Referring to an occupational field as a profession requires meeting formally accepted criteria outlined in historical literature. The United States fire service has yet to earn this right of being a profession. This deficiency and lack of autonomy in the field leads to vulnerabilities that threaten the existence of the United States fire service. Urgent steps are needed to address and correct this deficiency. Having specialized knowledge and skill is a criterion of a profession and is the focus of this dissertation. Exploring this criterion led to one central research question and five subquestions: 1) What fire officer competencies are relevant to the United States fire service?; 2) What benefit is there for conducting fire officer competency assessment in academic programs or the United States fire service?; 3) Where are fire officer competencies best learned?; 4) What consistency in curriculum exists across regionally accredited fire-related baccalaureate degree programs in the United States?; 5) What framework of professional development exists in the fire service?; and 6) Does the United States fire service meet the criteria of a profession?
Three qualitative phases of research were used to develop a tool to assess fire officer performance, which were subsequently analyzed with the Cornell technique of the Guttman Scale Analysis process. The results indicate fire officer competencies are scalable for each competency and across competencies. Using the Guttman Scale Analysis model also provides a clear indication of how the rating terms of mastery, developing, novice, and deficient can be defined. These results permit the determination of how well a fire officer does the job in terms of individual competencies and how much of the overall job is performed well.
|Commitee:||Chang, Ray, Gordon, Sarah, Brienen, Marten|
|School:||Oklahoma State University|
|Department:||Fire & Emergency Management Administration|
|School Location:||United States -- Oklahoma|
|Source:||DAI-A 81/4(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Assessment, Competency, Fire officer, Fire service, Occupation, Profession|
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