Firefighter I Academy

California State Fire Marshal Accredited Firefighter I Academy

Completion of EMT1* and Fire P101** will be required BEFORE you may enroll in our Firefighter 1 Academy!

*EMT National Registry not required - just proof of course completion.

**Fire Tech 159 from COS, or Fire 1 from BC are also acceptable.

How do I get into the Academy?

Persons who are already enrolled in Porterville College and pursuing a degree are considered "priority" students and are given the opportunity to enroll earlier than the general public. Veterans and others may also qualify for priority enrollment. New students and those who have not attended college continuously are eligible to sign up when open enrollment begins. For this reason, our Fire Academy may be full before enrollment opens to persons who are not current college students. To have the best chance of getting one of the limited slots in our Fire Academy, you should enroll in other classes and start working toward an Associate degree BEFORE you get too serious about trying to enroll in the Fire Academy.

Before deciding to enroll in this Academy, it is important that you read the information posted at the "Career Information" link on the sidebar.

When is it offered?

The Porterville College Fire Academy is accredited by the Office of the California State Fire Marshal and is delivered each Fall. Potential Academy Cadets should be aware that the Academy typically starts about three weeks prior to the other “Fall Semester” classes at Porterville College. (It normally begins in early August and ends in mid-November).

What days does it meet?

The 400+ hour Academy is delivered in an intensive 16-week format that meets three nights a week (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday), and all day Saturday and Sunday. Each evening class session begins with Cadets lining up in formation for inspection at 5:45 p.m., followed by classroom or field instruction from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday sessions begin with formation and inspection at 7:45 a.m., followed by instruction from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Additionally, Cadets will participate in facility and equipment clean up and maintenance following class each day.

Are there prerequisites or other requirements?

Academy prerequisites include completion of Emergency Medical Technician 1 and the course "Fire Protection Organization" (Fire P101) or its equivalent at another community college. If this training was not completed at Porterville College, students must present written proof of completion the first night of class or they will be dropped. National Registry as an EMT is not required.

Potential Academy Cadets should also be aware of these other requirements:

  • Cadets can expect to pay between $1,600 to $2,000 for tuition, uniforms, equipment rental and certificates. Individuals who are already affiliated with a fire department and have department issued turnout gear may have some reduced cost.
  • Cadets must possess, or be able to obtain, medical clearance to be fit-tested and wear Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus per OSHA regulations.
  • Cadets must be in top physical condition and able to actively participate in all hands-on training activities.
  • Cadets must have good transportation as they will be expected to drive to various training sites, and must provide their own drinking water, meals and incidentals as needed.

What about uniforms and personal protective equipment?

Cadets should be in uniform the first day of class.

Each Cadet must purchase and wear the approved Academy uniform including such things as shirts, t-shirts, pants, shoes and boots, jackets or sweatshirts. The cost of uniforms may exceed $400. Click "Uniform Standards" on the sidebar for specific uniform requirements.

A limited supply of Wildland personal protective equipment is available for loan, however, each Cadet should attempt to provide their own Nomex brush gear (shirt and pants), and web gear and fire shelter. Helmets, goggles, and Nomex shrouds will be provided by the College. Cadets must also provide their own Structural Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Cadets may not share these items. Wildland PPE is optional, but not required for this Academy.

Cadets who are employed in the fire service may use structural and wildland personal protective equipment (PPE) issued by their fire department. Students not affiliated with a fire department must borrow, rent or purchase PPE (excluding helmets). The rental cost for this gear varies but is generally around $750.00 for the semester. The purchase price of PPE also varies, depending on the brand, style, and other factors, but potential Cadets can expect to pay at least $1,500 to be adequately outfitted.

The College will issue structural firefighting helmets for use during the Academy, and Cadets will use Self-contained Breathing Apparatus supplied by the College. However, no other personal protective equipment is available from or provided by the College. Click Personal Protective Equipment on the sidebar for specific PPE requirements.

Other materials needed:

Each Cadet must bring one 3-inch, three-ring, binder to hold printed class materials.

Each Cadet must purchase Scantron forms for use in written exams. They will be available for purchase in class.

Who instructs the Academy?

Academy instructors are full-time professional Firefighters, Company Officers or Chief Officers (or recent retirees) selected for their expertise in the various aspects of fire department operations, firefighting, rescue and other topics taught in the Academy.

Who may enroll in this Academy?

This course is open to anyone who meets the minimum prerequisites and is otherwise eligible to attend Porterville College. However, it is highly recommended that Academy Cadets be affiliated with a fire department as a Full-time, Reserve, Volunteer, Paid-Call or Seasonal firefighter, or as a Fire Explorer. Current employment in the fire service allows Cadets the opportunity to have fire department equipment available for use in practicing skills and preparing for both written and manipulative exams. Current employment also helps ensure that a Cadet has access to appropriate Personal Protective Equipment, at no cost, and that they have the necessary medical clearance to wear Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus.

How do I enroll?

We do not take early applications. Students must enroll online when registration for FALL semester classes opens. This class typically fills very rapidly and slots are awarded on a first-come, first serve basis. Watch the College website for FALL semester enrollment dates. Those who sign up the day registration opens will have the best chance of securing a seat. If you need enrollment assistance, please call the Porterville College Admissions Office at (559) 791-2220.

Will I graduate as a certified State Fire Marshal Firefighter I?

No! You will meet all of the training requirements, however, potential Academy Cadets should understand that successful completion of this, or any similar Academy, DOES NOT result in automatic certification by the California State Fire Marshal’s office as a “Firefighter I”. Academy graduates must also have full-time or part-time fire department experience and meet other certification requirements before the State Fire Marshal will issue them a "Firefighter 1" certificate.

Will I get a CAL FIRE (CDF) "Basic Firefighter" certificate?

This Academy is not intended to fulfill requirements of the CAL FIRE (CDF) “Basic Firefighter” or the Federal “Basic 32” wildland firefighter training courses. Those certifications are offered in the Porterville College Basic Wildland Firefighter Academy which is conducted during the Spring semester each year. 

Will completion of the Academy guarantee a job?

Though past graduates of this Academy have been highly successful in getting jobs, there is no guarantee, expressed or implied, that completion of this Academy will result in employment by any fire agency. In addition to completing this training, students will have to meet other pre-employment requirements established by the various fire agencies.

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