Fire Sciences

A career in saving lives—as a firefighter or emergency services worker— is one of the most important and meaningful you can have today. They are also uniquely challenging and require a variety of special skills and knowledge for those who want to make a difference in these roles.

Oakton Community College's Fire Science Technology program has been developed to prepare you for a career in firefighting or a related occupation. If you are already working in this field, our curriculum can help you increase your skills and find new opportunities.

We offer an associate in applied science (A.A.S.) degree in fire science technology if you are interested in pursuing an education in this area while also taking on a number of key general education courses. If you just want to focus on your fire science courses, we also offer certificates. Check out our course catalog to find out more about the classes we offer.

If you are already working in fire services, our curriculum offers courses—approved by the Office of the State Fire Marshal—that can lead to Fire Officer I and II certification. You'll also have the opportunity in this program to increase your knowledge in specialty areas of fire science through Northeastern Illinois Public Safety Training Academy (NIPSTA) courses. An intergovernmental agency located in Glenview, NIPSTA provides education and training for fire departments and other first responders.

At Oakton, we also offer Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and Paramedic courses. Please visit the Emergency Medical Technician and Paramedic program pages to learn more.

Degrees and Certificates

We offer an associate in applied science (A.A.S.) degree in fire science technology if you are interested in pursuing an education in this area while also taking on a number of key general education courses.

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This certificate program is designed to prepare your for entry into the fire service. This program will give you a good look at what the fire service is all about and an in-depth understanding of basic fire fighting fundamentals and principles.

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This program provides students seeking a career in the fire service with a high level of understanding of the technical aspects of firefighting and fire service management. The program will also prepare fire personnel to become future fire officers by increasing their understanding of fire science technology.

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This certificate program is designed for the student who wishes to gain employment in the Emergency Medical System. Upon successful completion, students are eligible to take either the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) exam or the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) exam. This certificate can be completed in one semester.

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This certificate program is designed for students who wishes to gain employment in the emergency medical system. Successful completion allows the student to obtain licensure by the Illinois Department of Public Health as an EMT-P.

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What You Need to Know

There are six requirements for participation in the clinical component of the EMT program:

1. Hepatitis B Titer. Vaccinations are not acceptable. You must have a blood test. You may:

  • Obtain a referral from Health Services to have the titers done at Presence Holy Family Medical Center. (Cost for titer is covered by your lab fee); or contact your own physician. If you have insurance, it may cover the test; or

  • Submit your titer results if you have had the test in the past, especially if you have worked in a healthcare setting or taken classes in the healthcare field. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) strongly recommends that you be immunized against this serious viral infection if your titer results indicate that you are not immune (negative). You may:

  • Contact your own physician or pharmacy for hepatitis B vaccines (series of three) if you have insurance. Bring titer results with you.

  • Receive the hepatitis B vaccines at a reduced cost at the monthly Hepatitis B Clinic at Oakton’s Health Services, Des Plaines. An appointment is needed. Must bring titer results.

  • Sign the Hepatitis B Vaccine Declination Form and Release if you are declining the vaccines.

    2. Blood Work (Titers). You must have proof of immunity to four communicable childhood diseases: rubella, rubeola, varicella, and mumps. Vaccination records are not acceptable. You must have a blood test. You may:

  • Obtain a referral from Health Services to have the titers done at Presence Holy Family Medical Center. (cost for titer is covered by your lab fee); or submit a copy of blood titer results. You may have had the test in the past, especially if you already work in a healthcare setting. If so, bring a copy to Health Services; or contact your physician to have the tests. If you have insurance, the titers may be covered; call your health insurance prior to going. If your titer results indicate no immunity (negative), you will need vaccines (not included in fees.) Please talk to Health Services to determine which vaccines are needed based on your titer results.

  • Note: It is strongly recommended that you submit a copy of your vaccine record. If your titers indicate no immunity (negative) to a disease, it may save you one or two vaccines.

3. Tuberculosis (TB) Skin Test. Results of this test must be dated within the past 12 months.

  • The TB test is offered by appointment in Health Services on the Skokie campus, 847.635.1419 and the Des Plaines campus, 847.635.1885. (Cost for the TB test is covered by your lab fee. There is no charge if it is performed at Oakton Health Services), or

  • The test can also be performed by your physician or employer. Submit a copy to Health Services.

  • The TB test is also offered by appointment at the Skokie Health Department. Call 847.933.8252 for days and times. Cost is $10. If your skin test is already positive, contact Health Services.

4. Physical Examination. Must be completed within the last year on a Health Services Physical Exam form.

  • Have your physician do the exam, using the Physical Exam Report form from Health Services.

  • If you do not have a physician:

    Limited low-cost physical exams are available at Health Services, Des Plaines. Students must have TB test and titers done prior to making an appointment.

    Heartland Health Center (8320 Skokie Blvd., Skokie) offers low-cost school physicals for Oakton students. Call 847.410.6501.

5. Confidential Medical History Form. Complete, sign, and return to Health Services.

6. Flu Vaccine (except summer session). You must submit proof of a current seasonal flu vaccination.

  • Note: Students will not be able to attend the clinical portion of the program without receiving a medical clearance from Health Services. Clinical sites reserve the right to change health requirements at any time based on current medical practices.

Advocate Lutheran General Hospital (ALGH)

For more information, contact:

  • Advocate Lutheran General Hospital (ALGH) EMS System Office 847.723.5430 or
  • Oakton's Division of Business and Career Technologies 847.635.1910
  • Michael Doocy, program coordinator, 847.376.7887 or

St. Francis Hospital 2021 Paramedic Program

Interested applicants should contact:

Sara Van Dusseldorp, NRP, CCP, LI, NCEE
EMS System Coordinator/St. Francis Paramedic Program Instructor
AMITA Saint Francis Evanston
355 Ridge Ave.
Evanston, IL 60202
847.316.6117 - Office
847.316.4114 - Fax

Job Outlook

Potential Careers

  • Firefighter
  • Firefighter/Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)
  • Firefighter/Paramedic
  • Fire Engineer
  • Apparatus Operator
  • Driver Engineer
  • Fire Captain
  • Fire Chief
  • Forest Ranger

Meet Your Faculty and Experts

Spencer Kimura, Chair
Chair, Fire Science Technologies
M.S. National Louis University
Executive Fire Officer
Chief Fire Officer
Chief Training Officer
Office: P253, Skokie

Aref Abdellatif
EMT Coordinator
Office: B206, Skokie

Mike Doocy
Paramedic Coordinator
Office: B206, Skokie

Meet our part time faculty:

Ali Abdollahzadeh
Office: B206, Skokie

Peter Chiodo
Office: B206, Skokie

John Roche
Office: B206, Skokie

Drew Smith
Office: B206, Skokie

Michael Spain
Office: B206, Skokie

EMS Advisory Committee One

Advocate Lutheran General Hospital EMS
System Advisory Committee (ALGH)

Robyn Mazzolini, RN, BSN, TNS.
EMS System Coordinator
Advocate Lutheran General Hospital

Open Position - Sept 2019
Manager EMSS & Trauma Services
Advocate Lutheran General Hospital

David Hassard, MD
EMS Medical Director
Advocate Lutheran General Hospital

EMS Advisory Committee Two

Presence Health Saint Francis Hospital EMS
System Advisory Committee

Sara Van Dusseldorp, NRP, LI, NCEE
EMS Systems Coordinator / Paramedic Program Coordinator
Amita Hospital

Jeremy Lott, DO
EMS Medical Director

Fire Advisory Committee

Alan Wax, Chief
Des Plaines Fire Department

Brian Scott, Chief
Evanston Fire Department

Tony DeRose, Interim Fire Chief
Glenview Fire Department

Mike Hansen, Chief
Lincolnwood Fire Department

Frank Rodgers, Chief
Morton Grove Fire Department

Benjamin Wozney, Fire Chief
Wilmette Fire Department

Martin C. Feld, Chief
Niles Fire Department

Robert McKay, Chief
North Maine Fire Department

Andy Carlson, Chief
Northbrook Fire Department

Mike Nystrand, Chief
Northfield Fire Department

Jeffrey Sorensen, Chief
Park Ridge Fire Department

Jeffrey Hoeflich, Interim Fire Chief
Skokie Fire Department

Jill Ramaker, MScTRM
Executive Director
Northeastern IL Public Safety Academy

Alan Berkowski, Chief
Winnetka Fire Department

Spencer Kimura, MS., EFO., CFO., CTO., MIFireE
Fire Science Program Chair, Adjunct Faculty
Oakton Community College

Marc J. Battista, MA Applied Linguistics
Associate Vice President of Workforce Education
Dean of Business & Career Technologies
Oakton Community College

What's Next?

We are glad you are considering attending Oakton Community College. No matter where you are in your decision-making process, we are here to help you with your next steps. Whether you're ready to apply now, need information on paying for college or have questions and want to contact someone, we're here to help.

Contact Us

Spencer Kimura
Fire Science chair

Aref Abdellatif
EMT coordinator

Anita Cherian
Fire Science administrative assistant

Mike Doocy
Paramedic coordinator