• Careers and Employment Outlook

    Fire fighters work in a variety of settings, including urban and suburban areas, airports, chemical plants, other industrial sites, and rural areas like grasslands and forests. They have also assumed a range of responsibilities, including emergency medical services. In fact, most calls to which fire fighters respond involve medical emergencies, and 65 percent of all fire departments provide emergency medical service.
    Excerpted from “Occupational Outlook Handbook” - U.S Department of Labor

    The Del Mar College Regional Fire Academy is designed to meet the training needs of the modern firefighter. To meet the growing emergency medical services responsibilities of the modern firefighter, the Academy also includes the Basic– Emergency Medical Technician courses in addition to the fire courses.

    The Texas Commission on Fire Protection requires a minimum of 471 hours in a basic firefighter academy. To ensure the success of our cadets as firefighters, the Del Mar College Regional Fire Academy is 724 hours in length.

    Since its inception in the Spring of 2001, the Academy has graduated over 200 cadets. Del Mar College Regional Fire Academy cadets have found employment with: Houston Fire Department; San Antonio Fire Department; New Braunfels Fire Department; Cherry Hill North Carolina Fire Department; Portland Fire Department; Aransas Pass Fire Department; Kingsville Fire Department and many other departments throughout South Texas, the state and the United States.


    THE PROFESSION
    Every year, fires and other emergencies take thousands of lives and destroy property worth billions of dollars. Fire fighters help protect the public against these dangers by rapidly responding to a variety of emergencies. They are frequently the first emergency personnel at the scene of a traffic accident or medical emergency and may be called upon to put out a fire, treat injuries, or perform other vital functions.

    During duty hours, fire fighters must be prepared to respond immediately to a fire or any other emergency that arises. Because fighting fires is dangerous and complex, it requires organization and teamwork. At every emergency scene, fire fighters perform specific duties assigned by a superior officer. At fires, they connect hose lines to hydrants, operate a pump to send water to high-pressure hoses, and position ladders to enable them to deliver water to the fire. They also rescue victims, provide emergency medical attention as needed, ventilate smoke-filled areas, and attempt to salvage the contents of buildings. Their duties may change several times while the company is in action. Sometimes they remain at the site of a disaster for days at a time, rescuing trapped survivors and assisting with medical treatment.

    WORKING CONDITIONS
    Fire fighters spend much of their time at fire stations, which usually have features in common with a residential facility like a dormitory. When an alarm sounds, fire fighters respond rapidly, regardless of the weather or hour.

    Work hours of fire fighters are longer and vary more widely than hours of most other workers. Many work more than 50 hours a week, and sometimes they may work even longer. In some agencies, fire fighters are on duty for 24 hours, then off for 48 hours, and receive an extra day off at intervals. In addition, fire fighters often work extra hours at fires and other emergencies and are regularly assigned to work on holidays. Duty hours include time when fire fighters study, train, and perform fire prevention duties.

    JOB OUTLOOK
    Employment of fire fighters is expected to grow 18% to 26% for all occupations through 2014. Most job growth will occur as volunteer fire fighting positions are converted to paid positions in growing suburban areas. In addition to job growth, openings are expected to result from the need to replace fire fighters who retire, stop working for other reasons, or transfer to other occupations.

    EARNINGS
    Median hourly earnings of fire fighters were $18.43 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $13.65 and $24.14. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $9.71, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $29.21.

    Fire fighters who average more than a certain number of hours a week are required to be paid overtime. Fire fighters often earn overtime for working extra shifts to maintain minimum staffing levels or for special emergencies.

    Fire fighters receive benefits that usually include medical and liability insurance, vacation and sick leave, and some paid holidays. Fire fighters generally are covered by pension plans, often providing retirement at half pay after 25 years of service or if the individual is disabled in the line of duty.
    Excerpted from “Occupational Outlook Handbook” - U.S Department of Labor

  • Contact Information

    Public Safety Education
    101 Baldwin Blvd.
    Corpus Christi, TX 78404
    (361) 698-1724

    West Campus: 4101 Old Brownsville Road, Public Safety Complex