It is getting more common for firefighters to need a degree or certificates in order to get a job, particularly if it is an officer position. If you are interested in or considering firefighter promotion, it is critical that you work on your continuing education.
Learn New Skills/Knowledge
The main reason a firefighter would continue their education would be to learn new skills. It is important that firefighters stay up to date with the changing firefighter operations. Even more so, as a firefighter you are trained to a basic level, then you learn more as you begin to work on the job, but imagine how much more you can learn if you seek out opportunities to do so on your own. The more you learn the better you will be on the job, and the more competent you will be when it comes time to test to promote. It doesn't just have to be firefighter-related training either. Taking some leadership courses to help you learn how to be a better manager or taking writing courses at a local community college to improve your communication skills, and so on are excellent options for a firefighter looking to promote.
More to Add to Your Resume
Not only will you learn more by continuing your education, but going to extra training and going out of your way to get certified in areas you aren’t required to be will be a big resume booster and help you stand out come promotion time. Promoting in the fire service can be a very competitive process and you want to stand out as much as possible from the other applicants.
Shows Passion and Commitment
Continuing your education without being told to do so shows that you are committed to the job. It gives those doing the promoting an insight into your passion for the job and your desire to be the best firefighter you can be. Just the fact that you have a degree, a certification or completed a course shows that you are able to commit to something. It tells them you are less likely to leave them hanging compared to the other applicants that have the bare minimum requirements. Also it shows that you can do your job and more. If you were doing an excellent job at work while also continuing your education, it shows that you can handle the workload and commitments of a higher rank.
Taking classes and training courses is a great way to meet new people. These classes may give you an opportunity to meet people who may be able to help you on your firefighter promotion journey. It could be a teacher who becomes a mentor or classmates who become part of your study team. Not only will you get more knowledge out of continuing your education you have the potential to make lasting connections with people that can help you meet your career goals.
Not everyone has the time to be a full time college student while also working full time as a firefighter, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still take classes and keep learning. The more knowledge under your belt the better your chances of getting promoted.