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The Fire and Emergency Response Management (FERM) bachelor’s degree at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh has many aspects that makes it unique—from the 100 percent online program delivery to its unique technical college credit acceptance policies.

In April 2015, the FERM program added one more unique point of pride— it became the first ever online firefighting degree program to earn accreditation from the International Fire Service Accreditation Council (IFSAC).

IFSAC was founded in 1990, and it is a nonprofit programmatic accreditor of fire and emergency related degree programs. It assesses and accredits both associate and bachelor’s level programs.The accreditation process evaluated faculty and instructors, course offerings, student services and institution support.

FERM program manager Cindy Brun attended the accreditation ceremony to accept the award.

“IFSAC sets rigorous standards based on community and industry needs, and earning the accreditation affirms that our program is focused on those skills and knowledge that are in high demand,” Brun said.

Students who graduate from the FERM program can apply for a certificate that affirms their program has earned the accreditation, something alumnus Jeff Rand ’15, says will give him an edge in the fire profession.

“The fact that the UW Oshkosh program is IFSAC accredited and is one of only a few in the nation, it strengthens the value of my degree as I attempt to improve my position within the emergency services field, especially my current fire department,” Rand said.

The accreditation process included a self-assessment and a site visit from IFSAC representatives and directors of other firefighting-focused degree programs.

“It is gratifying to know that our peers and the accreditation committee feel our program meets the needs of today’s fire service,” Brun said. “Maintaining our accreditation every five years will help us continue to strive for excellence.”

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