What to expect from a career as a Firefighter or Fire Systems Engineering Technician
Becoming a firefighter isn’t easy – it requires excellent physical conditioning, the ability to stay calm under pressure and advanced problem-solving skills that allow you to act on your feet. Along with firefighters, professionals who design and test fire systems are vital in ensuring the highest level of fire protection and safety. With the knowledge and hands-on experience you’ll get from fire systems and firefighting programs at Ontario colleges, you’ll find yourself prepared for a career in this demanding yet rewarding field.
If you have the discipline, strength and physical requirements necessary for firefighter training or you want to work with leading-edge technology creating and inspecting fire systems, here’s what you need to know.
Firefighting and Fire Systems Courses
The two types of fire safety programs offered in Ontario colleges are:
- Firefighting. The course spectrum in firefighting programs is broad, covering both the knowledge and training you’ll need to enter the field, as well as ensuring you’re up to the physical demands required on the job. Aside from courses like fitness training, principles of fire science and introduction to firefighter equipment and protocol, you’ll also learn emergency care techniques and human behaviour fundamentals. Firefighter programs also involve a rigorous work placement that gives students the opportunity to get hands-on training in fire department environments.
- Fire Systems and Fire Protection Engineering. Core courses in math and chemistry provide a strong foundation for technical courses in electricity, electronics and fluid mechanics. Using CAD software, students will learn to understand layouts of fire and sprinkler systems, as well as how to design these systems by applying knowledge of building / fire codes and regulations. Some fire systems and protection programs also include a work placement or co-op.
General Firefighting and Fire Systems Program Requirements
Academic requirements for firefighter and fire systems programs include an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent, which includes a grade 12 English and grade 12 mathematics credit. Senior science and technology credits are also often recommended and are sometimes required.
In addition to academic requirements, firefighter programs at Ontario colleges usually require completion of a fitness test and proof of CPR and First Aid training. Additional stipulations may be imposed by each institution.
Firefighter and Fire Systems Jobs and Salaries
Ontario college firefighter programs are endorsed by the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs and the Office of the Fire Marshal, which means you’ll be prepared to enter the field as a firefighter upon graduation. Be aware that positions are often quite competitive, and you may be required to perform further testing.
Graduates of fire systems and protection programs will find opportunities to design, enhance and test fire systems. With strict fire codes and testing regulations, there are numerous positions available as building inspectors, fire system design engineers, fire safety inspectors, testing technicians, system installers and more.
Salaries for firefighting jobs vary depending on the department, ranging from $30,000 to $50,000 in the first year and increasing with experience. Graduates of fire systems and fire protection programs usually have starting salaries between $40,000 and $60,000 per year.
Ontario Colleges Offering Firefighting and Fire Systems Programs
Use the left-column navigation to refine your search by College, Program Availability, Program Start Date and more, or see the table below for a complete list of firefighting and fire systems programs at Ontario colleges.