CNM Fire Academy Now Offering Accelerated 18-Week Program

The Academy helps train firefighters and first responders who will serve a crucial need around New Mexico
September 12, 2023

As we speak, 23 aspiring firefighters are currently undergoing intensive and accelerated training as part of CNM’s new fast-track Fire Academy. What started as a two-term certificate is now an 18-week course designed to meet the growing demand for emergency responders.

“Speaking with fire departments from across New Mexico it’s clear that we are in big need of good firefighters,” says Amy Tixier, CNM’s Associate Dean of Health, Wellness & Public Safety.

At the moment, students must be hired full-time by a fire department that sponsors new cadets to participate in the Academy. Once enrolled, cadets receive entry-level firefighting and EMT-Basic certifications and also get the training they’ll need to take their International Fire Services Accreditation Congress, National Wildfire Coordinating Group, and EMT national certification exams.

All the instructors in the Academy are current or retired firefighting professionals, and when cadets graduate they’re eligible for full-time employment. As a bonus, the cadets are also halfway finished with a Fire Science Associate’s Degree that is often required for promotion within their departments.

Amy says CNM and the Fire Academy faculty have worked hard to develop strong relationships with fire departments across the state to better understand community needs. These partnerships in turn have helped CNM develop top-of-class curriculum and training protocols that not only meet national standards but also mirror the kind of training provided by fire departments.

“We have an open door policy with all fire departments in the area,” Amy says. “We want to be transparent about our programs and professional development offerings.”

In the case of one particular partnership with the Valencia County Fire Department, CNM received a donated fire engine that rounds out their arsenal of resources.

Fire engines, depending on their age and condition, can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. This engine, while a bit older, passed all of its regulatory testing and will make a huge difference for future generations of CNM Fire Academy cadets.

“Our partners have been instrumental in the launch of the CNM Fire Academy. In addition to the fire truck, several fire departments in the area have provided firefighting tools, equipment, and adjunct instructors. I am grateful for the support from our public safety partners and the opportunity to grow the CNM Fire Academy with them,” says Justin Staley, retired Albuquerque Fire and Rescue and CNM Lead Fire Academy instructor.

With the help of the community, Amy says CNM is ultimately focused on growing the number of firefighters in the workforce while also looking to connect with smaller counties with fewer resources to ensure New Mexico has firefighters ready to respond to any emergency.

“We are doing it for them, but we couldn’t do it without them,” she says.