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Firefighter

Firefighters protect the public from the dangers of fire and other hazards by controlling and putting out fires. They also provide pre-hospital care after rescuing people, respond to dangerous goods incidents, maintain equipment, practice fire prevention and provide emergency paramedical services.

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Firefighters (6262) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Firefighters (G612) 
  • 2011 NOC: Firefighters (4312) 
  • 2016 NOC: Firefighters (4312) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Firefighters
2006 NOC : 6262

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group

OBJECTIVE

Interest in ensuring proper operation and maintenance of firefighting equipment

METHODICAL

Interest in compiling information to administer first aid and other assistance and to use various firefighting chemicals; and in training to maintain a high level of physical fitness; may provide para-medical aid to accident victims or ill persons

DIRECTIVE

Interest in persuading to inform and educate the public on fire prevention; may supervise and co-ordinate the work of other firefighters

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 

It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective, and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes for this NOC group is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Duties
Updated Mar 02, 2021

Firefighters are trained to promote safety and respond quickly and efficiently to situations that may endanger citizens or their property. For example, they may respond to fires, motor vehicle accidents or hazardous goods spills. They provide medical aid, rescue services, and property and environmental loss control services.

When there is a fire, firefighters:

  • Rescue and evacuate people from the involved structures
  • Establish a water supply
  • Lay out and connect hoses and nozzles, and direct water onto fires
  • Use different methods to suppress different types of fires
  • Enter burning buildings
  • Manage and control ladders to gain access to fires and help people to safety
  • Provide pre-hospital care for fire victims who may be injured or overcome by smoke or toxic atmosphere
  • Try to protect property during or after fire-fighting operations
  • Inspect the site to ensure it is safe once a fire has been put out
  • Deal with hazardous chemicals that may catch fire or spill

When there are other types of emergencies, firefighters:

  • Provide rescue services and medical attention for all involved in incidents including wildland fires, water or technical rescues (such as rope rescues, confined-space rescues or building-collapse rescues)
  • Provide support and direction during disasters
  • Minimize property loss and environmental impact
  • Contribute to or write cause and determination reports for the proper authorities

Between emergencies, firefighters:

  • Take part in activities to educate the public about fire prevention
  • Conduct fire inspection and preplanning activities
  • Maintain and develop skills through continuing education
  • Maintain their equipment
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 02, 2021
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg

Firefighters in large centres work shifts with rotating days off. In smaller centres, they may work part time or be on call.

The work is physically demanding, sometimes dangerous and often involves short periods of intense physical labour. Firefighters often have to work at heights, in confined places and in very dark areas. They must wear heavy gear while working in environments that include smoke and extreme high or low temperatures. Like most jobs that involve emergency situations, the work also is emotionally demanding and stressful.

Lifting, pulling and carrying over 20 kilograms frequently is required during emergency situations.

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 02, 2021

Firefighters need:

  • To maintain top physical condition such as aerobic endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance and agility
  • Good judgement and quick decision-making based on knowledge and experience
  • Ability to give and take orders and function well in a close team environment
  • Ability to learn about related technologies

They should enjoy working with tools, equipment and machinery, having clear rules and organized work methods, and educating people about fire prevention.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 02, 2021
  • Minimum Education Varies

Requirements for employment as a firefighter vary from one fire department to another. For example, minimum education requirements range from Grade 10 to a high school diploma with specific courses in physics, math and chemistry. The candidate also may be required to be at least 18 years of age and have:

  • Canadian citizenship or equivalent status
  • Security clearance
  • 20/30 vision without glasses and no abnormalities in colour vision
  • No hearing impairments
  • A valid Class 5 Alberta driver's licence without restrictions (some employers require an Alberta Class 3 and air brake licence)
  • Training or experience in related technologies or trades, first aid or rescue work
  • A better-than-average ability to get along with people
  • An ability to climb great heights and withstand extreme cold and intense heat
  • An ability to perform under great stress
  • Completed accredited fire-protection courses
  • Taken medical emergency training

Depending on the fire department, firefighters may take a training course varying in length from 6 to 12 weeks after they are employed. The minimum mark required to pass the examination at the end of the course is 70%. Afterward, there is a probationary period (6 months to 1 year) of working in a fire station.

Competition for firefighter positions is keen, especially in large urban centres. The selection process includes aptitude tests, fitness tests, medical examinations, security and reference checks and personal interviews. Related experience or training is an asset.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 02, 2021
  • Certification Not Regulated

There is currently no provincial legislation regulating this occupation in Alberta.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 02, 2021

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.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 02, 2021

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Firefighters

2016 NOC : 4312
Average Wage
$40.83
Per Hour
Average Salary
$79,824.00
Per Year
Average Hours
36.4
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
12
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2019 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 4312 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production), and other forms of compensation.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $15.09 $57.27 $38.16 $40.79
Overall $18.46 $57.27 $40.83 $42.27
Top $20.00 $57.27 $43.04 $46.36

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information
Public Administration
ALL INDUSTRIES

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

71%
71%)

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

46%
46%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

0%
0%

Vacancy Rate

N/A
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Driver Training
  • Social, Community and Protective Services
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 02, 2021

Alberta Firefighters Association website: albertafirefightersassociation.nationbuilder.com

Alberta Fire Chiefs Association website: afca.ca/

International Association of Firefighters website: www.iaff.org

National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) website: nfpa.org

University of Alberta, firefighter fitness testing website: www.ualberta.ca/kinesiology-sport-recreation/research/centres-and-units/firefighter-fitness-testing.html

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 02, 2021. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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