i was also in for my two years at college. this live-in program is that you actually live at the fire station while attending school while you live their you have certian responsibility's at the fire house like responding on calls at all hours of the night taking part in any fire or ems duties, trainings and such. you learn pretty much everything their is to know about fire and ems, and they will also sponsor you to go through the Fire fighter 1 and 2 trainings. i would highlly recomend this program to anyone soo if he's really gun hoe about fire fighting i would def recomend this to you. if you want i would be more then happy to set you up with people to talk to about this program. this program has made a huge impact on my life and my career i graduated in may and started my career in july and i currentlly work at a larg facility working full time as a firefighter/emt/security guard and love every minuit of it. and im actually useing my degree i went to school for.
    so if you want any more info on it please feel free to email me

    Jeff Goodness
    Alfred fire/rescue
    edfirefighter322@yahoo.com

  7. #7
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    I'm basically in the same boat as your son. I've pretty much settled on EKU due to the Fire Science / Paramedic course offerings. When its time for me to head off to college - I'll have been involved with the VFD in my hometown for about a year and a half - so I've got a little experience there. Do any departments around EKU offer a "Live-In" program for college going students?

  8. #8
    Forum Member LADDER2EKU's Avatar
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    Double post and the second post is more informative.
    Last edited by LADDER2EKU; 08-28-2007 at 02:41 PM.

  9. #9
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    There is a lot of great advise already posted here. To be honest there is no one perfect path that will guarantee that your son land his dream job as a FF/paramedic. The best advice I can give is to figure out certain areas that your son may want to work and look at what their department requirements are. If you and your son are heart set on going to college I would recommend getting a degree in something other than fire science, especially if it is a 4 year degree. To be honest he can get his experience and certifications while on summer breaks from school most EMT classes and FF1 classes are only 3-4 months and can be taken in the summer, also if he joins a volunteer fire department while at school he can get this training while attending school, this is the path I took. Most 4 year degree that are offered in fire science are much more advanced than entry level firefighters need, they are designed for either officer or chief level classes or specific engineering classes that deal with fire protection systems. In my opinion he should wait to take the 4 year degree in fire science and wait to get hired and have his fire department help finance his education. If he gets a 4 year degree get it with something more practical like business or something he may be able to apply as a second job while being a firefighter. Just my two cents, there are a million ways to skin a cat the previous is just a way that I landed my dream job.

  10. #10
    FLA1786
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    The career path is all dependent upon the department he wants to work for, do you have any idea what department or region he wants to work in?

    Most community colleges have Associates Degree programs in EMS where you obtain your paramedic certification. The best way to do it is take EMT the first semester, start working for the experience, then knock out the GenEd classes over the next 2 semesters. Then he'd start paramedic. Once finished he could then take classes for a Bachelors Degree at Maryland, and UF. UF is an online program and are very very good about "grandfathering" credits in.

  11. #11
    FossilMedic
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    Default Fire/ems undergraduate degree

    Assistant Professor Michael J. Ward
    The George Washington University
    former Fire Science Program Head, Northern Virginia Community College

    Fire departments continue to hire as if it was 1899 - you are a slab of meat evaluated for your physical, mental and moral capabilities. Many municipal fire departments do not care about certifications before you are hired.

    Except for one: Paramedic certification.
    While it has been discussed in academic meetings, there are few undergraduate programs that offer a combination fire/ems bachelor degree.

    There is a huge amount of diversity in "fire science" academic programs. From community college credit for Firefighter I to graduate engineering and hard science PhDs from research university.

    FOUR-YEAR FIRE SCIENCE DEGREE PROGRAMS

    There are three flavors of a four-year "fire science" bachelor degree.

    The most academic challenging is the Fire Protection Engineering degree that is offered at the University of Maryland (College Park) and the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (Worcester, MA). These degrees are similar to civil, mechanical or electrical engineering programs with two years of higher level math, one to two years of hard science and about twenty engineering courses.

    Completion of the program qualifies you to start working as a Engineer-In-Training (EIT) and eventually becoming certified as a Professional Engineer. Both universities offer Masters of FPE.

    http://www.wpi.edu/Academics/Depts/Fire/
    http://www.fpe.umd.edu/undergrad/index.html

    One of the undergraduate degrees offered by the University of New Haven is for Fire Protection Engineering, but it appears NOT accredited by the appropriate engineering council. http://www.newhaven.edu/show.asp?durki=425

    Many four-year fire science degrees fall into the technology arena - not as academically robust as an engineering degree. You receive a Bachelor of Science degree and you will have taken more math/science/engineering technology classes than the next flavor of degree, but you will not be prepared to sit for the Engineer-In-Training program or become a registered Professional Engineer.

    Fire Technology bachelor programs include:

    Oklahoma State University: http://fpst.okstate.edu/
    Eastern Kentucky University: http://www.fireandsafety.eku.edu/
    University of New Haven: http://www.newhaven.edu/show.asp?durki=425
    John Jay College (NYC): http://web.jjay.cuny.edu/~firesci/
    University of Akron (OH): http://sc.uakron.edu/?/publicservice/fp.html
    University of North Carolina Charlotte: http://www.et.uncc.edu/fire_safety/index.html
    Thomas Edison State College (NJ): http://www.tesc.edu/prospective/unde...gree/bsast.php .pdf brochure

    The third flavor is a four-year non-technology emergency service degree that will lead to a Bachelors in management, supervision. leadership, emergency services, you-name-it. Usually requires a year of english, a year of college level math and whatever other general education requirements are needed by that educational institution. Many are offered through distance education and most assume that the student has some emergency service experience.

    Emergency service degrees include:

    University of Maryland University College: http://www.umuc.edu/prog/ugp/majors/fscn.shtml
    Maryland is one of seven campuses running the NFA Degree-at-a-Distance program: http://www.usfa.fema.gov/training/nf...rams/distance/
    University of Richmond (emergency management): http://oncampus.richmond.edu/academics/scs/emermgmt/
    University of Florida: http://www.bcn.ufl.edu/pde/Fire-html/
    Eastern Oregon University: http://www.eou.edu/dde/Degrees/FSA.htm
    Arizona State University East: http://www.poly.asu.edu/technology/imt/fire/bachelors/
    California State University Los Angeles: http://www.calstatela.edu/academic/e.../et/tech/fire/ pdf brochure
    Holy Family University (Philadelphia) http://www.holyfamily.edu/academics/undergrad.shtml
    Lake Superior State University (MI) http://www.lssu.edu/degrees/degree.php?id=5066
    New Jersey City University: http://www.njcu.edu/dept/ProfStudies...rescience.html
    Arkansas Tech University (FEMA Emergency Management): http://commed.atu.edu/
    Western Carolina University (FEMA Emergency Management online): http://www.wcu.edu/aps/cj/CJ_courses_EM-distance.htm
    Anna Maria College (Paxton, MA) http://www.annamaria.edu/academics/fire_science.php
    Charter Oak State College (New Britain, CT): http://www.cosc.edu/
    Utah Valley State College http://www.uvsc.edu/firescience/
    UVSC has an associate fire science program linked with UT Fire and Rescue Academy
    University of the District of Columbia (restricted to DCFEMS employees)
    University of Idaho (Fire Ecology minor) http://www.cnrhome.uidaho.edu/default.aspx?pid=42088

    If you are interested in EMS Management (six bachelor degree programs), look here:
    http://home.gwu.edu/~mikeward/FESHE_EMS.html

    There are also about six universities that offer an undergraduate degree in clinical paramedicine.

    Two options:
    (1) Attend one of the few on-campus four year programs like EKU, Oklahoma, New Haven, or North Carolina.

    (2) Get your paramedic certificate through a community college (over 250 programs) and then transfer to a college/university like Florida, Arizona State, Maryland, John Jay.

    Good luck!

    Assistant Professor Michael J. Ward
    Associate Director - Emergency Health Services
    Department of Emergency Medicine
    2131 K Street NW, Suite 510
    Washington, DC 20052

    http://home.gwu.edu/~mikeward/

  12. #12
    Forum Member DeputyMarshal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeWard View Post
    Charter Oak State College (New Britain, CT): http://www.cosc.edu/
    Very nice summary. Let me just add as a data point that COSC originally offered two fire service degrees: Fire Service Administration and Fire Science Technology. I don't know why they eliminated the FST degree but I'm glad it was there in '93.
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

  13. #13
    Forum Member LADDER2EKU's Avatar
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    I currently am a freshman at Eastern Kentucky University, majoring in Fire, Arson, and Explosion Investigation. I recommend this University to anyone interested in the fire serivce as a career. Actually the ability to major in a firefighting program and obtain paramedic certification at the same time was one the things that helped me make the decision.
    As for the certifications I had FF-I and FF-II as well as EMT-B prior to the start of school. Recently there has been talk among the professors of teaching a FF-I class over the summer. With the wealth of knowledge they posses I imagine that this will be a well run and very educational operation.

    Best of luck to you and your son in your decision.

  14. #14

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    Thanks for all the advice for my son. This whole site has been great. We are going to drive from Indianapolis to visit the EKU campus this labor day weekend. We won't get to tour inside, etc. but at least my son will get to see the outside of the campus and the area and get a general feel for it.

    I must say that this has been a difficult career to research the path to becoming a career firefighter/paramedic. It seems there are many different approaches and opinions as well.

  15. #15
    Forum Member LADDER2EKU's Avatar
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    So coatfam, how was your visit to Eastern this weekend?

  16. #16
    Forum Member LADDER2EKU's Avatar
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    So coastfam, what did you and your son think of Eastern?

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    My advice: go to college for something totally non fire-related. Get experience with fire and EMS as a volunteer. Then get on the job somewhere where they will pay for you to go to school for fire science/public administration/etc. You win both times, and make yourself more valuable when you retire.

  18. #18

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    My son liked EKU. We just basically got to drive around the college and the area. We got out of the vehicle at the College of Justice and Safety and just peeked in the doors. We went into the dining hall and spoke with a student at the Information Desk.

    He starts the explorer program at the local fire dept. next week and is continuing to volunteer at the local community hospital (he has for 4 years). We've been in discussion about how to go about this career so much because of all the different options. It's been frustrating hearing/reading that going through the 4 year Fire Science will not really get him into the Fire Dept. He'd do his EMT this summer and do the minor in EMS and get his paramedic cert. but then not even have his Firefighter I & II. The 4 yr. Fire Science degree would help later for advancement I assume. Boy, it would be nice to have a program where you'd get your Firefighter I & II as part of the 4 year Fire Science. Maybe there's a reason that this doesn't seem to be available. ??

    Anyway, now he is really giving some thought to going to a college that offers the 5 year Freshman admit track for a Masters to become a Physician Assistant. Getting his EMT this summer would allow him to work as an EMT during the first three years of the Pre-Physician Assistant program.

    I think being at the Fire Dept. doing the explorer program will help him sort through this.

    Thanks again everyone!

  19. #19
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    The University of Akron (Akron, OH) both degree in Fire science and Emergency medical Services. As well as a Bachelor's in Emergency Management. To my knowledge Oklahma and Akron are the only two accredited universities to offer such programs. As a University of Akron alumni, I can vouch for the program.

    http://www.uakron.edu/index.php

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by EKURescueFF View Post
    Look into Eastern Kentucky University or Oklahoma State University as well. Both have 4 year programs that go into both fire issues and EHS. EKU also has a program called Assets Protection and Security which covers loss prevention as a whole. While at eastern you can also do your paramedic if you choose as a minor. Ultimately, certification comes from volunteering and/or taking training classes and not from a 4 year program. There are many two year programs that promise certification, however for the full 4 year programs the focus is primarily academic.

    Do more homework and you will find what you are looking for, you just have to decide what is most important.
    http://www.fireandsafety.eku.edu/

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