FESHE Strategic Direction

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Strategic Challenge

In an effort to acquire an associate's or bachelor's degree or their next desired level of certification, fire service personnel typically accumulate college transcripts with unnecessary courses and dozens of training certificates. During this typical process of professional development, duplications of effort are common and desired certifications or degrees delayed. The national challenge is for state and local providers of training, education, and certification to integrate their activities to eliminate these duplications while enhancing the overall professional development of the fire and emergency services.

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Strategic Goal

Working collaboratively, the professional development community will produce a:

National Professional Development Models

Fire Officer Model Emergency Medical Services Management Model

Efforts to address the challenges of a stove-piped system of professional development have been made by through the creation of the National Professional Development Model that integrates training, education, and certification. Because fire and emergency services specialties have their own career tracks and professional development tracks, different models have been created by national leaders in these specialties. The Fire and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Officers models reflect the sequential evolution of their respective career paths.

Fire Prevention Officer Model

None of these models are promotional ones; rather, they are competency-based professional development paths supported by their training, higher education, and certification elements. Each model has prescribed recommendations for how each competency can be addressed by each element. All of them address the need for interoperability for professional development. The imperative for interoperability of radios and hoses so that they connect and work together is matched by the need for training, education and certification to do the same.

The fire prevention model reflects a different professional development path for those who become officers in this track. While line fire officers usually follow a linear path in their career evolutions to chief positions, those in fire prevention often achieve fire marshal rank through any or all of the common fire prevention points of entry, including public education, plans review, fire inspection and/or fire investigation.

National Professional Development Matrix

The National Fire Academy (NFA) has facilitated the development of the National Professional Development Matrix (NPDM) that moves these models from concept to reality. The NDPM is designed for training and certification agencies and academic fire programs to assist emergency services personnel they serve in their professional development planning. As a practical application of the Model, it identifies training and Fire/EMS and general education courses that crosswalk against competencies drawn from the International Association of Fire Chiefs' (IAFC) Officer Development Handbook. The Handbook offers recommended general education courses IAFC-developed competencies for Fire Officer I-IV.

Model Fire-Related Associate's and Baccalaureate Curricula

Since 1999, FESHE leaders labored to produce through consensus, a standardized undergraduate curriculum that is national in scope, content and outcomes. This represents a major paradigm shift from a fragmented system of education to one that is unified and integrated.

There now exists a robust a national model curriculum of fire-related and EMS management courses for colleges and universities to adopt as their own. All the courses share common titles, catalog descriptions, outlines and content which provide a national core of knowledge and competencies delivered by the FESHE programs. These course outlines share common content through FESHE’s partnership with textbook publishers who write textbooks and faculty supplements that support them.

What this curriculum linkage represents is a milestone in fire and emergency services education: if your fire science associate’s degree offers these model courses, you can plan on being better prepared for your bachelor’s course work.

With the availability of the model curricula, many FESHE programs across the country are adopting (all or in part):

A National, Competency-based Curriculum of Higher Education for the Fire and Emergency Services

With the gradual adoption of these lower- and upper-level model curricula by FESHE programs, the "Education" elements of the aforementioned professional development models are complete and incorporated into the Matrix. Consequently, there is now a comprehensive system of higher education for the FESHE community whereby: