Fire Fighter Recruitment FAQs

FAQ’S - Frequently Asked Questions


Written Exam

How and when do I apply? Can I pick up an application for a friend?
The application period is for one week only and is done approximately once per year.  This varies depending on hiring needs.  The only means of applying is online (if you need assistance you can to to the City of Phoenix Human Resources office or see your local library for computer and Internet service). 

Download the application materials, study guide and recruitment packet online from the City of Phoenix Employment website.  Save a copy for your records.
Where do I turn in my application?
The only means of applying is online (if you need assistance you can to to the City of Phoenix Human Resources office or see your local library for computer and Internet service). 

How can I get the study guide?
Study guides will be available for download on the Internet during the five-day recruitment period. We will not be distributing hard copies. The job announcement lists the web page name of the study guide. It can be downloaded from any computer. We recommend that you immediately print or save the job announcement and study guide to your computer because they will only be available during the five-day recruitment period.

Can the written exam be taken at another time?
No. All applicants will be administered the written exam on a predetermined exam date.

What should I bring to the written exam?

Your written exam notice.  Do not bring the study guide, pens, pencils, calculators, food, drinks, family, friends, etc.    DO NOT TAKE THE EXAM NOTICE BACK TO THE CITY HUMAN RESOURCES DEPARTMENT.

What is the passing score?
The passing score is determined by the average score achieved by the applicants taking the test.

I don't live in Phoenix. Can I still apply?
Yes. However, upon employment, all Firefighters have 24 months from date of appointment to meet the city’s residency policy and maintain compliance throughout employment. See the City of Phoenix Employment website for more information.

I was a firefighter somewhere else.  Do I have to take the written exam? And/or do I have to attend the fire academy.
Your experience as a firefighter may help in the testing process, but the Phoenix Fire Department does not accept transfers.  You will be required to test and if successful, you will have to go through the training as any other firefighter recruit, provided you have not gone through the Phoenix Fire Department Training Academy in the past couple of years (this is determined on a case by case basis).  If you have been through the PFD Training Academy recently, that may be considered. Go to the AZ Department of Health Services website to check on transferring your EMT Certification.

What is the minimum age for applicants?
You must be at least 18 years of age at the time of application.

What is the maximum age for applicants?
The City of Phoenix does not have a maximum age limit.

Do I have to be a high school graduate or have a GED?
No. However, the written exam and materials used at the Phoenix Fire Department Training Academy are at the grade 14 reading level.

I have a relative working for the City of Phoenix, can I still apply?
Yes.

Do I have to be a citizen of the United States?
No.  However, if you are a non-citizen, you must have acceptable documentation that you are a legal resident of the United States.  The documentation must be presented when a job offer is made.

Will I need a copy of my birth certificate when I turn in my application?
No.  You will have to present two (2) forms of identification at the time of hire (usually a drivers license & social security card).

Will I need a copy of my military discharge orders (Form DD214) when I turn in my application?
No.  You will have to present a copy at the time of hire. 

What if I have a police record?
All firefighter recruits go through a police background check before being hired. A criminal conviction will not automatically eliminate you from the process.  Things that are taken into consideration are:
Crimes committed

  • When it occurred
  • Your age at the time
  • The relationship between the crime and your position as a firefighter

Police records never go away, so be totally straightforward on your application.

Will I need identification at the written exam?
Yes. You will need to present photo identification, or you will not be allowed to take the exam.

Will smoking be allowed in the exam room?
No.  Smoking is prohibited in public places.

I'm pregnant.  Will I be allowed to take the written exam?
Yes.  However, you should review the Candidate Physical Ability Test booklet with your physician to determine whether or not you can safely compete in that phase of the testing process. (City of Phoenix does not conduct  the CPAT test).

How do I prepare for the written exam?
Study the study guide. Approximately 70% of the questions on the exam are based on information within the study guide. The remaining questions are reading comprehension and math. Reading skills usually cannot be significantly improved in four weeks, but you may wish to brush up on your basic arithmetic skills.  

Will I be allowed to use the restroom during the written exam?
Yes.

When will I receive the results of my written exam?
Written exam notices will be mailed four to six weeks after the exam. Your final notice will include your written exam score. You will then be placed on an eligibility list for Firefighter Recruit by the City of Phoenix Human Resources Department. The Phoenix Fire Department will then use this list to invite candidates for selection interviews.

Do I need to be an Arizona Certified EMT at the time of application?
No.  However, you must possess State of Arizona Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certification at the time of the final selection interview. National Registry EMT certification not accepted.   See www.azdhs.gov/bems/certification/index.html

If I have a valid EMT certification in another state, will I need to be certified through the State of Arizona? 

Yes. You must contact the Department of Health Services in the state you obtained your EMT certification in order to determine if your certification can be transferred. Not all state EMT certifications are eligible to transfer.
AZ Department of Health Services website.


CPAT
HOW MUCH DOES ALL THAT GEAR WEIGH?
Firefighters must carry an array of specialized tools and equipment that can weigh over 70 lbs, plus a breathing apparatus that weighs 40 lbs.

At what point in the process do I need to have proof of passing the CPAT ?
Proof of successful completion of a Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT) from a licensed agency within 6 months is required at the scheduled date of your final selection interview.  See CPAT for more information.

Will The City of Phoenix Fire Department Accept CPAT Certification
From Another Agency/Municipality?

Yes. The City of Phoenix Fire Department will ONLY accept CPAT certification from other “licensed” agencies or municipalities. You must show proof of successful completion from a licensed agency within 6 months of your scheduled final selection interview.  Visit the IAFF to confirm your agency is licensed.


Hiring
What if I have a police record?  All firefighter recruits go through a police background check before being hired. A criminal conviction will not automatically eliminate you from the process. Things that are taken into consideration are:

  • Crimes committed
  • When it occurred
  • Your age at the time
  • The relationship between the crime and your position as a firefighter

Police records never go away, so be sure to answer the application screening questions honestly.
Do I have to be a citizen of the United States?
No. However, if you are a non-citizen, you must have acceptable documentation that verifies you are a legally allowed to work in the United States. The documentation must be presented/valid when a job offer is made.

Will I need a copy of my birth certificate?
No. You will have to present two (2) forms of identification at the time of hire. The most common documents are a drivers license and a Social Security Card.

Will I need my military discharge orders (Form DD214)?
Yes. You will present a copy when you enter the academy.

Do I have to pass a medical (physical) exam prior to being hired?
Yes. Candidates must complete and pass a medical examination. This examination includes a cardiovascular fitness component that must be passed with a Tier 2 grading or better. Refer to the Tier 4 Program for more information on the program; also refer to the CPAT Candidate Preparation Guide for more information on cardiovascular fitness and conditioning.

Will I be drug tested prior to being hired?
Yes, and you will be subject to being tested up to 3 additional times a year.

When will the City of Phoenix be recruiting for firefighter trainees again?
The City of Phoenix usually distributes applications for Firefighter Recruits once a year. However, the expiration date of the eligible list may be extended at the discretion of the Human Resources Department.

How many people is the City of Phoenix going to hire?
We don’t know at this time. The number of people hired varies from year to year, depending upon the number of employees retiring, the amount of employee turnover, and the number of new stations opened and the budget.

Is it harder for a woman to get hired?
The Phoenix Fire Department is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate against race or gender.  Women have to pass the same physical ability exam as men do. Women enjoy respect in the Department because they have demonstrated their abilities in order to be hired. In training they are held to the same standard as men. During the PFD Training Academy, one of the most important things instructors look for is that recruits are giving 100 percent.

To be a paramedic do you have to be a firefighter first?
Yes.


Training Academy
What is the job of a firefighter really like?
Firefighting involves extremely hard, skilled physical work, and firefighters must be able to handle emergency, life-or-death situations. Firefighters must also be willing learners. Continuous in-service training throughout their careers keeps them up-to-date on the newest technologies and
latest fire suppression methods. Training in the fire service encompasses many subjects, such as building construction, emergency medical procedures, hazardous materials, technical rescue, public education, community relations. Firefighters must have strong social skills, and the ability to think and communicate clearly in very stressful situations. You are more than welcome to stop by any Phoenix Fire Station during business hours (8-5) and visit with the on duty crew to find out more.

How long is training at the Fire Academy?
The Recruit Academy lasts approximately 12 weeks. Those who successfully complete the recruit program are placed in the field as probationary firefighters for approximately nine months. During that time period an on-going structured training program will be provided along with monthly
evaluations. Probationary firefighters return to the Training Academy for additional training days for further advanced training.

What happens after completion of my probation?
Following successful completion of the probationary period, all firefighters are then assigned to emergency medical transportation duty for 200 shifts. Following this period, firefighters will be assigned to fire companies.

To be a paramedic, do I have to be a firefighter first? 
Yes. You can test to be a paramedic after the 1-year probation.

How are promotions made in the department?
The first promotional opportunity is to Fire Engineer. You must have 3 ½ years on the job. For promotion to Fire Captain, you must have seven years on the job. This time can be reduced up to six months with college credits. Both tests may consist of a written and practical exercise. The Battalion Chief test can be taken after one year as a certified Captain.

Do firefighters get to sleep during their shift?
Every station is designed to accommodate a crew for 24 hours. This includes a kitchen, dorm, restrooms, showers, exercise equipment, TV room. Sleeping is permitted, as is cooking, working out, and studying, although you must be ready to respond to alarms and fulfill other duty
requirements at all times.

Who is in charge?
The Phoenix Fire Department is structured to mirror a military hierarchy. The station is a microcosm of that, beginning with the firefighters, a fire engineer (driver) in charge of the apparatus, and a Captain in charge of the entire crew. Each area of the city has a Battalion Chief in charge of operations and stations in his or her battalion.


Personal Information Change
If I have a change of address, phone #, etc. or if I have any questions regarding testing/selection/hiring processes for firefighter recruit what can I do?
Send an e-mail to the City of Phoenix Fire Department at recruitment.pfd@phoenix.gov. This e-mail is checked on regular city business days. You should get a response within 24 to 48 hours.The information you receive from this e-mail is directly from Fire Human Resources.


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 within 6 months is required at the scheduled date of your final selection interview.

Firefighter Recruit Training
Firefighter Recruit is an employment classification for entry level members assigned to the Phoenix Fire Training Academy for Firefighter Recruit Training.

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.