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DMC Regional Fire Academy heating up … fall cadets can now complete certification program in two semesters starting Aug. 9

Deadline for program application is Friday, July 16

Article by Melinda Eddleman

Starting a career in firefighting is hot! And, the Del Mar College (DMC) Regional Fire Academy has reworked its fall scheduling to get cadets through even faster.

Beginning Aug. 9, the academy will hold courses Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., making DMC’s firefighting certification program just two semesters for those individuals who start in August. Cadets can complete their fire training during the fall and then finish required Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) training through the College’s Emergency Medical Services program during the spring.

We’re still holding two fire academies each year with the second academy starting in the spring and running through summer. We’ve made fire training possible in one semester to get cadets through the spring EMT training in a shorter amount of time because fire departments are hiring non-certified firefighters and then sending them to Del Mar College for required certification training. So, these cadets need to complete the academy and become certified fast.
Mike Schmidt, Instructor and Program Director of Fire Science with the DMC Regional Fire Academy

“The new fall schedule is geared toward those cadets who do not have to work as much as others,” adds Schmidt.

The deadline to apply for the DMC Regional Fire Academy is fast approaching. Applications are due Friday, July 16. For an application packet or more information about the DMC Regional Fire Academy, contact Mike Schmidt at mschmidt8@delmar.edu or 361-698-1724.

Cadets go to work for several operations, including the Corpus Christi Fire Department and those with NAS-Corpus Christi and NAS-Kingsville, Corpus Christi International Airport and those departments in Alice, Annaville, Flour Bluff and Kingsville, among other fire departments in the Coastal Bend.

Schmidt has said in the past that the demand for firefighters is not only here in the Coastal Bend but also across the state. Recruiters from larger fire departments in Austin, Houston and San Antonio have regularly visited Del Mar College to inform cadets of openings among their crews.

Schmidt says that the modern firefighter faces the growing need to fulfill EMT responsibilities as they answer calls related and unrelated to fires, and the State of Texas requires such training before cadets become certified professional firefighters.

The Texas Commission on Fire Protection does require that all firefighters have at least successfully completed a medical training class,” he notes. “Most communities within the state provide some sort of medical care on an average of 80 to 85% during emergency calls that firefighters are sent to, so it’s imperative that this training is a part of our fire academy classes.”

In the past, the academy averaged graduating 15 to 25 cadets per semester to address the needs of area fire departments. Currently, the program is capping enrollment to 25 students per academy to assure that each cadet has plenty of classroom time and hands-on skills training.

Wondering about starting pay? Depending on location and size of the fire department, average starting salary is $40,000. “Some departments are even giving hiring incentives to retain firefighters with EMT training,” says Schmidt.

He adds, “The demand for firefighters does remain high with training requirements, drug and background testing and the physical demands of the job limiting the number of people who want to participate and are able to complete the training, but I encourage anyone who has thought about applying for training to do so. The field is very rewarding for those who become firefighters and serve their communities.”

Learn more about Del Mar College’s Regional Fire Academy by visiting the program’s web pages at www.delmar.edu/degrees/fire-science/index.html.




About Del Mar College

Del Mar College empowers students to achieve their dreams. We offer quality programs, individual attention, outstanding instruction through faculty with real-world experience and affordable costs to credit and noncredit students in Corpus Christi and the South Texas Coastal Bend area. Nationally recognized while locally focused, we’re ranked in the top two percent of community colleges in the country granting associate degrees to Hispanic students (Community College Week). Del Mar College focuses on offering our students programs that match current or emerging career opportunities. Whether students are interested in the fine arts, sciences, business, occupational or technical areas, students get the education they need for the future they want at Del Mar College.