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How To Become a Firefighter

The fire service in Ontario offers a variety of career opportunities with unlimited potential for personal challenge and growth.

Most cities and towns throughout Ontario have personnel departments responsible for the recruitment and selection of firefighters for the municipal fire service.  However, the fire service may hire directly without the benefit of a municipal personnel department.  Although the ‘Office of the Fire Marshal of Ontario‘ does not recruit firefighters, here are some tips and general information that you may find useful in pursuing a career as a firefighter.

The fire service in Ontario utilizes volunteer or part-time firefighters, and recruits firefighters on a regular basis.

Although qualifications may vary, a hiring municipality or fire service may require that you:

  • Be legally entitled to work in Canada (i.e. a Canadian citizen, a landed immigrant or have a work permit)
  • Possess the prescribed visual requirements of 20/30 in each eye without corrective lenses and satisfactorily complete a colour vision test
  • Be educated to a minimum of Grade 12 level or equivalent
  • Be capable of handling intense and sustained physical effort
  • Successfully complete an aptitude test and interview
  • Hold and produce a valid Ontario driver’s licence and have a good driving record
  • Possess or obtain during the probationary period a Class “D” licence with a “Z” air brake endorsement
  • Understand and be able to communicate in English
  • Be willing to sign a waiver and/or a release form prior to participating in job-related performance tests
  • Pass a health and medical evaluation and fitness assessment
  • Undergo timed, physically demanding job-related performance tests
  • Be certified in CPR/first aid



In addition you may be given aptitude tests designed to measure your:

  • Ability to understand written and verbal information and instructions
  • Technical and mechanical skills
  • Reading, reasoning and mathematical skills



Additional Educational Preparation

There are numerous candidates applying for firefighter positions with the full-time service throughout Ontario.  As a result, candidates possessing qualifications including theory and basic firefighting skills have a better chance of being successful in the hiring process.

In order to provide this educational opportunity to potential candidates, several community colleges throughout the province have been endorsed to deliver the Pre-Service Firefighter Education & Training Program.

This program was developed through a partnership with the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs (OAFC), the Office of the Fire Marshal (OFM), the fire service and the community colleges.

This partnership provides an opportunity for the OAFC and the OFM to form dynamic collaborative agreements with the fire service and community colleges to best meet the needs of the fire service and the future firefighter.  While completion of the Pre-Service Firefighter Education & Training Program does not guarantee employment, it certainly provides a more qualified pool of candidates for selection.

Benefits of the Pre-Service Firefighter Education & Training Program

The Pre-Service graduate:

  • Is better prepared and trained for the firefighter role
  • Possesses an advantage for the hiring process

The Pre-Service graduate receives:

  • A community college certificate upon successful completion of the program
  • Standardized training from a recognized college program within the Ontario provincial educational system
  • General education credits transferable to other programs

The Pre-Service graduate is also eligible, upon successful completion of the course and being hired by a fire service in Ontario, to apply for and receive the Ontario Fire College “Firefighter Certificate of Achievement.

Mandatory Orientation

All community colleges offering this program must provide a mandatory orientation/information session for prospective students. This session would cover valuable information for prospective students, such as:

  • Admission Requirements
  • Overview of Pre-Service Program
  • Hiring Process
  • Job Expectations
  • Performance Requirements

Source: Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs

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