By Dr. Randall Hanifen
Contributor, EDM Digest
Today’s children are seemingly often forced toward college by their parents and instructors. Hence, students believe that if they do not have a college degree, they will not get a good job.
However, many emergency services, especially fire departments, do not require a college degree. In fact, many high school programs are tied to a career and technical school, which is often portrayed as a lower-status option for those who cannot make it in college.
Does this mentality force our entry-level candidates past emergency services programs? How can we change this way of thinking?
Convincing Students to Explore Emergency Services Fields
This subject came up when I met with a group of college fire program administrators. We discussed how to deal with the many openings that will arise in the next 10 years in the majority of fire departments in the country. One idea was the use of videos to show the excitement of careers in the emergency services field. Other ideas involved developing an educational program for fire department personnel to visit high schools and show what working for the fire department involves and poster campaigns for high schools.
Will we be able to attract the best personnel to make the next leaders of the profession? After all, we are a profession that derives our chiefs from the firefighters of yesterday.
However, if we try to steer young students away from college, how do we re-engage them after they have completed their technical training so that they might develop needed college-level thinking to rise within their organizations and make informed decisions?