Tim England’s dream of following in his uncle’s footsteps is becoming a reality thanks to a thriving partnership between Blinn College’s Fire Science Program and the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX).
After learning about Blinn’s highly regarded Fire Science Program while attending the College as a general studies student, the Lago Vista native decided it was time to pursue his passion.
“Growing up, my uncle would share stories about his day-to-day activities as a firefighter,” England said. “The exciting and ever-changing lifestyle of a firefighter always appealed to me, so after one semester at Blinn, I seamlessly transitioned into the Fire Science Program.”
Based on the Bryan campus, Blinn’s Fire Science Program – developed in response to local and national needs for an advanced degree in the field of fire protection – is partnered with the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX), the nation’s most comprehensive firefighter training and emergency services instructional entity. Through that partnership, Blinn offers a traditional 12-week fire academy, as well as an online academy in which coursework is performed online and skills are developed during three months of intensive hands-on training at Brayton Fire Training Field in College Station.
This summer, England completed his 60-credit hour Fire Science Technology Associate of Applied Science degree, which includes an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Basic course, an EMT Paramedic Clinical, and the TEEX Fire Training Academy. The new graduate posted the highest grade point average (GPA) in his 55-member fire academy class – a remarkable feat considering the class’ average GPA was higher than any previous fire academy in TEEX Training Manager Chief Donny Bogg’s memory.
“TEEX takes pride in the intensity of its classroom instruction to ensure students are learning and retaining valuable knowledge and skills,” Boggs said. “Blinn students are better prepared to master the challenging coursework than individuals who are not enrolled in any program, and the final results reflect that.”
In addition to the rigorous classroom instruction of fire protection, life safety, and program management, the partnership between Blinn and TEEX allows Blinn fire science students to receive 12 weeks of practical training with firefighter props, equipment, and apparatus with TEEX. The agreement also allows TEEX to offer college credit and financial aid to its fire academy students.
“You will not find a fire school like this anywhere else,” Program Coordinator Nate Sivils said. “Blinn is very fortunate to train its students at TEEX’s world-renowned facilities.”
Graduates of Blinn’s Fire Science Program are qualified to work as a structural firefighter with the potential to progress into more advanced roles such as a fire inspector and arson investigator.
“TEEX strongly suggests individuals interested in our fire academies complete Blinn’s Fire Science Program,” Boggs said. “Major metropolitan fire departments are looking for candidates with advanced levels of education. This shows individuals are not only a certified firefighter and EMT, but they also possess the motivation to make themselves a more marketable candidate.”
With degree in hand, England is applying to various fire departments, with his sights set on Lago Vista, Austin, and Colorado.
“Blinn has given me the opportunity to carry on a family legacy and fulfill my passion of helping others,” England said. “It was an honor to have my family there when I received the top award on graduation day.”
Blinn offers a 30-hour Fire Science Technology Certificate and a Fire Science Technology Associate of Applied Science degree. For more information, visit: www.blinn.edu/twe/fire/.