Program Overview

Move off the front lines and scale the ladder in your career with Point Park University’s online public administration bachelor’s degree with a fire service administration concentration. The fully online Bachelor of Science in Public Administration — Fire Service Administration degree offers fire service professionals the skills and tools needed to move beyond entry-level positions and become leaders in fire service, in a flexible online format designed to meet the needs of busy professionals. When you earn your online public administration degree at Point Park, you’ll receive a quality education designed to help you succeed.

Curriculum Overview

At Point Park University, theory meets reality in a curriculum designed by fire service professionals for fire service professionals. Professors for our online public administration degree program have years of real-world experience that they bring to the classroom so you can increase your knowledge of fire service techniques and understand modern public administration. Courses in the online public administration bachelor’s degree program focus on relevant topics including fire research, risk reduction and prevention management. Our partnership with the National Fire Academy also allows students to pursue unique opportunities in certification.

Transform Your Experience into College Credit

Point Park University is proud to introduce a new Prior Learning Assessment and Advanced Standing/Experiential Learning Credit opportunities. Students can transfer credits from qualifying experiences including other college institutions, College Level Examination Program (CLEP), DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSST exams) or UEXCEL exams, Advanced Placement (AP) credit and experiential learning assessment portfolio submissions. Experiential learning credits are not considered current coursework for financial aid and they do not fulfill any of the minimum 30 credits that must be completed at Point Park University to graduate. In addition, experiential learning credits through portfolio submissions are capped at 18 credits.

Contact an enrollment counselor to learn more.

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  • Next Start Date:October 24, 2020
  • Est. Program Length:2-4 Years
  • Credit Hours:120
  • Course Length:8 Weeks
  • Cost Per Credit:$499
  • Transfer Credits Accepted:Up to 90

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First Response

Point Park Online invites you to enjoy this humble interview with Public Administration Program Director and Associate Professor Robert Skertich, Ph.D.

Thematic Core Courses (42 credits)
  • COMM 101 Oral Comm. & Pres.
  • ENGL 101 College Composition
  • UNIV 101 City-University Life
  • Explore the World
  • Investigate Science
  • Investigate Mathematics
  • PSYC 150 Psych Foundations
  • Interpret Creative Works
  • Understand People
  • Succeed in Business
  • Appreciate & Apply the Arts
  • Discover Technology – CMPS 114 – Problem Solving with Information Technology
  • Senior Capstone
Course Description
This course included communication theory, as well as speech preparation, delivery, and communication technology. Student learning focuses on researching, composing, and delivering formal and impromptu speeches and presentations. Topics include research, analyzing and adapting audiences, message construction, outlining, delivery of messages and effective use of visual aids and technology. This course will develop each student’s ability to communicate effectively with respect to audience and purpose. The major emphasis is on the preparation and delivery of presentations ranging from one-on-one pitches, and small group discussion, to large audience speeches.
Course Description
Students will write argument-based assignments leading to an independently researched project based on academic and professional goals. Students will be required to 1.) find and integrate a variety of sources, 2.) read and analyze these sources, 3.) develop strong thesis statements that reflect perspectives on topics or issues, and 4.) construct persuasive arguments that engage with the viewpoints of experts and commentators. As the term progresses, students will have the opportunity to re-think or revise the ideas and perspectives they explored in earlier writing assignments by engaging with peer feedback and revising earlier drafts. Placement recommendations will require students to take ENGL 101 as a three credit course OR in conjunction with an additional credit of lab or studio instruction. Students who earn F or NP grades in ENGL 101 will be required to re-take the course in conjunction with a one-credit Writing Studio course.
Course Description
This course introduces students to the kinds of communities that people construct for themselves (e.g. social, political, artistic, etc.) and the values and dynamics that define such communities (e.g. cooperation, civility, tolerance, responsibility, etc.). The notion of what it means to be a responsible member of the “community” will actively be explored and discussed by engagement and analysis of multiple communities: the classroom community, the Point Park University community, and the Pittsburgh community. Students will also examine the responsibilities they have to their personal academic development.
Choose up to two courses:

  • ECON 201 Principles of Macroeconomics
  • GCS 175 Intro to Global Cultural Studies
  • GCS/MLNG 205 Languages of the World
  • HIST 201 Western Civilization I
  • HIST 202 Western Civilization II
  • PADM 210/POLS 204 Public Administration
  • POLS 205 World Geography
  • POLS 250 Intro to Study of Gov’t Systems
  • PHIL 215 World Religions
  • SOC/MLNG 260 Japanese Culture
  • THEA 225 History Theatre I
  • THEA 226 History Theatre II
Choose from the following:

  • CHEM 101 General Chemistry I
  • NSET 110 Intro to Natural Sciences I
  • NSET 111 Intro to Natural Sciences II
  • NSET 120 Environmental Science
  • NSET 122 The Science of Light
Course DescriptionThis course introduces logic and mathematical thinking as a way of posing, communicating, and solving problems. It relates mathematics to other branches of knowledge. Topics of exploration include problem solving, logic, number theory, business mathematics, and statistics. This course is intended to fulfill the core mathematics requirement if chosen by individual departments.
Choose from the following:

  • EDUC 252 Children’s Literature
  • ENGL 120 Introduction to Literary Studies
  • ENGL 251 World Lit: Novels
  • ENGL 252 The Art of Creative Nonfiction
  • ENGL 253 The Art of Poetry
  • ENGL 254 The Art of Short Story
  • ENGL 255 Theoretical Approaches to the Study of Literature
  • JOUR 225 Deconstructing the Story
Choose up to two courses:

  • EDUC 220 Family and Community Diversity
  • EDUC 228 Educational Psychology
  • HIST 206 Foundations in Feminism: Women’s History in Western World
  • PSYC 150 Psychological Foundations
  • PSYC 203 Theories of Personality
  • PSYC 214 Psychology of Emotion
  • PSYC 230 Characterological and Psychotic in Film and Fiction
  • SOC 150 Sociological Foundations
Course DescriptionExamines psychological foundations underlying the development of personal, professional, academic, and cultural world views, and examines how those world views influence questions that human beings ask and answers they find. Students will be asked to express their ideas in both oral and written form.
Choose from the following:

  • BMGT 271 The Money Thing: Life and Finances During and After College
  • BUS 404 Business Ethics
  • CMPS 330 Electronic Commerce
  • ECON 202 Principles of Microeconomics
Choose from the following:

    • ART 100 Intro to Visual Arts
    • CINE 170 Intro to Screenwriting for Non-Majors
    • COMM 290 Seminar in Media Studies
    • COPA 250 Exploring the Arts
    • EDUC 251 Art and Music in Teaching
    • ENGL 200 Creative Writing
    • ENGL 252 The Art of Creative Nonfiction
    • ENGL 253 The Art of Poetry
    • ENGL 254 – The Art of Short Story
    • MLNG 220 – French Literature in Translation
    • PHOT 101 – Photography for Non-Majors
    • THEA 230 – Introduction to Theatre
Course DescriptionA course on how Information Technology impacts organizations and how to use Information Technology to solve problems. Topics include: main concepts of Information Technology at a general level, online collaboration tools, application software, and information literacy as applied to searching and using the Internet. In addition, students will become proficient at an intermediate level in using application software. The student will learn each of the four software applications (Spreadsheets, Database, Word Processing and Presentation) and be able to apply them successfully to problem solving scenarios.
Course Description
Course chosen with advisor near completion of degree.
Departmental Major Requirements (27 credits)
  • PADM 206 – Nonprofit Organization
  • PADM 210 – Public Administration
  • PADM 211 – Principles of Management
  • PADM 214 – Public Budgeting and Finance I
  • PADM 301 – Methods of Public Management OR PADM 303 Policy and Decision Analysis
  • Select any two POLS or ECON courses 6 credits
  • Select any two ACCT, BMGT, BUS or SAEM courses 6 credits
Course Description
This course is an introduction to leadership in nonprofit organizations (NPO). Topics include the theoretical, historical and legal foundations of NPOs, governance, fundraising, accountability, personnel and ethics.
Course Description
This course is an intensive study of governmental and non-profit organizations, including organizational structures and functions, including planning, budget, finance, management and leadership. The course emphasizes the interaction and interrelationship of agencies and administrators at all levels of government and the non-profit sector. Dual listed as POLS 204.
Course Description
Emphasis on the major theories and functions of management. Students develop an understanding of why management is needed in all organizations and what constitutes good management. Dual listed as BMGT 208. Pre-requisite: BMGT 101 or PADM 210.
Course Description
This course addresses the principles of governmental and non-profit organizations’ revenue, expenditure and budgeting. A special focus is placed on the planning and management aspects of budgeting, and the associated measurements and evaluation. Pre-requisite: PADM 210 or PADM 206 or permission.
Course Description
This course applies quantitative analysis and forecasting methods to plan and evaluate decisions in public agencies. Additional topics include basic research design and techniques, and reading and interpreting research findings. Prerequisites: PADM 210 and MATH 150; ECON 201 or 202 or permission of the instructor.ORPADM 303 Policy and Decision Analysis
This course will cover quantitative, qualitative and mixed-methods approaches to defining, structuring, analyzing and evaluating policies and decisions in government and non-profit agencies. Prerequisites: PADM 210 and MATH 150 (or greater) or permission of the instructor.
Fire Service Concentration Requirements (21 credits)
  • PADM 330 – Fire and Emergency Services Administration
  • PADM 331 – Political and Legal Foundations of Fire Protection
  • PADM 332 – Fire Prevention Organization and Management
  • PADM 335/311 – Personnel Management for Fire and Emergency OR Special Employee Relations
  • PADM 336 – Communicating Risk Reduction for Fire and Emergency
  • PADM 430 – Applications of Fire Research
  • Any one (1) Public Administration Elective Class at 300+ Level
Course Description
This course is designed to be a progressive primer for students who want more knowledge about fire and emergency services administration. The course demonstrates the importance of the following skills, necessary to manage and lead a fire and emergency services department through the challenges and changes of the 21st century. Prerequisite: Junior Standing or prior Fire/EMS experience.
Course DescriptionThis course examines the legal aspects of the fire service and the political and social impacts of legal issues. This course includes a review of the American legal system and in-depth coverage of legal and political issues involving employment and personnel matters, administrative and operational matters, planning and code enforcement, and legislative and political processes with regard to the fire service. Prerequisite: Junior status or prior Fire/EMS experience.
Course Description
This course examines the factors that shape fire risk and the tools for fire prevention, including risk reduction education, codes and standards, inspection and plans review, fire investigation, research, master planning, various types of influences, and strategies. Prerequisite: Junior Standing or prior Fire/EMS experience.
Course Description
The course examines relationships and issues in personnel administration and human resource development within the context of fire-related organizations, including personnel management, organizational development, productivity, recruitment and selection, performance management systems, disciple and collective bargaining. Prerequisite: Junior Standing or prior Fire/EMS experience.ORPADM 311 Special Employee Relations
This course includes the legal and managerial considerations regarding human resources and employee relations in government and non-profit agencies. Special emphasis will be on civil service employees and those represented by collective bargaining units, including negotiation and dispute resolution processes. Additional topics include special personnel relationships, such as contract and temporary employees, and volunteers in public service. Pre-requisite: PADM 210 or PADM 206 or BMGT 207 or BMGT 208 or permission.
Course DescriptionThis course provides a theoretical framework for understanding the ethical. Sociological, organizational, political and legal components of community planning and risk reduction. Topics include comprehensive planning, zoning, building, fire and life safety codes. Pre-requisite: PADM 210 or permission.
Course DescriptionThis course examines the basic principles of research and methodology for analyzing current fire-related research. The course also provides a framework for conducting and evaluating independent research in the following areas: fire dynamics, fire test standards and codes, fire safety, fire modeling, structural fire safety, life safety, firefighter health and safety, automatic detection and suppression, transportation fire hazards, risk analysis and loss control, fire service applied research and new trends in fire-related research. Prerequisite: Senior Standing and PADM 301 or PADM 303, or permission of instructor.
General Elective Requirements (30 Credits)
  • Students may use general electives to complete a double major or one or more minors.

Students applying for entry into Point Park University’s B.S. in Public Administration – Fire Service Administration program must meet the following requirements:

  1. Degree admission requires a satisfactory transcript from either a high school or postsecondary institution. Transcripts from postsecondary institutions must include a minimum of 12 earned credits or six months of training. A cumulative minimum GPA of 2.0 is required. Students with a lower GPA may be considered for admission by the program director based on additional information in support of the application.
  2. The University reserves the right to require an interview or supplementary materials for any applicant (degree or non-degree) and to use these as a means for making an admission decision.

Career Outcomes

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage for fire services managers was $46,320 annually in 2014. By pursuing further education, you gain the credential needed to be considered for a number of careers, including:
Fire Prevention Supervisor

Fire prevention supervisors are on-ground officers who directly oversee the work of firefighters. Their duties may include assigning firefighter positions, assessing emergencies, training and drilling their staff on various emergency response techniques, maintaining equipment and providing emergency medical services as needed. Fire prevention supervisors must possess a strong ability to sense potential problems and must be effective communicators.

Fire Company Officer

Fire company officers are supervisors for fire departments. These individuals are responsible for understanding rules and regulations of their department, maintaining records and paperwork, serving as the face of the fire department during public relations, ensuring crew safety and having a deep understanding of all aspects of firefighting.

Fire Services Director

Fire services directors are responsible for the overall administrative functioning of a fire services department. They are charged with a wide array of tasks including managing and developing department goals, creating overall work plans, managing department expenses, assisting local government with emergency management preparation, overseeing certification programs, developing levels of performance and much more.

Next Steps

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