A college degree is becoming a more common requirement for promotion in the fire service. A college degree comes with a lot of other skills, not just those listed on your diploma that will help you stand out from the competition during the firefighter promotion process.
The higher up the ranks you go in the fire service the more administrative duties you will be doing, many of which require written communication methods such as emails. If you have a college degree you know how to write well, or at least how to make a pretty final draft. This is because no matter the college course there is always writing involved in some way whether it be emails to professors or other students, or essays you had to turn in for grades. You are constantly being graded on your spelling and grammar skills when in college. So, by having a college degree it shows that you come with the built in writing skills that will be very necessary if you get promoted in the fire service.
In addition to writing skills, if you graduated college and got a degree you have to have some form of time management skills. College requires so much time and effort. You did not graduate without at least some semblance of managing your time well. You passed tests which means you made time to study and made it to class to take the test in the first place. You turned in homework assignments on time enough to get a passing grade. You managed your time well enough to get your degree which is not an easy thing to do. Having that college degree on your resume shows the hiring personnel that you can manage your time effectively because if you couldn’t you wouldn’t have been able to get a degree in the first place.
Another skill that comes with a degree is the ability to follow instructions. For a hiring officer this translates to the ability to follow orders when the time comes in the fire service. Even if you are promoting, until you promote to the highest rank, you will be following orders from others. Completing a degree and graduating from college shows that you can do just that, follow instructions and complete the tasks you are told to complete and in a timely manner no less.
Another huge benefit of going to college that translates on a resume is communication skills. If you go to college you have to have at least some communications skills. You have to talk to professors, and counselors, and other students, there is no way around that. Most students will have to give presentations and speak in front of groups of people as part of basic general education classes and your hiring officers know that. They know that a college degree means you can communicate with others, including superiors, or in this case professors, so you have the skills to communicate with the necessary people if you are promoted.
College is not easy for most people. It also isn’t very exciting for a lot of people. Sure, some people are very passionate and love every second of college but for a lot of people they are stuck taking boring general education classes that have nothing to do with their major. No matter how boring though, they do it anyway because it is required to get their degree. This right here shows commitment. You sign up for something and you complete it no matter how hard, no matter how boring. The people interviewing you and testing you for promotion remember this because they have been there. They remember the difficulty and boredom. So when you show up with that degree, you are showing them that you are committed to your college education and future career. It shows them you aren’t going to quit when the job gets hard. It shows you can commit to things, like a future job as an officer in the fire service.
When you begin your career as a firefighter you may not see the importance of having a college degree when it is not required. However having a degree shows your superiors you have a set of extra skills that those without college degrees may not have. Having a degree makes you a stand out applicant when the time comes to promote, and even to be hired as an entry level firefighter. Having a college degree gives those that are hiring you some actual proof that you have the skills you have written on your resume, you aren’t just writing the things on your resume you know they want to see. So wherever you are in your firefighting journey, it could be time to consider the benefits of having a college degree on your resume.