A growing trend in fire service nationwide is the creation of a college-educated fire-fighting workforce. The goal of the Fire Science and Safety program is to enhance technical competencies in the following areas: fire suppression, fire prevention, fire service management, life safety, and other related topics. Although this program is primarily directed toward the professional firefighter, it also provides training and education for personnel of insurance organizations and other industries involved in fire safety and protection. The HCC Robert Garner Firefighter Academy is a part of the Public Safety and Automotive Technology Center of Excellence located at the Northeast Campus, 555 Community College Drive.

Degrees and Certificates

Fire Officer I - Certificate

Fire Instructor - Occupational Skills Award

Fire Science and Safety - AAS

Fire Inspector - Occupational Skills Award

Basic Firefighter - Certificate

Program Information

General Requirements - Fire Science and Safety Technology

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) allows students to earn only one AAS in Fire Protection and Safety Technology. Students must choose from one of the following three specializations: Fire Officer, Fire Fighter, or Industrial.

TSI testing required prior to first enrollment for all AAS degrees and Level II certificates.

Program Outcomes

Students will be able to:

  • Name the principles, theory, and practices associated with leading edge fire science and management, including issues associated with tactical fire operations, fire safety, firefighting leadership and management, and community fire issues.
  • Recall aspects of fire department organization, operations, tools and equipment, the role of the fire fighter, hazardous materials awareness and the mission of the fire service.
  • Use fire ground operations and fire suppression, hazardous materials operations and rescue techniques.
  • Complete certifications by successfully passing a written and practical state exam in the specialty discipline by the Texas Commission on Fire Protection based on National Fire Protection Association standards. This reflects professional preparedness.

General Requirements - Fire Instructor

The series of three courses provides training required to apply for the Texas Commission on Fire Protection (TCFP) Fire Instructor I, II, and III certifications.These courses also provide a three-course certification step to becoming a Training Program Manager. To obtain the TCFP Fire Instructor I, II, and III certification, participants must have a Basic Fire Fighter certification with TCFP and pass the Knowledge and Skills tests for each level of certification. An application fee of $15 per certification must be paid to TCFP when submitting an application to take the final assessment from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

TSI testing required prior to first enrollment for all AAS degrees and Level II certificates.

Program Outcomes

Students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a lesson plan using instructional aids and evaluation forms.
  • Develop a lesson plan, schedule training sessions, and conduct a class using lesson plans.
  • Develop a comprehensive training curriculum and write equipment specifications from specific curriculum information.

General Requirements - Fire Fighter Specialization

Students seeking a career in the Fire Service can receive a certification required to work as a fire fighter in the State of Texas. By completing this AAS degree, students are eligible to take the State exam. The demand for firefighters is increasing, and those with certification and an associate degree have an educational advantage over those with a basic certification. These awards meet the educational need for advanced certification from the Texas Commission on Fire Protection.

Program Outcomes

TSI testing required prior to first enrollment for all AAS degrees and Level II certificates.

Students will be able to:

  • Write a basic incident report, given the report forms, guidelines, and information, so that all pertinent information is recorded, the information is accurate, and the report is complete.
  • Demonstrate the need for team assistance, given fire department communications equipment, SOPs, and a team, so that the supervisor is consistently informed of team needs, departmental SOPs are followed, and the assignment is accomplished safely.
  • Recognize an ignitable liquid fire, operating as a member of a team, given an assignment, an attack line, personal protective equipment, a foam proportioning device, a nozzle, foam concentrates, and a water supply, so that the correct type of foam concentrate is selected for the given fuel and conditions, a properly proportioned foam stream is applied to the surface of the fuel to create and maintain a foam blanket, fire is extinguished, reignition is prevented, team protection is maintained with a foam stream, and the hazard is faced until retreat to safe haven is reached.
  • Use an interior attack line for a team’s accomplishment of an assignment in a structure fire, given attack lines, personnel, personal protective equipment, and tools, so that crew integrity is established; attack techniques are selected for the given level of the fire (e.g., attic, grade level, upper levels, or basement); attack techniques are communicated to the attack teams; constant team coordination is maintained; fire growth and development is continuously evaluated; search, rescue, and ventilation requirements are communicated or managed; hazards are reported to the attack teams; and incident command is apprised of changing conditions.
  • Control a flammable gas cylinder fire, operating as a member of a team, given an assignment, a cylinder outside of a structure, an attack line, personal protective equipment, and tools, so that crew integrity is maintained, contents are identified, safe havens are identified prior to advancing, open valves are closed, flames are not extinguished unless the leaking gas is eliminated, the cylinder is cooled, cylinder integrity is evaluated, hazardous conditions are recognized and acted upon, and the cylinder is faced during approach and retreat.
  • Analyze evidence of fire cause and origin, given a flashlight and overhaul tools, so that the evidence is noted and protected from further disturbance until investigators can arrive on the scene.
  • Practice a victim entrapped in a motor vehicle as part of a team, given stabilization and extrication tools, so that the vehicle is stabilized, the victim is disentangled without further injury, and hazards are managed.
  • Organize rescue operation teams, given standard operating procedures, necessary rescue equipment, and an assignment, so that procedures are followed, rescue items are recognized and retrieved in the time as prescribed by the AHJ, and the assignment is completed.
  • Demonstrate a fire safety survey in a private dwelling, given survey forms and procedures, so that fire and life safety hazards are identified, recommendations for their correction are made to the occupant, and unresolved issues are referred to the proper authority.
  • Relate fire safety information to station visitors or small groups, given prepared materials, so that all information is presented, the information is accurate, and questions are answered or referred. Interpret a pre-incident survey, given forms, necessary tools, and an assignment, so that all required occupancy information is recorded, items of concern are noted, and accurate sketches or diagrams are prepared.
  • Identify power plants, power tools, and lighting equipment, given tools and manufacturers’ instructions, so that equipment is clean and maintained according to manufacturer and departmental guidelines, maintenance is recorded, and equipment is placed in a ready state or reported otherwise.
  • Describe an annual service test on fire hose, given a pump, a marking device, pressure gauges, a timer, record sheets, and related equipment, so that procedures are followed, the condition of the hose is evaluated, any damaged hose is removed from service, and the results are recorded.


There are 5,471 Municipal Firefighters employed in the Greater Houston Area. This number is expected to increase by 8.4% over the next four years.

  • The estimated annual job openings is 293 jobs a year.
  • Median Wages - $24.18 hourly, $50,000 annually

Basic Fire Academy Orientation

Mandatory orientation will be held at 6 p.m., June 5 in the amphitheater at the Codwell Campus for classes beginning in the fall.

Continuing Education Programs


Continuing Education certificates offer contact hours, not academic credit. One Continuing Education Unit, or CEU, is 10 contact hours of successful participation/completion in an organized continuing education experience under responsible sponsorship, capable direction and qualified instruction. CEUs are not substituted for college credit hours, but rather are a means of reporting continuing education activities. Transcripts listing CEU credits satisfactorily completed are available on request. CEUs are recognized internationally as a measure of substantial professional education and training.

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