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New EMT course enhances Fire Science program

Jaclanne Pagala, left, and Riley Viernes, right, practice their skills using classmate Dalyn Kupukaa as a subject during their emergency medical technician course at Hawai'i Community College on September 25.

Hawai‘i Community College has enhanced its Fire Science program by adding an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) course to the curriculum, making the program even more valuable for students and employers.

“By earning their national registry EMT certification along with their Associate of Science degree, students will greatly enhance their employment opportunities with fire service agencies,” said Assistant Professor of Fire Science Jack Minassian. “It's one more added benefit when they apply for a job, and it's a big one.”

The EMT courses, taught by instructors David Mendonsa and Daina Leslie Dietz, were added to the Fire Science program thanks to a collaboration with Kapiolani Community College.

Established in 2005, the Fire Science program and has become one of the most popular academic programs at Hawai‘i CC. Currently, 98 students are enrolled in the program.

In five semesters, students can earn an Associate of Science degree. Hawai‘i CC Fire Science graduates have found employment with federal, state and local fire service agencies.


In 2017, Hawai‘i CC began offering the Fire Science program at the Hawai‘i CC – Pālamanui campus in Kona. A new cohort of students is admitted every two years, which means students can begin the application process now to enroll for Fall 2019 at the Pālamanui campus. Students can also begin enrolling now for Fall 2019 at the Manono campus in Hilo.


For students interested in a bachelor’s degree, Hawai‘i CC has a transfer agreement with Colorado State University (CSU) that allows Hawai‘i CC Fire Science graduates to easily enter CSU’s online Bachelor of Science in Fire and Emergency Services Administration program. Students can complete the online Bachelor of Science program while living on Hawai‘i Island.


For more information about the Fire Science program, contact Minassian at or (808) 934-2617. Those interested in learning more about the enrollment process can contact the Welcome Center at (808) 934-2800.