Firefighters may be employed full time by city or industrial fire departments or part time in smaller centres.
Most of Alberta is served by volunteer on-call firefighters. Typically, recruitment is done by local jurisdictions. Free accredited training is usually given, in return for service and availability to the local community.
Firefighters who have the necessary experience, seniority and abilities may specialize in areas such as hazardous materials or technical rescues. They also may become apparatus operators, fire officers, training officers, public safety educators, fire inspectors, investigators or chief officers.
In Alberta, 89% of people employed as firefighters work in the Public Administration [pdf] industry.
The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:
- Trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the Public Administration industry)
- Location in Alberta
- Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
- Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
- Size of the occupation
In Alberta, the 4312: Firefighters occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.3% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 59 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.
Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.