Experienced Firefighter Pathway | Western Technical College

Experienced Firefighter Pathway

Starting Fall 2024!

Sparta Public Safety Training FacilityThe Experienced Firefighter Pathway is an alternative delivery method designed to allow full-time firefighters to complete their Fire Protection Technician associate degree while continuing to work and serve their communities. Firefighters with certain experience and certification can take advantage of Western's Credit for Prior Learning opportunities to provide a shorter and fully online avenue to complete their degree. 

An individual who might be a good candidate for the Experienced Firefighter Pathway meets MOST of the following criteria:

  • 5 years of full-time firefighting experience or volunteer/paid, on-call/part-time equivalent.
  • IFSAC or ProBoard Firefighter 1, Hazmat Ops, Firefighter 2, Fire Inspector, Pumper Driver/Operator certification.
  • EMT-Basic certification/license.
  • Discipline to complete multiple assignments with multiple deadlines.
  • Consistent access to computer and ability to get online.
  • Successful completion of a college course or the skills to produce a multiple page, properly formatted student research paper (with assistance available, if needed).
  • Basic computer skills to produce documents and presentations, participate in online meetings, post and reply on online discussion boards, and access the online library and search engines to conduct research.

Additionally, students should possess professional maturity to participate in each course and engage with the content and course. Fully online education requires a large amount of time spent engaging with course content, with other students, and doing individual research on various topics. Students should be prepared to commit a large amount of time to their coursework.

Find out more about how this pathway helps address the firefighter shortage and hear from graduates of the program on our News Center blog.


The Experienced Firefighter Pathway is completed in the following manner:

Fire Course Module

These courses will be offered in three separate 7-week sessions and will require a minimum commitment of three hours, twice per week.

Course # Course Title Credits
10503143 Building Construction 3
10503193 Fire Protection Systems 3
10503192 Emergency Services Safety & Survival 3
10503195 Fire Behavior and Combustion 3
10807115 Fitness and Wellness for Public Safety 2
10503105 Trends in the Fire Service 3

State Certification Courses

The following courses are completed through Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) by submitting state certifications for college credit. A $90 payment/course applies for CPL courses.

Certification Course # Course Title Credits
Firefighter I 10503142 Fire Fighting Principles 4
Hazmat Ops* 10503153 Hazardous Materials Awareness/Ops 1
Firefighter II 10503110 Firefighter II 3
Fire Inspector 10503151 Fire Prevention 4
Pumper D/O 10503194 Fire Protection Hydraulics 3
EMT 10531106 EMT 5

Note: Certificates must be IFSAC or ProBoard, approved by program chair.
*Hazmat ops is included on some Firefighter 1 certificates

General Education Courses

These five courses represent the requirement for the general education portion of the degree. These courses are offered in various terms and delivery methods. Students will be expected to complete these courses on their own. This can be done in addition to the fire courses, during the summer term, or after completion of the fire courses. Your College Advisor will work with you to determine the best course load for you. Prior college courses may be substituted for these requirements upon approval from the program chair and dean.

Course # Course Title Credits
10801196 Oral/Interpersonal Comm 3
10807115 English Composition 1 3
10809198 Intro to Psychology 3
10809166 Intro to Sociology 3
10804107 College Math 3

Credit for Prior Learning

These courses are typically able to be completed through a credit for prior learning package. These will be discussed and worked on during the three academic terms. Students that lack training to satisfy these requirements may need to attend additional courses.

Course # Course Title Credits
10503101 Technical Rescue 2
10503191 Principles of Emergency Services 2
10503130 Fire Protection Internship 2
10503XXX Firefighter Agility Assessment 1
10503XXX Advanced Firefighter Agility Assessment 1
XXX Strengths Seminar 1
Contact Us

Have questions about the Experienced Firefighter Pathway? Contact Robert or Blake: