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There is a training program in Livingston for first responders

HOWELLCleary University enrollment growth over the past three years can be attributed in part to a graduation pathway for police officers, firefighters and other public safety personnel who already work full-time, officials say.

The university’s Public Safety Professionals Program, which offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business, is already widely used by officers at the Detroit Police Department and the Michigan State Police.

The program allows anyone in the public safety industry to earn their degree in one or two years by packaging previous training and courses they have taken as part of their job requirements as already earned credits.

The ability for public safety professionals to earn BBA and MBA degrees benefits them not only in their current jobs, but after retirement from public service. Both sworn officers and civilians, such as dispatchers and administrative staff, are eligible.

“Many of these public safety officers retire earlier (than in other professions), which allows them to pursue a second career,” said Cleary University President Alan Drimmer. “This accelerated degree path allows them to honor the experiences they’ve already had, giving them additional options.”

There are immediate benefits to their current job as well. Most public safety departments do not offer promotions and raises for taking required training, but do offer such benefits when personnel complete a training program.

Drimmer compares the program to the GI Bill, which allows members of the military to earn a degree after completing a certain number of years of service. Although tuition for the BBA and MBA pathways is not free, public safety professionals can often receive a 50% reduction in tuition costs. The maximum cost of the BBA program for Michigan residents is $10,000 while the maximum cost of the MBA program for residents is $12,500.

Most students take the majority or all of their classes online, although a hybrid model is also available, with some classes being completed in as little as six weeks.

Captain Andrew Johnson with the Howell Fire Department is a recent graduate of the program. Several years after earning his doctorate, Johnson was able to complete his bachelor’s degree in one year while working full-time and spending as much time with his family as possible.

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Even better, Cleary instructors work closely with students’ schedules, which for Johnson can include emergency runs and other calls as they happen.

“I had to be convinced (to sign up for the program) given how busy my schedule was, but it was a great program,” Johnson said. “I have nothing but good things to say about it.”

Read more at cleary.edu/public-safety.

— M. Alan Scott is a freelance writer for The Livingston Daily. Contact the newsroom at [email protected].

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