After filling out an initial application for a firefighting job, candidates vying for a position within a fire department can expect to take several qualifying exams. To be hired as a firefighter, you must pass all these tests, exams, and interviews. The following table outlines the types of exams and gives you a general overview of what to expect during each exam:

Exam Type What to Expect
Written Exam An exam featuring multiple-choice questions in a variety of subject areas; it lasts at least 2.5 hours
Physical Ability Test Typically a timed exam that assesses candidates’ physical fitness, including strength, endurance, and flexibility, to ensure that they’re physically capable to begin a fire training academy
Oral Interview An interview with a hiring panel that may include fire department leaders, local government representatives, and local businesspeople
Medical Exam A complete physical performed by a certified physician to check candidates for a variety of medical conditions and to ensure that they’re healthy enough to train to become firefighters
Psychological Evaluation A personality questionnaire and/or an interview with a psychologist or psychiatrist to ensure that candidates can mentally handle the stress of firefighting