List of 19 Fire Academies in California

The following fire academies are 19 of the best fire academies in California that provide the Fire Fighting I training required for your career.

It’s also important to check the prerequisites for each Fire Fighter I program. These usually include at a minimum:

  • Current EMT training.
  • A clear medical check.

Below are all the institutions I could find in California that offered fire training.

List of Fire Academies in California

Northern California Fire Academies

College

Location

Details

1. Butte College

Butte

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2. Antelope Valley College

Antelope Valley

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3. Sierra College

Rocklin

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4. College of the Siskiyous

Weed

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5. Yuba College

Marysville

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6. Shasta College

Redding

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7. Lake Tahoe Basin Fire Academy

Lake Tahoe

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Central California Fire Academies

College

Location

Details

8. California Fire and Rescue Training Authority

Sacramento

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9. College of San Mateo

San Mateo

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10. Fresno City College

Fresno

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11. College of the Sequoias

Visalia

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Southern California Fire Academies

College

Location

Details

12. Allan Hancock College

Santa Maria

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13. Bakersfield College

Bakersfield

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14. El Camino College

El Camino

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15. Santa Ana College

Santa Ana

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16. Palomar College

San Marcos

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17. Oxnard College

Oxnard

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18. Rio Hondo College

Rio Hondo

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19. Moreno Valley College

Moreno Valley

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Read Also: Pros and Cons of Becoming a Firefighter

Northern California

1. Butte College

Butte College is based in Butte, California. They have 40 years’ experience training firefighters. They offer Spring and Fall semesters and have options for:

  • Firefighter 1
  • Fire Technology / Fire Sciences

As usual, they have some strict entry requirements including needing to provide some fitness and medical qualifications including a current CPR certification.

They also have several YouTube videos displaying the achievements of alumni:

Find out More: http://www.butte.edu/departments/careertech/publicsafety/fire_academy.html

2. Antelope Valley

Antelope Valley College offers several courses for people interested in a career in firefighting, including:

  • Firefighter 1 Academy
  • Wildland Fire Academy
  • Associates Degree Program

They also have a great application check list to make it easy to know what you need to do to obtain entry into their programs which is one of the best I have come across.

Find out More: https://www.avc.edu/academics/firetech

3. Sierra College

Sierra college offers courses accredited by the California State Fire Marshal and the State Board of Fire Services. They have three programs:

  • Associates Degree in Fire Technology
  • Firefighter 1 Academy
  • EMT Training

To be accepted for entry into the Firefighter 1 Academy, you need a current EMT or paramedic certificate as well as completion of a Fire Tech 1 course.

One of the nice things about this college is they offer both a full-time Monday to Friday stream as well as a stretched-out weekend offering for people seeking training while still working full-time.

Here’s their promo video:

Find out More: https://academics.sierracollege.edu/fire-academy

4. College of the Siskiyous

The College of the Siskiyous offers a wide range of courses and certifications in firefighting including certifications in:

  • Firefighter I
  • Firefighter II
  • Company Officer

You can also extend your training to an Associates Degree in Science (Fire Technology).

While they offer a good number of resources on the website (including information on equipment rentals for the program), I would have liked a clearer walkthrough of pathways for beginners.

Find out More: http://www.siskiyous.edu/cte/fire/

5. Yuba College

Yuba College offers a comprehensive suite of fire education, from Firefighter I to Wildfire to an Associate’s degree in fire technology. I was particularly interested in their Wildfire certificate that can get you the prerequisites for a job with CalFire over the summer season.

  • Associate Of Science in Fire Technology
  • Basic Wildland Fire
  • Firefighter I
  • Firefighter II
  • Low Angle Rope Rescue
  • HazMat FRO

Yuba College also separately offers EMT certificates, enabling you to cover all your bases with the one college – which is excellent!

Find out More: https://yc.yccd.edu/publicsafety/home-page/fire-technology/

6. Shasta College

Shasta College has a good clear overview on their website of the four core curriculums they offer:

  • Fire Technology Associate of Science Degree
  • Firefighter 1 Certificate
  • Firefighter 2 Certificate
  • Wildland Firefighter Certificate

There are also EMS and EMT programs run through Shasta College, so you could choose this college and run with it for all your core certifications.

Find out More: https://www.shastacollege.edu/academics/programs/fire-technology/program-overview/

7. Lake Tahoe Basin Fire Academy

Lake Tahoe Basin’s accredited regional training program promotes its close links to local fire departments and authorities to ensure a program that provides job readiness and helps you develop connections to local firefighters.

They offer:

  • Firefighter 1 Academy
  • Associates of Arts in Fire Science
  • Fire Officer Certificate

The Firefighter 1 Academy runs September through June and meets Mondays and Saturdays. The expectation is that you will be employed throughout the program.

Find out More: http://www.ltcc.edu/academics/academic_programs/fire_science/fire_academy.php

Central California

8. California Fire and Rescue Training Authority

The California Fire and Rescue Training Authority offers instruction in firefighting for those located in and around Sacramento. They have been around since 1997 and have close connections to all 3 ‘member agencies’, which are the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services– Fire and Rescue Branch, the Sacramento Fire Department, and the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District.

Their core offering is:

  • Basic Firefighter I Academy
  • Wildfire Training

But they also offer courses for company officer training, fire inspector training, and even instructor courses.

Find out More: http://www.fireandrescuetraining.ca.gov/fire-and-rescue-training.aspx

9. College of San Mateo

The College of San Mateo offers four accredited programs:

  • Associates in Science (Fire Technology)
  • Fire Technology Certificate
  • Firefighter 1 Certificate
  • EMT Certificate

They offer a useful list of prerequisites for the Firefigher 1 certificate as well as some easy to access course needs documentation all on their website.

Find out More: https://collegeofsanmateo.edu/fire/fireacademy.asp

10. Fresno City College

Fresno City College offers:

  • Fire Academy
  • Degrees in Fire Technology
  • EMT and Paramedic Training
  • State Fire Training Classes

They also offer Firefighter II training in January, although this doesn’t seem to be central to their offerings and is hard to find on the website. While the website isn’t the easiest to navigate, you can find some nice clear information around course costs and the cost of equipment.

Find out More: https://www.fresnocitycollege.edu/academics/career-and-technical-education/fire-technology/index.html

11. College of the Sequoias

College of the Sequoias has a well organized Firefighter I program that you can get into after completing two prerequisite courses: Fire 159, and EMT 251. You’ll also need to pass some medical tests, which is quite normal. They’ve actually got one of the best brochures that outlines exactly what to expect – you can read it here.

The Fire Technology department also offers an Associate of Science in Fire Technology degree, a Certificate of Achievement in Fire Technology and of course the Skill Certificate in Fire Academy. You can research each of these further through their website, linked below.

Find out More: https://www.cos.edu/en-us/academics/fire-technology

Southern California

12. Allan Hancock College

Hancock College is based in Santa Maria, California. They have 50 years’ experience training firefighters, having started their program in 1972.

They offer three Fire Technology degrees/certificates, including:

  • Fire Technology – Associate in Science
  • Fire Technology – Certificate of Achievement
  • Firefighter I Academy – Certificate of Accomplishment

Their programs are governed by the California State Fire Marshal’s accreditation program. The main program is a 609-hour certified program to prepare cadets for a career in firefighting both in the public and private sector.

Find out More: https://www.hancockcollege.edu/pstc/fire/index.php?locale=en

13. Bakersfield College

Bakersfield College is Based in Bakersfield, California. They have two programs – the Chief Fire Officer & Company Officer Program as well as the Firefighter 1 Academy.

Through their programs, you can obtain the following degrees/certificates:

  • Fire Technology Associate of Arts Degree
  • Wildland Firefighting Associate of Science Degree
  • Executive Chief Fire Officer Certificate of Achievement
  • Fire Fighter I Academy Certificate of Achievement
  • Fire Technology Certificate of Achievement
  • Fire Academy Job Skills Certificate
  • Wildland Firefighting Job Skills Certificate

The Firefighter 1 training course is offered in Spring semester and requires completion of a “Candidate Physical Ability Test” (CPAT) before starting. For more entry requirements, see their website.

Find out More: https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/public-safety-training/firetech

14. El Camino College

El Camino College’s Firefighter Academy (formerly known as South Bay Fire Academy) doesn’t offer EMT or Associates degrees in fire technology. But they do boast some impressive facilities for their core focus on upskilling and fire training.

The certificates they offer include:

  • Firefighter I
  • Fire Control III: Live Fire Training
  • Fire Control IV: Gas Fire Training
  • Fire Control VI: Wild Land
  • Fire Control VII: Wildland Fire Fighting
  • Auto Extrication
  • Confined Space Awareness
  • Haz-Mat First Responder Operational

This program does not currently offer part-time instruction, so you need to commit full-time to your training here.

Find out More: https://www.elcamino.edu/academics/healthsciences/fireacademy/

15. Santa Ana College

Santa Ana College has enough offerings on-campus to train you up from beginning to end. It’s nice that they offer EMT training in-house so there’s no need to get EMT perquisites elsewhere like some other programs.

They offer:

  • Fire EMT Training
  • Firefighter I Academy Training
  • Fire Officer Program

The support offered on the course website doesn’t hold your hand through the process as much as some competitors, but it’s still worth looking into them especially if you need to get Fire EMT training.

Find out More: https://www.sac.edu/academicprogs/hst/firetech/pages/basic-fire-academy.aspx

16. Palomar College

Palomar College Fire Technology offers degrees and certificates in fire technology. These include:

  • Fire Technology-General Degree
  • Fire Technology-Emergency Management Degree
  • Fire Fighter I Academy

Interestingly, they recommend 7 classes prior to Firefighter I (Fire 100, 101,118, 120, 130, 142 and 165) which is the most I saw in terms of recommended ‘pre-requisite’ classes (although they’re not compulsory).

Find out More: https://www2.palomar.edu/pages/fire/

17. Oxnard College

Oxnard college is certified to teach Firefighter I and Firefighter II certification courses as well as deliver the exams (which isn’t the case with all of them – sometimes you have to sit an exam elsewhere).

They also enable you to complete an Associates Science Degree in Fire Technology though the college.

There are also extended offerings including:

  • Wildland Academy
  • EMT Classes
  • Lifeguard Academy

This rounds out one of the most comprehensive offerings on this list. Here is their promo video:

Find out More: https://www.oxnardcollege.edu/departments/academic/public-safety-fire-technology/public-safety-regional-fire-academy

18. Rio Hondo College

Rio Hondo College offers California State Fire Marshal accredited training in:

  • Firefighter 1 Academy
  • Wildland Fire Academy

They also offer an LA County approved:

  • Emergency Medical Technician Program

Between these offerings, you’ve got all the core bases covered. If you don’t have an EMT, you’ll need to complete that before starting your Firefighter 1.

While their website seems quite old design wise (there’s a training video from 2008!), they do seem to have at least up to date information, and a more recent video of some recruits from 2020:

Find out More: https://www.riohondofire.com/

19. Moreno Valley College

Moreno Valley College offers both an Associates of science degree in fire technology and Firefighter I Academy training. The academy is fully accredited.

For entry into the Moreno Valley Firefighter I academy you will need:

  • To be at least 18 years old
  • To have FIT-1 (or equivalent)
  • To have a California State EMT Card (or NREMT card)
  • To complete a Physical Agility Test (CPAT or Biddle)

Their website provides some information, but doesn’t do the handholding that several others do to guide you through the application process.

Find out More: https://www.mvc.edu/bctc/fire/

Conclusion

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There is no shortage of fire academies in California, but the requirements are strict. You’ll need at least a physical test and current EMT certification before staring your Fire Fighter I. Once you’re in, you’ll need to work hard to remain there. It’s physically and mentally exhausting to train to be a firefighter and they have the highest of expectations.

Make sure you check the website of each of the above colleges and training centers for the most up to date information including information about entry requirements and current costs.