Firefighters Climb Career Ladder | Howard Community College (HCC)


As the firefighting profession evolves, firefighters
and paramedics must receive additional education to advance their careers. Howard Community
College collaborated with the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services to
create the new Fire Science and Leadership Program, which was announced at a college
event. For Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman
and Fire Chief John Butler, the Fire Science and Leadership program at Howard Community
College will usher in a new era of training for firefighters who want to advance in their
careers. And I’m really excited that we’re here because
providing an educational pathway for our Firefighters and Paramedics, both career and volunteer,
so they can be better able to compete and every growing and competing in a difficult
economy. Day in and day out our firefighters and paramedics risk their lives for the sake
of the greater good, as I’ve said. And this degree is about opening doors. For Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman
and Fire Chief John Butler, the Fire Science and Leadership program at Howard Community
College will usher in a new era of training for firefighters who want to advance in their
careers. The pipeline has to exist to create the leadership
that will take the department into the next uh next era. This program creates a lot of
flexibility for our firefighters. It is a very progressive program that will actually,
for the first time in Howard County, all those years of training and uh compile them into
a process where they’re worth up to 40 credits and the other 20 credits will be coming from
a uh gen. ed. education here at the college. It’s a very progressive uh program. Firefighter Kevin Panizari is among the first
to enroll in the new program, but he is not new to serving his community. A former Marine,
he now has 10 years� experience battling fires. Um it seemed like a job that translated well
from being in the military. My dad was a volunteer when he was younger uh and I had some friends
that were firefighters so when the opportunity came I thought it might be something that
I’m able to do. In the Fire Science and Leadership program,
students are required to earn 60 credits. 40 credits come from courses specific to fire
and rescue and another 20 credits come from general education courses. Successful graduates
will earn an associate of applied science. The the degree program its an associates degree,
so it’s 60 credits and 40 of those credits come from uh classes that we’ve taken here
with the Fire Department and then 20 would be regular core classes from the college.
So I’ve already achieved almost all of the 40 credits so it’s just a matter of um completing
the core classes at the college, which is pretty reasonable. As he looks ahead, Panizari knows that a college
degree will meet the requirements for promotion and also prepare him for the higher levels
of responsibility and decision making that come with leadership. I would say it’s critical to being a firefighter,
especially if you’re in um an officer position or um a leadership position here because you’re
dealing with.. you have to make decisions that could uh mean the difference between
life and death. Whether it’s someone you work with or a citizen of the community or someone
so leadership is important to be able to make decisions under high stress situations. Howard County Fire and Rescue is one of many
organizations that hires for middle skill careers.

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