MATTOON, Ill. — Lake Land College in Mattoon, Ill. will begin offering a new special admission Fire Science program in Fall 2021 designed exclusively for current firefighters and volunteers seeking career advancement. Those interested in applying must first receive a recommendation from their fire chief.
The program is approved by the state fire marshal and will assist these professionals in earning Fire Officer 1 and 2 certifications, allowing them to increase their knowledge and skills as well as advance their careers. One key advantage of Lake Land College’s new program is the flexible format.
“They do have programs like this across the state, but most of them are Monday through Friday,” Fire Science Management Adjunct Faculty Member Rob Plummer said. “For volunteers and folks who work during the week it can be hard to do that. They often have to take vacation time or make other schedule changes.”
Plummer, Laker Nation Class of 2000, completed an Officer 2 Certification three years ago, taking traditional Monday through Friday classes. During his time in the class, Plummer said he listened to his classmates’ concerns about the difficulty surrounding the availability of the classes, and that is what inspired him to get involved with the program.
The in-person classes in the program will take place only on the weekend, including Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays with a schedule spanning several months to better accommodate the participants’ time frames. The schedule will also have a blended format, with elements of both in-person learning and online work.
“This is an effort to get training to volunteer fire departments and such for the officers’ side of things,” Plummer said. “During the hands-on portion, the program will have members of several different local departments working side by side, and I think it will be really beneficial to the community having so many local departments working together.”
Plummer said the course will cover the Illinois state objectives, as well as “experience and real-world scenarios” targeted toward local settings. Students will even be given the opportunity to train on the equipment in their respective stations, allowing them to gain knowledge and skills specific to their situations.
“This program is a great opportunity to further your education,” Plummer said. “As officers one of our goals should always be to stay up to par with new techniques and ways of doing things. This is another tool in that tool box. It may seem hard to give up those weekends, but this program really has a great value compared to some of the others throughout the state.”
For more information on the Fire Science program, visit lakelandcollege.edu/high-demand-programs/paramedical-services/ or contact Jasmine Ballard at firstname.lastname@example.org or 217-234-5370.