How Education Helps Beyond the Fire Service

By Anthony S. Mangeri

For FireRescue

Two pieces of advice from my father have always stuck with me. The first was that there is a tool for every job. The second is simply that every professional understands the value of their tools and can identify the right tool for the job.

A Profession in Transition

When it comes to the fire service, education is the tool for transitioning throughout your career. There’s no doubt that education provides opportunities to maintain a productive lifestyle. Beyond the tactical training we go through to learn how to better protect our communities, it is education that provides an opportunity to really professionalize the service. Having an educated workforce raises the organizational capacity to provide service within the community and to address dynamic and ever-changing threats.

As the fire service transitions from a trade to a profession, academic degrees, such as associate, bachelor’s and even master’s degrees, are becoming more commonplace. They are often requirements now to advance from firefighter to specialist, officer and eventually chief fire officer.

Further, the value of education is not just in training for a career but also in developing learning, critical thinking and writing skills. Education provides the knowledge to manage budgets, develop public education programs, integrate technology and articulate the department’s needs within the administrative structures of government. There are no tactical classes that will teach an officer these day-to-day duties that are not only vital to the operations of a fire department but can also have a significant impact on the community.

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