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Complete Guide to Accredited Fire Schools

Complete Guide to Accredited Fire Schools

FireLink.com / USFA

The National Fire Academy (NFA) lists institutions that have regional accreditation from one of the six regional accrediting agencies recognized by the Council of Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) or the U.S. Department of Education (ED). This listing is not an endorsement of any one institution over another, and it is not an endorsement of any one accrediting association over another. It is merely a helpful reference service to the national firefighting community.

CHEA and ED also recognize other – sometimes called national – accrediting associations, which accredit educational institutions that offer fire science programs.

The NFA list, however, does not include these other institutions, because of possible conflicts with fire department policies and collective bargaining agreements in the area of higher education. Specifically, in the areas of tuition reimbursement for college courses, incentives for earning your degree and promotions to ranks requiring a degree, policy and contract language often state that only courses and degrees from regionally accredited institutions will be accepted.

While any institution that is accredited by an accrediting association that meets either CHEA or ED criteria for national recognition should be a quality degree program, there may be consequences for fire and emergency services personnel if their fire department requires degrees or credits only from a regionally accredited institution.

You are encouraged to check your department’s particular policies and contract language. We are aware that some students have experienced difficulty attempting to transfer course credits from non-regionally accredited schools to regionally accredited schools.

Finally, you should also beware of the widespread existence of “degree or diploma mills,” as they not only lack any of the aforementioned legitimate, recognized accreditation, they are also known to claim accreditation from a “fake” or unrecognized accrediting agency.

In summary, not all institutions that grant degrees are accredited by the legitimate ED or CHEA recognized accrediting organizations. Unless you are certain that the institution you are considering is accredited by a CHEA or ED recognized accrediting body, you should research the source of the institution’s accreditation carefully before enrolling.

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