The Austin Fire Department's hiring process (Candidate Interest Card through Final Employment Offer) is comprised of two phases: The first phase consists of the application period, written exam, and Structured Oral Assessment Process (SOP); the second phase begins with the Pre-hire Assessments (candidates who receive conditional offers of employment must successfully complete all of the Pass/Fail pre-hire assessments; otherwise, candidates are disqualified).

Candidates who complete both the written exam and the oral interview will receive a composite score. Applicable veteran preference points will then be applied. That total will determine a candidate’s place on the Ranked Eligibility List. 

The Austin Fire Department reserves the right to update, change, cancel, and/or alter any dates and times listed below with or without notice.

Eligibility Requirements

The Austin Fire Department has adopted and follows Texas Local Government Code 143. This code also addresses eligibility for a beginning position for a Firefighter, which includes age and eligibility for future certification. 

The following are the minimum requirements for a Fire Cadet. Applicants must meet all requirements as of June 17, 2021:

  • AGE: Applicants must be at least 18 years of age but not exceed age 35 on the day the written exam is administered.
  • EDUCATION: Must possess a high school diploma or GED.
  • CITIZENSHIP: U.S. (birth or naturalized). If you are not a United States' citizen, your immigration status must be current and must permit you to work a full-time job in this country. Applicants must have a valid Social Security card. If you have questions about your immigration status or work permit, please contact United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.
  • LANGUAGE: Must be able to read, write, and speak English.
  • DRIVER LICENSE: Must possess a current valid driver license issued from your state of residence.
  • SOCIAL SECURITY: Must have a valid Social Security card.
  • MEDICAL: Must meet the requirements set forth in NFPA 1582, Latest Edition, Standard on medical requirements for Firefighters. If you have questions about the requirements, please contact NFPA or a medical professional. 
  • ELIGIBLE FOR FUTURE CERTIFICATIONS: Meet all legal requirements necessary to become certified by:

If you have questions about your ability to become certified, please contact the appropriate agency directly.

Fitness Expectations

Cadets in the Austin Fire Department must meet the fitness expectations on the first day of the Academy. Those include:

1.5 Mile Run

  • Minimum:    Under 12 minutes
  • Competitive:    Under 10:40

Metronome Pushups

  • Minimum:    36 push-ups at 80 beats/minute onto 5 inch tall prop
  • Competitive:    43 push-ups at 80 beats/minute onto 5 inch tall prop

Inverted Rows

  • Minimum:    30 inverted rows at 80 beats/minute up to a 5 inch tall prop
  • Competitive:    40 inverted rows at 80 beats/minute up to a 5 inch tall prop

Side Plank

  • Minimum:    1:13/side        Competitive:    1:20/side

The following exercises will be taught and developed throughout the cadet academy:

Tower Stair Climb

  • Minimum:    18-story stair climb with 35 lbs additional weight (vest, dumbbells, etc)
  • Competitive:    27-story stair climb with 35 lbs additional weight (vest, dumbbells, etc)

Familiarity with variations of the squat, deadlift, overhead press, and bent-over row
 


PHASE 1

Application

Applications will be accepted through Austin City Jobs

Applicants who meet the minimum qualifications will be subsequently invited to sit for the written exam.

APPLICATIONS will be accepted during the times below: 

  • OPENS: 9:00 am (CDT) on April 16, 2021
  • CLOSES: 4:00 pm (CDT) on April 30, 2021

The official Austin Fire Department Cadet application is found at Austin City Jobs.

Instructions for locating the position on Austin City Jobs:

  • Create an account
  • Search Jobs
  • Use the key word: fire cadet
  • Fill out the application
  • No documentation is required to be submitted at this time.

For technical support with the application creation or submission, please use the Help link in the application system.

Written Exam

A general aptitude test designed to test your abilities in areas including, but not limited to, verbal comprehension, deductive reasoning, and mechanical aptitude. No prior knowledge about the fire service required. A free applicant preparation guide is available to download.

Qualified applicants will receive an e-mail invitation by May 20, 2021 with their assigned exam date, time, and location. All applicants must attend and pass the written exam to be eligible to move forward in the hiring process.

Testing will occur on three separate dates. Applicants will be scheduled for the written exam by their confirmation number. Assigned test dates will be posted below by May 20, 2021.

The written exam will take approximately four hours. YOU MUST BE IN LINE, AT THE TESTING SITE, BY THE TIME/DATE OF YOUR SCHEDULED EXAM IN ORDER TO PARTICIPATE. DOORS LOCK PROMPTLY ON THE HOUR.

Written exam scores will be posted by July 15, 2021 by confirmation number.

Questions? Contact FireEmployment@austintexas.gov.

Once you've taken the exam, visit www.austintexas.gov/department/fire-cadet-employment for the next steps. 

Structured Oral Assessment Process (SOP)

This is a professional job interview and should be treated as such. Applicants will be invited to an assigned date, time, and location to attend their SOP. During this event, applicants are placed in a room where they are recorded while providing answers in response to videos of hypothetical situations/scenarios. Each question is allocated a limited time for the applicant to make his/her response. These recordings are reviewed and scored by assessors after the event has concluded.

Testing will occur on three separate dates. Applicants will be scheduled for the SOP by their confirmation number. Assigned test dates will be posted after the written exam. 

  • Test Dates: TBD (July 2021)
  • Location: Austin, Texas

Composite scores with applicable veteran preference points will be posted by August 30, 2021.

Veteran Preference Points

The Austin Fire Department offers veteran preference points to qualified applicants. Qualifying for veteran preference points requires an Honorable Discharge and the submittal of a DD214 demonstrating at least 180 days of Active Duty Status. No other discharge status is accepted. 

We will begin accepting DD214 documents online between June 1 and June 30, 2021. In order to be considered for these additional points, applicants must provide a copy of their DD214 that displays boxes 23 through 30. Applicants must also meet the following criteria to be eligible for these points:

  1. Electronic submission of a legible copy of the DD214, uploaded to the online AFD portal in electronic format (PDF, TIFF, DOC, JPEG, etc.). We will not accept paper copies via mail or hand delivery, or electronic copies provided outside of the AFD portal such as by e-mail.
  2. Have an Honorable Discharge. No other discharge status will be accepted.
  3. Have served a minimum of 180 days of continuous active duty in any branch/component of the U.S. military.   

The deadline is June 30, 2021. Any submissions received after this date will not be accepted.

A list of submitted and approved DD214 forms will be posted by July 20, 2021.

Conditional Offer of Employment/Pre-hire Assessments and Disqualification

Candidates who complete both the written exam and the oral interview will receive a composite score. Applicable veteran preference points will then be applied. That total will determine a candidate’s place on the Ranked Eligibility List. 

The next step is the Conditional Offer of Employment, which requires the successful completion of the  Pass/Fail pre-hire assessments (otherwise candidates are disqualified).

Candidates may move forward to this stage in "batches" based on the Ranked Eligibility List and on the needs of the Department. Additionally, not all candidates who complete and pass pre-hire assessments will be seated in an Academy; space must exist in an Academy class to accommodate a successful candidate.  

Ranked Eligibility List will be posted by August 30, 2021.

 


PHASE 2

Pre-hire Assessments

  1. Background Check: Criminal background investigation, including a fingerprint check. 
  2. Candidate Physical Ability Test© (CPAT): An obstacle course that consists of eight occupational-related events. No previous or alternate CPAT certificates accepted, only those issued by AFD.
  3. Medical Assessment: Conducted by the City of Austin's Public Safety Wellness Center physicians.
  4. Psychological Assessment: Candidates will take a written psychological assessment. This is followed by interviews conducted by third-party psychologists contracted by the City of Austin.  All appointments are scheduled through the Public Safety Wellness Center

Learn more about preparation for some of the pre-hire assessments.

Disqualification criteria

Do you meet the age requirements?

Applicants must be at least 18 years of age but not exceed age 35 on the day the written exam is administered.

Are you eligible for future certification with:

While applicants do not need to be certified during the application process, they still need to be eligible for FUTURE certification with the Texas Commission on Fire Protection and the Department of State Health Services. If you have questions about your ability to become certified, please contact the Texas Commission on Fire Protection or Texas Department of State Health Services directly.   
 

Previous law enforcement/legal issues? 

Obtain a copy of your criminal record now so you have the chance to review (and clear up!) anything before submitting your application:

  • Texas residents
  • Offenses that occurred in other states will be held to the Texas equivalent.

Tattoos or tunnels? 

  • Tattoos must be coverable by AFD’s formal uniform (button-down, long-sleeve shirt with a tie).
  • Tunnels larger than ½" in diameter are prohibited.

Medical issues 

Applicants must meet the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1582, Latest Edition, and Standard on Comprehensive Occupational medical program for Fire Departments.

Learn more about disqualification criteria.

Final Ranked Eligibility List

In accordance with applicable law, all Fire Cadets will be hired from this eligibility list in rank order for the duration of the life of the list, which will be 24 months. The duration of the life of the eligibility list will be specified in the notice to submit applications. 

 

Final Employment Offer

You’re in! You’re officially a part of the hottest team in town and will begin your designated Fire Academy with the rest of your cadet class. CONGRATULATIONS!