Education in Action

“Columbia College´s Fire Academy is now an Accredited Regional Training Program (ARTP) within the State Fire Training system”

On August 20, 2015, The California State Board of Fire Services unanimously approved the accreditation of the Columbia College Fire Academy. Shane Warner, Fire Technology Program Coordinator at Columbia College, with the support of Columbia College´s administration, industry advisors, Department of Forestry and Fire Protection – Office of the State Fire Marshal, CAL FIRE, and other local and state fire agencies played a major role in helping the Fire Academy to obtain this prestigious accreditation.  “This is a well-deserved recognition of the high quality training and education provided through our Fire Academy. Shane has worked diligently with our fire service partners to earn the state-level accreditation and we appreciate the acknowledgement of our academy as an Accredited Regional Training Program”, states Columbia College President, Dr. Angela Fairchilds.

Rapid population growth has resulted in the expansion of the firefighting departments at the city, county, state, and federal government levels, as well as the military and various private agencies, this is why Columbia College has developed the technical and manipulative training to be one of the best offered anywhere.

In the Fire Technology program students receive individual instructor support through our Fire Academy. Columbia College is also one of only two community colleges in California to operate its own fire station, staffed by students enrolled in the program. Through an agreement with the Tuolumne County Fire Department and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, the on-campus station responds to over 350 calls a year.

As the availability for firefighting jobs heats up, the demand for more qualified and educated applicants grows as well. Along with basic skills, many hiring departments seek applicants with associate degrees, and most require California State Firefighter 1 Certification for entry-level positions. Two other valuable skills for gainful employment are Search and Rescue and EMS/Paramedic Certification, both of which are offered here at Columbia College.

To ensure that we provide our students with the best possible education, Shane Warner, Fire Technology Program Coordinator at Columbia College initiated the accreditation process in early 2014.The Department of Forestry and Fire Protection – Office of the State Fire Marshal conducted an accreditation site visit on May 12, 2015. A review of the self-assessment report was followed by a tour of the facilities and classrooms. The tour provided an opportunity to review course records, library resources, along with tools and equipment of the fire academy. On July 17, 2015, the Columbia College´s Fire Academy self-assessment report was on the agenda for approval by the Statewide Training and Education Committee (STEAC). The self-assessment report was voted on unanimously and passed by the industry member committee.

Dr. Klaus Tenbergen, Dean of Career Technical Education and Economic Development is ecstatic about this milestone. “The mission of the Columbia College Fire Department is to provide the students and visitors of Columbia College with the highest quality fire prevention, emergency care, and fire protection available. We accomplish this mission by aggressive training, methodical preparation, rapid response, and an optimistic/compassionate attitude toward those we are sworn to protect and serve. Students in our Fire Academy will receive the best training possible.”

For more information about these events or Career Technical Education courses offered at Columbia College, please call 209.588.5142 or visit