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  • Bachelors - Is it worth it?

    Hello all. I am currently in the hiring process for a paid department, and have volunteered for a few years. I believe I have a fair chance of getting into a paid department. I have been considering going to school to get my bachelors degree in Fire Science. As you all know, to do this would be very costly, and very time consuming. I dont mind taking the time, or spending the money, if I know that it would give me a distinct advantage within the department, such as promotion. I dont want to feel like I wasted the time and effort if there was another way to go. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!!

  • #2
    At the entry level, you are better off going to medic school.

    Comment


    • #3
      screw medic school (ok dont screw medic school, you dont know where she has been).... but GET THE DEGREE nonetheless!

      Here's the ultimate solution... take the JOB, and take online courses to get your degree... by the time you are ready to take the promotional exams you will have completed the degree and you will also have experience to boot. Also getting your degree while working fulltime shows upmost dedication to the job, is it going to be easy? Nope. Will it be worth it... i cant see how it wont be worth it.

      just my two cents!
      "Some people train till they get it right, we will train till we can't get it wrong"

      Is gaire cabhair de na an doras

      Virtete et Valare Luceo Non Uro

      Comment


      • #4
        schooling never stops

        get your degree if you truely want it then medic school. make sure you get them both. i know this is the best job in the world, but you have your whole life to do it. why not set yourself up to be the best now? it is hard to, but doable to earn a degree while working shift....but, it is still a challenge. Do what you want but think about it, weigh out the options and once you make a decision, stick by your guns and go with it.

        best of luck in whatever you do.

        p.s. if you are looking at OSU i can give lots of info

        Comment


        • #5
          also to add...

          if you want to get your degree while working full time (the fd lets you goto class), check out the university of Alaska fairbanks. Its the only university fire department that has an entire service district. they cover the west end of fairbanks, the international airport (FAI has ARFF), rit to the city and a population of 20000+. they operate 2 stations staffing up to 2 engines, a ladder, one battalion and 2 medic units (if things havent changed). Also the department is very proactive and is always training. Its a great system. www.uaf.edu for the school or www.uaf.edu/fire for the FD.

          TONS of wildland FF (and bank to boot. in 2004 alaska burned over 6.7 million acres). good structure experience and ems to boot. If you like to work hard and like working under captains that expect only the best... UFD is for you.
          "Some people train till they get it right, we will train till we can't get it wrong"

          Is gaire cabhair de na an doras

          Virtete et Valare Luceo Non Uro

          Comment


          • #6
            I am back in school getting my degree because I think it's woth it.
            Paul Lepore
            Battalion Chief
            www.aspiringfirefighters.com

            Comment


            • #7
              Reasons to get your degree:

              This job will NOT last your entire life. Eventually you will retire, and if you cannot live off the pension, the degree will allow you the possibility to get a much better job.

              This job may not pay enough for you while you are doing it, again the degree will allow you the possibility of getting a better job to supplement a firefighter income.

              Lastly, god forbid you end up injured and cannot do the job anymore, the college degree will allow you the possibility of getting a better paying job then if u don't have it.

              Get the degree!!!

              Comment


              • #8
                i agree 100% with dantcfd. plus many departments offer extra money every month for degrees. think of it this way, use the money to pay off your student loans, then once that is done, money in the bank, little extra jingle in the pockets, or a boat, whatever you want.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Education will never hurt you.

                  to be able to use the advanced degree you have to get the J-O-B first.

                  But if you really want to get a firefighter job consider these points:

                  Is there a requirement for an advanced degree to get a firefighter job?

                  Answer: Few if any. A fraction of departments list an advanced degree as desirable but not required.

                  Where are up to 80% of the job offerings?

                  Answer: Fire/medics

                  There are up to 800 candidates chasing each firefighter job. How many are chasing a fire/medic job?

                  Answer: 12-20. Which odds do you like better?

                  Ask yourself who is getting the badges? The vast majority of candidates we see get hired do not have advanced degrees. They're more in the line of EMT, FF1 academy, working on or have an AA or AS degree or medics. Some have no fire education or experience. Their biggest asset was they leaned how to take an interview.

                  What’s the time line? If you’re just starting college and want to get your BA, it could take you 4 maybe 5 or more years depending on when you can line up and complete all your classes and requirements. Then, if you wanted to go further the timing it to get into and academy and or paramedic school and get some street time another 2+ years? So around 7 years give or take to get in position to go after the badge. Are you going to need student loans? Do you have a special person in your life who is going to wait while you pursue your career? How long can you tread water?

                  Can you continue your education once you’re hired? Will departments give you an education incentive?

                  Answer: Yes to both.

                  Yes, having a degree will help with promotions but how long will it be before you will qualify to take a promotional exam?

                  Answer: Engineer depending on the agency 3 plus years. An officer? Five or more years. So if you get on you could obtain the necessary education before your first promotional test to be in position. And, the department will pay for you to go to college. And, to be able to use the advanced degree you have to get the J-O-B first.
                  Last edited by CaptBob; 11-22-2006, 07:15 AM.
                  _____________________________________________

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

                  More Tips on getting hired and promoted by Firehouse Contributing Author Fire “Captain Bob” Articles here:
                  http://www.firehouse.com/contact/10544410/bob-smith


                  Fire "Captain Bob"

                  www.eatstress.com

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thank you all for your insight!! Its been very helpful. Im going to sign up for spring classes tomorrow!! Good luck to all of you in your own ventures!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I am a little unclear about where you are in the hiring process, but you should certainly continue to pursue your education. It will definitely be worth it. Look at the percentage of replies in the affirmative, and it should be very clear that it is becoming an incredibly valuable asset.

                      I used my degree prior to getting a firefighter J-O-B as a teacher. The experience of being a schoolteacher was invaluable to my getting hired.

                      Medic school is 6 months. The medic school option is not "either/or". If you're interested in getting a degree do it now. Wherever you are in life, it will only become more difficult to obtain as the years wear on.

                      Good luck, and keep at it!
                      Chris
                      Professional Firefighter

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Let me say that I am the EMS coordinator of a major fire department that runs 60,000 calls each year. I am the one who administers the test to send our firefighters to go to paramedic school. If necessary, I will send a firefighter who doesn't really want to go. I am still certified as a medic (22 years) and I look at my time on the box as one of the best times in my career.
                        You and I go round and round on this subject. I understand that in your small area of the country a paramedic license is pretty much required to take the entry-level exams. You are giving blanket advice to the rest of the country that simply isn't true.

                        I have said it before and I will say it again that I would rather see a candidate spend the time getting FIRE SCIENCE education, including the basic fire academy. He or she should spend time learning to take a FIRE DEPARTMENT interview and become physically fit.

                        If a candidate does these things he will be in a great position to get hired as a firefighter.

                        Your advice to drop everything and become a paramedic may hold true to your region, however, in mine while it helps it is far from a prerequisite.

                        Before you count the number of departments that are hiring medics only, I will remind you that many small departments require a paramedic license. The vast majority of departments have open, competitive exams. For those departments who do require a medic license, many require a basic fire academy as well. So, while encouraging candidates to go to medic school, many who graduate have to also go to a basic fire academy just to qualify to take the exam. If the candidate would have gone to the academy first he probably would have been able to avoid the expense and effort of becoming a paramedic.

                        When you tally all of the entry-level firefighter badges awarded across the country each year, a very small percentage are awarded to paramedics.

                        I got an email from a candidate last night who was hired and dropped from a fire department academy. (Actually, the email was from his wife). She said that from the start he was behind everyone else in the group. All of the others had been through a basic fire academy. After 10 weeks of a 12-week academy he was let go. In retrospect he wishes he had invested his time in going through a basic fire academy.
                        Paul Lepore
                        Battalion Chief
                        www.aspiringfirefighters.com

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          Originally posted by BCLepore
                          Before you count the number of departments that are hiring medics only, I will remind you that many small departments require a paramedic license. The vast majority of departments have open, competitive exams. For those departments who do require a medic license, many require a basic fire academy as well. So, while encouraging candidates to go to medic school, many who graduate have to also go to a basic fire academy just to qualify to take the exam. If the candidate would have gone to the academy first he probably would have been able to avoid the expense and effort of becoming a paramedic.

                          When you tally all of the entry-level firefighter badges awarded across the country each year, a very small percentage are awarded to paramedics.
                          Chief, I *always* respect your opinion and position on this issue. But I need to respond to two items in your post.

                          Attending fire academy before getting hired. The east coast model does not consider prior fire academy training as valuable, a preferred qualification or an indicator of success. They are still working from the 19th century model of hiring the most physically, mentally and morally capable candidates and molding them into the type of firefighter they want.

                          I agree that those that have fire academy/firefighting experience tend to do better/are less stressed in the municipal recruit school than those with no experience. More important than that experience is that the candidate is physically fit, have the mental capacity (reading level 14th grade) and the study skill sets to successfully complete recruit school.

                          The candidates that have done the best in a municipal recruit school are returning miltary veterans and those who already are on the job (usually in a smaller department.)

                          If you are trying to get on a department that only opens the hiring process every couple of years (FDNY - 4 year cycle), then there is time to attend a fire academy or get experience. The now-departed Fire Patrol was one way guys started their NYC careers.

                          Small number of entry-level badges that are issued to non-paramedic/firefighters. While that may be true in your neighborhood, in metro Washington DC fire departments are offering employment to every paramedic that passes the pre-employment process.

                          The small percentage of ff/pm badges may reflect the universe of available paramedics that can pass a municipal pre-employment process and not reflect the employer interest. Five years ago Los Angeles and San Francisco passed emergency legislation to allow accelerated hiring of candidates with paramedic certifications. They needed 1000 providers immediately.

                          There are two characteristics that majority-male candidates can obtain to improve their chances of municipal employment: military service and paramedic certification.

                          I have listened to dozens of smart, capable majority males who are frustrated after years working at the municipal fire department application process. They have taken a half-dozen CPATs, entry exams and interviews. By now, most of them have a couple years experience as volunteer firefighters and have completed Firefighter II training. Some of them have applications in a dozen metro-sized fire departments. Their stories make me sad.

                          In my corner of the fire service world, they would have been better served by getting a paramedic certificate and NOT going to fire school.

                          Mike
                          Last edited by MikeWard; 11-26-2006, 11:24 AM. Reason: spelling, grammar

                          Comment


                          • #15
                            I have listened to dozens of smart, capable majority males who are frustrated after years working at the municipal fire department application process. They have taken a half-dozen CPATs, entry exams and interviews. By now, most of them have a couple years experience as volunteer firefighters and have completed Firefighter II training. Some of them have applications in a dozen metro-sized fire departments. Their stories make me sad.

                            I talked to a guy in the store today who was wearing an academy t-shirt. I asked him how it was going. He said he came out of the academy and hit it hard for a few years than lost the scent. One of the reasons he had to stop testing was he had build up some dept along the way and he had to get another job to stay afloat. His buddy went to medics school and has been a firefighter for 1 ½. He said if he had it to do over again he would have gone to medic school with his buddy.

                            All you have to do to find out who is testing for firefighters and fire/medics is check the job listings on this and the other job offering sites. The vast majority are for fire/medics. I mentioned that some people don’t believe it could be up to 80% of the job offers are for fire/medics to an owner of an online firefighter job listing service. The reply was that’s ridiculous. Right now it’s more than 80% on our site.

                            This from the west coast:

                            You can’t use isolated large departments to gauge how it is in all areas of California or the country. They are LARGE departments, and they are certainly not representative of the hundreds of other departments in California.

                            I know where I live; there is one BLS fire department in the county. All others ONLY hire paramedics. None will send you to paramedic school, and only a couple will send you to any "academy" style training after you are hired.

                            If you want a job with a department who's only entry level position is that of Firefighter/Paramedic, guess what? You aren't getting hired without your paramedic license. There are MANY departments like this. I would say that the overwhelming majority of departments don't send their employees to paramedic school. They want you qualified for their entry level position day one.


                            Good Luck!

                            FireMedic
                            _____________________________________________

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

                            More Tips on getting hired and promoted by Firehouse Contributing Author Fire “Captain Bob” Articles here:
                            http://www.firehouse.com/contact/10544410/bob-smith


                            Fire "Captain Bob"

                            www.eatstress.com

                            Comment

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