Firefighter Recruit Training

Firefighter Recruit Training Academy
Firefighter Recruit is a classification for entry level members assigned to the Phoenix Fire Training Academy. Members are paid as a firefighter recruit to attend the twelve week Phoenix Fire Training program consisting of firefighting methods, emergency medical services, fire code enforcement and prevention practices, salvage operations, public relations, physical fitness and associated topics to prepare for appointment as a firefighter.

In the Fire Academy, recruit classes are broken into engine company assignments consisting of 5-6 recruits and one Recruit Training Officer (RTO).  Each recruit is assigned to an RTO whom will participate with recruits in the daily physical fitness activities and provide one-on-one instruction.  Recruit Training Officers are a Captain’s rank position assigned to the Fire Academy for the duration of the academy.  RTO’s manage the recruit training program by planning the curricula, coordinating training and evaluating firefighter recruits throughout the Fire Academy.

Upon completion of recruit training, firefighter recruits are promoted to the class of firefighter and assigned to the field as probationary firefighters for the balance of their one year of employment.  Each probationary firefighter will rotate every three months to a different station and apparatus. Under the supervision of a company officer, probationary firefighters can be assigned to an Engine or Ladder Company where they will apply their skills and training, participate in company training and be evaluated on performance.  Over the nine month period probationary firefighters are required to attend their continuing education classes scheduled at the Phoenix Fire Training Academy.  

Recruits will be evaluated on the following:

  • Customer Service
  • Fitness Level
  • Performance on Skills Course
  • Hose Lays
  • Teamwork, Interaction, and Initiative
  • Tool and Job Skills
  • Written Tests
  • Safety Practices
  • EMS
  • Didactic
  • Appearance

The following are specific performance requirements necessary to successfully complete the fire academy:

  • Ability to work in a confined space
  • Ability to work from heights
  • Ability to function while wearing PPE including an SCBA
  • Ability to work in incendiary environments
  • Ability to perform required firefighter skills

The Fire Academy is broken into four phases: 

Phase 1.  During this phase, Recruit Training Officers (RTOs) will introduce and demonstrate the skills and standards to everyone.  Videos will also be provided for recruits to review.  RTOs will walk recruits through the steps in a non-evaluative manner and then be given a written (essay format) quiz on the steps required to complete the skill.  Each recruit will be required to pass all quizzes with a minimum score of 85%.

Phase 2.  During this phase recruits will get repetition with the specific skills.  They will have a minimum of (3) attempts at each skill with an evaluation on your performance.  This evaluation will be informal and focus on areas of concern as well as what was performed well.  These will be constructive and informative critiques.  Improvement plans will be generated by your RTOs as needed.  Failure to improve will require consideration by the Peer Review Board.  It will be the responsibility of the recruit to seek assistance and take steps necessary meet the standard during this phase.  RTOs will be available for additional help and assessment.  It is the responsibility of the recruit to request and initiate this assistance.

Phase 3.  During this phase, you will be required to perform skills to “standard”.  If the standard is met for each skill, the recruit will continue in the academy and learn additional skills.  If you fail to meet each standard, the Peer Review Board will meet to discuss your situation.

Phase 4.  During this phase, recruits will be required to pass Final Evaluations.  This is a culmination of all training received throughout the Academy.  The evaluation will be based on the performance of all skills taught throughout the academy.  Recruits will have (3) attempts to successfully perform each skill to standard.  Successful completion of final evaluations will allow the recruit to continue to graduation from the Fire Academy.  Failure to pass evaluations to standard will require the Peer Review Board to meet and discuss the situation where they will determine the necessary actions.

Tips for Success:

  • Be in good physical condition before you arrive.  The Candidate Physical Ability Test is the minimum requirement for physical fitness.
  • Research the Phoenix Fire Training Academy by talking with probationary firefighters.
  • Work hard, even when no one is watching.
  • The organization is looking for people that possess leadership qualities, take initiative to be a leader when appropriate and know when to be a good follower.  
  • Understand that the year you invest in the Training Academy and on probation is an investment in your future career.  Firefighting is not a job.  It is a career.
  • Be a team player.  Help others around you and recognize when to ask for help.  The Recruit Training Officers want to see you succeed and will assist you at any time throughout the Academy.
  • Take care of yourself physically and emotionally.  Rest, eat well and take time to spend with your family and friends.  It is important to have the support of your family and friends.
  • Keep an open mind about new experiences. You are going to be learning the techniques at a very quick pace and they may be different from your previous experience.
  • Use good time-management skills for your studying and physical training.
  • Come to work every day prepared physically and mentally ready to accomplish any challenges given to you.  
  • Attitude is everything. It is all about selflessness, not selfishness.
  • Take pride in your profession, and the fact that you are being extended the opportunity to become a Phoenix Firefighter.  We'll get you started, but it is up to you to continue to improve.  The degree of success that you experience is dependent on the amount of effort you put into your career.
  • Be professional at all times!

Phoenix firefighters work a 24-hour on/48-hour off schedule and can be assigned to A, B, or C, shift.  This means that firefighters report to work at 8:00 am the day of their shift and continue working until 8:00 am the following morning. Firefighters then have the following two days, or 48 hours, off.  Employees are required to work shifts on holidays and weekend.  At the beginning or during their shift, a firefighter is required to check all personal protective equipment, maintain, clean and check all apparatus and assigned equipment, clean and maintain the station, attend and participate in all scheduled training, shop and prepare meals with crew all while being ready to respond to emergencies throughout the shift.


Hiring ProcessPFD Logo with Banners
Here is information on each step in the hiring process, including the written exam, the eligibility list, oral board interviewing, background checks, physicals and drug testing.

EMT Certification
Every Phoenix Firefighter is required to obtain and maintain Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Certification.

CPAT - Candidate Physical Ability Test
Proof of successful completion of a Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT) from a licensed agency is required at the time of final selection interview. The certification can not be more than 6 months old at the time of the final selection interview.

Affinity Groups
An Affinity Group is a group of people formed around a shared interest or common goal who support each other and work together.  There are several groups associated with the fire department.  Please contact them directly.

Firefighter I & II Certification
Firefighter I & II Certification may be obtained from a number of sources.  To assist you we have identified a few.

Cadet Program
The Phoenix Fire Department Cadet Program was started in 1975. The purpose of the program is to provide cadets with hands-on emergency medical training, work experience at fire stations, training in firefighter skills and volunteerism for the community. 

Fire Science Classes
The Maricopa Community College District is a great resource to prepare you for a career as a firefighter. Current and former firefighters work as adjunct faculty and are there to help you prepare for a career as a firefighter. Click here to locate Fire Science Classes.

Fitness Preparation
Fitness Preparation is a very important part of the employment process.  

Sample Recruitment Packet
A Sample Recruitment Packet is available for downloading.  This is a sample of what will be available during the recruitment process.

Frequently Asked Questions
Click here for answers to frequently asked questions.