Seattle Colleges, Mayor Jenny Durkan, Seattle Fire Department Chief Harold Scoggins and the City’s Department of Education and Early Learning recently announced a new Fire Science Associate degree program at North Seattle College. This program will be the only of its kind in King County and is offered in collaboration with the Seattle Fire Department and City of Seattle, and supported by the King County Fire Chiefs Association.
“North Seattle College is thrilled to offer a Fire Science degree in partnership with the Seattle Fire Department and City of Seattle. This is the only Fire Science degree program in King County and is an excellent pathway for students who want to make a strong impact in our community as a firefighter. Fire Science classes start in September, and we encourage students to apply for the program now,” said North Seattle College President Dr. Chemene Crawford.
The associate degree program, which launches in Fall of 2021, targets two different demographics for potential applicants. The first is high school graduates looking to pursue a career in the fire service and the second is existing firefighters planning to excel in their career and further their baccalaureate education. An overarching goal of the program is to help bring a diverse array of applicants to local fire departments’ hiring processes by providing youth with an opportunity to learn about the fire service in advance of applying for a firefighting position.
“Announcing this Fire Science Associate degree program is a game changer in King County. With our Seattle Promise program that guarantees free college, Seattle students have a ladder of opportunity to join the best fire department in the state and save lives,” said Durkan. “In addition to the day to day life-saving work of the Seattle Fire Department, the City has relied on our firefighters to administer COVID-19 tests, serve our most vulnerable through Health One, and help vaccinate members of the public at our City-operated mass vaccination sites. This new program will train firefighters for years to come and give them skills that are necessary to advance their own careers, and to care for our community and keep us safe.”
“Investing in our future leaders now creates a promising outlook for the fire service. Through this degree program, we can offer continued education for our existing firefighters who strive to sharpen their leadership skills, and also help to make our future firefighter candidates successful in the job application process. I want to thank Seattle Colleges and North Seattle College for undertaking this program development, and to the King County Fire Chiefs Association for their support in this program, which is the only of its kind in King County,” said Scoggins.
This North Seattle College program is mostly online and takes approximately two years (full-time) to complete with affordable tuition and student financial aid available. Graduates will leave the program better prepared for the pre-employment examination and screening processes they must undergo at local fire departments, to include written exams and oral board interviews. It will also enable current firefighters to qualify for career advancement opportunities. The application deadline is Sept. 20, 2021.
The curriculum is based on the National Fire Academy and Emergency Services Higher Education model curriculum for fire science. Students will graduate with the academic credentials necessary to enter a two-year baccalaureate of applied science degree program, such as the online Homeland Security Emergency Management program or the Fire Science Leadership Management program at Pierce College.
“Creating more pathways to college and career for Seattle students is an integral part of our department’s work to advance educational equity and increase access to opportunities that excite and inspire students to pursue their goals after high school. DEEL is proud to partner with Seattle Fire and our friends at Seattle Colleges to launch the new Fire Science Associate program, which will prepare more Seattle graduates for an exciting career and a more prosperous future,” said Dr. Dwane Chappelle, Director of the Seattle Department of Education and Early Learning.
Several local fire departments in King County are offering incentives to students of the Fire Science Associate degree program, including paid internships, volunteer firefighting positions, cadet program participation and more. These incentives will provide students with opportunities outside of the classroom to work alongside current firefighters, and to have experience to highlight when applying for firefighting positions. As the degree program launches and progresses, additional opportunities from local fire departments are expected to be offered as part of the program.