Career Firefighter Recruitment - FAQ's

Tough job. Strong team.

A career as a firefighter is both challenging and rewarding. In this role, you have the opportunity to serve your community while working as a member of a highly skilled professional team.

Halifax Regional Fire & Emergency (HRFE) is committed to being the best Fire & Emergency service and reflective of the diverse communities we serve. The recruitment and selection process includes; aptitude testing, physical abilities testing, background screening and a panel interview. The skills, abilities and competencies measured through each of these phases are in alignment with the requirements for the position of firefighter. Candidates must demonstrate competence and proficiency at each stage in order to advance.

The Halifax Regional Municipality strives to create a diverse and inclusive work environment. Its goal of a strong and diverse workforce that accurately represents the communities it serves will capitalize on the strength and talent of those communities. As such, we encourage applications from African Nova Scotians, racially visible persons, women (applying for non-traditional positions), persons with disabilities, Aboriginal persons and persons of the LGBTQ+ community. HRM encourages applicants to self-identify.

What are the requirements to apply to become a career firefighter with Halifax Regional Fire & Emergency?

To work for Halifax Regional Fire & Emergency as career firefighter, you must:

  • Be 18 years of age or older at the time of application.
  • Be legally entitled to work in Canada.
  • Have a Grade 12 education or equivalent. You must submit a copy of your diploma with your application (this could include Grade 12 Certificate, GED, community college diploma, or university degree). If you submit a High School transcript, it MUST clearly state a graduation date or certify by stamp or signature that you are a graduate.
  • Possess a Nova Scotia Class 5 Driver’s License (or equivalent from another province) demonstrating safe and responsible driving behaviour. That means you cannot have, in the previous 24 month period
    • More than 5 points for a single infraction or 
    • More than 6 points for multiple infractions in the previous 24 month period.  
  • Candidates must complete security/background screening which includes a review of a criminal record check, a vulnerable sector check, a child abuse registry check and a driver’s abstract. It also includes an integrity interview. 
  • Successful candidates must be able to communicate effectively in English. These skills will be assessed as you move through the competition. Further assessment of  language proficiency may be required.

*You are not required to submit any of the background checks, including the driver’s abstract or criminal record check, with your application. Both will be verified later in the selection process.*

What is candidate self-identification? 

Self-identification is a confidential and voluntary process that provides candidates the opportunity to share their employment equity data through our online application system. Under our Employment Equity Policy, we seek to promote the full participation of persons who self-identify as racially visible persons, women, Indigenous/Aboriginal persons, persons with disabilities, and persons of the LGBTQ+ community. The online self-identification process allows candidates to self-identify as more than one designated group and we include definitions to help candidates accurately identify which group(s) they belong to under this policy.

Why should I self-identify? 

The Municipality and HFRE are committed to employment equity and to developing a workforce that is reflective of the diverse communities we serve. We encourage candidates to self-identify in the online application process to help us achieve the objectives outlined in our Employment Equity Policy. Your data will help us:

  • develop a representative picture of our workforce;
  • provide an accurate indication of who our people are, and the unique identities within our workforce;
  • better understand the makeup and needs of our workforce.
  • develop and tailor programs, policies, and practices to better support our workforce;
  • identify and remove any barriers that may exist in hiring, training, promoting and retaining our employees.
  • inform our Employment Equity Program.

Is there a cost to apply?

No, there are no application fees.

How often does Halifax Regional Fire & Emergency recruit for career firefighters?

We anticipate career firefighter recruitment will occur approximately every one (1)  to three (3) years, as dictated by operational demands to hire new firefighters. Please continue to monitor this page for information regarding future opportunities.

Can I drop off my resume to become a career firefighter before the recruitment announcement is made?

No, HRFE only accepts applications during the application period of an active career firefighter recruitment process.

If your local fire station offers volunteer opportunities, you may stop by and pick up an application package to become a volunteer firefighter at any time.

How do I submit my application when a career firefighter recruitment is announced?

Only applications submitted through our online job applicant system before the application deadline will be accepted.  If you experience technical difficulties with our online application system please contact 311. Please note that assistance with an application will only be available during regular business hours (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.)

Instructions on how to submit an application through our web-based job application system can be found below.

Where can I find the most up to date information about the recruitment process?

For more information about the recruitment process, please visit:

Who do I contact if I have questions that have not been answered by the information on this website? 

Please email and a member of our recruitment team will get back to you promptly.

Should I attach copies of all my certificates to my application?

You are only required to attach proof of Grade 12 or equivalent to your application. Other certifications are not required. Please do not submit additional documents or certifications other than proof of Grade 12. Doing so could cause errors in your submission.

Are there any fees for candidates to take part in the recruitment and selection process?

No, candidates will not be required to pay any fees to participate in the career firefighter recruitment and selection process. 

What are the steps involved in the hiring process to become a career firefighter with Halifax Regional Fire & Emergency?

Generally, the hiring process to become a firefighter goes like this:

  • Application screening
  • Aptitude phase 
  • Physical abilities test
    • Gledhill Fitness Protocol for Firefighters Assessment
    • Informationabout the 20m shuttle run (beep test)
    • Downloadable audio recording to help you prepare for the 20m shuttle run beep test 
    • Having trouble downloading the recording? Here is for the link to the audio recording on HRFE's YouTube channel
    • Here is a video demonstration of the 20m shuttle run (beep test)
  • Panel interview 
  • Reference checks
  • Security clearance (driver’s abstract, criminal record check, vulnerable sector check, child abuse registry check)
  • Integrity interview
  • Medical assessment – information 

What is the minimum level candidates must achieve to progress past the 20m shuttle run (beep test)?

Candidates must successfully complete a minimum of stage 7.5 in the 20m shuttle run (beep test) to progress to the next phase of the selection process. It is important to note that this is the minimum requirement. As this is a competitive process where candidates are assessed at each phase, candidates should prepare to run to maximum exertion.

What health and safety measures are in place to protect applicants going through this recruitment process during the pandemic?

HRM takes the health and safety of its job applicants and employees seriously. Measures are in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as you participate in the recruitment process. Elements may be conducted virtually or through email, though in-person attendance will be required in certain phases of the recruitment process. A detailed outline of health and safety requirements will be provided to you as you are invited to participate in each stage of the competition. Prior to attending any in-person test or assessment, applicant will be required to complete a COVID-19 self-assessment online. Out of province applicants must make their own arrangements to attend in-person assessments and they are required to self-isolate for 14-days prior to attending in-person testing and interviews. If you have tested positive, have been exposed to, or are experiencing COVID-19-like symptoms, please notify an HR representative prior to attending any in-person assessment or interview. Anyone required to self-isolate, must complete this self-isolation period prior to attending.

Failure to comply with these protocols and other protocols may result in being removed from the competition. For more information, please email us at or visit:

How long does a career firefighter recruitment process take?

The length of time it takes to complete the recruitment process will depend on the number of applications received. We anticipate it will take approximately six months from the time of application until a Consideration for Hire Pool is established. The number of candidates hired is dictated by operational needs. As required, candidates in the Consideration for Hire Pool are contacted to proceed through the final stages of the hiring process.

I am a volunteer firefighter with Halifax Regional Fire & Emergency. Do I have to apply to become a career firefighter?

Yes, current volunteers must follow the instructions to submit an application through our web-based job application system when an active career firefighter recruitment process is taking place. You will be asked to identify yourself as an HRFE volunteer firefighter when submitting your application.

Do current HRFE volunteer firefighters get first consideration in the recruitment process?

No, HRFE volunteer firefighters who meet the application requirements will be invited to take part in the first phase of the recruitment process along with other qualified candidates.

Can I skip the aptitude phase if I am a current HRFE volunteer?

No, the aptitude phase assesses things like:

  • reading comprehension
  • mathematical reasoning
  • map reading
  • writing ability
  • interpersonal skills
  • teamwork
  • logical reasoning
  • mechanical aptitude
  • spatial rotation ability

All candidates must demonstrate they possess the required abilities to move forward in the recruitment process.

I am a firefighter in another jurisdiction and a member of the IAFF. Can I transfer to HRFE without having to go through the recruitment process?

No, there are no lateral transfers. All applicants are required to successfully complete all phases of the recruitment and selection process to be considered for a position as a career firefighter with HRFE. Current IAFF members will not retain seniority or rank if hired as a career firefighter by HRFE.

I did not complete a high school diploma. What is an accepted equivalent?

Successful completion of the General Educational Development (GED) is an accepted equivalent to a high school diploma. For additional information about the GED, visit the Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education website.

I don’t have a copy of my high school diploma or transcript. Is a copy of my post-secondary transcript or diploma acceptable?

A copy of a diploma from an accredited college or university is also acceptable.

Post-Secondary transcripts cannot be accepted as there are too many variants in the number of credits/courses for different institutions, which makes it difficult to determine if a program was completed.

Is it acceptable to attach my other certificates or reference letters to my application?

Candidates are only required to attach proof of Grade 12 or equivalent. Candidates must attach this to their application to be screened in to the aptitude phase.

If a candidate did attach additional documents, they would not be penalized for doing so. However, so as to not over tax the application system, we suggest candidates list on their resume any additional education or certifications they feel are relevant. This will reduce the possibility of errors occurring with your submission.

Do I need a driver’s license to be a firefighter?

Yes, candidates must have a Class 5 Nova Scotia driver’s license, or the equivalent level license from another province. This information must be clearly stated in your application.

Someone who has a Class 5 “N” license at the time of hire is not eligible for a license upgrade to a Class 3 license with air brakes endorsement. New firefighters must obtain a Class 3 license with air brakes endorsement during their recruit training to meet job requirements. Candidates who have an "N" on their license must complete the requirements to obtain a full Class 5 license prior to hire. 

I have too many demerit points on my abstract. Is there anything I can do to have them removed? 

As a part of the security/background screening that is conducted prior to hire, candidate’s driver’s abstracts must demonstrate safe and responsible driving behaviour. This means you cannot have more than 5 points for a single infraction or more than 6 points for multiple infractions in the previous 24 month period.

If you know you have too many points, please contact Service Nova Scotia to discuss getting them removed. The Registrar may deduct up to four points from the record of a driver who has successfully completed a self-improvement defensive driving course within the preceding year. The points deducted are those that were first entered and are still existing on the driver’s record. (Note: This does not apply to persons under the Graduated Licensing System). Please visit Service Nova Scotia’s website for more information.

If I have a criminal conviction that has not been pardoned, does that mean I can’t be a firefighter?

Firefighters are viewed as a person in authority and may interact with members of the public at their most vulnerable. Therefore, an adult criminal conviction of a violent offence or a sexual offence for which a pardon has not been granted may disqualify an individual from becoming a firefighter with HRFE. Each situation will be assessed on an individual basis and a determination made based on the nature of the offence and the length of time since the offence occurred.

What is involved in the medical assessment?

The medical assessment is used to determine fitness for duty based on the National Fire Protection Association 1582 - Standard on Comprehensive Occupational Medical Program for Fire Departments. The assessment includes, but may not be limited to:

  • blood sample analysis
  • urinalysis
  • pulmonary function
  • audio (hearing)
  • vision
  • back fitness
  • physician medical

How do I know if my medical condition will make me ineligible to be a firefighter with HRFE?

Your personal physician is the best resource to discuss whether your personal medical condition would impact your ability to perform the bona fide occupational requirements of a firefighter. HRFE suggests that you book an appointment with your physician to discuss your medical condition before you submit your application.

Does HRM provide accommodations during the hiring process? 

Halifax Regional Municipality is an equal opportunity employer committed to providing an inclusive and barrier-free work environment, starting with the hiring process. We strive to ensure that all applicants can fully participate in all stages of the application, assessment, and interview process, as well as during employment. This means that we are dedicated to providing alternative arrangements, as per the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act, should they be required.  If you require an accommodation, please contact All information received in relation to accommodation will be kept confidential.  

What is an accommodation and why would I ask for one? 

An accommodation is a specific arrangement made for an individual so they can fully participate in a recruitment process or work environment where barriers exist. Accommodations may take many forms. We usually associate accommodations with a disability, but candidates can also request accommodations for other reasons, such as religion, family status, and caregiving duties. Each candidate’s situation must be individually assessed.

What is the pay level for firefighters with HRFE?

The current starting annual salary for an entry-level firefighter (Firefighter 4th Class) is $49,132.

Firefighters advance through the remaining pay levels subject to the successful completion of all training and performance requirements at each level:

  • Firefighter 3rd Class: $68,785
  • Firefighter 2nd Class: $83,525
  • Firefighter 1st Class: $98,264