Midland College’s Fire Science Technology program prepares students for job opportunities with municipal fire departments, insurance inspection companies, industry safety firms, the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Forest Service, according to Mark Kuhn, program director.
Student Robert Fields followed family tradition to enter the program. “I started in business school and learned that wasn’t something I enjoyed,” he said. “I decided I wanted to follow in my father’s footsteps and carry on my family name for generations to come.”
The program offers a two-year associate of applied science degree and a one-year certificate through its regional fire academy. It is licensed through the Texas Commission on Fire Protection for basic firefighter certification.
Service to others also motivates students.
“I wanted to make a difference in my own life and in the lives of other people as well,” Student Jesus Almance-Molinar said.
The program teaches both academic and physical training, “While there is a lot of physical preparedness that one needs to have, they also have to be ready mentally for what they are about to encounter, that’s part of what the exercises we do teach us,” Fields said.
Students are challenged according to student Alex Villa.
“I think the hardest part of Fire Science would have to be the finals we take. It requires a lot of studying and dedication to be able to pass all of them,” he said.
“When we know one guy is having problems with a subject we all band together and do what we can to help him understand the material,” Villa said.
The students learn fire safety, hazmat, rapelling and other techniques that will help them in the future but character is also important.
“The most valuable thing I have learned is to be open-minded and willing to learn throughout my life,” Villa said. “We should take pride in whatever we do because the community looks up and depends on us to be there.”
Student David Mata said this about his crew: “ There is a brotherhood among us; we have been together since August. We all have our strengths and weaknesses and we all have our shortcomings, despite that we are a family.”