Health and Exercise Science


PVCC Fire Academy Logo 1
PVCC Fire Academy 17
PVCC Fire Academy Logo 1

The PVCC Firefighter Operations Academy at Paradise Valley Community College is designed to train and equip student recruits to meet state of Arizona Firefighter I & II academy standards. Under the direction of the academy lead instructors, with more than 70 years of combined fire service experience, the program provides student recruits with highly specialized training to prepare them for a demanding, yet fulfilling career in the fire service. The academy is offered each Fall and Spring semester, and is held at the Phoenix Fire Department Training Academy at 2425 W. Lower Buckeye Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85009.


- Deadline to submit an academy interest form for the Spring 2018 academy is Friday, November 10, 2017 at 5:00pm.
Interviews are anticipated to be held the last week of November 2017.

- For Microsoft Office Word version, please click here.
- For PDF version, please click here.

The Academy lead instructors are:

  • Captain Paul Sunder
    Fire Science Program Director at Paradise Valley Community College, and Fire I & II Academy Lead Instructor. Captain Sunder is a retired Captain from the Phoenix Fire Department.
  • Captain Scott Paynter
    Firefighter I & II Academy Lead Instructor, as well as Fire Science Program Adjunct Faculty at Paradise Valley Community College. Captain Paynter is currently a Captain with the Phoenix Fire Department.

The Firefighter Operations Academy exposes student to the physical demands of a firefighter, such as live burns, vehicle extrication, hose lays, ventilation, and more. Students are also introduced to fire department culture within the fire service. Firefighter curriculum is presented in a condensed, 17-week format consisting of in-class instruction and hands-on skills training, totaling over 300 training hours. Classes are held Tuesday and Thursday nights from 6:00pm-10:30pm, as well as Saturdays from 7:00am-5:00pm. Student recruits will also be required to co-enroll in FSC134: Fitness and Conditioning for Firefighters, with the option of attending Monday or Wednesday nights from 5:00pm-7:00pm. Upon successful completion of the academy, student recruits will receive fourteen (14) total college credits that may be applied toward an Associate's degree, and will receive the Professional Certificate of Completion in Firefighter Operations.

In order to register for the Firefighter Operations Academy (FSC102), you must participate and be selected thru a selection process (timeline of selection process listed under "Requirements" section below). The selection process consists of submission of an academy interest form by the deadline listed above, participation in a 20-minute interview with academy lead instructors and staff, and verification of completion of all academy prerequisites. The selection process will be conducted approximately two months prior to the start of each semester. Once the applicant has been selected for the academy, it is up to them to ensure that all prerequisites will be completed by the academy start date in order to maintain student recruit position in the academy. There is no sponsorship required for the academy.

Please visit this website frequently for important academy information and deadlines. For further information on the Firefighter Operations Academy, please contact the PVCC EMT/FSC Office at (602) 787-6782, or Captain Sunder at (602) 787-6736 /

Fire Academy

Fire Academy

Fire Academy

Fire Academy

Fire Academy


        Applying for Fall Semester:

  • Academy Interest Forms Due: End of May/Beginning of June
  • Notification About Start of Selection Process: First week of June
  • Interviews Held: Middle to End of June
  • Interview Result Notifications: One (1) week after interviews
  • Orientations: Middle to End of July
  • First Day of Academy: Generally Third Saturday in August (depends on semester start dates)

        Applying for Spring Semester:

  • Academy Interest Forms Due: Beginning of November
  • Notification About Start of Selection Process: First week of November
  • Interviews Held: End of November
  • Interview Result Notifications: One (1) week after interviews
  • Orientations: Second or Third week of December
  • First Day of Academy: Generally Third Saturday of January (depends on semester start dates)


The following courses are prerequisites for the academy. You must successfully pass each course with a "C" or better, or provide documentation from an outside agency showing completion of courses:

  • EMT (EMT104 - Basic Emergency Medical Technology - 9 Credits)
    **You only have to have passed the EMT course prior to the start date of the academy class, you do not need to be certified as an EMT to qualify for the academy. However, we highly recommend completing the certification process prior to the start of the academy due to the nature of coursework and studying required during the academy. For those already certified as an EMT, if your EMT certification is expiring during the academy, please make every effort to complete all refresher courses prior to the start date of the academy class due to the nature of coursework and studying required during the academy.**
  • Hazardous Materials - 40 Hour Course (FSC105- Hazardous Materials/First Responder - 3 Credits)
  • Current/Valid, Passing CPAT
    **A valid, passing CPAT from any Maricopa Community College or outside agency is a required prerequisite for the academy and must be completed prior to the start date of the academy class. For those who've already completed a valid CPAT, it must be within 6 months of the desired academy start date. If you are applying for the next semester academy and do not yet have a valid CPAT prior to your interview, you may still interview and be selected for the academy class, but your status as a student recruit will be contingent on you completing a CPAT prior to the start date of the academy. Please refer to the CPAT Testing Page for official CPAT offerings. Also, please see class schedule for CPAT class offerings (FSC130).**
    • FSC130- Fitness for Firefighters/CPAT - 1 Credit (OPTIONAL)
      **If you use FSC130 for the CPAT prerequisite, the course end date must be within six (6) months from the start date of the desired academy.You do not have to take FSC130 to satisfy the CPAT prerequisite, however if you have never taken a CPAT we highly recommend taking FSC130.**

IMPORTANT: You can still fill out an academy interest form and attend your scheduled interview even if you don't have the above mentioned prerequisites completed. You must complete all prerequisites by the start date of the academy.


Due to the number of prospective applicants, this form is required. Please see the top of this page, or the EMT/FSC Homepage under "Fire Science News & Information", for deadline dates to submit an academy interest form for the desired semester academy.


Applicants will need to download, fill out, and bring an application to their interview. Failure to do so may result in dismissal from selection process. Application can be found at the top of this page.


Participation in a 20-minute interview with academy lead instructors and staff is a required step during the selection process. Candidates will be notified within one (1) week after interviews have ended of their status for the upcoming academy.


Classes meet on Tuesday and Thursday nights from 6:00pm-10:30pm, and on Saturdays from 7:00am to 5:00pm (Please note classes may last longer at instructor’s discretion). Very strict attendance is REQUIRED!


  • FSC 102 Tuition (11 Credits) = $924.00
  • FSC 134 Tuition (3 Credits) = $252.00
  • One-time College Registration Fee = $15.00
  • Lab Fees = $350.00
  • AzCFSE Firefighter I & II Test Fee = $100.00
  • NFPA/IAFC Fundamentals of Firefighter Skills Textbook = New: approx. $90.00 / Used: approx. $45.00 - $50.00
  • Academy Uniforms/Apparel = $125.00 - $250.00 (depending on # of items ordered)

*Tuition cost per Maricopa County Residency status. Costs are subject to change per Maricopa Community College District Board approval.

For anyone interested in the Firefighter Operations Academy who may not have all the prerequisites courses completed just yet, feels they may need to get into better physical shape to be successful before entering into the academy, or maybe you missed the deadline to apply for a desired semester academy but still want to be involved that semester, the PVCC Firefighter Operations Academy offers an introductory level course to the academy, FSC282AC: Service-Learning Experience in Fire Science, otherwise known as our Redshirt Class!

The Redshirt Class focuses on:

  • Introducing students to the environment of the academy
    Classes are held in conjunction with the firefighter operations academy at the Phoenix Fire Department Training Academy. Classes are held each Saturday during the semester from 7:00am - 5:00pm, with optional extra workout and skills practice days on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. By holding the Redshirt class during the same timeframes as the fire operations academy, student redshirts will get to see the ins and outs of what goes on during the academy, and get the chance to be involved in various skills days with the student recruits as well.
  • Introducing students to the firefighter skills that will be taught during the academy
    - Donning and doffing firefighter gear (turnouts)
    - Learning about SCBAs and how to don them
    - How to complete various hose lays, as well as learning how to load hose
    - Setting up ground ladders
    - Plus much more!
  • Preparing students for the physical and mental aspects of the academy
    This is the main focus of the Redshirt Class. The firefighter operations academy is a physically demanding course, therefore we have developed a schedule of gym and outside workouts and track progress throughout the semester to better prepare students for the various rigorous demands of being a student recruit during the academy.

Upon successful completion of the Redshirt Class, students may automatically earn a position in the next semester academy class as a student recruit based on recommendation of instructors. We pride ourselves on how successful this class is for our students, as we are the only college fire academy in the state of Arizona that offers this type of class. Students have told us how important this class was for them entering FSC102: Firefighter Operations Academy as student recruits, as they were able to enter with a baseline knowledge of how to be successful during the academy, as well as being in better shape and having a better understanding of the physical needs to be successful. FSC282AC is a three (3) credit hour class that can also be applied as elective credits towards the AAS in Emergency Response & Operations degree in either of the offered tracks (see Advising & Degree Information page for more information on degrees).

For those interested in being a Redshirt, please email your interest with your name, student ID, best contact phone number, and best contact email to Brandon Sunder. We will respond to your email with the next steps to take prior to the beginning of class. For more information or questions on the class, please email Brandon Sunder or contact the EMT/FSC Office staff at (602) 787-6782.

Can I take FSC105 (Hazardous Materials/First Responder), FSC130 (CPAT) , and EMT104 (EMT) co-currently during the Fire Operations Academy?

Unfortunately the answer is no. The reason is, in order to take the State of Arizona Fire I & II examination you must have passed a 40-hour Hazardous Materials/First Responder course, have a passing CPAT on record, and completed EMT104 or an equivalent course to EMT104. FSC134 is a co-requisite for the academy, and must be attended and passed in order for successful completion of the academy. However, we recommend that you already be in top physical shape due the physical demand this class requires.

Which Fire Departments requires the Fire Operations Academy (Fire I & II)?

See our Career Page for a complete list of department who require this certification.

Will I receive any continuing education hours for my EMT certification?

Yes, since continuing education requirements for the Arizona Bureau of Health Services Department change all the time we will go over the continuing education requirements on the first day of class.

What sort of questions will there be in the oral interview?

You will be asked questions such as "How will this academy help you in your pursuit of a career in the fire service?", "How will you successfully navigate the mental and physical challenges of the academy?" and "Tell us a little about yourself and why you want to take this academy.", etc.

What will happen when I am done with the Fire Operations Academy?

Upon satisfactory completion of the course, the student will earn the Firefighter Operations Course Completion Certificate, and will participate in the Firefighter I & II testing and certification process with the Arizona Fire Services Institute - Center for Fire Service Excellence (AzCFSE). By demonstrating successful performance in the Firefighter I & II written and skills competencies, the state certification may meet academy requirements by various state and local fire agencies.

What sort of preparation will the Fire Operations Academy help me with in pursuit of becoming a professional firefighter?

Even though most metropolitan fire departments require the applicant to go through their agency’s own academy, this academy is designed to prepare the applicant for participation in a testing process as well as providing a foundation for successful participation in a firefighter academy.

Is the Fire Operations Academy accredited?

The Firefighter Operations Academy (FSC102) is sanctioned and approved by the Arizona Center for Fire Service Excellence (AZCFSE) through the Arizona Fire Service Institute, and is accepted state-wide. The Arizona Center for Fire Service Excellence is accredited nationally through the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC). Pro Board accreditation is still being determined.

Is there a limit to how many people you take each semester for the Fire Operations Academy?

Yes. The Firefighter Operations Academy (FSC102) is designed to be small to be able to give you, the student, more repetitions and exposure to fire department operations. Currently we accept no more than 48 students per academy.

The PVCC Firefighter Operations Academy would like to thank the following people, companies, and agencies for their continued support of our program:

Paradise Valley Community College Administration
Dr. Paul Dale, President
Dr. Denise Digianfilippo, Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs
Dr. Tanisha Maxwell, Interim Vice President of Student Affairs
Mr. Herman Gonzalez, Vice President of Administrative Services
Ms. Sandy McDill, Dean of Administrative/Enrollment Services 
Ms. Karen Fehr, Division Chair - Health & Exercise Science

Arizona Fire Services Institute
AZ Center for Fire Service Excellence

Phoenix Fire Department
Fire Chief Kara Kalkbrenner
Division Chief Chris Healey
Captain Brian Ritter (Lead Recruit Training Officer)
Logistics Coordinator T.J. Stenquist

Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX)
A Division of Texas A&M University

Arizona Public Service (APS)

Extrication Concepts
Fred Dimas

Southwest Gas
Tom McBroom

Bureau of Land Management
Ken Shaver

5 Alarm Fire & Safety Equipment
Gerry Fleisher

​FDC Rescue Products
Earl Johnson

Premier Printwear
Chad Carpenter

Professional Firefighter Mentors
Phoenix Fire Department
Mesa Fire & Medical Department
Peoria Fire-Medical Department
Rural/Metro Fire Department
Sun City Fire & Medical Department
Superstition Fire & Medical District
Surprise Fire-Medical Department

PVCC Firefighter Operations Academy Alumni
Lab Techs
Student Interns
Student Volunteers

Firefighter Brochure