Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to be admitted to UVU to participate in this course?
Yes; apply for admissions at and select the “New Student” , “Returning Student” tab or Transferring Student” to begin the application.
What is the Recruit Candidate Academy (RCA)?

It is a basic firefighting academy with the goal to prepare every student for entry level employment as a firefighter and hazmat responder.  It is a regimented, paramilitary course with a demand for respect and attention to detail.  This includes uniform, appearance and attitude.  It is also a very physically demanding course.  Physical training (PT) may include running up to 5 miles a day.  Training also includes rigorous exercise and weight lifting to build strength and endurance to prepare for the demands of a firefighter.   The RCA course also has classroom time with online testing.

What certifications will I receive if I successfully complete the RCA?

Upon successful completion, you will receive the following levels of certification from the State of Utah

  • Firefighter I
  • Firefighter II
  • Hazardous Materials Awareness
  • Hazardous Materials Operations
  • One-year certificate - Firefighter Recruit Candidate (RCA) from UVU
What are the prerequisites to get into the RCA?*

Be able to successfully complete the RCA Physical Fitness Ability Test (PFAT) prior to acceptance:

    • Run 1.5 miles in less than 15 minutes
    • 35 push-ups in 1 minute, from your toes, full arm extension
    • 35 sit-ups in 1 minute
  • Have a valid driver’s license
  • Complete: (Must have a C- or higher)
    • ENGH 1000 or higher or equivalent Accuplacer, ACT or SAT Mathematics score.
    • MAT 0950 or higher or equivalent Accuplacer, ACT or SAT English score.
    • ESFF 1000 – Intro to Emergency Services and Ability Testing (4 credits)
    • ESFF 1120 – Principles of Fire and Emergency Services Safety Survival (3 credits)
    • ESEC 114A, 114B, 114C or EMT state certified (9 credits)


How do I apply to get into the RCA?

Complete a Recruit Candidate Academy (RCA) application or call 801-863-7749 or toll free 888-548-7816

Do I need to have all my prerequisites completed before I turn in the application?

No.  But they must be completed before the first day of class.

When are RCA applications due?

  • If you are applying for the Fall (August) semester, they are due by June 1st
  • If you are applying for the Spring (January) semester, they are due by October 1st

Once I’ve been admitted to the RCA, when do classes start?

The RCA is one semester.  Courses are offered during the following semesters:

  • Fall is August to December
  • Spring is January to April

How do I register?

Once prerequisites are verified and you’ve been notified of your acceptance into the program, an Emergency Services advisor will clear you to register yourself for the RCA classes.

What is the schedule for the RCA?

  • RCA Night:  Monday, Wednesday, Friday 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm and Saturday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm. These times are subject to change.
  • Students cannot miss any classes due to military, weddings, etc. without prior approval.

How is the semester schedule broken down?

Students will be enrolled in two classes totaling 16 credits

  • ESFF 250A (8 credits)
  • ESFF 250B (8 credits)

What is the cost of the RCA?

  • Resident / Non-Resident Tuition and Fees: You will be charged $1,900.00 for Module I (ESFF 250A) and $1,900.00 for Module II (ESFF 250B), totaling at $3,800.00 for the semester
  • Books, Equipment, and Supplies: Approximately $520

I’ve heard that the RCA is very demanding and that if I’m not in shape physically or of a slight build, it is extremely difficult to pass the certification testing, is that true?

It is true that the RCA program is physically demanding, and so is the profession of firefighting/EMS response.  Any student can pass if they come prepared, put forth the necessary effort and do the work that is required to perform well in the gym and on the training ground.  If you are injured or come to RCA in order to “get in shape,” it’s too late and you will most likely struggle.

Is it true that a lot of students leave the program due to too many demerits?

Students who accrue 90 demerits or more and receive 3 personnel notices are asked to leave the program at the discretion of the Lead instructor and RCA Program Manager.  99% of all recruits who start the program either finish or quit the program of their own volition.  Removing a student is rare.  Students who struggle academically, physically or with fire skills and accrue a lot of demerits due to sub-standard performance usually leave the program.  Most recruits graduate with fewer than 20 demerits and no personnel notices.

Was your RCA experience valuable, and is it worth the effort?

“The RCA was the best! It was exactly what I was looking for. I had looked into other fire academies and the RCA at UVU seemed to support what I was looking for. I knew first off by the Firefighter Rookie Challenge. I was able to meet some of the instructors, and that night I learned of the standard that was required. I knew firefighting was going to be hard, and I wasn't looking for easy! It exceeded my expectations!”

-        Quote from RCA Graduate Jackie Berg, Class 71