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Fire Technology

FAQ

FAQ

Questions

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WHAT DOES THE PROGRAM COST?

You are going to like this! For those eligible for a Board of Governors Grant known as the BOG, there is no enrollment fee (tuition) at all.

For students who are not eligible for the BOG, the enrollment fee is only $20 per unit. A typical fulltime student carrying twelve units would pay only $240 per semester or $480 per year if they were not “BOG eligible”. To see if you are eligible for the BOG, go to the CRC financial Aid website.

Your main expenses at CRC will be transportation, parking and books. Books are the largest single expense at a community college. They may run $80 to $100 per class so if you are taking a twelve unit load (four classes) then you should figure on another $400 for books. Of course, if you are eligible for financial aid and the Cal Grant, all of these expenses would be covered and then some so be sure to file a FAFSA (application) Go to FAFSA and http://www.calgrants.org/ to apply for these sources of money.

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ARE THERE ANY COSTS BEYOND ENROLLMENT FEES AND TEXT BOOKS FOR THINGS SUCH AS UNIFORMS, MATERIAL AND LAB FEES, INSURANCE, TOOLS, ETC.?

The EMT program requires liability insurance in order for students to participate in the EMT lab and clinical aspect of the program. The cost is $40. Students must also purchase a training t-shirt for $15. When the student takes the written exam for California State EMT certification, the cost is $70.

The only extra cost for the Fire Technology program would be for uniforms if you are admitted into the Fire Internship program. Those costs are a minimum of $355 and detailed in the section on the internship.

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IS THIS PROGRAM ACCREDITED?

The EMT program is approved by the Sacramento County Emergency Medical Services Authority. The fire internship program is recognized by the CA State Fire Marshal Office.

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WHAT ARE THE PROGRAM STRENGTHS OR UNIQUE FEATURES? WHAT SETS IT APART FROM OTHER SCHOOLS WITH THIS MAJOR?

The professors are all current or former career EMT/Paramedics and firefighters. Most of fire instructors hold or have held Captain and Chief rank in their departments, serve as trainers and consult in the fire protection and education field.

Curriculum in both EMT and Fire Technology meets rigorous state guidelines, but what really makes the CRC program different is the close working relationship we have with the fast growing Cosumnes Community Services (CSD) Fire Department. Our students are eligible to apply for an exclusive internship opportunity within the Department. Successful completion of this internship can open doors in this very competitive career. Several of our interns are hired by the CSD Fire Department each year.

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ARE THERE ANY SPECIAL PROFESSIONAL CERTIFICATIONS THAT ARE NEEDED FOR ENTRY-LEVEL POSITIONS IN THIS CAREER FIELD?

Yes, indeed there are. All firefighter position applicants will need to possess at least the EMT (1) “basic” certification. In addition, they will be far more likely to land a job if they also have a California Firefighter 1 certification. The most attractive candidates will also have Paramedic certification.

Emergency Medical Technician 1 (EMT-I) certification
CRC's Emergency Medical Technology 100 course is designed to provide the student with the skills and knowledge needed to sit for the National Registry EMT-Basic examination. Only students who pass our EMT 100 with scores of 80% or higher will receive the “course completion certificate” which is necessary to sit for this exam. The National Registry exam is used for the state certification exam and is offered in Roseville. The web site is http://www.nremt.org/ The exam costs $70.

CRC educates over one hundred EMTs per year and our students have a higher pass rate (75%) than the national average of 70% on this exam.

EMT Recertification (refresher)
All EMTs are required to have continuing education. They need to accumulate 24 “continuing education units” every two years. They also have to retest their skills every two years. CRC offers the refresher as EMT 102, Emergency Medical Technician-Basic Refresher. Most employed EMTs get their refresher through their employer. Most of the students in EMT 102 are not working as EMTs. If the student is expired as an EMT, they need to call Matt McHugh because it can get complicated. Despite what the current catalog states, the student can repeat it any number of times. Matt will sign a waiver to allow it.

Paramedic certification
There are several places to obtain Paramedic training in the Sacramento area. These currently include American River College and a private program, NCTI, the National Center for Technical Instruction. Apparently, there is a possibility of a future program at Sierra College.

AMERICAN RIVER COLLEGE PARAMEDIC PROGRAM
Our sister college, ARC has a rigorous twelve month program that is quite challenging to get into due to the demand. A good number of the slots are filled by “contract” with local fire districts which run their firefighters through the program. The remaining admits would come from the general public. The ARC program web site is http://www.arc.losrios.edu/Programs_of_Study/Health_and_Education/Paramedic.htm. Dr. Grant Goold is the program coordinator and can be reached at 484-8843.

Applicants for the ARC program must be at least eighteen, have EMT(1) and about one year of EMS experience. Students who lack sufficient EMS experience must take ARC’s PMED 101 Pre-paramedic, Emergency Medical Technician-Basic: Skills Review (CRC’s EMT 102 does not meet this requirement and PMED 102. In addition, they need to have some anatomy and physiology such as CRC’s Biol. 102 or Biol 430 and 431.

NCTI PARAMEDIC PROGRAM
There is also a private program called NCTI, National Center for Technical Instruction. NCTI operates through the Northern California Training Institute in Roseville. This private institute is owned by the American Ambulance Company. Their web site is https://ncti.edu/er/#student/register?course=45

Firefighter 1 certification
California requires the FF1 certificate. This requires an academic training program which has a minimum of 348 hours of specific fire fighter training plus 6 months paid experience or 12 months volunteer plus experience. So, a CRC Fire Technology student has two avenues to this certification:

  1. Complete Fire Technology courses at CRC and then get hired or volunteer with a fire department and go through their academy. This is the most common route to FF1.
  2. Complete Fire Technology courses at CRC and complete the Internship. Students who successfully complete the CRC Firefighter Internship program with Elk Grove are certified FF1.

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ARE THERE ANY PHYSICAL OR LEGAL LIMITATIONS (criminal record, etc.) TO CERTIFICATION AND EMPLOYMENT?

Obviously, firefighting jobs are very physical jobs and there will be physical qualifications tests. Professor Gruenberg says that upper body strength will be most important.

Firefighters need a class “B” driver license for fire vehicles and class “A” for tractor-trailer rigs.

In addition, all would-be EMTs, fire fighters and paramedics need to be very aware that their backgrounds will be looked at very carefully. Many current applicants cannot get through the background check due to drug and criminal records. Even “high class” misdemeanors like a DUI can prevent keep one from being employable. All employees are usually subject to random drug tests also.

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SHOULD I GET AN AA/AS DEGREE OR GET A CERTIFICATE?

For EMT (1)s, all that matters is that one possess the state certification. They do not need to complete the CRC EMT certificate, only the course that leads to eligibility to take the EMT (1) state certification exam.

While some agencies will look favorably upon college coursework when they hire firefighters, the degree is not so much needed for initial job opportunities as it is for promotional opportunities. An AA or BA is critical then.

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IS THERE A SEPARATE APPLICATION FOR THE EMT OR FIRE TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM?

Not for the major or certificate programs. The Firefighter Internship does require a separate application. This information will be covered in a FAQ on internships.

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HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO COMPLETE THE PROGRAM?

The EMT certificate could be done in as little as one semester if the student comes in with current first aid and CPR for the Professional Rescuer cards.

The Fire Technology degree will take at least two years to complete at fifteen units per semester. Many students are working so it takes them longer.

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ARE THERE ANY LIMITATIONS (day, evening, part-time) AS TO HOW OR WHEN STUDENTS CAN COMPLETE THIS PROGRAM?

Both the EMT and Fire Technology programs are evening only at this point. Our professors are active fire professionals during the day.

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ARE REQUIRED COURSES REGULARLY OFFERED DAYS, EVENINGS, WEEKENDS, SUMMER, FALL and SPRING?

EMT 100, Basic Emergency Medical Technician is offered every semester (not summer). EMT 102, Emergency Medical Technician basic refresher is taught each semester.

The critical core Fire Technology courses are offered regularly for example, FT 300, Fire Protection Organization is offered in the summer and each semester. We rotate through the Fire Technology elective courses offering them in alternating semesters.

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WHAT OPPORTUNITIES ARE THERE FOR OBTAINING CREDIT FOR OTHER TRAINING OR SUBSTITUTING WORK EXPERIENCE FOR MAJOR REQUIREMENTS?

Fire Technology courses
Our program substitution policies are rigid for these programs due to the severity of California fire regulations. California has the strictest requirements in the nation for firefighters and offers no reciprocity for training or certifications obtained from other states. It would be very unusual to receive credit for training such as military or from out-of-state institutions or even for out-of state fire fighting academies and work experience. Military training is very different from public sector fire fighting training and the State and Federal agencies often don’t recognize it. Such people will need to “re-certify” here in CA. Typically, however, a California firefighter can go to another state and have their certification recognized.

Even for training taken within California there is very limited acceptance. Often people will have Courses taken through the California Fire Academy that sound much like our FT courses. They are however, not equivalent but more like “continuing education” courses and the college will not grant credit for them.

If a person is currently certified in CA as a Firefighter 1, through a CA academy, CRC will waive FT 300, Fire Protection Organization…only.

California Division of Forestry (CDF) academy graduates, while they may be Firefighter 1 in the CDF, will have to become Firefighter 1 certified again by a public fire agency if they seek a position outside of CDF. Typically, they would go their new agency’s fire academy to be certified. We will not grant them FT 300 credit because CDF teaches only wildland fire and FT 300 concentrates on structure fire fighting agencies.

California agencies are so strict that, even if you are certified while working with one agency (like CSD Fire District) and then gain employment elsewhere like San Francisco, you will still have to go through that new agency’s academy to work for them!

Emergency Medical Technology
A current California EMT1, EMT1A, or EMT IFS certificate will be accepted as satisfactory completion of the EMT 100 requirement.

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WHAT GENERAL SKILL LEVELS (English, reading, math, etc.) ARE RECOMMENDED FOR ENTRY-LEVEL COURSEWORK AND TO PROGRESS SATISFACTORILY?

These are college-level courses and require college level reading and comprehension skills. EMT 100, Emergency Medical Technician, Basic, is very rigorous and Professor McHugh describes it as like a “crammed LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse) program. Students who succeed have the reading skills and commitment to read every page of a 1000 page text which is heavy on anatomy and physiology. This requires between five and fifteen hours of study outside of class each week. Students who score 80% in the class will receive their EMT course completion certification. The course completion certification is required to sit for the National Registry exam. Only Forty to forty-five percent of each class will typically reach that level so you can see that this class should not be taken lightly.

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WHAT ARE COMMON ADVISING ISSUES IN THE EMT PROGRAM THAT COUNSELORS SHOULD KNOW ABOUT?

Pay particular attention to the rigor of the EMT 100 class as described in the above FAQ on “general skills”. This class takes some serious study.

Prerequisites for EMT 100
The catalog states that course prerequisites for EMT 100 are “HEED 314 (or HEED 312 and HEED 313) and 320; or equivalent certification”. These prerequisites are often confusing to both counselors and students alike. Equivalencies are most easily obtained from the Red Cross. Their web site is http://www.redcross.org/ca/sacramento.

Basically, as long as the student has current certificates in first aid and CPR for the Professional Rescuer or BLS Healthcare Provider, they will be fine. Professor McHugh says that students will have several weeks into the EMT 100 class to obtain these certifications.

Ten hour clinical requirement
EMT students must do a ten hour clinical ER or ambulance internship as part of their program. The college arranges this and it is done during the daytime. Advanced Education students (high school) in EMT 100. Professor Hugh says that only about one in three advanced Education students make it through this class…”especially in their senior year” so advise accordingly.

Textbook advice
Students should not purchase used books unless they are the same edition as that currently being used.

Adding into full EMT 100 classes. Professor McHugh’s EMT 100 classes will have enrollments of fifty students, but he suggests that counselors send interested students to the class the first day even if it is full.

Refresher Training
Some of our students may express a need for “refresher” training because they need it every two years. This course is EMT 102, Emergency Medical Technician-Basic Refresher. All EMTs are required to have continuing education and accumulate 24 “continuing education units” every two years. They also have to retest their skills every two years. Most employed EMTs get their refresher through their employer. If the student is expired as an EMT, they need to call Matt McHugh because it can get complicated. Despite what the current catalog states, the student can repeat it any number of times. Matt will sign a waiver to allow it.

Waivers for EMT 100
A current California EMT1, EMT1A, or EMT IFS certificate will be accepted as satisfactory completion of the EMT 100 requirement.

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WHAT OPPORTUNITES EXIST FOR INTERNSHIPS RELATED TO THIS PROGRAM?

EMT students must do a ten hour clinical ER or ambulance internship as part of their program. The college arranges this and it is done during the daytime.

FIREFIGHTER INSTERNSHIP PROGRAM

This coveted and competitive internship program is a cooperative partnership between the CRC Cooperative Work Experience Education Program and the Elk Grove Community Service District Fire Department.

Program description
The program handbook describes the program as follows:

“The program is designed for students who desire a real-world opportunity to
apply knowledge and skills learned in the classroom to an internship site.”

Program length
Students admitted will have a minimum commitment of two semesters but they may continue for up to four semesters if they are “invited” back.

What do the interns do?
The first Fall semester is basic firefighter training conducted all day on Saturdays by the Elk Grove CSD Fire Department’s Training Division. If the intern proves themselves worthy in the first semester, they will be invited back for second and subsequent semesters. During these semesters, the intern lives, works and trains with one of the Departments fire stations on Friday and or Saturdays. Firefighting is a 24/7 career and students need to be flexible.

What are the program costs?
There are some uniform costs that amount to at least $355. How does the intern benefit? In addition to the obvious opportunity to gain experience and evaluate the career choice, interns will earn firefighter 1 certification through this program. This greatly enhances their employability. In reality, the Elk Grove CSD Fire Department uses this program as its’ hiring pool since it can hire from the “cream of the (intern) crop”.

Ex-chief Gruenberg says that the “Captain’s evaluations carry real weight” in the hiring process and with the department growing rapidly (three new stations on the drawing board currently), this is the best opportunity into a very competitive occupation. Ex-Chief Gruenberg describes modern firefighting as “changed” form earlier times. It is much more technical with hazardous materials and medical functions on top of normal fire tactics. It has also evolved public relations and education functions. So, the intern gets to see this first-hand.

What are the basic program eligibility requirements?
The twelve requirements are spelled out in the detailed handbook available from the Co-op Work Experience office in BS 106, phone number 916-691-7372 or on their web site at Co-op Work Exp Firefighter Internship

  1. Complete Fire Technology (FT) 300, Fire Protection Organization (3 units), with a “C” or better, prior to applying for the Co-op Internship Program. This class provides an introduction to fire protection, career opportunities in fire protection and related fields, philosophy and history, and more.
  2. Complete Emergency Medical Technology (EMT) 100Emergency Medical Technician – Basic (5 units) prior to application deadline and possess a current EMT Certification.
  3. Posses a GED or a High School Diploma.
  4. Have a valid California driver’s license.
  5. Be 18 years of age or older.
  6. Have an overall GPA (college) of 2.5 or better.
  7. Possess the strength and stamina to pass a Physical Abilities Test and a Doctors Physical including a respiratory test.
  8. Consent to a qualifying background check.
  9. Be able to demonstrate prior work or leisure teamwork experience.
  10. Be able to purchase selected fire clothing.
  11. Register in Fire Technology Work Experience 498 class and pay appropriate unit fee for every semester you participate in the internship. Enrollment is required.
  12. Participate in an interviewing workshop prior to your oral interview.

What is the application deadline?
Since the program begins Each Fall, the application deadline is August first by 5:00 PM. Applications may be turned in prior to that date. Turn them into the CRC Cooperative Work Experience office in BS-106, 916-691-7372.

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WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE TO BE A STUDENT IN THIS PROGRAM?

What are our students like?
Fire Technology and EMT students are generally a very highly motivated group. FT Professor Gruenberg said that he “seldom gets a ‘C’ or ‘D’ student” because they really want to be there.

How much of the instruction is “hands-on” or workplace simulation?
The EMT 100 class is about 65% lab so there is a lot of “hands-on”, quite literally. EMTs cannot be passive on the job. We do use mannequins but EMTs have to work with people so they need to get used to putting their hands on them. Students examine, take blood pressures and interact with their “injured” classmates in class.
The Fire Technology classes are mostly lecture but there are field trips to the Elk Grove Training Center as well as to stations. The training materials come from the EG Training Center as well.

What is the relationship with the professors?
The EMT class environment is quite casual. In the FT 300 class, Ex-Chief Gruenberg said that he is on a lot of oral hiring boards so he shares his insights regarding the hiring process with his class. He makes sure that he prepares them with material on ethics and diversity because these are issues of great importance for today’s Firefighter. As he said, “the light is always on you” when you are in fire protection.

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DOES THE PROGRAM LINK WITH ANY SIMILAR FOUR-YEAR COLLEGE PROGRAMS?

The CSU, Sacramento special major in Fire Administration will use the AA in Fire Technology to fulfill many requirements.

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