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Firefighter, Pre-Service Education and Training FAQs

If you have any questions that are not answered below, please feel free to contact our student admissions department or the Seneca Fire Protection office directly.

When are the program start dates?

We have program intakes in May, September and January of each year. Please consult the Registar’s Website for a list of exact dates for upcoming semesters.

How long is the Program?

The program runs for three consecutive semesters, and is one year in length. For example, students who begin their studies in September will finish the following August. Students who begin their studies in January will finish the following December and students who begin their studies in May, will finish the following April.

Where are the classes held?

The diploma programs combine both lecture and labs in most courses. Hands-on experiences are encouraged in the student’s training.

How can I apply to the full time program?

There is a direct link to the Ontario Colleges Application Services on the program page for Firefighter, Pre-Service Education and Training.

What should I do if I don’t meet the minimum academic requirements?

As a mature student, you may be exempt from some of the minimum academic requirements. Please contact Admissions for further details.

How are applicants selected for the program?

We typically receive anywhere from 700 applications or more each semester. Only 36 students are admitted to the program each semester.

Applicants are selected for the program based on a point system. All program applicants are sent an applicant profile which they are required to complete and return along with a resume and cover letter. Applicant selection is based upon a cumulative score from each of the following areas:

  • post-secondary education already completed,
  • work experience (either full or part time)*,
  • any co-op experience the applicant may have had*,
  • any volunteer experience the applicant may have done in the community*,
  • points are also awarded if the applicant is fluent in a second language

* There is no expectation that any of these categories relate to firefighting.

Those applicants with the highest cumulative score are offered admittance into the program. Many students who are accepted into the program have previous post-secondary degrees or diplomas, and/or significant work experience beyond high school.

What certificates will I receive upon graduation?

Seneca graduates will not only receive their one-year College Certificate, but they will also be eligible to write the Provincial Firefighting Exam. Once they have passed the Ontario Fire Marshals exam, students are able to apply to ProBoard for IFSAC certification to the NFPA 1001 Firefighter I and II level. This level of training will satisfy the training requirement for most fire departments throughout North America.

What is the class schedule like?

Core hours for classes in the first semester are typically from 08:55 am until 3:15 daily. Tuesday classes can end at 6:00 pm, however. Friday classes typically end by 12:00 noon. Second and third semester classes are more condensed. Second semester classes are typically 3-4 days per week, and the third semester classes are condensed into only 2 days per week. This scheduling is designed to allow second and third semester students to pursue part-time employment if they wish to do so.

It has been a long time since I last attended school. What kind of support can I expect?

In addition to the outstanding support all Seneca students can expect, the Pre-service program is pleased to belong to the SMILE mentoring program in Seneca College. Each first semester student is assigned to a current third semester student in the same program. This program has proved very successful in helping new students quickly assimilate into the program and the school community at large.

Do you recieve input from firefighters on what is taught in your program?

The curriculum is from a partnership of the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs and the Ontario Fire Marshals Office. Seneca is one of several community Colleges in the Province that are endorsed to deliver the program.

Is there a physical test I have to pass? What happens if I fail a component of the test?

All of our students are required to pass an occupation-specific medical test, (vision, hearing and lung assessment) as well as an occupation-specific physical evaluation held near the conclusion of the first semester of the program. These tests are currently administered at York University in Toronto. These are the identical tests that most fire departments use in their firefighting recruitment testing. Further information describing the testing is available at:

As part of our first semester classes, you will receive regular physical training and develop techniques under the guidance of our fitness instructors to assist you to successfully complete an independent fitness test at the end of first semester. Although the vast majority of our students are successful in completing the testing, those students who may be unsuccessfully in the physical portion of the test may be required to withdraw from the program until they are able to successfully complete the testing.

Those students who are unsuccessful in the medical portion of the testing (vision, hearing and lung assessment) may be asked to sign a waiver in order to be able to continue in the program.

NOTE: Prospective students who may be concerned with their ability to pass any portion of the testing are strongly advised to consult their family physician prior to starting the program.
Students who do not meet the 20/30 vision requirement but intend to undergo a corrective medical procedure (e.g. Laser surgery) during or after they graduate from the Pre-Service Firefighter program are advised to consult with a medical professional before beginning the program to ensure the vision deficit is correctable.

If there is any concern that you may have a vision colour deficiency, consultation with a medical professional is advised. Vision colour deficiency is non-correctable and, depending on its severity, may prevent you from obtaining employment as a firefighter.

What Personal Protective Equipment is provided to the students?

Each student is provided with their own personal protective equipment for use during the program. Some of the articles, including the firefighting pants, coat and an SCBA facepiece are leased on a per- semester basis, whereas PPE of a more personal nature including firefighting boots, helmet, gloves and flash-hood are purchased from the College on an at-cost basis. These lease and purchase fees currently total $1313.

For reasons of liability, and for fireground safety and accountability, all students in the Pre-Service Firefighter program are required to wear only equipment issued by the College.

I have already been trained to the NFPA 1001 Firefighter I & II standard. What additional courses do I need to take to achieve a Pre-Service Certificate from Seneca?

Applicants to Seneca college who already have obtained their NFPA 1001 Firefigher I and II certification at other institutions can receive advanced standing in up to six of the fifteen subjects required for graduation in the Pre-Service Program.

I have received an alternate offer of admission into the Fire Protection Technology Engineering program. What is that program? There are two distinct programs here at Seneca

There are three distinct programs here at Seneca within the School of Fire Protection. One is the Pre-Service Firefighter Education and Training Program, a one-year College Certificate program which is taught to the Ontario Fire Marshal's Standardized Firefighting Curriculum.

Many studentd decidet to take our other programs Fire Protection Engineering Technician and Fire Protection Engineering Technology - (Optional Co-op) prior to the Pre-Service program because they feel they will have a much stronger academic resume upon graduation.

Students who successfully complete either the two-year Technician program or three-year Technologist program in Fire Protection Engineering are currently able to transfer into the Pre-Service Firefighting program upon graduation.

  • Contact

    William Sault
    Program Co-ordinator
    416.491.5050 ext. 26647