How to Become a Firefighter

Academic Preparation:

  • Firefighters must be competent in several areas including physical science, mathematics, chemistry, biology, and mechanical reasoning
  • As a first responder to medical emergencies and vehicle accidents, many fire departments require firefighters to become a certified Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) or licensed paramedic
  • Most California fire departments require a passing score on the FCTC Written Exam

Staying Physically Fit:

Most California fire departments require a passing score on the Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT)


Oral Interview:

Typically, a panel of two or three people will talk with you to determine if your education, work experience and personal qualifications are sufficient for the job. Being well prepared will boost your confidence and lower your anxiety. CLICK HERE to view some sample oral interview questions.

Medical Examination:

  • General physical examination
  • Drug test
  • Some departments conduct a psychological evaluation

Background Investigation:

  • Background check
  • Driving records 
  • Employment records
  • Conviction records (if any)
  • Personal and professional references

Where Do I Start?