So you want to join the hottest team in town? Great! Read on to learn more about the 2024 hiring process. It has been designed to comply with all applicable laws, is managed by several different City offices {both inside and outside of the Austin Fire Department (AFD)}, and is intended to hire candidates who are qualified and excited to join Austin Fire. 

Don’t sweat it, you've got this!

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, and written exam; 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 the written exam will receive a composite score. Applicable veteran preference points will then be applied to all passing test scores. 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 May 29, 2024:

  • 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 Push-ups

  • Minimum:    30 push-ups at 80 beats/minute onto 5 inch tall prop
  • Competitive:    43 push-ups at 80 beats/minute onto 5 inch tall prop

Metronome 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



Applications must be submitted exclusively through the City of Austin Jobs webpage (

Instructions for locating the position on Austin City Jobs:

  1. Create an account.
  2. Search for Jobs.
  3. Use the keyword: fire cadet.
  4. Complete the application.

For technical assistance in creating or submitting the application, please utilize the HELP link within the application system.


Written Exam & Structured Oral Assessment Process (SOP)

Invitations containing the assigned test date and time for the written exam and structured oral process (SOP) will be sent to qualified applicants via email. Candidates will be schedule by their confirmation number. Attendance and successful completion of both the written exam and the structured oral process are mandatory for eligibility to progress further in the hiring process.

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 is required. Before the 2024 AFD Written Exam, a complimentary applicant preparation/study guide will be accessible for download. View the 2024 applicant preparation/study guide

Structured Oral Assessment - This is a professional job interview and should be treated as such. 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.

Veteran Preference Points (Completed)

TThe Austin Fire Department extends veteran preference points to eligible applicants who have achieved a passing score on the written exam. To qualify for veteran preference points, applicants must submit their DD form 214 to the Austin Fire Department, confirming an Honorable Discharge with a minimum of 180 consecutive days of Active Duty Status. Only an Honorable Discharge status is accepted for consideration.

In order to be considered for these additional points, applicants will be invited to provide a copy of their DD214, which must display 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.  
  4. Passing written exam score.

Conditional Offer of Employment/Pre-hire Assessments and Disqualification

Upon completion of both the written exam and the oral interview, candidates will receive a composite score. Veteran preference points, if applicable, will then be added to determine the total score and the candidate's position on the Ranked Eligibility List.

The Ranked Eligibility List will be made available on our Hiring Process Updates page. Those who are among the top-ranked applicants will be extended a Conditional Offer of Employment, contingent upon successfully completing the Pass/Fail pre-hire assessments. If you do not receive a Conditional Offer of Employment, we encourage you to consider applying in future fire cadet hiring processes.

Stay informed by regularly checking our Hiring Process Updates page for the latest information on your application status. We appreciate your interest in joining the Austin Fire Department.



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 compliance with relevant regulations and laws, Fire Cadets will be appointed from this eligibility list in sequential order throughout the duration of the life of the list (24 months)


Final Employment Offer

You’re in!  You've successfully secured your spot on the team and are now an integral part of our esteemed Fire Academy. Welcome to the hottest team in town! Congratulations!