Public Services: Fire Science, Paramedicine & Criminal Justice

Fire scene

Interested in a meaningful career that serves your community? Public Service Occupations span wide range of opportunities from paramedicine to fire science to criminal justice. Students often pursue these career paths because they enjoy learning hands-on skills that not only serve their community but also provide many opportunities for advancement.

Learn About the Many Careers in Public Service

Academic Pathways in Public Service

  • COCC Emergency Medical Technician Training
    COCC Emergency Medical Technician Program

    To be eligible to take the EMT license exam, students must complete two consecutive 6-credit courses at COCC (see registration requirements):
    • EMT 151 EMT Part A (offered fall or winter term)
    • EMT 152 EMT Part B (offered winter or spring term)

    The optional Emergency Medical Technician One-Year Certificate of Completion  provides students with the courses to be eligible to take the EMT license exam as well as required training for graduates to legally operate an ambulance. In addition, this program is contained within the Associate of Applied Science in Paramedicine, so students who wish can continue seamlessly to paramedicine by completing the program pre-requisites.

    Students interested in pursuing a career in emergency services are encouraged to take the following courses:
    • FIRE 103 - Fire and EMS College Success
    • FIRE 104 Introduction to Emergency Services

    Jobs for EMT graduates include positions in municipal paid departments and the wildland fire community for the US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Oregon Department of Forestry, and Bureau of Indian Affairs.
  • COCC Paramedic Program
    The COCC Paramedicine, Associate of Applied Science is designed for students seeking a career in emergency medical services and/or the fire service industry. The program meets or exceeds the required technical skills and knowledge necessary for national and state licensure. It is challenging and will require participants to spend between 600 and 800 hours in clinical and field settings.

    The Paramedic program at COCC is a selective admissions program meaning that students apply for admissions after completing required pre-requisites.

    Pre-requisites: 1-2 years (Includes EMT Part A & B)

    Once admitted into the program, students complete the Associates degree in one year.

    Students interested in pursuing a career in Emergency Services, are encouraged to take:
    • FIRE 103 Fire & EMS College Success
    • FIRE 104 Introduction to Emergency Services
    For those students interested in expanding their employment opportunities and career path, a dual degree in Structural Fire Science (SFS) and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) is also available at COCC.

    Paramedics work in a variety of settings, including fire departments, private and public ambulance services, hospital emergency departments, emergency communication systems, law enforcement agencies, search and rescue, recreation, the US Forest Service as smokejumpers, and some rural clinical environments. Paramedics provide many services to their communities and often work in teams where communication and technical skills are expected.

  • COCC Fire Science - Associate of Applied Science
    Associate of Applied Science -Fire Science: Fighting fires, saving lives, making things better for everyone. In addition to your classes, a bonus opportunity awaits, as structural fire science students at COCC are affiliated with local fire agencies in order to receive necessary certifications in NFPA Firefighter I, DPSST Hazardous Materials Awareness and Operations and Incident Command Systems. Better yet, many local fire agencies offer scholarships to students affiliated with their agency. Hands-on training, excellent support courses, on-the-job training and a scholarship... what could be better? 

    For those students interested in expanding their employment opportunities and career path, a dual degree in Structural Fire Science (SFS) and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) is also available at COCC.

    Students interested in pursuing a career in Emergency Services, are encouraged to take:
    • FIRE 103 Fire & EMS College Success
    • FIRE 104 Introduction to Emergency Services
  • COCC Associate of Science in Fire Service Administration
    The AS degree in Fire Service Administration is intended to prepare students to transfer to Eastern Oregon University’s Fire Service Administration (FSA) degree and is designed for students seeking a career in the fire service industry or upgrading their skills for current fire service employment.
  • COCC Criminal Justice Program

    Have you thought about being a police officer? What about parole or probation officer? Then this is the program for you! At COCC, we offer students two degree options:

    AAOT with a focus in Criminal Justice: Designed so that students can easily transfer to an Oregon public university to pursue a bachelor's degree in a criminal justice related field. Offers students a wide array of courses and an introduction to the criminal justice field.

     AAS in Criminal Justice: For those students who wish to work in the criminal justice field immediately upon graduation. This degree is designed for those students who wish to pursue a career in law enforcement or corrections. Most city and state law enforcement and correctional facilities require a high school diploma or GED. In Oregon, the competition for these jobs is intense. A college education is almost always a minimum requirement for the application process.

  • Academic Pathway to Become a Lawyer
    Law school is at the graduate school level.  Students apply to law school upon completion of a bachelor's degree. Law schools do not require a specific bachelor degree major.  Students are encouraged to choose a bachelor's degree major they find interesting and challenging and that provides exposure to legal concepts and issues as well as develops skill in research, communication, problem solving, and organization.

    The COCC Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer with a focus in pre-law includes courses useful to pre-law students and meets lower-division general education requirements at all Oregon public universities.

    Oregon State University - Cascades Political Science: Law and Politics Option: Thisbachelor's degree option is for students interested in a career in law, politics or public service in government agencies, nonprofits or the private sector

    Undergraduate students are encourage to research admission requirements for selected law schools in order to develop a competitive undergraduate academic plan. There are three accredited law schools in Oregon:
  • Forensic Science Pathways
    Below are some excellent resources to learn more about careers in forensic science as well as possible academic pathways:
    The Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer degree at COCC with a focus on science and criminal justice classes will prepare students to transfer to an Oregon bachelor's degree program in a variety of biology, chemistry, criminal justice, and forensic science degree programs.
  • COCC Cybersecurity Career Pathway Certificate of Completion
    The Cybersecurity Career Pathway Certificate of Completion extends knowledge and skills beyond entry-level computer networking and administration. Students will learn concepts and techniques essential for securing data and networks in both a vendor-neutral and Cisco environment.

Earn College Credits in High School

High school students can jump start their college education by taking college classes while still in high school. At COCC, high school students can earn college credit through two options: College Now and Concurrent Enrollment (including Expanded Options):

  • Suggested COCC Classes for High School Students Interested in Public Service
    Click on course link to review course description and pre-requisites:

    HD 100CS College Success (3 credits): Suggested first class for all new college students

    HD 110 Career Planning (3 credits): Suggested course for exploratory students

    Fire Science & Emergency Medical Services
    FIRE 103 Fire & EMS College Success (1 credit)
    FIRE 104 Introduction To Emergency Services (4 credits)
    HHP 212A AHA Basic Life Support for Providers CPR (1 credit): Required for registration into the EMT courses
    HD 130 Intro To Health Careers - new course

    Students cannot register for the EMT certification courses (EMT 151 & 152) until they are 18 years old.

    Criminal Justice
    Students should complete CJ 100 before enrolling in additional criminal justice courses
    CJ 100 Survey of the Criminal Justice System (3 credits)
    CJ 101 Introduction to Criminology (4 credits)
    CJ 120 Judicial Process (3 credits)
  • College Now (Take college credit classes at your high school)
    College Now: COCC works with area high schools to offer college level courses taught by high school instructors, exclusively for high school students. 

    Click here to see the College Now classes offered at your high school.

    Talk to your high school counselor if you are interested in taking College Now classes.
  • Concurrent Enrollment (Take college classes through COCC)
    Concurrent Enrollment: Take online or on-campus college classes at COCC while enrolled in high school.

    Expanded Options: Available to some Central Oregon high school students. The high school pays for associated tuition, fees and books. High school counselors approve Expanded Options classes for students.  So talk to your high school counselor if you are interested in taking Expanded Options classes.

    Check out the Concurrent Enrollment website for more information
  • Are You Ready To Take College Classes? What You Need To Know
    It is important to make an informed decision before taking college classes as a high school:

    There can be future financial aid implications for unsatisfactory academic progress (grade of D or F) in a college class. Unsatisfactory academic progress includes a cumulative college GPA below 2.0 and a completion rate below 66.67% of credits at the end of each term. Withdrawing from a class after the drop deadline can impact completion rate.

    When you apply for financial aid, the Financial Aid office at the college you plan on attending evaluates all prior grades and credits on your transcript. This includes grades and credits you earned or attempted for college credit while you were in high school. Unsatisfactory academic progress on your transcript may impact your future financial aid eligibility.

    In addition, students are limited to financial aid eligibility for 150% of the published credit length of a selected academic program. All credits listed on your transcript, including college credits attempted in high school, count toward the 150% limit for your selected program. Additionally Oregon Promise only covers up to 90 credits.  So high students don't want to load up on unnecessary credits that may impact future funding.

    The bottom line is that is it important for high school students to work with their school counselors and a COCC Academic advisor to make sure they are taking "credits with a purpose" towards an academic program. Additionally, high school students need to make informed choices about the academic load they can manage to ensure that they are creating success in their dual enrollment classes.


Explore Real World Experiences in Public Service

A great way to explore whether an academic and career path is a good fit for you is to find opportunities to get real world experience early on in your journey: career fairs, entry-level training and jobs, internships, job shadowing, informational interviews, and more.