UVU finds a top place among life-saving colleges

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Priscilla Silva, Reporter


According to Fire Science Online, UVU landed a spot in the top 100 colleges with standout fire programs.

UVU came in at No. 11 on the list of accredited universities that offer not only fire-related degrees, but also other first responder and environmental disciplines.

Fire Science Online is committed to providing fire science students, and other first responders, with imperatives of these life-saving fields. Utah Valley University was reviewed among 2,500 other colleges and universities that offered the most response programs.

Each school had to meet a set of criteria to be considered for the rankings. The schools considered had to be fully accredited schools, whether public or private. Schools must offer two or four-year programs in the emergency response field, and only colleges in the U.S. were ranked.

“The course offering we have at UVU, along with the learning community, provides students both quality and quantity,” Dr. Rodger Broomé, UVU Emergency Services Department Chair, said. “We have a lot of successes here with students going through our programs then going out and getting jobs. We also attract a lot of what we call ‘non-traditional’ students who are already professionals that come back to prepare for a promotion, so not only do we train new professionals, but we help students advance in their emergency service careers.”  

UVU has 40,697 students enrolled in 11 different emergency response programs. These programs are part of the Emergency Services Administration program, the Utah Fire and Rescue Academy, and the Institute of Emergency Services and Homeland Security.

The students enrolled in these programs receive a competitive education in becoming a professional firefighter, EMT, paramedic, wild land firefighter, or in military law enforcement, among others.

Formal training is essential to every first responder’s pre-professional endeavors. While only experience can prepare the individuals for emergencies, more colleges and universities are committing resources to educating lifesavers.

Although there are many schools now offering emergency response programs, only a few are truly dedicated to training individuals who could mean the difference between life and death.

“After 21 years with the Orem Fire Department, I thought there was no better way to make a difference than at the beginning of young firefighters’ careers,” Andy Byrnes, UVU Recruit Candidate Academy Professor, said. “I’ve seen other programs in the nation, and we’re as good as or better than other universities and state-level academies. Our strength is in our adjunct instructor cadre, most of whom are currently employed firefighters with a lot of irreplaceable experience.”

Utah Valley University emergency programs help students balance technical skills with critical and ethical thinking, leadership and effective communication. The department offers multiple emergency service educational needs, from professional certifications to two and four-year degrees. UVU emergency degree programs and courses are designed specifically to meet both state and national professional requirements.

“First response careers hold a special place in society today and require dedicated and highly trained men and women,” said Matt Davis, managing director of Fire Science Online. “These 100 colleges help students transition from life-changing courses to life-saving careers.”

Employment of first responders is growing rapidly. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for EMTs and paramedics will increase by 33 percent between 2010 and 2020. More first response programs are needed to train men and women for these careers. Fire Science Online recognizes colleges and universities with the top-most first response programs in the United States.

In order to maximize effectiveness and bring quality results to students, the schools were ranked based on information from several government-backed databases.  Fire Science Online entrusts accurate data from several accredited data sources.

NCEIS, the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data on education, is used for consistent and reliable results. IPEDS is the primary federal source for data on colleges, universities and other postsecondary schools.

Carnegie Classification is a framework widely used in studying higher education. This framework is used as a way to represent and control for institutional differences and also in the design of research studies, ensuring adequate representation and sampling. And lastly, Payscale.com, a leading provider of career-related data based on a national, state, local and individual basis.

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