HIRING PROCESS FOR MOST US FIREFIGHTERS
If You're Thinking About A Job As A Firefighter - Better Read This First!
Whether you live in Indianapolis, or Orlando, or Memphis, or Sacramento, or any medium sized city, and these days, even smaller cities and towns; you will likely face a tough - but managable - job application process. One notable enough, and consistent enough from town to city to county, etc., to highlight herein.
if you prefer to become a firefighter, for whatever reason, consider the procedures and activities related to the rigorus application procces most firefighter job applicants face - just to be considered for hire! Much of the information on the hiring process iinvolved, comes from the City of Indianpolis .
In order to apply for most firefighter positions, applicants must meet certain basic requirements. Once those basic requirements are met, applicants must be able to fulfill all conditions of the hiring process. Failure to comply with any portion of the hiring process, or misrepresentation, will disqualify the applicant from futher consideration during the application process.
Age: Must be at least 21 years old to apply and not reach age 36 by date of appointment.
Education: High School diploma or GED.
Possess: A valid drivers license.
Background: Must not have been convicted of a felony.
Residence: Usually must reside in the City or County or adjacent area within 6 months of appointment.
Once the application has been submitted, most applications are put into a database. As needed, Fire Departments will begin a hiring process. Those applicants whose names are in the database before the pre-determined cut off date, will be notified of the current hiring process. Those who miss the cut off date will usually have to wait until the next process begins.
Documents Needed: At some point in the process, you may be asked for these documents. It would be beneficial to have them handy. 1. Copy of Valid Drivers License. 2. Copy of social Security Card. 3. High School transcript or Diploma (copy) 4. Official College Transcript (with seal) 5. DD214 (military discharge) 6. Official driving record (must be current and run within days of submission). You may obtain this at most local State Drivers License branch. 7. Exact names, addresses and fax numbers of all employers within the last 5 years. 8. Names and addresses of 5 references.
Appplication Pick-Up: This the first phase of the hiring process. All applicants must officially apply. This is mandatory. Bring a valid drivers license. Most applicants will have the opportunity to review and make adjustments to any contact information the department currently has on file. It is usually the responsibility of the applicant to make sure the department has the most current address and phone information for the applicant. Usually each job application packet will contain information about the process. Each applicant should allow a two hour time frame to complete the packet pick-up. At this time you may be asked to sign up for tutoring sessions or a written test appointment.
Tutoring Sessions: Many Fire Departments offer applicants free-of-charge tutoring sessions to help familiarize them with the written test and oral interview. Such sessions are often designed to give the applicant the necessary information to help them succeed. These sessions are helpful and informal usually not mandatory. However, it has been proven that those applicants who attend the tutoring sessions, tend to score better than those who don't. At this time maybe ask questions and receive practical hints on how to prepare for the written test and oral interview.
Written Test: Applicants should plan to arrive no later than 1/2 hour before the scheduled start of a firefighter test. Ask how much time should be allotted to complete the testing. Most such tests require a 2-6 hours. Each applicant must present a valid drivers license. If you arrive late, for any reason, you will not be admitted and you will not be able to continue on with the hiring process. No exceptions, usually. Most applicants get time to study the booklet and take notes before the test. It is helpful to use all of the time given to you to study. Write information down so it helps you remember. After study time is up, you will be given a short break before the test begins. Most organizations will not allow you to use your notes during the test, and no cell phones are allowed in most testing sites. Most test take approximately 2 hours or so to complete, and typically contain 200-250 questions. Written exams cover areas such basic math, reading comprehension, memorization, problem solving as well as other areas. If you are caught cheating you will be effectively removed from the process.
Oral Interview: Applicants selected to move on to the next phase of the process are typically notified by mail. The letter will inform them of their oral interview date and time. You must present a valid drivers license. Applicants should plan to arrive at the test site no later than 1/2 hour before their scheduled interview time. If you show up late for any reason to the oral interview, you will not be admitted and will not be able to continue in the hiring process. No excuses. The oral interview itself lasts about 20 minutes. You will sit before a board of several people, who will ask you questions and grade your response. Please dress as if you were going to a job interview for a corporation. It is helpful to give complete answers and use all of the allotted time for each question.
(CPAT)Candidates Physical Ability Test: Applicants that are selected to move on to the next phase of the hiring process will be notified by mail. This letter will inform them of the CPAT dates and time schedule. The CPAT test is a strenuous, timed physical test that is pass/fail. It is not a competition. Applicants should plan to arrive at the test site no later than 1/2 hour before their scheduled time. You will need to present a valid drivers license. If you are late for any reason, you will not be admitted and you will not be able to continue on with the process. No excuses. You should wear comfortable workout clothes (no shorts) and tennis shoes. Most Fire Departments offer each applicant open practice sessions, one-one-one sessions and then the actual CPAT test. While the open and one-on-one sessions are not mandatory, they are very helpful and highly reccomended. There may also be an opportunity offered to candidates to attend a conditioning program that deals with specific exercises geared to help you succeed on the CPAT test. It has been proven that candidates who take advantage of the conditioning program, do better than those who don't. The CPAT testing involves job related skills that will measure an applicants ability to perform the job. It is important that you are in shape both in strength and cardiovascular. If you are unable to meet the time standards of the test you will not pass.
Important Information Please Read: The firefighter CPAT is very strenuous. If you have had a recent illness, are pregnant, had surgery or are taking medication, verify in writing with your healthcare provider whether or not it is safe for you to take the test.
Aerial Climb: Applicants selected to move on to the next phase of the hiring process will be notified by mail. They will be informed of the next phase and time schedule. The aerial climb is one such phase. Each applicant should plan to arrive at the testing site no later than 1/2 hour before their scheduled time. You will need to present a valid drivers license. Please wear workout clothes (no shorts) and tennis shoes. A pair of leather gloves may be helpful. If you arrive late for any reason you will not be admitted and you will not be able to continue on with the process. No excuses. The aerial climb is a timed event that is pass/fail. If you do not make the climb up and down in the allotted time, you will fail.
Background Investigations: All Candidates who have reached this phase of the hiring process will usually be required to get fingerprinted and go through a thorough background investigation. This investigation will cover your criminal and driving history. Some Fire Department do credit history checks. If you have been convicted of a felony you will sometimes be removed from the process. It is important that you have all pertinent information relating to your employment history and references. Background Investigations can take weeks to perform. It not necessary to call for updates. If your background check and fingerprints turn up clean you will be notified by mail if you have been selected to move on to the next phase of the process.
Medical and Psychological Exam: Those applicants selected to move on to the next phase of the hiring process will be notified by mail and informed of their scheduled time for these exams. The Psychological Exam is the MMPI and takes about 2 hours to complete. Once the MMPI resuts are tabulated, the applicant will sit with the psychologist for an interview. The psychologist will then make his reccomendation on whether or not the applicant should continue based on the information given. More information on the MMPI can be found http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MMPI and other websites such as this. The Medical Exam is a comprehensive physical given by the physicians group that works with the City in question. This exam allows the medical history and current health of each applicant to be reviewed by a physician who will then recommend whether or not the applicant should continue. Tests included, but not limited to are Body Fat, Hearing/Vision, Treadmill, Blood and Urine samples.
Conditional Offer of Employment: Once a candidate has successfully completed all phases of the hiring process, they may be given a conditional offer of employment. This offer states that the candidate is eligible for the next recruit class. It does not committ to any schedule or time frame. Please be patient. You will be notified by mail of the dates for the next recruit class.
If at any time you were not selected to move on in the process, or you failed any portion of the process, you may often be able to re-apply online for the next recruit class. There is no waiting period between applications for most Fire Departments. Often times it takes several attempts to make it through the process completely. Keep trying!!