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  • which degree

    if i were to get a degree in something other than fire science, such as math or chemistry. would they be just as helpful in getting hired?

  • #2

    Originally posted by inviscid
    if i were to get a degree in something other than fire science, such as math or chemistry. would they be just as helpful in getting hired?
    You might get different views on this topic.

    Well, if you're real goal is to become a firefighter why would you go after another degree that would not work in your favor?

    A fire captain had a son who wanted to be a firefighter but went off and got a degree in finance. He ended up having to defend his degree in his oral boards.

    Another candidate bound to be a firefighter said he got his degree in humanities. He said it was fun. Now he's ready to put his fire career on the front burner. Now he's having to play catch up with his buddies.

    This is a problem that many candidates face with degrees that are not fire related. The board will see this and follow the rabbit down the hole; spending time having you defend your position. How do you even begin to fire relate a degree in "Romance Languages, Art, Philosophy, Economics, etc.?"

    "Nothing counts 'til you have the badge . . . Nothing!"

    More Tips on getting hired and promoted by Firehouse Contributing Author Fire “Captain Bob” Articles here:

    Fire "Captain Bob"



    • #3
      A bachelor’s degree in any field will be a HUGE feather in your cap when it comes to taking an interview. Very few people actually work in the field in which they earned their degree.

      If I were you I would focus on Fire Administration, Fire Science Emergency Management or something related to the Fire Service. While it may not seem important NOW, when you have a few years under your belt you may be interested in seeking a position as a Chief Officer. Most of the openings require a degree in a “related field.”

      Good luck,

      Paul Lepore
      Battalion Chief
      Paul Lepore
      Battalion Chief


      • #4
        because if for some odd reason i decided i didnt want to be a firefighter anymore what else could i do with a fire science degree? basically i didnt know if it was that important to have a degree in fire science or if it was just as good to have one in something semi related like chemistry.


        • #5

          From the fire service end anything that supplements the skills is helpfull.
          IT, chemistry, engineering and especially trades like plumbing and electricians. I know one guy and he is a former fridge mechanic.
          From your end always make sure you have an alternative, an escape route.
          Not only on the fire ground but in life as well. You are young and healthy at the moment but in 15 years time you may have a crook back and be up S**t creek with your career. What do you do then?

          If you have a financial background then there are openings in the insurance industry. It depends on luck and the ability to make the most of opportunities.
          Last edited by wombat; 08-31-2006, 01:07 AM.
          These views are my own and not of either my brigade or any other organisation.


          • #6
            I'm currently going to Eastern Kentucky majoring in fire department administration. As far as back up plans go, quite a few of our grads go to work in the industrial field as safety/loss prevention personell. Making more money than I'll ever make riding the back of a fire truck.


            • #7
              Originally posted by inviscid
              if i were to get a degree in something other than fire science, such as math or chemistry. would they be just as helpful in getting hired?
              It may not be a huge help in actually getting the job and getting your foot in the door, but it will help a lot down the line, especially if you want to get into something such as haz-mat or investigations (the chemistry that is).

              If you are trying to get HIRED, you may want to think about obtaining some EMS certs.


              • #8
                I have two fire science degrees (Arson Investigation and Fire Science Administration, UNH). I have worked in a lot of areas -- UL's anti-counterfeiting dept., a Congressman in WDC (one of his top priorities is first responders), and my next position is the best yet -- a crisis and emergency management consulting firm in WDC. So, there are alternatives.
                "When I was young, my ambition was to be one of the people who made a difference in this world. My hope is to leave the world a little better for my having been there."
                -- Jim Henson (1936 - 1990)


                • #9
                  I don't know how far you are willing to travel or relocate for school, But Oklahoma State University in stillwater oklahoma has the best and only true Fire Protection and Safety Engineering Technology degree in the nation. Now let me explain. Eastern Kentucky and Maryland have bachelor's in fire science and fire protection. But they are both based off of our fire program and were started by alumnus from our school and after talking to all of them, they agree we have the better program. Also, eastern kentucy is not an accredited program, so it's a degree, but it doesn't mean much cause it hasn't been validated.

                  Now let me explain the true benefit of OSU's program, we are essentially TWO DEGREES IN ONE. If you look at the title it says fire protection and safety. There are about 60 schools across the nation with safety but not that get you fire background also, which is a major benefit if you are going into industry, and our heaviest recruiters are oil and gas companies and large industry. They recruit our grads as safety managers but give them responsibilities in the area of fire protection. Our program is the only one on osu campus that they make this statement about....."if you want a job you can get one, there are more employers seeking our graduates than graduates seeking jobs."

                  also, i'm going to give you a brief explanation of our program. we take classes in basic fire protection ideas, life safety code, fire dynamics, and extensive knowledge of sprinkler system design and code enforcement. that is just the fire part of it in a nutshell. the safety side, we have classes in occupational safety rules and regs (federally regulated similar to nfpa), hazwhoper and industrial hazmat, implementing safety programs, industrial loss prevention, and numerous other safety classes.

                  our graduates leave school earning any where between 35,000 and 65,000 depending on what kind of job you do, who you work for, and where you end up located at ( cost of living in certain areas is drastically higher than others). the job opportunities range from Fire marshal, Fire protection specialist, fire protection engineers, safety engineers, safety managers, Fire fighters, sprinkler system designers, plans review and many others that i can't even think of. i personally am in my last year at OSU and have a full year internship with the stillwater fire department performing building inspections, sprinkler plans reviews, alarm plans reviews, working with the life safety code and anything else a fire marshal does.....i do it all. i do work for the training officer also on occasion. the internship programs and opportunities that are available are a great asset and often pay well. if this is something you are interested i invite you to check it out at http://fpst.okstate.edu. if you have any questions i also encourage you to send me a private message. this goes for any other high school student or student who might be at a JU-CO or community college and wants more.

                  by the way, i personnally plan on fighting fire for the rest of my life but i love my school and i value my degree.


                  • #10

                    First off I agree with most of what you said. Oklahoma State is the place to go if you're looking for a job that is more safety/industry related.

                    What I feel we offer at EKU is a degree for someone who plans on entering the FIRE SERVICE, not general industry. I visited OK State roughly four years ago and remember sitting in the office with one of your professors who told me that if I wanted to be a firefighter this wasn't the place for me.

                    As far as Alumni from OK State starting our program, I have no idea if thats true. If it is, I'd love to know their names and when they told you that your program is a better choice than ours. Our program has been around since 1975 and I've yet to meet the founders of our program in my four years down here... I would also like to think it is a point of pride for you that your Alumni started another program, not a point against it being a good school. I would hope that you would have more faith and pride in your alumni than that. We are extremely proud and have a great relationship with our Alumni who started up a four year program at the University of North Carolina Charlotte. They have a great program down there and an even greater bunch of students. The more programs that get started the better I feel the fire service will be in the end.

                    I really don't like these ****ing matches but I just don't like the way in which you say a degree from EKU "doesn't mean much." A great example of the way OK State has changed is my roomate. My roomates father is part of the generation of fire chiefs that made OK State what it is today. People like Brunnacini, my roomates father, and others that went to OK State when it was still a program devoted to creating the next generation of leadership in the fire service. Sadly it's no longer that, and EKU has been steadly molding their program for individuals who wish to be in program that picks up the ball that OK State dropped for indivduals whose first job out of college will be in the back of a firetruck. If OK State is the place to go why wouldn't he have pushed his son towards OK State instead of EKU?

                    I can't emphasize enough that if I had a close friend that wanted to make bundles of money and work in general industry as a safety manager, fire protection engineer, or something along those lines I would reccomend OK State. If that same friend told me they were wanting a career as a firefighter and wanted the connections and degree that would help prepare them as a future leader in the fire service I would reccomend EKU.

                    Here is a listing of the classes I've been required to take to fullfill my degree in Fire Department Administration(our other option is in fire, arson, and explosion investigation):

                    FSE 101 Introduction to Codes & Standards
                    FSE 120 Chemistry & Dynamics of Fire
                    FSE 200 Applied Fire & Safety Analysis
                    FSE 221 Fire Detection & Suppression Systems
                    FSE 305 Hazardous Materials
                    FSE 320 Principles of Fire & Safety Supervision
                    FSE 361 Principles of Occupational Safety & Health
                    FSE 201 Designing Building Fire Safety
                    FSE 223 Fire and Emergency Scene Operations
                    FSE 225 Legal Aspects of Fire Protection & Safety
                    FSE 250 Introduction to Fire, Arson & Explosion Investigation
                    FSE 350 Fire, Arson and Explosion Investigation I
                    FSE 360 Fire Protection Hydraulics & Water Supply (Prerequisite: College Algebra Course)
                    FSE 400 Fire Protection Administration
                    FSE 450 Fire, Arson and Explosion Investigation II
                    POL377 Public Budgeting
                    ENG 300 Introduction to Technical & Professional Writing
                    POL 376 Public Personnel Policy
                    TRS 233 Emergency and Defensive Driving Techniques

                    Also have 37 hours of general education required by the University.

                    p.s. if anyone is looking for a career in fire investigations EKU is also the place to go. Our two fire investigation professors both have over 20 years expierence and are very influential in NAFI and the NFPA 921 committee. Our explosion investigation instructor was the former head of the FBI Bomb Data Center, enough said there.

                    Last edited by bobbymurphy; 09-22-2006, 10:30 PM.


                    • #11
                      Oh, and on the accredition issue I need educated. I know the university as a whole is accredited but under what organization is your program accredited. I have a hard time believing that there is an accredidation orgranization for our specific program at EKU conisidering a strong argument can be made that our two majors (fire administration and arson investigation) are one of a handful in the nation.


                      • #12
                        i will agree i was sat down and told that ok-stateisnot where i should go if i wanted to be a firefighter, i made my choice otherwise. i feel that it is truely an amazing school and i agree it has converted to being more industry oriented. also to improve our fire service occupation, we now have a minor in disaster management. also we have numerous electives which are designed for management in the fire service (issues of local government and the fire service, fire service management, incident management and disaster response....this is just the few i took) we are a good school and we are working at creating an option tailored to fire service oriented people such as myself and you.

                        i was not meaning to degrade or belittle your school, i now realize that i came off as attempting to do so and i appologize. and i must state the last i checked on the accredited status of schools was 3 years ago. On that subject, the way our program is accredited is that the school is accredited as an institution of higher learning but the degree itself is accredited through abbet which accredits all engineering and tech programs, and there is an accredidation congress for buisness programs, human sciences programs, education programs, and so on. similar to ifsac, pro board and national fire academy approving fire service classes. if anyone else has more insight on this please let me know, it would be appreciated so i don't make a fool of myself too often.

                        in my own self defense, the individual that started the thread stated he wanted options incase firefighting wasn't what he wanted, our degree creates numerous options still related to fire protection (municipal or private) or he can go industry. and i will agree, industry pays well and sways a lot of people but it is crooked as hell. i'm a fire service person, and i learn that i love fire fighting but i also realize the best fire and life safety protection is proactive, not reactive. if we mitigate a problem before it occurs, then there truely isn't a problem. we will always need firefighters/rescue personnel, and that is what i want to do, i want to be there on people's worse days and help, but i also want to prevent those days from occuring.

                        i hope i haven't made myself seem lika and *** again and i appologize for it. but if the thread starter wants lots of options, and job opportunities, i PERSONALLY feel that osu is an outstanding choice. by they way we have a masters in fire and emergency management which is great but. about 3/4 is fire management (chief officer level) and the other 1/4 is disaster management (natural disasters, terorist, mass casualty.....etc)

                        i wish nothing but good luck to EKU, andhope that all programs in fire service/prevention increase in numbers, but more importantly quality. by the way, are the rumors true that texas weslayan is starting a fire management school?

                        i encourage all to explore their options, but no matter what you do, get some sort of degree please. here is why.

                        100 years ago your dentist cut your hair, gave you a shave and bath, now we have dental schools and extensive training. in the fire service, the better educated we are now, the better we will be in the future, no matter if you have a business degree or a fire degree.


                        • #13
                          Get real

                          Lets get something straight

                          EKU's Fire Protection Program is NOT ACCREDITED. PERIOD

                          The degree has no engineering value outside of KY

                          I don't care how much fun you have there and yes you probably learn something but that is irrevelant. Instructors are probablly great and very knowledgeable. Doesn't matter.

                          I always get a laugh by those that attack OSU as not being a school for the fire service. It is usually done by schools that can't step it up.

                          If you want to have a career in the municipal fire service OSU is the best place you can go.

                          As of this semester OSU offers
                          A BS in fire protection and industrial safety engineering technology
                          A BS in Emergency Management/ Fire administration
                          A MS in Fire and Emergency Management Administration
                          The ability to double major

                          If you double major you have the ULTIMATE FIRE SERVICE EDUCATION.
                          OSU has the best reputation for a reason. This "rep" is not showing signs of changing any time soon.
                          You do not have to focus on industrial safety in the degree program although I have found aspects of it helpful in the FD

                          Remember you get what you pay for (Effort wise)

                          Speeking of paying. Why would you spend the 10's of thousands of dollars to get a degree that does not qualify you to take the EIT.

                          For some reason the fire service has had a hard time stepping up to professional standards.
                          The PD did it in the 70's. No more volunteer cops. Way Way more federal funding for the cops. They are a profession. They will all tell you that.

                          The fire service missed the boat. EKU and the degree program in Houston TX are adding to the problem. Lack of professional standards by these schools is contributing to the problem. Step up or get out. EKU needs to be straight with there prospective students about lack of accrediation. Telling them we are working on it is a joke. Until they get it STAY AWAY. You are wasting your money.

                          If you are a Fire Technology student there now for your sake go anywhere else. But get out of there. You will thank me later.

                          In the interest of full disclosure I have a long time friend that went to OSU and EKU. Neither degrees are fire related. He liked EKU. EKU is a good school overall, just not in the world of fire. He is a Rupp by the way.

                          OSU has never claimed to be the place for fire investigation. If you want that, go to a community college that is accredited. There are many out there that are excellent.

                          Claims have been made that accreditation does not matter! Are you kidding me. If that is true I will be happy to mail you a diploma from my newly formed college.

                          Trevolp, who ever you are. You do not need to appoligize for demanding professional standards, and also for pointing out the truth.

                          Your roomates father may have thought that his boy can't compete at OSU; it also may be about money. I find this relevation shocking. It cannot be because of the quality comparision between the schools. Maybe he wants to stay close to home??

                          I have been in the fire service for a while and I have to say the OSU experience is something I would NEVER trade away. I competed against 400 for 9 spots and was hired immediately.

                          When I looked at EKU in the early 1990's they told me they were working on accreditation. If it is no big deal or is not necessary then why are they STILL working on it.

                          Also if accreditation is no big deal then why are UM, WPI, and OSU the only programs that are recognized for you to get your PE licence?

                          BS Fire protection and Safety Engineering OSU
                          MS Emergency Management OSU
                          Last edited by OSUFIREGRAD98; 12-10-2008, 11:30 PM.
                          Steve. MS BS CFPS
                          IAFF 856


                          • #14

                            Nice to meet you and welcome to the conversation.

                            First off, to say a degree from EKU is worthless outside of Kentucky is just plain wrong. The University is fully accredited as a whole. We have three degree options within our program. Fire Protection Administration, Fire Protection Investigation, and Fire and Safety Engineering Technology. To my knowledge there is no accrediting organization for programs dealing with Fire Protection Administration and Fire Protection Investigation. Please enlighten me if I'm wrong. You could definately make a strong argument against the Fire Protection Engineering Option, but due to the fact that probably less than 5-10% of our students actually choose program are I'll concede that point to you.(I've always considered the Fire Eng. option a "pre med" option due to the fact that it's mainly the bachelor degree option for students who will be eventually pursueing a masters level degree within the industrial safety program."

                            After doing some research I found this:

                            OSU's Fire and Safety Engineering Program has accrediation through ABET which focuses on applied science, computing, engineering, and technology. Fire program accreditation doesn't really seem to be too high on ABET's functions as it's not even listed as a curricular area on their website.

                            Also found an interesting quote from the Department of Education: "Despite the widely recognized benefits and accountability of accreditation, some instutions choose, for various reasons, not to participate in an accreditation process. According to the United States Department of Education, it is possible for postsecondary educational institutions and programs to elect not to seek accreditation but nevertheless provide a quality postsecondary education"

                            However EKU is accredidated as a whole by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in which the college of Justice and Safety is reviewed under this accredidation.

                            As far as the degree holding no value I have to strongly disagree with you. I'm in the process of applying with several departments, one of which gives 5 points for having a degree. There were no questions as to the validity of my degree whatsoever. In addition to that, I have also applied for an officer position with the Marine Corps, once again there was no questioning the validity of my degree. Somehow I've made it through the fire department background checks without my "degree being thrown in the trash" as you have told people it would.

                            So I guess EKU has two options. They can either take the OSU route and pay an accrediting body that has very little to do with the program just so they can say the individual program is "accredited" or they can accept the fact that there is no "accrediting" agency when your program is the only of it's kind.(Fire Invest Program)

                            Just don't say it's a poor program due to the fact that there is no accrediting agency that actualy deals with what our programs offer.


                            Bobby Murphy


                            • #15

                              You are exactly right. EKU is legitimate as well as the College of Justice and Safety. I believe there are some hostilities out there toward EKU because it is taking the lead in turning out the next leaders of the FIRE SERVICE. Afterall, EKU is the school attending the conferences and making the contacts. As far as an undergrad degree, OSU is second in fire administration, and as has been stated, doesn't compete in arson and explosion investigation. Simply EKU is the place to go for a career on a fire department. There aren't enough Fire programs out there for anyone to even worry about whether it was accredited by ABET, as long as the University itself, and the College containing the degree, is regionally accredited. This has already been established. Now, if we are talking about a Fire Protection Engineering degree, all of my research shows that the University of Maryland is the only school that offers an accredited bachelor of science ENGINEERING degree in this field. If this is what Steve is talking about, then OSU is not accredited either.

                              Also, my resume has never been thrown into the trash. In fact, I'm quite confident that it has elevated me from competition in application and testing processes. I've tested four places. Been offered three jobs (the other department is in the process of laying off people). These are pretty good odds, and a lot of it is attributed to my degree.

                              To address OSU: Not in its prime anymore for turning out fire DEPARTMENT employees and leaders, from the undergraduate program. Still a great school and highly respected, especially its graduate program, which I currently am considering. I believe in expanding my horizons beyond my beloved undergraduate institution. By the way, I can get into the graduate program at OSU even with that degree that doesn't mean anything outside of KY, go figure...... Back to my point, the only person I've ever met that is a graduate of the OSU program told me that he rarely ever cracked a book. I know I personally worked hard but had no problem making it through EKU. I am not saying that EKU is more difficult, because until a person has personnally been through both experiences, they cannot say for sure. However, no one will ever get me to concede that OSU is more difficult and therefore a much better school.

                              The bottom line is this, I'm laying it out there so that people are not turned away from EKU by a misinformed OSU ALUM. I personally do not care about OSU and their Alumni's opinion of EKU. To those that feel they are far ahead of us EKU Alumni, we'll see you out there. Only time will tell, when we are actually out there competing for jobs in the fire service. However, I have a good feeling that there will be plenty of glory and successful positions for both programs, and even the almost brand new UNCC.

                              So........ We'll see you out there in the next twenty years.


                              P.S. I think we can all concede that not every graduate of any program is worthwhile in that field. Let us not judge too quickly. I've seen some duds slip through the cracks, as I know everyone else has. Anyone that deny's this is lying, and is not worth communicating with.


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