The Texarkana College Fire Academy will prepare you for a career that provides great personal satisfaction and generally provides good salaries, benefits and pension plans. In this 14-week program, you’ll learn the skills you need to save lives, save property, and bring order to chaotic situations.

Firefighting requires teamwork, dedication, intelligence, and physical stamina. This career consistently ranks as the most prestigious occupation in national public opinion polls. With state-of-the-art training facilities, no waiting list, excellent classroom facilities and free membership to the Pinkerton Fitness Center, the Texarkana College Fire Academy is your best option for embarking on the firefighting career path.

New: Federal financial aid may be available for veterans

Veterans who qualify for the Post 911 GI Bill or the Montgomery Bill may be eligible to attend the Traditional Fire Academy using federal funding. For more information on funding for veterans, contact Jesse Hausler at or (903) 823-3352.

 Upcoming Traditional Fire Academy

There are no upcoming events at this time.

What is some basic information about the academy?

The Texarkana College Fire Academy is a partnership between Texarkana College and the Texarkana, Texas, Fire Department.  Texarkana College is a publicly supported, two-year, comprehensive community college that offers educational opportunities in traditional academic studies, occupational/technical programs, and workforce development and community services.  Texarkana Fire Department is a career fire department serving the citizens of Texarkana, Texas.  The department operates five fire stations and has approximately 80 personnel.

The Texarkana College Fire Academy is a 14 week academy designed to prepare trainees for a career as a firefighter.  The academy is an authorized training facility for structural firefighting under Texas Commission on Fire Protection (TCFP) guidelines and trainees who successfully complete the academy will be eligible for the certification exam given by the TCFP.  In addition to the firefighter training provided in this academy, emergency medical training is also required by the TCFP before a firefighter certification is issued.  Emergency medical training is also available through Texarkana College.  Upon completion of the academy, successful passing of the state practical and written exam, and completion of emergency medical training, trainees can certify as structure firefighters.  In addition, successful trainees are eligible to receive International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC) seals for Firefighter I, Firefighter II, Hazardous Materials Awareness, and Hazardous Materials Operations.  These seals are accepted by many states in the US and provinces in Canada as evidence of firefighter training.

Who are the key personnel for Texarkana College? What are their qualifications?

The Program Coordinator for the academy is Chief Alan Sikes.  Chief Sikes is a current member of the Texarkana Fire Department, holding the rank of battalion chief and supervising A Shift.  He has 22 years of fire service experience.  He is certified by the Texas Commission on Fire Protection as a Master Structural Firefighter, Driver-Operator, Fire Inspector, Instructor II, Fire Officer I, Wildland Firefighter, and Hazardous Materials Technician.  He is certified by the Texas Department of State Health Services as an Emergency Medical Technician.

Who are the instructors for the academy?

The instructors for the academy are all career firefighters.  Most are employed by the Texarkana, Texas, Fire Department.  The average instructor has 19 years of fire service experience and holds structure firefighter and instructor certification from the Texas Commission on Fire Protection.  Most hold several additional certifications.  More than half are officers – either captains or chief officers.

What are the minimum requirements to enroll in the Fire Academy?
  • Minimum age – 18 years
  • Maximum age – None set by Texarkana College, but applicants should be aware that many fire departments have maximum hiring ages.
  • Minimum education – High School Diploma or GED
  • Drug screen – No evidence of illegal drug use
  • Medical examination – Physician examination and certification required. Physician must certify that applicant is physically capable of meeting the physical demands of the academy.
Are there testing requirements (SAT, ACT, TSI, THEA) for admission to the academy?

No, there are no testing requirements.  However, the course work is extensive and it is recommended that you read and comprehend at a minimum of a 10th grade level.  Good study habits and ability to learn and recall concepts are essential.

How long is the course?

The Fire Academy lasts 14 calendar weeks.  Some academies are 15 weeks from beginning to end because of fall and spring breaks, but the actual course time is 14 weeks.

What are the class hours?

Class hours are from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM each weekday, with a 1 hour lunch break.

Is the certification good in other states (countries, countries, provinces, etc.)?

Texarkana College Fire Academy is authorized as a training facility by the Texas Commission on Fire Protection (TCFP) and provides training to their standards.   International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC) recognizes training approved by TCFP.  Therefore, candidates that complete this program satisfactorily and meet the TCFP standards for certification are eligible for IFSAC seals.  Specifically, seals for Firefighter I, Firefighter II, Hazardous Materials Awareness, and Hazardous Materials Operations are available.

IFSAC seals are accepted as proof of training in the majority of US states, Canadian provinces, and a number of other countries.  See for more information.  While certification requirements vary in different jurisdictions, the certifications received through this academy meet or exceed the certification requirements in most jurisdictions.  However, Texarkana College cannot guarantee acceptance in any specific jurisdiction outside the state of Texas.  It is the responsibility of the individual student to determine certification requirements in the jurisdiction where they plan to work.

Is financial aid available for this program?

The fire academy is a contact hour program, not a credit hour program, and therefore is not eligible for most financial aid.  However, it has been approved for Sallie Mae loans and may be eligible for VA benefits, depending upon your program.  Contact the Financial Aid Center for more information.

Can I pay out the cost of the academy? Is there a payment plan?

Yes, a payment plan is available.  Contact Gini Schulle at (903) 823-3393 or for information.

I am coming from out of town. Do you have housing available?

Yes.  There are a limited number of apartments are available.  For availability and pricing, contact Brandon Washington, Dean of Workforce and Community & Business Education, (903) 823-3232.

What is the textbook for this course? What is the ISBN #?

The textbooks for this program are available in a package, which contains three books.  All are required.

Jones and Bartlett Publishers, ISBN # 978-1-284-11922-0

Package includes:

  • Fundamentals of Fire Fighter Skills, Third Edition
  • Evidence-Based Practices for Strategic and Tactical Firefighting
  • Hazardous Materials, Awareness and Operations, Second Edition

This textbook package is available from the Texarkana College Bookstore.  The individual books are available from other sources, but the package is probably not.  We recommend that you do not purchase used textbooks.  There are online elements that help support your learning process in this program.  To access these elements, you must have a valid access code.  Each new textbook includes a one-time use code.  The code in used books has likely already been used and it will not work again.  The cost of purchasing an access code will likely negate any savings from purchasing a used book.  Book rentals are discouraged for the same reason.

What is a Texas Commission on Fire Protection (TCFP) PIN Number and why do I need one?

The TCFP PIN # is a number used by the commission to identify individuals certified or training under their programs.  Each individual registering with the commission is assigned a unique number and all certifications, class rosters, testing requests, course completion certificates, etc. are keyed to your personal TCFP PIN #.  If you do not have a number, go to the TCFP FIDO web site at:

Click on “Create PIN/Account”.  Follow the instructions.  A valid email address is required to receive your PIN from the Commission.  If you do not have a valid Social Security Number (United States) or SIN (Canada), you cannot obtain a PIN through the FIDO system.  If your residence is not in the USA or Canada, contact the commission for instructions on how to proceed.

What are the uniform requirements for the academy?

Uniform requirements are included in the application packet and are also available in this document.

What are the requirements for Personal Protective Equipment?

Each cadet is required to have a complete set of personal protective equipment (PPE) meeting the requirements of the Texas Commission on Fire Protection (TCFP) and NFPA 1851, Standard on Selection, Care, and Maintenance of Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting.  A complete set of PPE includes protective coat with wristlets and collar; protective trousers with suspenders; bunker boots; helmet with face shield, earflaps, and chin strap; protective hood; and gloves.  Full PPE information and the rental company information can be found in this document.

Now on Weekends

You asked for it and we delivered!  We now offer an online, weekends-only option.  Learn more about the Fire Academy – Hybrid Presentation program.

Please be advised that licensure for this program includes a criminal background check.  If you have a question about this action, please speak to the division dean.

Request information and download the TC Fire Academy brochure

Alan Sikes
Program Coordinator

Amanda Davis
Administrative Assistant