Port Allen Fire Chief Rick Boudreaux said Monday he has begun coursework for a Master’s degree in Homeland Security with the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security (CHDS).
The 18-month program is designed for those who “already hold positions with significant Homeland Security-related responsibilities,” according to the CHDS website, and whose “demands of their jobs prevent [them] from enrolling in a traditional in-residence [Master’s] program.”
Boudreaux said he was one of 20 individuals selected from across the U.S. for this offering of the program, with only three offerings of the program every year.
He said over the course of a year and a half he is required to complete seven two-week residencies, two in Harpers Ferry, West Va. and five in Monterey, Calif., in addition to home study which will require about 15 hours per week. According to the website, he must also develop a thesis “on a topic beneficial to the participant’s sponsoring agency and jurisdiction.”
Boudreaux’s graduation date is Dec. 19, 2014.
Boudreaux said continuing education is a requirement in the fire department, but that, “It’s always an effort to find new outlets for education.”
He said this Master’s program will benefit himself and the city of Port Allen, without any cost to the city and with minimal personal costs.
“I’m going to walk away with a free Master’s degree,” Boudreaux said. He said the program will provide him with a “much broader perspective on Homeland Security issues.”
Boudreaux said his current base of experience is in fire protection, with an Associate’s degree in Fire Science from LSU Eunice and a Bachelor’s degree in Fire Administration & Fire Protection Technology from the University of Memphis.
Boudreaux said he has served as fire chief for almost 14 years. According the CHDS website, it is a requirement of the program that Boudreaux “agree to continue to serve in a public service, homeland security capacity for at least two years following graduation.” Boudreaux must also remain a local, state, tribal or federal employee for the duration of the 18-month program.
“I can pretty much do my job from anywhere,” Boudreaux said, and that Assistant Fire Chief Charles Stephens will act as the in-person representative for the fire department while Boudreaux is away on two-week residencies.