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  • College-Should I transfer?

    I am currently about to finish the first the first simester of my sophmore year at a small liberal arts school. I got an interest in the fire service last year and got my EMT-B and Vol. Firefighter certification this past summer. I got hired on with a local paid per call department at the begining of the year. So far I LOVE the fire service. IMO the department I am with is top notch, I like the people I work with, and they are very experienced, with many being career themselves. They are very good with taking time to teach the probies.

    Here is my issue, I am currently a political science major, and my current school doesnt offer anything in fire science, business admin, ect. I could transfer to a school that is about 40 minutes away that offers 2 year degrees in EMS or Fire science, and a 4 yr degree in emergency management. But I dont want to leave my department, as im learning alot and gaining valuable real life experience.

    Right now the plan is to stick with where I am and finish what I started. I can gain experience as an EMT, then get my medic after I graduate. Poli-Sci, though unrelated, has taught me alot about leadership and interpersonal skills, which is valuable inthe fire service. I should have my 240 card by next year. In addition, having an unrelated degree might come in handy if the fire service doesnt work out.

    I guess I just wanted to check with others and see what my best option is at this time.

    Thanks for any advice!

    Ben

  • #2
    You may want to look into online classes, there are a several colleges that offer those certs via Internet.
    Eh?

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    • #3
      Ben,

      I was in the same boat that you were in...I was at ASU as a microbiology major for the past two years. You seem like a young guy, just like me - so I'm hoping I can relate. I did end up switching to another university (Grand Canyon University) to take up a Public Safety degree but I was still able to keep my pre-med concentration. Grand Canyon offers an online portion for the public safety degree...and thus far, I have loved it. You may want to look at it...www.gcu.edu. They took my firefighter I&2 and even counted it for credit. I was going to be a junior at ASU this year, but went into GCU with the ability to graduate in 3 years (by this Spring - in May). I thought it was an awesome setup...the classes are great, and I've loved the teachers that I've had. The instructors and the many of the students have been the fire service or some other form of public safety for a while, and they have all shed a ton of light on me. I've made some great contacts while taking the courses. They may work with you with the classes that you've already taken towards your political science degree...you never know. Eitherway, you're getting your education and you have a plan. I think many will agree with me that those are both very honorable tools to have under your belt....

      Your plan sounds a lot like mine...nearly identical minus the degree type. I'm hoping that I made the right choice by switching degrees. By finishing in three years, I was able to really do something that I wanted to do...start a medic program...which I'll be starting up in February. Check it out...you never know.
      Last edited by AZCadet33; 11-19-2006, 02:23 AM.

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      • #4
        I'm a paid reserve ff/emt in san diego county, and every firefighter I have talked to....captain, chief, engineer, paramedic, whatever, has told me that a degree is a degree. It doesn't matter if it's in engineering, psych, bio, whatever. As long as you have everything you need EMS related (EMT, ff1 academy, reserve/volunteer experience), then a degree in any field is fine. (But a paramdic cert is probably the most important in san diego county).

        Getting a 4 year degree shows you can set a goal and work toward it. It shows you can stay focused and achieve something that many people can not do. I know paramedic/firefighters that are in school right now for a 4 year degree, and it isn't fire related. Plus, in an interview, you can pretty much relate any degree to the fire service.... you mentioned interpersonal skills with the poly sci degree... that's perfect. I have a BA in sociology, and I've been told by respected indivduals in the fire service that a degree is sociology is just as good as a "fire related" degree. Plus, some departments like to see that you have some diversity.... that you have some life experiences that aren't all EMS related.

        In my opinion, I would continue working where you are, get experience, and finish out school where you are. As far as your resume goes, getting a BA in poli sci and working as a volunteer firefighter looks better than getting a fire related BA and not having fire experience.

        Degree or not, I still can't spell. Good luck with whatever you choose...

        Comment


        • #5
          The above poster hit the nail right on the head as far as the entry-level process is concerned. Where it may be a challenge down the road is if/when you look to promote. Most of the Chief Officer openings require a Bachelors degree in "a related field."

          Good luck with your decision. Whatever you do get a 4-year degree. You will be glad you did!

          Paul Lepore
          Battalion Chief
          www.aspiringfirefighters.com
          Paul Lepore
          Battalion Chief
          www.aspiringfirefighters.com

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          • #6
            a degree is a degree, but a business, pub admin, or fire related degree is probably better for the fire service. a good degree can also open up vast amount of off duty work or other options along the promotional trail. I personally chose the Fire Protection and Safety Engineering Technology bachelor's degree from Oklahoma State University because i felt it created lots of options. I currently do work in the fire marshals office in stillwater oklahoma part time while finishing my last year of school. i want to be a fire fighter and my degree does not relate anything to dragging a hose, but that is not why i chose it. It makes me a better well rounded fire fighter (as will any degree) but it gives me options in other areas i like. i love fire fighting but i also greatly enjoy fire marshal work. This degree was the best choice for me because i weighed out my options and chose a degree that was a match for my desires and personality. I advise you to do the same when considering transfering, but always keep in mind that you some day might want to promote to capt. then bc, then a white shirt and degrees help. no matter what you chose, enjoy it and work hard at it. in my opinion it isn't always whether you earned an a in the class or a c in a class, but can you apply what you have learned in a realistic situation and can you handle your self in a professional and tactful manner.

            here is what a good friend told me as i left for college after high school, "don't let your school work get in the way of your real education." college is your time to learn about yourself, make decisions and grow.

            best of luck to you in all you do.

            trevor

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            • #7
              Trevolp, you mentioned Public Admin, which is not too far off from political science(unfortunately my current school doesnt offer Pub Admin). Its a far way off, and obviously the first thing on my mind once I graduate is going to be medic school and getting hired. But I have toyed with the idea of getting a masters degree in Public Administration somewhere down the road. I would think something along that line would look really nice when it comes to promotions.

              Would a masters degree in Public Admin be considered "a related field" by most departments?
              Last edited by BFunk09; 11-20-2006, 07:27 PM. Reason: Spelling

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              • #8
                This guy had some success in polysci

                He is a 1960 graduate of the Fire Protection Technology program at Oklahoma State University and earned a degree in political science at Arizona State University in 1970. He graduated from the Urban Executives Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1973, followed by a Master of Public Administration degree from Arizona State in 1975.

                ___________

                recently retired Phoenix Fire Chief Alan Brunacini

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