BALTIMORE (AP) — The Baltimore Fire Department will soon be requiring that firefighters get more formal education before they move up in the ranks.

The Baltimore Sun reports that over the next seven years, the department will phase in requirements that a battalion chief hold an associate’s degree and a deputy chief hold a bachelor’s.

Fire Chief James Clack says the move is necessary “to prepare the next generation of leaders.”

But fire union leaders say the standards are unfair to many who don’t have the time or money to invest in their education.

The change could shake up the culture of a department where tenure has been more important than education to rising through the ranks.

Clack says many of the highest-ranking officers in the department already meet the requirements.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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