I get my love for the fire service from my dad that has been fighting fire for 28 years and is planing on retiring in 4 years, he is a LT for a full time department in KS and can get his CPT because he doesn't have the degree for it. When did the little paper on the wall become more valuable then the knowledge that he has about the job? I under stand how in portent it is for someone my age and I am working on getting my degree, but should it really stop someone that is from the time where you didn't need a degree to your CPT? I geuss I just do get how they wount let him retire as a CPT. That is why I am bringing it up here, so any thing that can help explane this better to me.
what kind of guy would you like as CPT? The one with no degree that has been there for over 20 years and you know things will get done when you have him do it. Or the guy that has a degree and has been there for 10 years. I don't think you should be on for at lest 10 years before you get your LT and 15 years for CPT.
What we may think doesn't really matter here, the rules are set in place by his dept and that is what they are going by. There are pros and cons in every system out there and while he may be a good leader and can do the job well, it is up to the dept to establish how promotions are done.
OK the old school firefighter with old school experience is just that, usually old school. Now unless he is a very passionate person and has tried to remain on the cutting edge of training and technology. If so, he's not old school at all and probably would have a degree already.
Not to mention, you have seen only one side of the story, his side. Or what you have heard from home. Maybe a Captain has greater responsibilities? Maybe they have to deal with a budgetary issues, maybe more public relations, maybe even polictical BS. I have seen the gammet with how senior staff positions are used around the US. Then again maybe not. You state he goes in with the guys, and is always training the new guy.... great. Maybe the Captain's role is none of that? Probably why the captain doesn't do it now. Maybe a captain is a command position, management of personnel and safety, completely different role to be out in the street as compared to a hands on company officer. Then you have to deal with non-emergency shift dynamics, interpersonal dynamics with a group, dealing with all the members of a shift or platoon and not just a company, then there is personal reviews, evaluations and dealing with disciplinary actions, setting goals, working through grievances, etc.
You see most progessive departments are seeing an associates degree for entry level firefighters, a bachelors for promotions, and require masters for the Fire Chief. And if you think that little piece of paper is just that, paper, then all of those credits, classes, and projects were for nothing???
Not to sound sacrastic, but if every great LT was all the department needed, then everybody in the LT position would be qualified to be the Fire Chief of said department. Unfortunately this isn't a vollie dept. where anybody can be voted into any position.
FETC - I believe you are misinformed about volunteer departments. I've been part of two departments, and numerous companies within each, and I assure you the training and experience requirements for volunteer officers are quite stringent.
Maybe my experience is unique, I'm sure there are rural towns in the US where anything goes. Personally I have never seen a department that didn't have specific training requirements for officer positions.
Sorry but I am not mis-informed. In the northeast USA, many volunteer fire departments have annual voting process for all officer positions, some of which have very little training requirements, (IE: a pulse)
As for your knowledge, in the USA you can be a volunteer firefighter and never take a certified class ever... There is no mandatory certifications or training requirements. I know of some departments that have only one or two SCBA certified members, so essentially they are an "exterior only" fire department.
I even know some fire chief's who do not have their FF-1 certification. Granted I know this is not the case for every volunteer department... but there are many threads here on FFN with many debates about the "popularity contest" for appointing officer positions.
In context to the original thread, my point is just because you have been on a department a long time, it doesn't mean you are qualified to be an officer or should be granted a promotion due to longevity.
Vic, I will have to side with FETC on this one. My department does not have any requirements other then popular vote. We have been lucky in the fact that once elected the officers man up to the position and get the standard formal training, but they could just as easily not get the training and they would stand until the next election. Times are changing in Northern Maine and there is greater emphasis on training now. However there are still some volunteer departments around that place no credibility on training. These departments will change in time, part because of the change in the FD culture, and part due to restrictions placed on them by the state, feds, and insurance companies. Your departments are doing things right and hopefully in time this will be the standard everybody plays by. For now there are still departments running by the seat of their pants.
In the 20 some years I have been in firefighting I have seen many changes, having a degree being one of them. When I first started you were handed your equipment and trained in house. Then came state certification, now it's college degrees, times change, things change for good or bad. I do agree it has to do more so with showing ambition and dedication to learning new things. Not saying someone that doesnt have a degree isn't dedicated or ambitious, but the ones that do the hiring/promoting look at it, and you have to remember, alot of the people doing the hiring/promoting know nothing of the job, so they go by education.
The degree is important, because it shows people outside our profession that we are working on professionalizing ourselves in something besides dragging hose and chopping holes in roofs.
90% or more of what most company officers do is NOT leading the troops in firefighting. Company officers have to deal with personnel issues, planning, scheduling, training, information-gathering, organizing, setting and conducting discipline, research, public relations, setting ethical standards, ensuring successful group living, and a host of other things that being a 20-year firefighter might not teach you. Even if a 20-year firefighter learns those things, it might be just to learn "the way we've always done it."
I'm not saying that's how all non-degreed officers are or that all degreed officers are successful at all of the above, because neither is absolute. However, when you look at the people that run the public sector, you see college degrees in management, political science, law, engineering, or human resources. The people that lead our profession are facing increasing demands to show a level of professional education not seen even a decade ago.
If the lack of a degree is holding him back, then the obvious answer is "go get a degree". There are plenty of adult learner programs offered online or in non-traditional settings and with non-traditional schedules.
If the rank requires qualifications ABC and XYZ, a candidate that lacks one of the qualifications isn't likely to get the promotion, no matter what. Bitching about it won't help. Obtaining a job-related degree probably will.
You can look at this as subjective vs. objective criteria. The good old boy network relies solely on subjective opinions. Objective criteria removes 'opinions' from the equation. Degrees, certs, time in grade etc are all things that can be put on paper. He's a great guy can't.
I didn't think anyone would bring it up, but I'm glad you did. I'm a 16 year veteran of the fire service and have one class until I complete my degree in Fire Science. Everyone should push to be a more educated and experienced fire fighter.
Alot has changed I am get my degree in Fire Protection and last semester there were three guys from a paid department in this class. There was a lieeutenant, capitain and a battalion chief. They were all from the same department and as each semester starts out when you have to stand up and state your name and what your career goals are, it came time for these three guys. All of them said the same thing we are already in our careers as you can see but with new regulations if we want to keep our rank as Lt., Cpt., and B.C. our department and the city in which we work for are making us get some kind of college degree no matter what type of study it is. The Lieutenant said to stay at his level he needed to get an Associates Degree and the Capitain and Battalion Chief needed a Bachelors Degree. If they failed to obtain these degrees or make no effort in getting a degree they would have to give up their rank and become regular firefighters again. So anymore it does not matter how many years you have in a company or what your rank or how many certificates you have for fire training it is all about the college education you obtain....