Utica, NY (WIBX) - Two institutions are coming together to promote a career in Fire Science Technology. Mohawk Valley Community College and Utica Fire Academy announced a new degree program to develop knowledgeable firefighters as well as offer Utica Fire Academy recruits an Associate in Applied Science.

Utica Fire Chief Russell Brooks says the move could increase enrollment and moral. "This partnership is such an asset to the fire service. Firefighters that come from around the state, after completing their courses at the Utica Fire Academy, will have earned over 30 credit hours at MVCC. They will then be given an on-line or on-campus curriculum and they will have an Associate Degree in Fire Science Technology," he said.

Brooks says when it comes to career opportunities, the program creates more options for recruits. "Training and knowledge is of the utmost importance in the fire service. When there is a crisis and everything is going wrong--it isn't always the amount of men that you have or the equipment that you have--it's the knowledge and training that you bring," the fire chief said.

Dr. Randal Van Wanger, President, MVCC said the program leverages the best of both organizations. "Students take 37 credit hours of course work at MVCC, combine that with more than 500-hours of training at the Fire Academy and at the end, they're ready to take the  professional certification exams for firefighting, as well as, receive an Associate in Applied Science in Fire Science Technology." He said training is one thing but to add a college education credential elevates the overall training and preparation of firefighters. Officials say the current class of fire recruits will be graduating this Friday.

For more information about the new program contact the Department of Social Sciences at MVCC at (315) 792-5463, or on line at www.mvcc.edu.