GCC Fire Technology and Administration Recognized as Model Program

Monday, June 10, 2019

The Gateway Community College Fire Technology and Administration (FTA) program was recently recognized and awarded national status for firefighter training in higher education. 

David Marcarelli, program coordinator, received the news that GCC was approved as a Fire & Emergency Service Standard for Higher Education (FESHE) model program.  The U.S. Fire Administration established FESHE as an organization of post-secondary institutions to promote higher education and enhance the recognition of fire and emergency services as a profession.  A standardized model made sense as there have been numerous changes in the field of fire technology, Marcarelli said.  Many programs targeted towards fire professionals are online and only offer emergency management.  He noted that the GCC associate degree program in Fire Technology and Administration is fire and EMS-specific.

GCC offers both an Associate in Science degree in Fire Technology and Administration and a Firefighter 1 & 2 certificate.  The associate degree program is geared towards those who are already firefighters and designed to educate leaders in fire protection, prevention, and administration.  It also provides training and education for insurance companies and industries involved in fire prevention and protection.  The certificate program was developed to provide career pathways that meet the needs of emergency response and fire service.

Marcarelli said that the certificate program is particularly well-suited for urban students.  Major cities are at a disadvantage when it comes to the hiring process because they use career firefighters and don’t offer training.  Smaller towns have volunteer departments that will reimburse students the cost of Firefighter 1 & 2 and, with greater knowledge, these students have the opportunity to score higher on an exam.

Marcarelli explained that there is a robust national model curriculum of fire-related and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) management courses for colleges and universities.  FESHE leaders produced a standardized undergraduate curriculum that is national in scope, content and outcomes, representing a significant shift from a fragmented system of education that existed in the past.

Courses share student learning outcomes, catalog descriptions, outlines, and text recommendations that provide a foundation of knowledge.  Offering a seamless articulation of coursework between institutions, associate and bachelor’s programs, this represents a milestone in fire and emergency services education.

Marcarelli noted that a rigorous process was involved in securing FESHE approval, such as rewriting curriculum and updating syllabi for every class.  Connecticut Board of Regents approval was needed.  An articulation agreement is in place with the University of New Haven for the bachelor’s degree in Fire Science.