MACEM&PS academics are evolving! We’re debuting a new, comprehensive A.A.S. degree in Public Safety, with areas of concentration in Emergency Management, Fire Service Administration, and National Security & Intelligence. The new programs all interconnect, so courses you take for one flow into the others – letting you experiment, explore, and customize your academic experience as you figure out what you’re interested in…or to suit what you already do for a living! We think it’ll be pretty great. You can check out more details on the programs (and sign up!) on our latest FCC Catalog page, here. But it is a big transition, so we expect you’ll have some questions – here are a few answers to get you started:
Meet the New Degrees
- Why the change?
Honestly, a lot of reasons. The biggest one is that we’re trying to stay with the times, for both our students and our industry. In a real response, public safety agencies don’t operate in silos; they work together. An emergency operations center isn’t just some concept, it’s a place where the analysts and emergency managers can coordinate, dispatch, and learn from the responders out in the field – and neither does their job as well alone. We think our degrees ought to be the same way: You’ll learn things necessary for your specialty area, of course, but there should be overlaps and connections between the different public safety disciplines ripe for the taking.
Another big one is to make life easier on students. By building the new degrees in this way, we let students cross-pollinate ideas, network across public safety disciplines and experiences, while at the same time exploring their interests safely. Taking a few core classes before committing to a major is much easier in the new structure…we know that while some of our students come with plans firmly in mind, others are going to feel out public safety little by little, or don’t want to commit to a full degree’s worth of costs until they’re sure the topic is right for them. The new structure lets us help both types of students achieve their goals.
There are other reasons too – things like making it easier to rotate in courses in new content to stay on top of industry trends, expanding access to underrepresented groups, making it simpler to forge connections between our courses and those offered in other programs at FCC, helping make sure we can offer more types of courses and cancel less – but those are the big ones. (We’ve got a PowerPoint with the whole list, trust us.)
- National Security & Intelligence is new…what’s that all about?
We’re glad you asked! In the past, graduates of our programs have often gotten jobs in the homeland security arena, or in the world of law enforcement intelligence, or gone on to 4-year schools to study risk and politics…but they’ve always just been as nice connections to things we taught. This is our first foray into teaching that kind of content ourselves, so those students can prepare even better for those kinds of futures. Also, because we’ve always wanted to, and it’s 2022, so why not?
Our program is designed as a blend of practical and strategic approaches. You’ll learn the methods, process, and products that the intelligence community prepares every day for all kinds of risk events and scenarios – and you’ll also spend time learning the theories and philosophies that analysts use to guide their views on national defense at the highest levels. You can choose to incorporate a focus on cybersecurity and tack on some computer coding knowledge, or you can investigate the way the environment affects security concerns, or plenty more. Our goal is to make certain you’re prepared no matter what work you’re planning to make this degree do.
- You’re talking a lot about the concentration areas, but can I just major in Public Safety without a specialty?
You can! While we certainly hope that you’ll find an area along your way that’s interesting enough that you’d like to focus on it, it is totally possible to stick with the generic Public Safety major. In fact, it’s a pretty flexible option in its own right. You’ll definitely want to talk to a Program Manager or advisor if this is your plan, though – no specialty area means the requirements are broader, so being careful to pick courses that’ll work best for you will be even more important.
- How far can I go with this new flexible program? Can I custom-build my whole degree?
Well, you can’t rebuild the whole degree from scratch. BUT! If you come to us with a specific set of experience, or a particular career goal in mind, or a course/topic you’d really like to find some way to combine with public safety, we’ll be glad to work with you to find a way to tailor something that suits you best. We can’t break all the rules, but the new program structure gives us way more flexibility than before – let’s see what we can come up with together!
Effects on Degree Progress
- Are these new degrees replacing the old degrees?
In some cases! Our existing Track II Emergency Management A.A.S. will be discontinued, and the Emergency Management Area of Concentration will take over. Likewise, our existing Fire Service Administration A.A.S. will be discontinued, and the Fire Service Administration Area of Concentration will take over. National Security & Intelligence is brand new, and won’t be replacing anything.
- But I’m partly through one of those existing degrees already; what happens to me?!
Never fear – you’ve got options. We’ll still be offering the same classes (and a few new ones), so you’ll have a couple years to finish your existing program, same as you’d planned. OR you can choose to change your major early, and sign up for one of the new programs. All your progress thus far will carry over, and you’d just follow a new pathway to graduation from there. And our Program Managers and advisors are here to talk you through which option’s going to be best for your interests, your wallet, and your learning future – we’ve got your back.
But the biggest key point: the new programs are constructed in a way that will let all of the same courses that worked towards the existing programs, still work towards the new ones as well – so you won’t lose anything in the transition, no matter what you choose.
- I’m a firefighter and an EMT, and I planned to use my training to earn credit towards the Fire Service Administration A.A.S…will I still be able to do that with the new programs?
Yes indeed! Not only are the new programs designed in a way that they’ll let the existing courses be useful, they’re also built to allow for the same amount of articulated credit to be applied, to help you progress. In some cases, you may actually find room for more credits for prior learning under the new structure. Be sure to talk to a Program Manager or advisor to make the most of what you’ve got, but the credits will still be there for you. After all, you didn’t stop knowing the stuff, did you?
- I’m starting fresh; these options are new and frightening to me. What should I choose??
First things first, remember to breathe; you’ll be just fine. This is a good question, but everyone’s situation will be different. For some current students, it may be financially best to stick with the old programs until they’re complete. If you’re new, you’ll want to talk to an advisor to figure out what your career path might be, what you like studying, and what your plans are in general. They’ll help you find a good place to start.
And then, remember that the new programs are built to interconnect. Courses useful to one program are often still useful in the others – and there’s a core set of courses that apply to all of them! So if you get started in one and find your passion later in another, you can adjust your heading a bit without losing too much progress.
Effects on OTHER Programs and Courses
- Is this the same change as I heard about happening to the FEMA Credit Conversion Program? Will my FEMA Independent Study credits be affected?
No and no! We did recently debut a new process for converting FEMA Independent Study courses to college credit (it now runs directly between us and FEMA, no middleman), but that is entirely separate from these degree program changes. You’ll still be able to convert credits, same as always – you’ll just use a new website to do it.
- Are there any changes to your Criminal Justice or Police Science programs I should know about?
Not at this time! The Criminal Justice program is likely to be the next one we look at for review and updating, but that’s a future project. For now, the only effect these changes will have on those programs is that some of their courses can work towards getting these new degrees…so you might see a few new faces when you show up to class.
- Do these changes come with any new courses I might be interested in?
They do, in fact! We’ll be offering brand new courses in Intelligence Analytics (look for EMGT 119), starting this Fall, and National Security (EMGT 207) in Spring 2023. In addition, we took this chance to update and improve our introductory courses in EM and Fire Service, as well as expand our coursework in integrated EM and emergency management as a government/political aspect. Check them all out in our latest catalog here!