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bachelors degree

I am have completed my first semester in college and have my EMT-1 certification and plan on completing paramedic school in the future but I am unsure about what i should major in. I don?t know if I should try to get a major related to Fire services or a major in business or something else. I also don?t know if I should get a job after I complete paramedic school and than try to work as a FF and complete my bachelors or what until I have complete college. I really want to get a bachelors degree but am unsure of the best way to accomplish this. Any advice in this subject would really help.

Many factors to think about...

California has very limited paramedic scope of practice compared to states like Oregon and Washington...and probably the rest of the country. If you plan on working in Oregon, etc., a science degree may help more.
But, in California (especially Southern Calif.) a business or management degree would probably be better.

I went with the science degree (B.S.) in another state, came back home with it and found it was pretty useless. Quite a culture shock in my home state... paramedics have to call a nurse to give certain drugs...very sad. Now, I'm going back for a different degree.

However, I would think it would be, overall, benificial to have any degree. Good Luck.

Rock On...


I too have just completed my first semester in college and am majoring in Buisness Management. I am doing so, because my ultimate is goal to become a Captain of a big city Fire Department. However, I too am faced with the same dilemma as to whether i should pursue my degree now, or wait until I am hired. I had posted a discussion about this and got a number of responses. The general idea was this. Yes, education is very important within the fire service but when all is said and done you are simply applying for an entry level FF. That is why I have chosen the route to obtain my AA in Fire Service, work as a medic, and go through an academy. Once I get hired, then I will go back and obtain my Bachlors. I am doing this because I have five years to get hired. I say this because of the hiring spree that is currently going on in the FD. A large number of FFs will be retiring and for the next five years FDs will be hiring like mad. Something to think about. If you can get your degree, get your AA as well, work as a medic, go through an academy, and test then I say go for it. But look at what is more important. For me, thats becoming the best FF that I can be.

Good luck

Thank you both for replying to my topic but I still have a question. Should I do Fire Technology at a junior college along with a business major or will being a paramedic be enough to get me hired. I have talked to a couple fireman and they have told me that I don?t really need to take Fire Technology because once I get hired I will go through the academy with the Fire department. I was just wondering what you guys thought about this. Also for anyone that is or had worked at a fire department, do you think its a good idea to go to school as your working at a department? Thank you for taking the time to help me.

TO answer your second question: YES

Almost all, if not all do require you to have your AA. And like I mentioned before, if you think that you can handle being a medic, going to school, going to an academy, and getting your AA then my hat is off to you. But you have to sit down and look at what your priorities are and then go from there. As for me, I would focus on getting your AA, Academy, and working as a medic before your BA. Just my two pennies.

Good luck

I think jrhoog has the right idea. But, check some of the other posts on this site and get some different perspectives too.

Not everypone has the same story. But, taking to college classes and getting your Paramedic License will eliminate most of your compitition to become a firefighter. Being a Medic, and knowing my department only hires Medics, I'd say go for the Medic. But, what will set you apart from other medics?... College classes, Fire Science classes, a Fire Academy and college degrees...all of which you can get while gaining experience and earning money working as a Paramedic.

To those that would say "you're not really a firefighter if your a firefighter/paramedic", I say what do you think we respond to 80-90 percent of the time? If you're gonna be a firefighter, you'd better like medical calls and working closely and emphatically with the public.
An ambulance companny is a good place to start. Go to college at night or on days off for the prerequisets for Medic school. Work as a Medic, go to more school and/or an academy. Work on that AA and even BA/BS till you get hired. If don't finish before you're hired at a fire agency, finish your BA/BS when you get hired. Then start working on State Fire Marshall Fire Officer Classes.
Good Luck.

Rock On...
This message was edited by pacificfatcat on 1-10-06 @ 9:49 PM

Thanks to both or you for replying to my forum. I am still struggling with deciding my major. So if anyone has additional advice it would be very helpful. I am not sure if I should focus on Fire tech or try to get a regular major such as business. Would fire technology be helpful while trying to get hired and also on the job? Thanks everyone!
This message was edited by scfire on 3-24-06 @ 7:23 PM


Your Welcome, and to answer your question it is best to have your AA in Fire Science from a community college. In terms of your BA/BS try to find a major that is in the business department. My ultimate goal is to become a Captain of a big city department that is why I have chosen to major in Business Managment. Just a thought. Good Luck to you!!

I heard that Sac State college had a special major called Fire Serve Management were you get your AS in Fire Technology at a junior college and than take management classes at Sac state university. With that program it is also easy to minor in business. I think this is probably a solid education for someone perusing a career in Fire serves. I just wanted to get your thoughts on this program. I hope to get hired before I finish college and than continue while working. Once again you have been very helpful.


Unfortunately I have not heard of the program at Sac State. Currently, I am a student at San Francisco State in pursuit of my Management degree and am also at Chabot College taking my Fire Tech classes. However, Im going to take a break from San Fran State and go full-time at Chabot because my goal was to also get hired within the next four to five years. But, if that program at Sac State sounds good to you and if you can do both at the same time....check it out. go talk to a counselor or someone and im sure they can help you out. good luck to you. And if you need anything else just drop me a line.


If you are going to be a firefighter, the AS degree in Fire Science is where you need to start. The Fire Science AS degree is what you will use as a firefighter. Serious firefighter candidates have AS degrees in Fire Science.
A BS/BA is not needed to apply for a firefighter position and you probably won't be using it as a firefighter. You won't get you a badge handed to you just because you have a BS/BS degree.(But hang on...MTF)
Knock out those transferable general education classes at the JC level and save money. Classes at the four year colleges are about 250 dollars a unit while JC level charges about 30 bucks a unit.
If time is a concern, the JC colleges may have classes on-line. Be aware that on-line degree programs are not for everyone. I, for example, do quite well with on-line classes and I may double up once or twice this year to finish sooner but my sweetie was not able to do one on-line class.
Now, there is not a darn thing wrong with having a four year degree in any field/major before getting hired as a firefighter. But know that fire science instructors/professors at the university level may not allow you into their classes unless you have a strong fire background which you can draw upon. It is a matter of "first things first".
If you are thinking that when you are a firefighter and you desire to promote to captain, a BS/BA degree will be your ticket to automatic silver horns on your collar, it just won't happen that way.
There is so much more along the way to being qualified for promotion than having a BS/BA degree.
If you have the opportunity now, get the AS degree first, THEN get the BA/BS degree. After you become a firefighter, working and having to go back to college is tough.
I saw a job flyer this week that a BA/BS degree in a related field was required to file for a Fire Chief position. A Master's Degree was high desirable. The wind has shifted.
I encourage all of you to GO to the college you are considering attending and speak with the Counseling department as well as the Fire Science department folks and advisors. Those are the people who have your answers.
Besides CSU Sacramento, look into the distance learning program at CSU Long Beach.

Best wishes

PS: Would you really use all, most or some of a non-fire degree as a captain?
This message was edited by tomdeltazulu on 1-27-06 @ 12:32 PM

Other State Universities offer similiar programs to the Fire Service Management degree at CSU Sacramento. I am currently attending CSU Stanislaus as an Applied Studies major. It is a program that is geared towards professional leadership and has allowed me to transfer my Fire Science classes to count towards my Bachelor's Degree. These same Fire Science classes are not transferable for any other degree at Stanislaus. By being able to use my 30 units of Fire Science classes it has shortened the remaining time for my B/S by a year. Additionally the other 30 units of general education that will make up the rest of your A/S degree, combined with your Fire Science classes will give you half (60) of the 120 units that are required for a B/S. This would leave you approximately 1 1/2 - 2 years shy of your B/S depending on how many classes you are willing to take. I would imagine that other State Universities might have something comparable. Good luck.