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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

TCC gives students careers in firefighting


File photo/The Collegian
Hands-on training is offered through the TCC firefighting program. Students have the chance to practice with real equipment used professionally in the field.

TCC’s Fire Training Academy, located on NW Campus, not only teaches students how to fight fires, but also offers them a plethora of valuable skills for their future firefighting careers.

In the program, students learn how to use and wear equipment, drive and use fire trucks, climb ladders, ventilate and inspect buildings. The academy meets weekdays and covers both in-class learning and hands-on training.

Fire Academy coordinator Chief William Pearson started the program in 1989.

He explained that EMT now makes up more of the work than firefighting.

“Starting back in the early ‘80s, firefighters have always done some type of first aid because often they are usually the first responders, so it became natural for them to become emergency medically trained,” Pearson said.

The Basic Program or 12-week Fire Academy admits the students through different areas or categories, administrative assistant Margaret Burns said.

Some have already been hired by a department while others are interested in volunteer service or becoming a certified paramedic or emergency medical technician, she said.

“Individual applicants within each qualifying category who meet all requirements are placed on a space-available basis according to the date complete application is received by the Fire Academy office,” Burns said. “The Texas Commission on Fire Protection Basic Fire Suppression certification exam is given at the end of the class.”

The Fire Technology program, though different from the Basic Academy, still gives students the medical and scientific knowledge needed for firefighter positions.

Randall Alexander, coordinator of the Fire Technology program and a firefighter for 35 years, explained the difference between the Fire Academy and Fire Technology program.

“The Fire Protection Technology program is a 60-hour undergraduate program in which our graduates earn their Associate of Applied Science degree,” Alexander said.

This program consists of many who are already fight fires professionally, so it is mostly taught online, but many first-time students can choose to study for this degree, Alexander said.

The Fire Training Academy program ranges from 12 to 14 weeks while a Fire Technology degree spans two years.

Applicants must be 18, have a high school diploma, a valid Texas driver’s license and complete the application by registering through TCC and sending in an application packet.


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