Transition from your current career to a career firefighter! Our Professional Fire Fighter Program - Flex offers a flexible, part time schedule allowing you to study while you continue to work!
Are you a team player? Are you interested in learning how to access and rescue people in virtually any type of emergency situation? Do you want to learn about the science of fire, and the strategies and tactics for managing its hazards? Are you motivated by a career that can save lives, reduce injuries, and protect property? Firefighters typically score among the highest professions for public trust.
The ESA Professional Fire Fighter Programs are IFSAC and ProBoard accredited through the Office of the Fire Commissioner.
ESA offers two options for fire fighter training! Choose our part-time, blended learning Professional Fire Fighter Program - Flex to transition to a new career as a fire fighter, or enroll in our full-time, intensive and Professional Fire Fighter Program - Enhanced for 12 weeks. Call us to discuss the best option for you! Both the Flex program and the Enhanced program are designated for student funding.
Flex program or Enhanced program? Which one works for you? Frequently Asked Questions are included in the "FAQ's" section of this page to help you make this decision.
2022 Professional Fire Fighter Program - Flex
Fire Flex 2022-02: January 31, 2022 - May 26, 2022
- Application deadline: January 24, 2022
- Online: January 31, 2022: Access to online learning modules provided by email. You do not need to be at ESA for the online/theory part of the program. ESA will facilitate your online learning by providing the online learning materials, schedule and support.
- Practical Training Schedule - typically 9 am to 5 pm -official schedule will be provided with Acceptance Letter.
- April 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 2022 - practical training days - Spruce Grove Fire Services
- April 21, 22, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29 & May 24, 25, 26, 2022 - Lakeland College in Vermilion, AB
- May 16, 17, 18, 2022 - Buck's Auto - Sherwood Park, AB
2023 Professional Fire Fighter Program - Flex
Fire Flex 2023-02: February 6, 2023 - June 2, 2023
- Application deadline: January 30, 2023
- Online: February 6, 2023: Access to online learning modules provided by email. You do not need to be at ESA for the online/theory part of the program. ESA will facilitate your online learning by providing the online learning materials, schedule and support.
- Practical Training Schedule - typically 9 am to 5 pm -official schedule will be provided with Acceptance Letter.
ESA DATES AND FEES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE. Notice of any changes will be listed on this website and can be confirmed by contacting ESA by phone or email.
FAQs. Which is the best Professional Fire Fighter Program for you? The Professional Fire Fighter Program - Flex or the Professional Fire Fighter Program - Enhanced?
1. What are the target audiences for each program?
Either program offers an effective education method for any person interested in a fire fighting career. Both programs offer the basic prerequisites required by most potential employers. The full-time Enhanced program, where all aspects of education and training are directly facilitated and led by experienced instructors, better meets the needs of those who thrive in a classroom environment and learn well not just from their instructors but also benefit from interactions with classmates. The part-time blended learning Flex program is designed to accommodate those whose current careers, family lives, and financial responsibilities will benefit from them being able to follow a flexible learning schedule, with less full-time scheduled study. We encourage interested candidates to discuss both options with our staff to assist in selecting the program which best meets your needs.
2. Why does the Enhanced program cost more?
The Flex program is an accredited program which meets all of the expectations of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1001 Level I and II standard, known as the Professional Firefighter Standard. This is the core pre-requisite for most career fire departments in Canada. Flex also includes NFPA 472: Awareness and Operations Level for Responders to Hazardous Materials.
The Enhanced program is more extensive. It meets all of the competencies covered in the Flex program, but also includes additional certifications:
- NFPA 1001: Level I & II Professional Fire Fighter
- NFPA 472: Awareness and Operations Level for Responders to Hazardous Materials
- NFPA 1002: Fire Apparatus Driver/Operator
- NFPA 1051: Wildland Firefighter
- Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHIMIS)
- Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG)
- International Trauma Life Support (ITLS): Access
- NFPA 1006 Rope Rescue Awareness
- Firefighter Self Rescue
- Aquatic Spinal Rescue
The additional certifications in the Enhanced program are not prerequisites for most Canadian career fire departments, but they definitely provide competitive advantages during hiring processes, as well as setting the table for career advancement after hiring.
Both the Flex program and the Enhanced program are designated as eligible for student funding.
3. What are the advantages of the full-time Professional Fire Fighter Program - Enhanced?
The Enhanced program offers more certifications, providing candidates with a more robust resume and a broader field of potential employers. The program is also led and facilitated in its entirety by experienced ESA instructors. Students typically feel they benefit by learning not only from instructors, but also from other students. Full-time programs develop a camaraderie and team-based feel similar to an emergency services career.
4. What are the advantages of the part-time Professional Fire Fighter Program - Flex?
The Flex program allows those with family, professional, or other commitments to study with a flexible and largely self-driven schedule that allows them to maintain life-academic balance. The certification gained is the core certification required as a prerequisite by most career Canadian fire departments.
5. Which program is better at helping graduates get jobs?
Both programs provide the core prerequisite required by the majority of career Canadian fire departments.
The full-time Enhanced program has been offered by ESA for more than a decade, and has an exceptional job placement rate for graduates. The part-time Flex program is a new offering which has been developed with the onset of new delivery technologies and platforms.
It is predictable that both programs will be successful in getting our graduates good fire service jobs. Fire departments seek well rounded individuals, and fire education and training is just one component of the hiring assessment. For example, a graduate of the Flex program who has significant work and life experience, and chose the part-time study option to allow successful life-academic balance, would be a strong candidate for hiring.
6. Where can I get advice outside of ESA about what type of program to take?
Ask lots of questions! Talk to current firefighters, fire chiefs, and human resource professionals responsible for hiring processes. Their advice is very useful in making an informed decision.
- Graduates of the ESA Professional Fire Fighter program will be competent as per all competencies of applicable National Fire Protection Association standards (including NFPA 1001 Level I and II and NFPA 1072-Operations) and the accreditation requirements of the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC) and ProBoard.
- Staff, faculty, partners, and students of ESA will be provided with a safe and respectful working and learning environment.
- Learning at ESA will be supported through provision of access for students to experienced, qualified faculty, and the support and guidance of professional administrative staff.
- Achievement of proficiency will be supported through access to high quality learning materials and equipment, effective instructor to student ratios, and appropriate practical training sites.
- Professional development of ESA students and graduates will be enhanced through ESA’s demonstrated commitment to stakeholder focused, evidence-based firefighting and rescue practices, modeling of a team based approach to public safety, and an established culture of accountability to ethical and professional standards.
Why should you take your Fire training at ESA?
ESA offers some important ADVANTAGES in the Professional Fire Fighter Program - Flex.
The Professional Fire Fighter Program - Flex provides training which exceeds the accreditation requirements of the National Fire Protection Association. Successful graduates of the Flex program receive IFSAC and ProBoard accredited certificates for NFPA 1001: Levels I & II Professional Fire Fighter and NFPA 1072: Awareness & Operations Level for Responders to Hazardous Materials.
Fire training at ESA has further advantages:
- Online: ESA utilizes an integrated, online interface and E-Books for the Fire Program.
- Location: ESA is located in a major metropolitan area with its campus location being in Sherwood Park, Alberta, a suburb of Edmonton. The area offers excellent amenities and many accommodation options for all budgets.
- Transferability: Students from anywhere in Canada can attend ESA and return home with applicable certifications and an advantage in gaining emergency services employment, especially in career departments.
- Practical Training Sites: ESA uses excellent off-site locations for practical training during the program, including the live fire training grounds at Lakeland College Emergency Training Centre (ETC) in Vermilion and Strathcona County Emergency Services fire stations.
- Equipment: Training aids and equipment used during practical training includes full personal fire fighting gear and technical fire equipment.
- Instructors: ESA instructors are career professionals in their role as Fire Fighters, Fire Officers, Fire Fighter/EMTs/PCPs and Fire Fighter/Paramedics. Career professionals provide a large instructor pool with a variety of skills and expertise.
- Ratios: ESA maintains low student to instructor ratios for practical training.
- License: The Professional Fire Fighter Programs at ESA are licensed by the Private Career Colleges Branch of Alberta Advanced Education.
- Funding: The Professional Fire Fighter Programs - Enhanced and Flex are both designated for student funding.
The NFPA 1001 courses are examined through practical audits and written examinations provided and marked by the Office of the Fire Commissioner (OFC).
Based on OFC accreditation, a mark of 70% or greater is required on each examination. Students receiving marks of 60% to 69% on an examination will be allowed one rewrite. Marks below 60% are considered a failure. Rewrites are an additional cost to the student.
Credentials and Accreditation
The Office of the Fire Commissioner (OFC), Government of Alberta holds the accreditation for fire fighter training in the province of Alberta. ESA liaises directly with the OFC regarding examinations, evaluations and certifications. Costs of examinations, evaluations and certificates are included in ESA tuition fees.
The successful ESA Professional Fire Fighter - Flex student will receive the following certifications:
ProBoard and IFSAC Certificates from the Office of the Fire Commissioner (OFC):
NFPA 1001: Level I Professional Fire Fighter
NFPA 1001: Level II Professional Fire Fighter
NFPA 1072: Awareness Level for Responders to Hazardous Materials
NFPA 1072: Operations Level for Responders to Hazardous Materials
Applicants for the ESA Professional Fire Fighter Program - Flex must meet the following prerequisites. Details are included in the application package.
- Minimum 18 years of age
- High School Diploma verified by transcripts, GED, or post-secondary education equivalent to or above a grade 12 level as evidenced by transcripts. Students may be accepted who have not met this requirement for existing education. Please contact ESA in advance of submitting this application.
- Minimum Class 5 Driver's License and Airbrake Endorsement. Fire students must hold a valid driver's license to be eligible to participate in the practical driving component of the ESA Professional Fire Fighter Program.
- Driver's Abstract
- Standard First Aid
- Basic Rescuer - CPR Level C or Health Care Provider (Heart & Stroke Foundation - Standard First Aid- CPR/AED Level C, St. John's Ambulance or Red Cross) or more advanced qualifications; e.g. wallet card from approved first aid training agency, ACP practice permit.
- ICS I-100- Certificate of successful completion
- Alberta Student Number
- Medical Form completed and signed by a physician within 6 months of the first day of classes at ESA
- Two letters of character reference
Upon receipt of a complete application package, ESA will set up an interview with the ESA Fire Coordinator or designated representative.
ICS I-100- The Office of the Fire Commissioner (OFC), which is the accrediting body for the Professional Fire Fighter Program, has updated their NFPA 1001 Level I & II prerequisites. The OFC requires that all students complete the ICS I-100 online course prior to the 1001 program. The online course will take approximately 2 - 4 hours to complete. There is a $25.00 fee to take the online course.
Click the link for the ICS I- 100 course.
CPR Courses - Search online for a Basic Rescuer course offered in your area. One recommendation is to 'Find a Course' on the Heart and Stroke website. Complete the fields to see the courses available.
Computer Requirements - The Professional Fire Fighter Programs at ESA use an online interface (Jones & Bartlett Fundamentals of Canadian Firefighting, 3rd Edition). Each student will need to have either a tablet (preferably iPad) or a laptop to access the E-Books, Workbooks, Study Guides and ESA curriculum materials.
Fire fighting is an occupation which requires a high level of physical conditioning. Students need to be physically fit.
Candidates must present a medical form (included in the application package) stating that they are able to meet the physical requirements of the program.
Excessive facial hair is not permitted throughout the program, as it may interfere with the mask-to-face seal on breathing apparatus.
To apply for the Professional Fire Fighter Program - Flex at ESA, you must use the ESA application package. Click on Download Application near the top of this page.
It is the responsibility of an applicant to ensure an application submitted to ESA is complete and meets all prerequisites.
A program will be cancelled if the minimum number of students (12) is not reached by the date listed under Accepting Applications. Once the minimum number is reached, applicants will be accepted into the program until the maximum number of students (36) is reached, or on the date the program commences.
Mature Students may be accepted into a Professional Fire Fighter Program at ESA.
If you do not meet the requirement for existing education (a High School Diploma verified by transcripts, GED or post-secondary education which is equivalent to or above a grade 12 level), forward an advance inquiry to ESA summarizing your education and work experience before submitting a complete application package. Include the following details in your inquiry:
- Formal education completed
- Degrees, diplomas, certifications, courses or other relevant training
- Work experience
- Current occupation
Your inquiry will be reviewed by the Registrar of ESA. You will be advised if you can proceed with an application to a Professional Fire Fighter Program at ESA as a mature student.
Please contact ESA by phone 780.416.8822 or email info@ESAcanada.com if you are interested in taking or repeating part of a Professional Fire Fighter Program.
Applications for Rope Rescue Level I (Operations)
ESA offers a Rope Rescue course following each Fire program.
If the Rope Rescue Level I application is submitted with a Fire application, the Rope application fee of $125.00 will be waived.
Full payment of the balance of the Rope fees must be submitted with the Fire application. The maximum number of students accepted into a Rope course at ESA is 14.
Fees for the Professional Fire Fighter Program - Flex
- Administration Fee (non-refundable): $125.00
- Program Materials Fee (5% GST included): $400.00
- Tuition and Certifications Fee (including Registration Fee of $500.00): $8,800.00
- Total Fees - Flex Program: $9,325.00
ESA fees are subject to review and will be updated by October 1 of each calendar year.
ESA fees are subject to change. Notice of any changes will be listed on this website and can be confirmed by contacting ESA by phone or email.
Each student in the Flex Program will need a tablet (iPad preferred) or laptop. Some assignments may require typing. The computer is not included in Program Materials and is not part of ESA Program Materials Fees.
Payment of Fees - Professional Fire Fighter Program:
- First Payment - $1,025.00 (Administration, Registration & Course Material Fees). Must be submitted with the Application for Admission to ESA.
- Final Payment - $8,300.00 (Balance of Tuition) Due on the first day of program.
Refund of Fees
- The Administration Fee is non-refundable.
- Registration Fee: If the Enrolment Contract with ESA is cancelled within five business days of signing by the student and a representative of ESA, the Registration Fee is refunded. After five business days, the Registration Fee is non-refundable.
- The Program Materials Fee is non-refundable after access to online learning is provided to the student.
- Tuition Fees: The Professional Fire Fighter Program at ESA is licensed under the Ministry of Alberta Advanced Education. Cancellation and refund policies for licensed programs are made in accordance with Section 17(1) Private Vocational Training Regulation. Any refunds of tuition fees depend on the percentage of training provided as of the withdrawal date and are listed in the Enrolment Contract signed by ESA and the student.
Methods of Payments
All program fees are payable to Emergency Services Academy Ltd. Payments may be made by cash, cheque, Visa, MasterCard, Amex and Debit Card. Cash payments must be for the correct amount as ESA does not keep any cash onsite.
Funds may be transferred to Emergency Services Academy Ltd. by INTERAC e-Transfer using the ESA email address: e-Transfers@ESAcanada.com
Funding: If funding from another source such as government loans or scholarships is pending, documentation must be provided to ESA two weeks before the first day of classes showing confirmation of same and dates of payment(s). An alternate source of payment, such as credit card information, will be required in case the funding is not received by ESA.
Professional Fire Fighter Program - Flex students must have payment in place for all ESA fees on the first day of online theory. Government funding may also include later payment(s) related to living costs or practical training. These are paid directly to the student and not sent to ESA for fees.
Program Materials for the Fire - Flex program become the responsibility and property of the student and include:
- Two ESA Fire tshirts - to be worn during the last 4 weeks of the program
- Work gloves, fire fighter gloves and safety glasses.
- Online materials including IFSTA Essentials of Fire Fighting, 6th Edition - Textbook, Student Workbook and Study Guide
Tuition Fees for the Flex Program include ESA training as well as the Registration Fee, exams, certifications earned and ESA Student Fee.
ESA provides accidental health and dental insurance coverage for fire students in the Flex Program while attending classes at ESA (one week of review) and during the three weeks of Practical training. WCB coverage is in place during practical training. Insurance fees are included in ESA Tuition Fees.
Fire students in the Professional Fire Fighter Program - Flex must have a computer. A tablet (preferably iPad) or a laptop will be required for online lectures and assignments.
Applicants are encouraged to have their computer in advance of receiving online materials so that they are familiar with its use.
If an iPad is purchased, the estimated cost for a basic iPad is $420.00.
Excellent assistance is available at Apple Stores regarding iPads. The Genius Bar is available to help set up an iPad and free workshops are offered on using an iPad. Both can be booked online. iPads are also available through other retailers such as Costco, Staples and Best Buy.
There are additional expenses for the Professional Fire Fighter Program - Flex beyond fees payable to ESA which must be covered by the student:
- Students are asked to supply their own navy duty pants.
- CSA approved, black leather, 8" steel toed work boots
- Transportation, accommodation and meals outside of Sherwood Park during practical training sessions, including sessions at Vermilion, AB.
- ESA reserves a block of rooms in Vermilion for students requiring accommodation. Students are responsible for canceling any rooms they do not use and for paying all of their room costs.
- Students can also arrange alternate accommodation including campgrounds.
Please contact ESA if you have questions concerning additional and optional expenses which you will have during the ESA Fire Flex Program. Click on the link below for a worksheet to estimate your total expenses.
- By phone: (780) 416-8822
- By email: info@ESAcanada.com
- By using the Chat Line envelope at the bottom right of each page of this website.
Any outstanding invoices including exam rewrites must be paid before graduates from the Professional Fire Fighter Program - Flex will receive certificates from ESA or the Office of the Fire Commissioner (OFC).
Funding for the Professional Fire Fighter - Flex Program at ESA
Canada Student Loans and Student Finance Grants
The Professional Fire Fighter - Flex Program at ESA has been designated as eligible for federal and provincial student funding.
Please submit your application for funding before you apply to ESA for the Fire Flex program. You will be advised of how much funding you can receive. The funding will be activated when ESA confirms your acceptance to Student Aid.
Alberta: The Canada Student Loans Program and The Province of Alberta/Alberta Students Finance provide loans and grants to full-time students in need of additional funds to meet their educational expenses. Apply online through the Alberta Advanced Education and Technology website Student Aid Alberta. The same application form is used to apply for student loans, grants, subsidies and some scholarships.
The annual loan limits from Student Aid Alberta for full-time studies are:
- $7,500 for 1 to 4 months of studies
- $15,000 for 5 to 9 months of studies.
Call the Student Aid Alberta Service Centre - call 1-855-606-2096 (toll free in North America) Monday through Friday, 7:30 am to 8:30 pm (MST) regarding eligibility for Alberta and Canada student loans and grants, and to receive help with the application process.
Across Canada: Similar funding programs are available in other provinces for the Professional Fire Fighter Program - Enhanced or Flex.
For information about repaying student loans please sign up for this webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/rt/5648951363816460290.
For further details and suggestions for funding, please refer to Student Services on this website: http://www.esacanada.com/student-services#financial-aid.
ESA is pleased to present one award in our Professional Fire Fighter - Flex Programs. This recognizes outstanding performance.
- Award for Academic Excellence, Professional Fire Fighter Program - Flex. This award is given to the student with the highest average on the written examinations of the NFPA 1001 program.
Emergency Services Academy Ltd. Award for Academic Excellence, Professional Fire Fighter Program
This award is given to the student with the highest average on the written examinations of the NFPA 1001 program. Rewrite marks are not calculated into this average. A condition of this award is that the student must be successful on all practical evaluations.
Congratulations to the following recipients of the ESA Academic Excellence Award:
Fire Flex 2021-01 - Zachary Pretty
Fire Flex 2022-02 - Daniel Ewachniuk
The ESA Professional Fire Fighter Program - Flex is blended training (part-time online study and full-time review and practical).
Weeks 1- 14 - Part-time
The theory portion of the Fire - Flex program is online, scheduled, self-study over 14 weeks. The program is facilitated by ESA instructors, with assignments, quizzes, and other learning and assessment tools completed during this time.
The Professional Fire Fighter Programs at ESA utilize an online interface (Jones & Bartlett Fundamentals, Canadian Edition). Each student needs a computer. A tablet (perferably an Apple iPad) or a laptop to use the E-Books, Workbooks, Study Guides and ESA curriculum materials.
Weeks 15- 17 - Full-time
One week of theory review and key lectures at ESA, and practical training including:
- HazMat (Hazardous Materials) training scheduled at Spruce Grove Fire Services (SGFS).
- Vehicle Extrication is scheduled in Strathcona County.
Two weeks or ten days of “live burn” practical training are completed on the fire training grounds of Lakeland College Emergency Training Centre ("ETC") in Vermilion AB, which is about two hours east of Edmonton on Highway 16. At ETC, students have access to one of the most highly regarded fire training grounds in North America. As safety is a top priority, gear is provided for practical evolutions. Assorted fire apparatus and all necessary fire suppression and rescue equipment are utilized.
Transportation, accommodation, and meals related to practical days are not included in ESA program fees. These costs are the responsibility of the student. ESA reserves optional motel accommodation for students in Vermilion. Students are responsible for booking and paying for their motel rooms, or for arranging alternate accommodation such as at local campgrounds.
Links to Websites Pertaining to Fire Fighter Students
Recruit Fire Fighter Magazine
Recruit Fire Fighter Magazine is an excellent monitor of job opportunities in Canada. The magazine advertises itself as Canada's ultimate Firefighter Recruitment Source since 1995. It lists openings at 400 Canadian Fire Departments and regularly checks with 116 of Canada's major services.
Job postings include EMR, EMT and Paramedic.
ESA subscribes to Recruit Fire Fighter. Magazine issues may be borrowed from the reception desk for 3 days at a time.
Annual subscriptions are $34.95 for e-mail service and $34.95 for the magazine. Both e-mail and magazine services combined are $54.95.
Referral Fees for New Fire Students Are Paid to Former or Current ESA Students
If a new student is accepted into an EMR, EMT or Professional Fire Fighter Program at ESA, and lists the name of a former or current ESA student on their original application form in response to the question "How did you learn about ESA?", then we will mail the former/current ESA student a cheque.
Referrals for Fire are $100.
Room and Board for Out-of-Area Students
A list of room and board accommodations in the Edmonton and Sherwood Park areas is available from ESA for students. This list is not approved or monitored by ESA.