Four Ways A College Degree Helps Firefighters Get Promoted


Getting a college degree is becoming increasingly important for firefighters. In fact, if you’re a firefighter with a vague ambition to promote at some point during your career, a degree is pretty much a prerequisite. Fortunately, technology means getting that degree is a lot easier these days. And the digital world into which we’ve all been pushed as a result of the coronavirus is a good example of the prevalence of technology in our modern world — like it or not. So if you’re thinking a firefighting career is a workaround to locking up that college degree, think again. Here are four ways a college degree helps firefighters get promoted.

1. You’ll Sharpen Those Test Taking Skills

I didn’t recognize it at the time, but learning how to effectively and successfully take tests was one of the greatest benefits of going through college. This is a skill that will directly benefit you when you’re taking promotional tests as a firefighter. And it develops other skills too — time management, guessing skills, the ability to understand and follow directions, and few other best practices that apply to taking written tests. You’ll be exposed to all kinds of tests in a college degree program, making it great prep for your fire promotion testing experience.

2. You’ll Learn to Study

You do a lot of studying in college, and it’s very much a trial-and-error journey. You’ll eventually develop effective study habits, but first, you’ll probably learn what not to do when studying. That’s critical. When you’re studying for a promotion test at your fire department, you don’t want to be learning how to study at the same time. You have enough pressure just learning the material. Knowing how you learn best and which effective learning strategies work best for you will help you streamline your studies for the promotion test. 

3. You’ll be Eligible for Promotions

If your fire department doesn’t require a college degree to promote already, it will soon. Most departments are requiring degrees already, and particularly for positions such as captain, lieutenant and chief level. If that’s part of your career plan, get the degree part handled now.

4. You’ll Become Proficient with Technology

Going through a college degree program will force you to become familiar with many different types of technology, and you’ll likely use that knowledge in other aspects of your life and career. Simply being comfortable using different computer software, including our own FiredUp study software, is an advantage to your promotional experience.

The Takeaway

We’ve established the importance of a college degree for your fire promotion, but equally important is choosing a degree that will allow you to reach your goals. So pay attention to what type of degrees your department will accept to qualify you for a promotion. 

There are many different degrees and options for firefighters to get a degree, and the learning process inherent to them all will offer valuable skills and lessons that will help you throughout your career. And don’t wait — start the process now, because life has a habit of getting in the way and making things harder than they need to be.