Fire Technology Fire Technology

Program Overview

In 1968, Columbia College, in conjunction with the local public safety agencies, recognized the need for consistent high-quality training. With constantly evolving challenges in firefighting strategy/tactics, emergency medical services, hazardous materials, and technical rescue, the local fire service needed an educational system to keep up with the technological changes. These agencies agreed that Columbia College would offer fire related training and courses for pre-service and in-service first responders.  For over fifty years the Columbia College Fire Technology Program has thrived and evolved into a sophisticated system of multiple courses that offer certification classes and training in a variety of career tracks. With that growth comes increased competition, however, and is why we've developed the technical and manipulative training at Columbia College to be one of the best offered anywhere.  In addition, there are many courses which can be taken as independent course offerings, the Accredited Fire Academy, and degree completion which is beneficial to a firefighter’s career and continuing education.

Columbia College is also one of only two community colleges in California to operate its own fire station.  Students who are currently enrolled in the Columbia College Fire Technology Program have the opportunity to work at Station 79. Through an agreement with the Tuolumne County Fire Department and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, the on-campus station responds to over 350 calls a year.

Program Accreditation

The Columbia College Fire Technology program is an Accredited Regional Training Program (ARTP), as designated by the Office of the California State Fire Marshal (CSFM).  As an ARTP, Columbia College Fire Academy is authorized to deliver a CSFM Accredited Fire Fighter I/II Academy, a full suite of CSFM courses leading to advanced levels of certification and deliver Fire Fighter I/II certification examinations in support of CSFM’s accreditation by the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC) and the National Board on Fire Service Professional Qualifications (Pro Board).  To maintain accreditation, the Columbia College Fire Academy is reviewed by the California State Fire Marshal and members of the California Fire Technology/Academy Directors Association every five years.  The Columbia College Fire Technology Program is authorized by the California State Fire Marshal program to issue certificates from State Fire Training and the National Wildfire Coordinating Group.

Degrees and Certificate of Achievement Offered

See the current college catalog for specific course information on the following degrees/certificate:

Fire Science - Associate of Science Degree (AS)

Fire Technology - Associate of Science Degree (AS)

Fire Technology - Certificate of Achievement (COA)


Fire Academy

The Columbia College Fire Academy is designed to prepare students for initial employment in the fire service. Our program includes Fire Technology courses taken over the course of a 16-week period, for a total of 20 units.  The Fire Academy is offered every Fall and Spring semester.

Key Learning Concepts:

Key Learning Concepts Pre-Requisites:
The first pre-requisite for the Columbia College Fire Academy is to have completed at a minimum an EMR (Emergency Medical Responder) course before the start of the Fire Academy.  Public Safety First Aid (PSFA) is accepted as well.  

The second prerequisite is to provide a valid CPAT (Candidate Physical Agility Test) or a BIDDLE (Firefighter Physical Agility) test before the start of the Fire Academy.  The California Firefighter Joint Apprenticeship Committee currently administers the CPAT in California. The CPAT test consists of eight timed test measurements of skill in stair climbing, hose dragging, equipment carrying, ladder raising and extension, forcible entry, search, rescue drag, ceiling breach, and pulling. To prepare for the CPAT you can access the CPAT Preparation Guide. Please contact the California Firefighter Joint Apprenticeship Committee directly to obtain further information. It is your responsibility to schedule and pay for your CPAT.

Firefighter 1 and 2 Certification:
The Fire Academy Courses exceed the minimum educational requirements established by the California State Fire Marshal's Office for state certification as a Firefighter I and Fire Fighter II. This academy is an Accredited Regional Training Program approved by the California State Board of Fire Service.   The California State Fire Marshal and State Fire Training have developed the certification path to become a State Certified Firefighter I/II. There are two components of the certification, which are education and experience. The education component consists of a task book of various firefighting related competencies with training and education. The Columbia College Fire Academy accomplishes these requirements through the culmination of the Fire Academy and its prerequisites. The experience component consists of working for six months as a full-time paid firefighter or twelve months as a volunteer or part-time paid firefighter. Students successfully completing this course will also receive numerous stand-alone certificates.

For more information about California State Certification as a Fire Fighter I or II, please visit the California State Fire Training website.

Schedule: Based on scheduling and instructor availability issues, this course meets five days a week with occasional night and weekends. Preset/scheduled dates and times may be shifted as needed to accommodate facility usage, equipment demands, weather, skill development needs and instructor availability. When dates and times are shifted, the total amount of required class time will not differ from those hours as listed on the syllabus.  

Costs: Basic Fire Academy costs include college tuition, a college health services fee, various State Fire Training Certificate fees, and the cost to purchase or rent additional supplies and equipment as needed.  Financial Aid and Scholarships are available to qualifying students. The total cost will be approximately $2340. Fire Program Costs

On Campus Housing:

Transportation:   Students are responsible for their own transportation. There are NO EXCEPTIONS. There will be some off-campus training (up to a 1.5-hour drive).

Questions?:   Please contact (209) 588-5269 for more information.

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