Frequently Asked Questions

Program

1) Will the FIRE program prepare you for a fire-fighting career?

Yes, the FIRE program will teach you the academic skills necessary for entry into the fire service field, i. e., fire fighter recruit, insurance adjuster, fire investigator. To qualify for fire fighter recruit positions in government agencies, you are not required to complete the program, however, you will learn about the four basic areas of fire safety, which are Prevention and Inspection, Fire Control, Rescue & Emergency Medical and Management & Administration.

2) When are the FIRE classes offered?

FIRE classes are offered year round in the fall and spring semesters through the main campus. Classes offered each semester can be viewed at Honolulu CC's Class Availability. Additionally, the Off-Campus Education Program may offer accelerated 10-week FIRE classes at a higher tuition throughout the year including summer. Classes are sometimes cancelled for low enrollment. For details, go to Honolulu CC's Off-Campus Education Program website.

Some FIRE courses are offered exclusively through distance education while other FIRE courses are offered only in the day in class. Other courses are offered in the evening or weekends.

3) What courses should you take in your first semester in the program if you meet the program prerequisites of placement in ENG 100 and MATH 24/50/53?

The following FIRE courses do not have additional prerequisites so you can take any of these courses. Although you may see a list of suggested courses for your first semester, you can actually take any FIRE courses that do not have additional prerequisites. The following courses may be offered in the Fall or Spring semesters.

  • FIRE 100 - Introduction to Fire Protection (3 credits)
  • FIRE 102 - Fundamentals of Fire Prevention (3 credits)
  • FIRE 103 - Medical Emergency First Responder (3 credits)

You can also take the following as long as you meet the course prerequisites:

  • MATH 197, 100, 103, 135 or higher
  • PHYS 197 or 100 & 100L
  • CHEM 105

FIRE electives - You can view your choices at your Academic Pathway in STAR. You can access this at the STAR website or in MyUH Portal.

Additionally, the FIRE graduation checklist [PDF] posted on the FIRE website lists FIRE electives. Some FIRE electives have not been offered for a while. Note that for the associate degree, you need 6 credits of FIRE electives and for the certificate; you need 18 credits of FIRE electives. Many fire students take more than 6 credits of fire electives and need to realize that only 6 credits count toward the FIRE degree.

4) What courses can you take if you do not meet the program prerequisites of placement in ENG 100 and MATH 24/50/53?

As you may already know, you cannot take FIRE courses until you meet the FIRE program prerequisites. You can, however take English, math and other general education courses.

Most important is for you to take English and Math courses so you can qualify for placement in ENG 100 and MATH 24/50/53 which are the FIRE program prerequisites.

Be sure that you meet the course descriptions for the general education courses. General education courses applicable to the FIRE degree are: ENG 100, Math 100/103/135 or higher, PHYS 197F/100&100L, CHEM 105, Social Sciences, and Humanities and Arts.

5) Is there anything unique about the FIRE courses?

In addition to traditional class lectures and discussion, some classes are offered via Distance Education (DE) and require motivated and conscientious students.

FIRE 280A and 280B are Firefighter I courses and upon successful completion, you will receive Firefighter I national certification.

The Off-Campus Education Program offers FIRE courses in the accelerated 10 week semesters. Tuition is higher than the regular semester offerings. Class Availability also shows these course offerings and are listed as Accelerated Semesters.

Be sure to read the comments at Class Availability for each of your courses.

In general, some of the FIRE courses are offered every other semester.

6) Should you purchase textbooks before the semester begins?

Recommendation from Marilynn Ito-Won, Counselor is to purchase your textbooks prior to the beginning of the semester. If you wait till your first day in class, there may have sold all the textbooks. You would also avoid the chaos of the first week of the semester. If you do not open or mark your textbook, you may be able to return it with receipt.

For certain FIRE courses, textbooks should be ordered on-line at www.firebooks.com or call 800-727-3327 two weeks prior to start of class. Be sure to read the comments at each course at Class Availabilityy as textbook information may be posted there.

To find out about textbooks, you can either:

  • Go to Class Availability, then semester. On the upper right corner, click on Textbooks/Course Materials. Use the Course Reference Number (CRN) to see textbooks.
  • Go to the Honolulu CC Bookstore website.

7) As a student with a full time day job, is it possible to complete the FIRE program with distance education (DE) or evening and weekend courses?

You may have to be flexible and take certain FIRE courses and PHYS 51 in the day.

Some FIRE courses are offered through DE or in the evenings. FIRE courses such as 103, 119B, 119C, 152, and FIRE 280B involve hands on learning and are offered in class in the day time.

As for the general education requirements, you should be able to find that most courses are offered in the evening or through Distance Education at Honolulu CC or at other University of Hawaiʻi (UH) Community Colleges.

MATH 100, 103, 135 or higher has been offered as a Distance Education course at Honolulu CC or at other University of Hawaiʻi (UH) Community Colleges.

CHEM 105 is generally offered Fall semester only with one section on Monday and Wednesday and another section on Tuesday and Thursday. One section is in the evening and the other in the day. In Fall 2011, CHEM 105 was offered for the first time as DE and may continue to be offered DE.

PHYS 100 & 100L has not been offered in the evening or weekends or through Distance Education.

See the question on course waiver/substitutions as you may find substitutable courses offered at times convenient for you.

8) As a neighbor island student who will not be moving to Oʻahu, is it possible to complete the FIRE program with distance education (DE) courses?

You may be able to take general education courses for the FIRE degree at the community college on your island.

As for the FIRE courses, some courses are offered through DE. FIRE courses such as 103, 119B, 119C, 152 and FIRE 280B involve hands on learning and are offered in class in the day time. You may have to take these courses at Honolulu CC on Oʻahu.

See the question on course waiver/substitutions as you may find substitutable courses offered at the local college or through DE.

9) As a distance education (DE) student, is it possible to complete the FIRE program exclusively with DE courses?

You should be able to find Distance Education courses at Honolulu CC or at other University of Hawaiʻi institutions for general education courses such as ENG 100, Humanities and Fine Arts or Social Sciences.

CHEM 105 was offered for the first time as Distance Education in Fall 2011.

MATH 100, 103, 135 or higher may be found in the Distance Education courses.

FIRE courses such as 103, 119B, 119C, 152, 207 and FIRE 280B involve hands on learning and are offered in class in the day time. You may have to take these courses in person in a classroom at Honolulu CC.

See the question on course waiver/substitutions as you may find substitutable courses offered through Distance Education at Honolulu CC or other colleges.

10) What course waiver/substitutions are typically accepted?

FIRE 103 may be substituted with an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) college course or certificate. The college course must be from a regionally accredited college or university. The EMT-B or EMT-I initial certificate and current certification card must be issued by the National Registry of EMT.

CHEM 105 may be substituted with CHEM 151 and 151L provided you earned a C or higher grade. Certain other CHEM courses above 151 have also been accepted as substitutions.

See an academic counselor to complete the course waiver substitution forms. If you are receiving veteran's benefits, the form must be approved before your courses can be certified for veteran's benefits. If you are currently enrolled in the course, see the counselor to complete the form. Substitution will be posted to your record once all approvals are received and grade is posted.

11) Will you be able to use college courses, Advanced Placement (AP) scores or CLEP scores for the FIRE degree?

Yes, college courses, AP scores and CLEP scores that are applicable toward the FIRE degree can be accepted in transfer however grade, grade points and grade point averages cannot be transferred. Your GPA at Honolulu CC will be based on your grades at Honolulu CC.

Courses completed at a regionally accredited U.S. institution grades are generally accepted in transfer with a D or higher grade.

You can find out whether your college course or AP scores or CLEP scores will be accepted in transfer by going to the UH System Course Transfer Database. Go to List and follow directions. If your course is not listed, provide Records Office with the course descriptions. Descriptions will be attached to the official transcript received from the non-UH system institution you attended.

To have a transcript evaluated, do the following:

Request that the institution that you attended send an official transcript and course descriptions (if from a non-Hawaiʻi institution) to Honolulu CC Records Office. If the institution is part of the UH system, an official transcript does not need to be sent as Honolulu CC can view your record at other UH system institutions.

Complete the Transcript Evaluation Request Form [PDF] to trigger evaluation of your transcripts. Submit completed form to Honolulu CC's Records Office.

Honolulu CC Records Office
874 Dillingham Blvd.
Honolulu, Hawaiʻi 96817
(808) 845-9120

12) Is it possible to get FIRE college credits if you are working in a FIRE work related experience while in the FIRE program?

Yes, you may be eligible to receive credit through the Cooperative Education Program for a fire-related work experience. Some of the eligible jobs include:

  • Firefighter
  • Fire Inspector
  • Lifeguard
  • Fire Sprinkler Installation & Service Worker
  • Hazmat Technician

13) Will you be able to use fire fighter experience or training for the FIRE degree?

Honolulu CC does not give college credits for work experience however does grant college credits for fire related training. Documentation of training must be certified by national organizations such as ProBoard or International Fire Service Accrediting Congress (IFSAC). Additionally certificates of completed training from Federal Fire Department, Honolulu Fire Department, Hawaiʻi County Fire Department, Kauaʻi Fire Department, and Maui Fire Department are accepted. Certificates of training issued by other fire departments, agencies, institutions or states have not been accepted in transfer due to the varying levels of standards.

The following Certificates of Completion of Training from the above organizations or departments are accepted:

  • Hazardous Materials Awareness and Operations - Submit your training certificates for credit for FIRE 207 Haz Mat Awareness and Operations.
  • Fire Fighter I - Submit your training certificates for credit for FIRE 280A Firefighter I and 280B Firefighter I Lab.
  • Fire Fighter II - Submit your training certificates for credit for FIRE 280C Firefighter II which is 12 credits toward FIRE electives.

First Responder Training & Current Certification - Certificates issued by Emergency Medical Technology Program at Kapiolani Community College non-credit and by the National Registry of EMT have been accepted. Submit first responder initial training (about 40+ hours) and current certification card and you will get credit for FIRE 103 Medical Emergency First Responder.

Certificates of Other Non-Credit Training That Are Fire-Related -

First, check at the UH System Course Transfer Database. Go to list and follow directions. If your training is not in the Database, e-mail Marilynn Ito-Won at marilynn.ito-won@hawaii.edu.

Second, if your training is in the Database, take original certificate to Records Office and ask them to make a copy and attach to your Transcript Evaluation Request Form [PDF].

Third, if your training is not in the Database, make a copy of all documentation from national organizations including certificates, outlines or syllabus of noncredit training courses. E-mail Marilynn Ito-Won at marilynn.ito-won@hawaii.edu to find out if you can receive college credit.

National Fire Academy (NFA) Training -

Additionally you can get transfer credit for training completed with the NFA. You can request an official transcript of the noncredit training completed from:

National Emergency Training Center (NETC)
Office of Admissions, Bldg O-007
16825 South Seton Ave.
Emmitsburg, MD 21727-8998

Request the official transcript be sent directly to:

Honolulu CC Records Office
874 Dillingham Blvd
Honolulu, HI 96817
(808) 845-9120

Note: not all NFA training are posted to your NFA transcript. You may want to request a copy of your transcript sent to you. If your training is on a certificate of completion issued by NFA however not on your NFA transcript, take your original certificates to Records Office.

To get your training accepted in transfer -

Submit certificates of initial training and current certification if needed to the Records Office.

Ask Records Office to copy the certificates and keep your originals.

Complete the Transcript Evaluation Request Form [PDF] and submit to Records Office.

Once evaluated, the transfer courses will be posted to your STAR transcript.

14) Will you be able to use your experience or training as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) or as a Paramedic toward the FIRE degree?

Yes, you can be granted credits provided:

You earned college credit for the EMT-B courses from a regionally accredited college or university
---OR---
You have an initial certificate of EMT-B training and a current certificate issued by the National Registry of EMT. Your certificate cannot be expired

Credit will be granted for FIRE 119B Emergency Medical Technician Part A and FIRE 119C Emergency Medical Technician Part B for a total of 7 credits. These credits count as FIRE elective credits. Once evaluated, you will receive a Transfer Credit Evaluation granting you the FIRE 119B and 119C credits.

EMT-B courses may substitute for FIRE 103.

EMT certificates issued by individual states or institutions other than the National Registry of EMT are not accepted for credits because of the varying standards.

Paramedic or Mobile Intensive Care Technician experience or training maybe accepted toward the FIRE degree as a course waiver/substitution for FIRE 119B and 119C.

Contact Marilynn at marilynn.ito-won@hawaii.edu for details on course substitutions.

15) If you take a break from college, can you follow the old program requirements or do you have to follow the current requirements?

If your break has been one semester then you can follow the old requirements.

If your break has been one year or longer, see an academic counselor to complete the Exception to Graduation Options to ask for permission to graduate with the old requirements.

You may want to compare the old requirements to the current requirements by running an Academic Pathway and What If Journey in STAR. STAR is available at MyUH Portal.

16) Does Honolulu CC offer classes that prepare applicants to take the Fire Fighter recruit exams?

Honolulu CC does not currently offer any prep classes for the fire recruit test.

Federal Fire Department - Pathways Program for Students

Federal Fire Department vacancy announcement for nine (9) GS-03, Firefighter Student Trainees positions OPENS 13 July 2012 and CLOSES 19 July 2012. Please go to http://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/321438100 to apply.

Students need to pay attention to detail and carefully complete the application. This new Pathways program replaces the Student Career Experience Program (SCEP).

Employment

17) What kind of fire fighting experience can FIRE students get?

Wildland fire fighting is the most common way for FIRE students to get fire fighting experience. Seasonal wildland opportunities are offered on the mainland in the summer and sometimes run into the fall semester depending on the wildland fire season. Students have typically worked in Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. Applications are available around November to February. You can research opportunities on the internet:

USDA Forest Service Temporary Fire (On Mainland) at www.fs.fed.us/fsjobs

Alaska Fire Service Bureau of Land Management e-mail: kathy_cullings@ak.blm.gov

To prepare for these wildland federal positions, you could take Wildland fire courses like:

  • FIRE 151 - Introduction to Wildland Fire Control
  • FIRE 152 - Wildland Fire Control Field Methods
  • FIRE 154 - Wildland Urban Interface Operations.

18) Are there fire fighting recruit positions in Hawaiʻi?

Yes there are fire employment opportunities. You can apply for positions only when there is open recruitment. During non-recruitment periods, applications are not accepted.

FIRE employers in Hawaiʻi are:

  • County Fire Departments: Honolulu Fire Department is responsible for civilian or non military areas on Oʻahu. The neighbor island departments are Hawaiʻi County Fire Department, Kauaʻi Fire Department and Maui Fire Department which is also responsible for Molokai, Lanai and Kahoolawe.
  • Federal Fire Department is responsible for all the military bases and facilities on Oʻahu.
  • Army Wildland Fire Department is responsible for controlling fire-prone vegetation in Wheeler, Schofield, Makua, Kahuku, Dillingham East Range on Oʻahu.
  • State Fire Department is responsible for the state airports.
  • Private Fire Departments or Businesses - there may be other companies that have fire related positions.

Contact information:

Honolulu Fire Department - Oʻahu

Hawaiʻi County Fire Department

Kauaʻi Fire Department

Maui Fire Department (Go to departments or employment)
Announcements also made in Maui News newspaper

Federal Fire Department - usajobs.opm.gov or usajobs.gov (application web sites)

Army Wildland Fire Department - usajobs.opm.gov or usajobs.gov (application web sites)

State Fire Department - www.loihi.state.hi.us (go to departments or employment)

NOTE: information is provided to the best of our knowledge and is subject to change.