LAKEWOOD — Led by the wife and husband team of Pam and Wayne Caldwell, Pierce College has teamed up with Bates Technical College to offer a new associate’s degree program aimed at helping career firefighters advance through the administrative ranks.
Fire Command and Administration is a two-year degree program that provides fire service personnel the business and administrative skills they need to take leading administrative positions in their departments.
Courses lead firefighters through such complex issues as terrorism and disaster planning, legal aspects of fire service, fire investigation, occupational health and safety, incident command, and more.
“The training provided is specific to fire service positions and the skills needed to advance professionally in that field,” said Pam Caldwell, Pierce’s fire command and administration program coordinator. “Many of our students are people who have been in fire service 12 to 20 years. They know firefighting skills, but they now need to know things like budgets and how to write compliance documents, find alternate funding sources, and conduct labor negotiations. They need these skills to keep moving forward in their careers.”
To help them get these skills, all of the courses in the new Fire Command and Administration program offered by Pierce and Bates are available online. Students can attend courses and complete their degree requirements at any time day or night, from anywhere they have computer access.
“Working in fire service and now having a degree program with all online classes is a tremendous benefit,” said Pam Caldwell. “The problem with taking classes in fire service has always been shift work. Firefighters are usually guaranteed to miss several classes a quarter because of their work schedules. Now, they can be at their station or at home, and still work towards their degree. School’s in session when they have time, on their schedules.”
Also, because firefighters are constantly training and upgrading their skills, some of this prior training may count towards college credit in the degree program. Pam Caldwell asks to meet with all program applicants to assess their training records and to identify prior learning that may be eligible for college credit.
Both of the Caldwells have worked extensively in the development of successful fire service training programs before coming to Pierce and Bates last year.
Now dean of instruction at Bates, Wayne Caldwell was a firefighter and administrator for more than 20 years in Oklahoma. He developed the two-year fire training degree program at Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City.
Prior to coming to Pierce College, Pam Caldwell worked with the fire service programs at Oklahoma State University-Stillwater.
To schedule a meeting or for more information about the Fire Command and Administration degree program, contact Pam Caldwell via phone at (253) 677-1735 or via E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, visit the program Web site at www.pierce.ctc.edy/firecommand.