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Firefighters are some of the most respected members of any community. They are typically the first to respond in most emergencies and accidents and have a prestigious public image. Becoming a firefighter is an extremely regulated process and applicants are screened stringently. To become a firefighter in Quebec, you must be in excellent physical condition, have good vision and possess a combination of education and relevant experience.
Assess the current labor market and decide which type of firefighter you want to become before you enroll in a college or university. There are firefighter positions available in municipal fire halls, in airports, on ships and in industrial areas. The type of firefighting career you pursue may affect the type of education you need to gain employment.
Decide in which municipality you will work. In Quebec the amount of training and education you require to become a firefighter varies by municipality. In small municipalities you can become a volunteer firefighter with little to no training; however, larger municipalities of 25,000 to 200,000 people require that you complete a 175-hour training course combined with an additional 120-hour training program. In municipalities of more than 200,000 people, you must complete a one- to three year post-secondary program.
Choose your educational path. Once you have decided where you will work, you must acquire the appropriate education. If you have chosen to work in a large municipality, you must enroll in a Fire Safety and Prevention program at an accredited institution. There are two levels of post-secondary fire prevention education. The first is a one-year fire safety course; the second level is a comprehensive two-year fire safety course. The first level is the prerequisite to be admitted to the second level. Completion of both levels is required to work in a large municipality.
Complete the required assessments. The requirements to be admitted into the fire safety and prevention programs are extremely regulated. Before being approved, you must pass a series of tests and interviews. You must pass a medical exam, a physical fitness evaluation and a written test. You must also provide your academic records and participate in an interview.
Apply for a full-time firefighter position. Once you have been admitted to, and completed the required program, you must prepare your resume and apply for jobs. This can include applying to airports, municipal fire halls and on ships that employ firefighters. For some positions you may be required to gain experience as a volunteer prior to gaining full-time employment.
- firefighters image by Earl Robbins from Fotolia.com