WIU: Developing fire service leaders through a Bachelor of Science degree
By SCOTT WALKER | Instructor, Western Illinois University
Through your years of firefighting experience and training, you have become an accomplished fire officer. You’ve earned the respect of your crew and your fellow officers, and you have participated in hundreds of hours of training, resulting in specialized certifications. You have achieved a great deal since that first day on the job, but now you are thinking it may be time to take the next step: moving from fire suppression to fire administration.
Training and experience are valuable tools in career development, but to compete and succeed as a leader in the modern fire service, a degree in fire science is essential.
Instead of reading smoke, you will be reading budget deviation reports. Fire ground tactics will likely be replaced by contract negotiation tactics. The laws of fire behavior give way to the laws of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Labor Relations Board and civil liability. Community leaders are looking for administrators with technical expertise and leadership ability. They are looking for someone ready to become the chief operating officer of an enterprise with several million dollars’ worth of assets and a multimillion dollar operating budget.
Enter Western Illinois University’s fire protection studies program. The Bachelor of Science in fire protection services, fire administration option, is designed for firefighters and officers preparing for leadership positions in the fire service. The curriculum for this degree focuses on the knowledge and skills needed to successfully manage and lead a modern fire department.
The modern fire service is a complex customer service industry. Demands are rising, operating budgets may be decreasing, and the legal and regulatory environment is becoming increasingly complex. Elected officials, community leaders and the business community need a fire chief who speaks their language and understands their issues.
What sets Western Illinois University’s fire protection program apart?
- WIU is a fully accredited state university with a history of educational leadership dating back to 1902. Our campus, which is located in Macomb, Ill., serves over 11,000 students.
- Western has provided outstanding educational opportunities to fire service leaders for more than 30 years. Over 1,000 students have graduated from our program, and many attribute their success in the fire service to their degree from Western Illinois University.
- WIU is the pioneer in distance education for firefighters. We remain committed to meeting the educational needs of working firefighters. Our fire administration program is offered completely online.
- All online students are offered in-state tuition rates, making Western a cost-effective choice for a quality education.
- WIU’s protection services program, which was created by experienced fire administrators, is designed specifically for firefighters seeking leadership positions in the modern fire service. All of our faculty are current or retired chief officers.
For more information or to apply, contact Scott Walker, School of Law Enforcement and Justice Administration, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (309) 298-1038. Visit us on the Web at wiu.edu/fire.
WIU online fire administration program www.wiu.edu/coehs/leja/fire/index.php
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