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Fire Technology

Program Director:

Michael Keefe




This program was established under the direction of the California Fire Technology Directors Association and the Sacramento Regional Fire Technology Advisory Board. The program offers both an intensive training course culminating in a Certificate of Achievement and an additional general education program leading to the Associate in Arts degree. Instructors in this program are experienced members of the fire service.

Certificate of Achievement
A Certificate of Achievement can be obtained upon completion of the 30 unit major with a grade of "C" or better in each course.
Associate of Arts Degree
The Associate of Arts degree can be obtained upon completion of a total of 60 units, including the major and general education units, with a grade of "C" or better in each course.

ARC Fire Club

The ARC Fire Club meets regularly and is intended to provide opportunities for students to develop connections, learn new skills, seek guidance and enhance knowledge needed to obtain a career in the fire service. Regular club activities include guest speakers, career building workshops, community service, fire related field trips and much more. Membership is open to all American River College students interested in or currently enrolled in Fire Technology, Emergency Medical Technician or Paramedic courses.

For more information, please contact the program director and club advisor, Michael Keefe.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What do I need to be a Firefighter?
To be a firefighter in the Sacramento region, you need to have a high school diploma or a GED, minimum age of 18 - 21 and have obtained an Emergency Medical Technician 1 (EMT-1) certificate. In addition, most fire departments require completion of Firefighter1 and possession of a Paramedic license. Most fire agencies prefer college units and some require a minimum of 12-20 units to be eligible to apply.

2. What are some career options/opportunities available to me after I earn the certificate and/or degree?
Educational Incentive programs vary by agencies, but an individual with a certificate and/or degree would be looked upon more favorably for employment.

3. What is the average cost of the certificate program?
American River College is a public community college. Enrollment fees are $46 per unit for California residents. Out-of-state and international students will pay higher fees. The minimum number of units required for a certificate is 30 units ($1,380). Books, transportation, parking, food and materials fees are an additional cost.

4. What is the average cost of the degree program?
The minimum number of units required for a degree is 60 units. This may be accomplished by adding the certificate's 30 units, plus 30 general education units. That total cost is approximately $2,760 (not counting additional fees listed above and any increased tuition costs).

5. What employment opportunities exist in the fire service?
A variety of career opportunities are open to students who successfully complete specific portions of this program of study. Employment opportunities may be found in areas such as fire investigation, fire prevention, sprinkler designer and installer, fire extinguisher manufacturing, hazardous materials, public education, building construction, firefighter-paramedic, and firefighter. Current estimates suggest a five year employment growth rate of 6% (2016-2021) for firefighters statewide.

6. What courses do I need to take?
First, it would be advisable to meet with a counselor at ARC to be certain that you're on the correct path for what you want to achieve and receive advisement of what courses you'll need to complete for that program. Complete course program information can be found in the ARC catalog.

7. What is the first step I need to take to enroll in the program?

Please visit Los Rios Community College's (LRCCD) website Application page and click on Apply to American River College: LRCCD Course Application Page to complete your first step.

8. Where is the Fire Technology AA degree and certificate program class schedule located?
Click on this link: class schedules to find current information on available courses.

9. Where is ARC's Fire Technology AA degree offered?
The AA degree courses are presented at ARC's Sacramento Regional Public Safety Training Center, McClellan or online.  Please visit Registration Information for more information regarding registration in these AA degree courses.

10. What are the starting salaries of Firefighters?
The starting salaries for Firefighters in the Sacramento area range from $65,384 - $80,692. The starting salaries for Firefighters/Paramedic range from $65,221 - $88,761 annually, in base pay.