The state firefighter I and II certification courses involve more than 220 hours of lectures, home study, hands-on training and practical sessions, ranging from fire history to foam extinguishing to the proper way to break into a building.

It’s challenging to pass under the best of circumstances. It’s even tougher during a pandemic.

But in a ceremony held at the Edgartown town meeting tent Sunday, seven members of the Edgartown fire department officially graduated from the intensive training, bulking up the Island’s growing firefighting cohort despite significant challenges posed by Covid-19.

Approximately 10 firefighters from each of the Tisbury and up-Island departments also graduated or were set to graduate from separate sessions of the course, Edgartown fire chief Alex Schaeffer said Monday.

Spanning a 12-week period over the winter, the classes were taught by in-house Edgartown firefighters who were trained at Barnstable Fire Academy, including firefighter and EMT Stephen Foster and EMT Tom Ignacio.

The firefighter I course includes foundational lectures on equipment, safety and firefighting communications, while the firefighter II course is more advanced, adding theory, strategies and operational lessons. The courses covered everything from building construction, to fire science — like figuring out the origin of a fire — to hazardous materials. Training in the essential tools of firefighting, including ropes and knots, breathing apparatuses, hose line use, and search and mayday techniques, was also included.

Chief Schaeffer said Monday that the Edgartown group included a diverse combination of experienced department firefighters and volunteers. Those who didn’t participate were integral in prior trainings, he said. Three of the seven graduates were female.

“We had a mixed group of people, some veteran department members who wanted to continue to professionally develop, as well as newer people stepping into the role,” Chief Schaeffer said. “It’s a great opportunity for them to get the ground rules.”

The class faced numerous challenges due to the pandemic, including a pause when cases spiked during the winter and the continued use of PPE and remote learning. But at the ceremony Sunday, instructor Tom Ignacio said that the students weathered the difficulties, graduating with honor.

“This has been a year of challenges and frustration. However, these students were wonderful to work with and we enjoyed spending our time with this group,” Mr. Ignacio said in a brief speech. “We couldn’t have asked for any more from them.”

The graduation Sunday included remarks from town selectman Arthur Smadbeck, as well as Chief Schaeffer, who described the challenges of splitting up the Islandwide training course due to the pandemic. He added kind words for his department.

“We’re extremely lucky right now to have a very diverse group of people wanting to participate with us,” the fire chief said. “It’s really remarkable to see people stepping up to that challenge, and still participate in community involvement at this level.”

The Edgartown fire department has capacity for six full-time positions, and dozens of volunteer or part-time firefighters. But Chief Schaeffer said what was once a historically volunteer-based operation has become more demanding in recent years, as department members complete advanced, 200-hour certification courses.

“Firefighting has long been looked at as a vocation, and honestly, because of the in-depth knowledge, it is transitioning much more into a profession,” Mr. Schaeffer said.

At the ceremony, instructor Stephen Foster thanked the cohort of volunteer firefighters and full-time land surveyors, IT professionals, postal workers, waiters and waitresses who devoted hundreds of hours this spring to fighting fires in their spare time. And he thanked the full-time members of the department who train, and serve, by their sides.

“Please remember that the new skills you have acquired cannot be forgotten; they will save the lives of yourself, your fellow firefighters or a member of our island community,” Mr. Forester said. “Because of your commitment to this program, you have made what was already a solid group of men and women of the Edgartown fire department that much stronger.”