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Firefighter certification to be offered through NCTC starting next year

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A firetruck sits outside of Lewisville Central Fire Station.

A firetruck sits outside of Lewisville Central Fire Station.

Photo by Hayden Vance

Photo by Hayden Vance

A firetruck sits outside of Lewisville Central Fire Station.

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LISD will become the third district in North Texas to partner with North Central Texas College to provide firefighter certification through the dual credit program starting in the 2018-2019 school year.

The class will span two years of a student’s high school career and be taught by firefighters from the Lewisville Fire Department.

“With the program, a student will enter the beginning of their junior year,” NCTC instructor John Copeland said. “They will complete three semesters of firefighting training and one semester of emergency medical training. At the conclusion of the senior year, the student will be a certified firefighter/EMT in the state of Texas and will be able to apply at hiring fire departments.”

Students interested in enrolling in the course will need to attend an informational meeting in the auditorium on March 5. The time will be announced at a later date. The class may not be affordable to all, with an estimated four-figure price tag.

“On average, we’re thinking about $4,500 to $5,000,” counselor Maria Ortiz said. “That is for what the program would cost through NCTC, that covers tuition and out-of-pocket expenses.”

Despite this price tag, Copeland and Ortiz assure the cost is reasonable for students’ expected outcome.

“Five thousand dollars is a ton of money, but it’s much cheaper than a college degree and the starting pay is well worth it,” Copeland said. “The tuition covers all the gears, the tools, the training rentals and many more things. [For] our students who get free and reduced lunch, it will cost them a third [of that.]”

Just like most other school programs, exceptions can be made for students in need, which will help relieve the cost for some.

Apart from the cost of enrolling and test requirements, students in the class will also have a large workload to face. This includes manual labor, emotional strain and active involvement.

“This is a physical class,” Copeland said. “It will have physical training during the week.”

Despite potential barriers, Copeland is confident he will find students up to the task. He knows exactly what kind of students will succeed in the program and make the most out of their time.

“[Firefighting] takes someone that is committed to helping others before themselves,” Copeland said. “They need to be selfless with a desire to assist humankind. They need be physical and be able to handle stressful situations calmly.”

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Fueling the flames