Earning a degree has never been more essential for firefighters looking to climb the "career ladder" – until now. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, many fire departments are now requiring at least a bachelor's degree, preferably in fire science, to be promoted any higher than battalion chief. Columbia Southern University (CSU), one of the nation's first online universities, is teaming up with the Saraland Fire Rescue Department to help firefighters advance through the ranks.
This partnership provides Saraland firefighters, their spouses, and children with special benefits including tuition discounts and application fee waiver. The fire department will also be featured on the CSU website, in marketing materials, and at conferences and speaking engagements.
"Educating our firefighters is a core part of our mission at the Saraland Fire Rescue Department," said Assistant Fire Chief Dewey Stringfellow. "A degree in fire science is essential for firefighters seeking advancement opportunities within their department." Saraland Fire Rescue Department started as a volunteer department in 1959 and has since grown into a paid professional department that protects more than 12,300 Saraland, Alabama residents. The department consists of 32 personnel including 22 firefighter/emergency medical technicians and 10 fire medics.
“As a partner of fire organizations such as the Saraland Fire Rescue Department, our job is to help the department support its staff,” said Chantell Cooley, CSU Vice President of Partnership Development. “At CSU, we feel that providing a flexible, quality education is the least we can do for the firefighters protecting our communities.” New York Fire Department, Metro Atlanta Fire Chiefs Association, Frankfurt Fire and EMS, and Tulsa Fire Department are a few of more than 85 fire organizations partnered with CSU. The university offers accredited online associate, bachelor, and certificate programs in fire science.