Firefighters

(NOC 4312)

in All Education, Law, Government, Social and Community Services

Firefighters carry out firefighting and fire prevention activities and help in other emergencies. They work for municipal, provincial and federal governments and large industrial organizations that have internal firefighting services.

Job Outlook

Limited

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  • Estimate Weak growth employment change, 2021-2023
  • Estimate 70 openings due to growth and retirements, 2021-2023
  • Estimate Low rate of unemployment in 2022

Compared to: All Education, Law, Government, Social and Community Services

  • Estimate 1830 employment change, 2021-2023
  • Estimate 5515 openings due to growth and retirements, 2021-2023
  • Estimate rate of unemployment not available for these occupation.

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “limited”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is below average when compared with other occupations in Nova Scotia. This is a moderate sized occupation in Nova Scotia so some job opportunities may occur through turnover. However, jobseekers may face some competition for those positions. The number employed in this occupation is expected to grow moderately over the next few years, which will likely provide some additional opportunities for employment (yet overall job prospects are still considered limited). With a moderate percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to contribute somewhat to employment opportunities over the coming years. Firefighters most commonly work full-time hours. Also, a average portion of the workforce is self-employed, so having the option to "work for yourself" may appeal to some individuals’ interests/motivations.

The city of Halifax has been recruiting additional career and volunteer firefighters. However, the process tends to generate significant public interest and competition is always high. Outside Halifax, some consolidation has occurred in firefighting services due to municipal budget constraints. Other than retirements, turnover among firefighters is generally fairly limited.

Hourly Pay

$24.04

Minimum

$31.17

Median

$44.87

Maximum

Annual Pay

$36,317

Minimum

$75,487

Median

$113,155

Maximum

Compared to: All Education, Law, Government, Social and Community Services

Hourly Pay

$16.30

Minimum

$30.00

Median

$51.30

Maximum

Annual Pay

$5,616

Minimum

$44,335

Median

$92,599

Maximum

About the job

Nature of work

Firefighters carry out firefighting and fire prevention activities and help in other emergencies. They work for municipal, provincial and federal governments and large industrial organizations that have internal firefighting services.

Job duties

Firefighters:

  • Respond to fire alarms and other calls for help like car and industrial accidents, bomb threats and other emergencies.
  • Rescue victims from burning buildings and accident sites.
  • Control and put out fires using manual and power equipment like axes, water hoses, aerial ladders and hydraulic equipment and various firefighting chemicals.
  • Provide first aid and other support.
  • Make sure firefighting equipment is maintained and operational.
  • Prepare written reports on fire incidents.
  • Teach the public about fire prevention.
  • Train to maintain high level of physical fitness.
  • Help the public, the police and emergency organizations during times of major disasters.
  • May participate as members of a trauma or emergency response team and provide paramedical aid to accident victims or ill persons.
  • May supervise and coordinate the work of other firefighters.
  • May conduct building inspections to make sure they meet fire code.

Sample job titles

  • airport firefighter
  • crash firefighter
  • fire captain
  • fire department platoon chief
  • fire inspector
  • fire lieutenant
  • fire prevention officer
  • firefighter
  • firefighter apprentice
  • industrial firefighter
  • shipboard firefighter
  • structural firefighter
  • training firefighter

Skills

  • You must be in excellent health and physical condition to work as a firefighter. Mental alertness, courage, and mechanical aptitude are necessary. You must be able to perform under stress, react quickly, and be willing to take risks. Leadership and problem-solving skills are needed, as well as the ability to cooperate in a team effort.

Job requirements

  • High school is required.
  • A college program in fire protection technology, fire science or a related field and a period of supervised practical training is usually required.
  • Firefighting and emergency medical care training courses are provided and vary in length depending on the requirements of different fire departments or services.
  • Certification for firefighters is compulsory in Nova Scotia.
  • Experience as a volunteer firefighter may be an advantage.
  • Physical agility, strength, fitness and vision requirements must be met.
  • Several years of experience are required for senior firefighters like lieutenants and captains.

Other considerations

  • Firefighting is one of the most hazardous jobs, involving risk of injury and death. Most paid employment exists in the more heavily populated areas of the province, while smaller communities rely more upon volunteer firefighters. Experience as a volunteer firefighter may be an advantage for entry to paid positions. Movement to senior officer positions like fire chief is possible with additional training and several years of experience.

By the numbers

Quick look

905

employed in 2016

95.0%

employed full-time

0.0%

self employed

5.6%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
94.4%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
42.9

median age

Compared to: All Education, Law, Government, Social and Community Services

55,420

employed in 2016

76.4%

employed full-time

6.6%

self employed

64.0%
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36%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
43.5

median age

Where will I likely work?

63.9%

Halifax

$88,088 median annual income
14.4%

Annapolis Valley

$63,685 median annual income
10.6%

Cape Breton

$62,560 median annual income
8.3%

North Shore

$63,097 median annual income
2.8%

Southern

N/A

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

North Shore

12.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

Top Industries of Employment

94.8%

Public administration

1.7%

Transportation and warehousing

1.2%

Educational services

1.2%

Retail trade

1.2%

Administrative and support, waste management and remediation services

What is the age of Employment?

31.0%

35-44

25.0%

45-54

22.0%

25-34

14.0%

55-64

4.0%

65+

4.0%

15-24

Compared to: All Education, Law, Government, Social and Community Services

24.2%

35-44

22.7%

45-54

21.4%

25-34

17.2%

55-64

8.4%

15-24

Top levels of education

37.6%

College Diploma

$72,528 median annual income
26.5%

High school

$77,561 median annual income
16.6%

Trade Certification

$73,949 median annual income
13.8%

Bachelor

$87,607 median annual income
3.3%

Diploma Below Bachelor

$63,688 median annual income

Compared to: All Education, Law, Government, Social and Community Services

28.9%

Bachelor

$45,929 median annual income
21.2%

College Diploma

$35,398 median annual income
16.8%

Master

$71,043 median annual income
14.6%

High school

$29,055 median annual income
4.6%

Doctorate

$100,443 median annual income

Education & training

Fire Science/Firefighting

College or Trades Program

These programs prepare students for the duties of firefighters. They include courses in firefighting equipment operation and maintenance, principles of fire science and combustible substances, methods of controlling different types of fires, hazardous material handling and control, fire rescue procedures, public relations and applicable laws and regulations.

Institutions providing this program

Nova Scotia Firefighters School

Waverley, NS

Employment requirements & contacts

No regulating bodies were found under this occupation profile

Contacts

Halifax Regional Fire & Emergency Service
Dartmouth, NS
Nova Scotia Firefighters School
Waverley, NS

Additional resources

There are no additional resources for this occupation.