The 411 on Fire Science Degrees
Allison Tinney, Kayla Baxter | FireLink.com
Online v. Traditional
With new technology allowing easy access to information, many firefighters are considering taking fire science courses online. But along with an increase of online options comes the natural question of quality.
Are Online Degrees as Valued as Traditional Ones?
As far as fire science goes, yes. As long as you are taking courses within an accredited program, there is no question at all of validity. Keep in mind of course that you will still be required to go through an academy and prove physical aptitude. Online fire science programs are not a substitute for firefighter training.
Hiring and promotion committees are more likely to commend you for your after-hours dedication to furthering your education.
Because of the small number of fire science programs, interested firefighters often have a hard time finding courses that are not only within their area, but fit their schedules as well.
I had an interesting discussion about online degrees with Paul Lepore early this year. He recently completed a fire science degree online, and had a take on the matter that I hadn’t considered before. The typical firefighter Paul said, is dedicated, strong-willed, and self-motivated. Because there is no professor breathing down your neck to accomplish assignments, these are all character traits that are almost unspoken requirements for online course work.
Another point Paul made is that firefighters and those applying to the service often work multiple jobs, leaving little time for attending structured class. With a schedule that often clashes with the rest of the world, online courses offer the freedom of doing coursework at whatever time is convenient for you.
Combine the need for independence plus a natural motivation, and it becomes clear why online fire science degrees make so much sense.
You can read more about the importance of education in Paul Lepore’s book, The Aspiring Firefighter’s Two Year Plan.