State Professional Development Summits: A Call for Collaboration

This page may contain links to non-U.S. government websites. What this means to you »

For the American fire service, there is no single, national system of fire and emergency services professional development; rather, there are 50 state systems of professional development. Relationships between training, certification, and higher education providers vary from state-to-state where levels of cooperation between and among them range from fully integrated to nonexistent.

Professional Development Summits

States are urged to convene Professional Development summits to transpose the "national" officer development competencies to its own job performance requirements (JPR), customize the National Professional Development Matrix with training and college courses, and agree to standard documentation that each entity will accept for appropriate credit.

The Matrix is a national template that is:

The leaders of the stakeholder cadre are:

Needed are many leaders at all levels. At the Federal level, the USFA/NFA can bring the national stakeholders together to build momentum for this effort. Effective models for State professional development summits are presented at the annual FESHE conferences.

The first successful summits were from 2004 – 2006 led by the Virginia Fire Programs, the state’s lead fire agency. One significant result of this process is that every fire science associate’s student in the state now takes the same core FESHE model courses, regardless of location or institution. The courses all share the same college catalog names, numbers, and descriptions; follow nationally-developed outlines; and use textbooks written to these outlines.

In addition to common core concentration requirements, standard Virginia general education courses are now required, some of which are linked to the competencies prescribed in the Matrix.

The Virginia Professional Development Summits produced a standard associate’s fire science degree that reflects a nationally-recommended set of fire science core courses and officer leadership competencies.

Elements of a State Professional Development Plan

What might be the elements of a State professional development plan? In addition to spelling out who should be responsible for learning at each level of certification and/or competency development, a plan should prescribe for all the state’s fire and emergency services associate’s degree programs, the:

Only the State fire and emergency services leaders can make this happen. Contact the leaders in your State and urge them to begin the professional development summit process.

For questions about USFA's Higher Education programs, please contact the National Fire Academy.

About FESHE-Developed Models

As a Federal agency, the USFA/NFA's role is to promote and support these FESHE-developed models, not dictate or mandate them. The USFA/NFA does not adopt these model plans, but instead encourages public and private institutions of higher education to adopt these model proposals.