New Jersey Firefighter Education Bill Advances

Trenton, NJ – The Assembly Education Committee has released legislation sponsored by Assemblymen John S. Wisniewski and Patrick Diegnan Jr. that would create a mechanism for fire fighters to receive potential college credits for courses they take at accredited county fire academies.

“When a fire academy course is the same as a college offering, why shouldn’t firefighters receive credit for the course?” said Wisniewski (D-Sayreville). “To further encourage firefighters to seek training, it should be state policy to liberalize the system for providing college credits relative to fire academy courses.”

Under the bill (A-3323), credit would only be granted if a county college determines the course offered by a fire academy mirrors the curriculum in a college’s fire science program. Firefighters seeking college credit would be required to successfully complete an exam approved by the county college to show proficiency in the subject.

The county college would be required to waive any credit-by-exam fee.

The Assemblymen said Middlesex Community College currently has in place a program similar to the proposed legislation.

“This legislation will encourage firefighters to continue their fire science education they began in the fire academy,” said Diegnan (D-South Plainfield). “The state should do all it can to provide incentives firefighters to become more skillful at their craft.”

“The more firefighters know, the more lives they could possibly save when their skills and knowledge are put to the test while defending our communities against ravaging fires,” said Wisniewski.

The bill also would direct the county fire academies and the county colleges to work jointly in identifying similar courses where credit can be granted at a county college.

The committee released the measure 8-0. It now goes to the Speaker, who decides if and when to post it for a floor vote.

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