Firefighter training and certification
Learn about training and certification available to aspiring and current firefighters.
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In Ontario, the Office of the Fire Marshal (OFM) trains and certifies firefighters to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standards, including standards for:
- fire prevention
- fire investigation
- public education
- emergency telecommunications
As part of the OFM, the Ontario Fire College (OFC) develops and delivers over 300 courses per year online and at Regional Training Centres across Ontario. OFC instructors work with over 200 adjunct instructors to deliver these courses in partnership with fire services across the province.
The OFM’s Academic Standards and Evaluation is responsible for:
- written testing
- practical evaluations
- other assessment methods for certification courses
In addition, this unit issues certificates with International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC) seals and National Board on Fire Service Professional Qualifications (Pro Board®) applications as appropriate.
Pre-service firefighter programs
If you are interested in becoming a firefighter, you can complete a pre-service firefighter program. The OFM provides recognized colleges of applied art and technology (CAATs) and registered private career colleges (PCCs) with certification examinations and practical skills evaluations for new firefighter candidates.
The Pre-Service Firefighter Program is defined as:
- NFPA 1001 - Firefighter, Level I
- NFPA 1001 - Firefighter, Level II
- NFPA 1072 - Hazardous Materials Awareness
- NFPA 1072 - Hazardous Materials Operations
When a candidate successfully completes all training requirements through a recognized Pre-Service Firefighter Program, they will be eligible to complete the certification examinations and practical skills evaluation.
Candidates have a maximum of three attempts for each written examination before additional training is required. After the third attempt, candidates are required to complete the full course again before attempting another certification examination. Candidates must work with the program coordinator at their school for additional training and demonstrate that they have completed it.
There is other non-accredited firefighter training available in Ontario, but the Ontario Fire Marshal does not recognize their training. See below for a list of recognized schools.
Ontario Fire College
The OFC supports firefighters working at different stages of their careers with municipal fire services by offering:
- training and education programs based on National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standards
- other specialty courses that meet the needs of Ontario’s fire services
OFC courses are now available locally at Regional Training Centres to provide more accessible training options for firefighters and fire services. Regional Training Centres are strategically located in municipalities across the province to make it easier for firefighters to train closer to home and to reduce demands on their home fire service. These options, plus eLearning modules for some standards, help address the increasing demand for firefighter training across the province.
Contact AskOFC@Ontario.ca for more information on:
- current course vacancy list
- application form
- course calendar
- pre-class packages
Ontario Fire College courses
To provide the high-quality training and educational programs needed for Ontario’s fire services, the OFC continually updates and develops new courses.
Here is the current list of courses on National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standards that are offered to members of the fire services:
- NFPA 1001 Firefighter Levels I and II (Recruit)
- NFPA 1002 Pump Operations
- NFPA 1006 Technical Rescue – Awareness, Operations and Technician levels (Surface, Swift and Ice Water Rescue, Confined Space, Rope Rescue, Trench Rescue, Vehicle Extrication and Structural Collapse)
- NFPA 1021 Fire Officer Levels I, II, III and IV
- NPFA 1031 Fire Inspector Levels I and II
- NFPA 1033 Fire Investigator
- NFPA 1035 Fire and Life Safety Educator Levels I and II, and Public Information Officer
- NFPA 1041 Fire Instructor Levels I and II
- NFPA 1061 Telecommunicator Levels I and II
- NFPA 1072 Hazardous Materials (Awareness, Operations, Technician and Mission Specific)
- NFPA 1520 Incident Safety Officer
Additional fire prevention and Ontario Fire Code courses include:
- Courtroom Procedures
- Fire Code Division B Part 2 and 6 – Fire Safety and Fire Protection Equipment
- Fire Code Division B Part 3 and 5 – Industrial, Commercial, Hazardous Materials: Process and Operations
- Fire Code Division B Part 4 – Flammable and Combustible Liquids
- Fire Code Division B Part 9 – Retrofit
Other specialized or advanced firefighting courses are offered on a rotational basis, including:
- Chainsaw Operations
- Community and Environmental Impact of Fire
- Commercial Cooking
- Fire Dynamics
- Alternate Energy Source Firefighting (Solar and Wind)
- Railroad Emergency Response Management (partnership with CN Rail)
- Flammable Liquids Firefighting (partnership with CP Rail)
- Fire Service Driver Training Certification
- Industrial Firefighting
Check with your fire chief or fire training officer and refer to the current course calendar for course offerings.
Ontario Fire College course calendar
The OFC releases its course calendar approximately six months before the start of the summer, fall and winter semesters.
Firefighters are encouraged to review the calendar on a regular basis and work with their fire chiefs to find the courses and locations that best meet their needs. You can request the current course calendar through the OFC registrar at AskOFC@ontario.ca.
There is minimum enrolment for each course and the OFC can cancel courses if there is not enough demand. The OFC will provide as much advanced warning as possible if there is a cancellation.
The Fire Sciences Library and OFC Resource Centre maintain an extensive collection of information materials on:
- fire engineering
- fire investigations
- firefighter training and education
- public fire safety and prevention
- hazardous materials
- emergency management
- Ontario legislative materials
- complete the registration form to receive access to OFM publications and fire safety resources
The library is open by appointment to:
- OFC students
- fire services
- public sector
- broader public sector entities
Other clients, including the general public, must arrange for an interlibrary loan through their municipal public library or institutional library.
Hours of operation: Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Testing and certification
The OFM’s Academic Standards and Evaluation unit issues and assesses testing, practical evaluations and other assessment methods for firefighter certification. The OFM tests to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standards, which are the benchmark for firefighting training in North America.
The OFM is the only authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) for issuing Ontario firefighting certification. It is the certifying body for NFPA Standards in Ontario and is accredited by the:
- International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC)
- National Board on Fire Service Professional Qualifications (Pro Board®)
If a candidate successfully completes both knowledge and skill requirements, where appropriate for an NFPA Standard, they will receive certification with an IFSAC seal and Pro Board® application where applicable. These seals and certifications are recognized world-wide in the fire service, and represent completeness, fairness, security, validity and correlation to international standards.
- provides instructional guidance through development of standardized curriculum forms that outline what a course should contain and what areas will be tested for all National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) courses at the:
- Ontario Fire College
- fire departments
- colleges of applied art and technology
- registered private career colleges
- prepares and administers knowledge (written) testing and practical skills evaluations for all accredited NFPA levels and their latest standard edition within two years of release
- keeps certification data for every individual that takes certification testing in Ontario
- keeps its AHJ status by successfully passing mandatory IFSAC and Pro Board® Site team visits once every five years
Fact sheets, standardized curriculum forms and practical skills booklets for the following NFPA Standards are available upon request. Email OFMtestingandcertification@ontario.ca and let us know which NFPA Standard resources you require.
NFPA 1001, Levels I & II
- NFPA 1002
- NFPA 1006, Chapter 5
- NFPA 1006, Ice Water Levels I & II
- NFPA 1006, Surface Water Levels I & II
- NFPA 1006, Swift Water LevelI & II
- NFPA 1021, Levels I & II & II & IV
- NFPA 1031, Levels I & II
- NFPA 1033
- NFPA 1035, Levels I & II
- NFPA 1041, Levels I & II
- NFPA 1061, Levels I & II
- NFPA 1521
- NFPA 1072, Hazardous Materials Awareness, Operations, Technician, & Mission Specific
In Ontario, the OFM is the only entity with the authority to test for, and provide students with, NFPA certification. Where you can test depends on whether you are looking for work in a fire service (pre-service) or are already working in one.
Pre-service candidates typically test at the following private career colleges (PCCs) or colleges of applied arts and technology (CAATs) where they studied.
Firefighters that already work with a fire service may be tested at PCCs, CAATs, the Ontario Fire College (OFC), regional training centres or fire departments, where permitted.
If you have questions about testing or certifications, email OFMtestingandcertification@ontario.ca and tell us if you are a candidate in pre-service or a firefighter working with a fire service.
Recognized educational institutions
Examinations and skills evaluations are conducted by the OFM at the colleges listed below. Exact courses offered by each instition may differ and may include pre-service and courses for working firefighters. Contact the institution for details.
Universities and colleges of applied arts and technology (CAATs)
- Algonquin College
- Cambrian College
- Centennial College
- Conestoga College
- Confederation College
- Durham College
- Fanshawe College
- Fleming College
- Georgian College
- Humber College
- La Cite College
- Lambton College
- Laurentian University
- Loyalist College
- Northern College
- Seneca College
- St. Clair College
- St. Lawrence College