Regional Fire Academy's May 1 Open House Providing Overview of Training and Career Prospects
Article by: Melinda Eddleman
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 regularly visit Del Mar College’s (DMC) Regional Fire Academy to inform cadets of openings among their crews.
“We have firefighters who completed their training with Del Mar’s Regional Fire Academy and now work for over 40 fire departments, all over the United States,” says Michael Schmidt, assistant instructor of Fire Science with the academy. “I’m very proud of the level of training that our fire cadets demonstrate after they successfully complete our program. The academy’s goal is to graduate firefighters ready and able to complete the assigned tasks at hand in a proficient and professional manner.”
The academy averages graduating 15 to 25 cadets per semester to address the needs of area fire departments, including those in Alice, Corpus Christi, Kingsville Portland and Naval Air Stations Corpus Christi and Kingsville.
I hear from fire chiefs who are unable to fill all of the budgeted positions that they currently have open.
For anyone who’s thought about firefighting as a career and a goal to help fill positions locally or elsewhere, the DMC Regional Fire Academy is holding an open house this Wednesday, May 1, from 5:30 to 7 p. m. at Public Safety Education Building 1 on the West Campus in Rooms 108 and 109. Use the back entrance off Old Brownsville Road next to the Nutrition Education and Service Center. An online map is available at https://bit.ly/2BRU0Ua. The event includes refreshments and door prizes.
For more details, call the College’s Public Safety Education Department at 361-698-1724.
During the open house, concurrent informational sessions will cover both the college-level and dual credit training available through the academy. Participants will receive enrollment packets for both the Fire Science and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) programs as well as take a tour of the academy’s training facilities to see the equipment used to prepare cadets for this challenging career.
Class times and days vary for college-age students versus dual credit high school students getting a jumpstart on training during their junior and senior years. The program consists of two semesters of firefighting training, which individuals can start in either the fall or spring, and one semester of EMS training to meet the State of Texas’ certification requirements.
Schmidt notes that the modern firefighter faces the growing need to fulfill emergency medical technician (EMT) responsibilities as they answer calls related and unrelated to fires.
Wondering about starting pay? The average starting salary in Texas for a certified basic structure firefighter/EMT is $35,000 to $40,000.
Learn more about Del Mar College’s Regional Fire Academy on May 1or visit the program’s web pages at www.delmar.edu/degrees/fire-science/index.html.
You can also read about a recent live burn exercise conducted by spring 2019 Regional Fire Academy cadets as well as watch a video of their demonstrating their skills using the following link: vikingnews.delmar.edu/regional-fire-academy-cadets-test-their-skills-by-extinguishing-live-fires/
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.