Fire Fighter Recruitment FAQs

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Written Exam

How and when do I apply?  

The Phoenix Fire Department recruits for Firefighter approximately once per year.  This varies depending on hiring needs.  The only means of applying is online.  To apply, go to the City of Phoenix Employment website and search for Firefighter Recruit.

How can I get the study guide?​

During the recruitment period, the study guide will be available by accessing the link provided in the job announcement. 

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, either in hardcopy or saved on your phone.  Do not bring:  the study guide, pens, pencils, calculators, food, drinks, family, friends.  Backpacks are NOT allowed; please do not bring them with you as we will not have a place to store them during the exam.    

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 twenty-four months after date of employment to move into the designated residency area. The designated residency area is the area within 35 miles of the center of Phoenix (designated as 13th Avenue and Hatcher Road), or the Maricopa Association of Governments' (MAG) planning areas and incorporated areas, and includes towns and cities whose border is wholly or partially within the 35-mile radius or the MAG boundaries.

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.  Consideration may be afforded to those who have recently graduated the Phoenix Fire Department Training Academy.  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 on or before the day of the test.

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?
A GED or high school diploma is preferred, 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? 

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 driver's 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 background screening process before being hired.  Criminal history and convictions will be reviewed prior to a final job offer.  Sworn public safety positions require closer scrutiny by hiring authorities during the background screening process.  Disclosure of all criminal history is required for the background screening process.

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.

How do I prepare for the written exam?
Most of the questions are derived from the Firefighter Recruit Exam Study Guide.  Reading comprehension and math will also be included.

When will I receive the results of my written exam?
Written exam results will be emailed four to six weeks after the exam. Your final notice will include your written exam score. Those who receive a passing score will 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 Arizona Department of Health Services website. 

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 to determine if your certification can be transferred.   Not all state EMT certifications are eligible to transfer. AZ Department of Health Services website


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 IA​FF to confirm your agency is licensed.


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.  You can test to be a paramedic after the 1-year probation.

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 14 weeks.  Those who successfully complete the recruit program are placed in the field as probationary firefighters for approximately 9 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.

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 7years on the job.   This time can be reduced up to 6 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 number or email address, what can I do?

Sign into your applicant profile on the City of Phoenix Employment website and update your profile information.  It is very important that you keep this current, as the City will communicate with you via email, and the system will use the email address you have provided in your account profile.

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 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.