My story starts with a dream; the dream of becoming a fire investigator. Being a fire investigator was not even close to being on my radar when I joined the fire service. I became a fulltime firefighter at the end of 2002 after a long fought battle to get myself into shape so I would be ready for the tasks of the job. Soon after I was hired I decided to become a paramedic, but it wasn’t until I helped out at an arson scene that I realized that fire investigation was my passion. I decided to join the origin and cause team on my department to give being a fire investigator a try. I was hooked! It was a position I enjoyed and wanted to pursue further. It would be a challenge but one that I was ready to take on.
As I learned more about the requirements for the fire investigator position, I realized that my bachelor’s degree in forestry would not be taken into account because it was not job related. I had been debating a return to school for a long time but hadn’t been ready to take the first step because I knew I was not able to commit to regularly scheduled classes. I was stumped. If I wanted to realize my dream, I had to obtain an associate’s degree or higher in a fire or police related field first, but I didn’t know where to begin. I contacted a local college in New Hampshire. I spoke with an advisor about transferring credits and what the options were for classes. When I told him I had a bachelor’s degree, I was turned down because I already had too many credits for an associate’s degree in fire science. I was back to square one. What the advisor said next surprised me: he said that I should contact Anna Maria College about their online Fire Science Bachelor’s degree program. He said that not only is the online program flexible enough to work around my busy work and home life schedule, but that he knew several people who had earned a degree from Anna Maria College and were happy with their experience.
This statement surprised me! I would never have expected one school’s advisor to outright recommend another school. This left me intrigued and I made the call. I learned that the classes and class schedule were indeed flexible enough to fit my needs so I began the process of applying. It was so easy and the people were friendly and informative! Now, here I am a year and a half later. I have finished my degree and I have gotten my dream job. I couldn’t be happier with my choice to attend Anna Maria College!