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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions addressed to the Austin Fire Department Recruiting division.

When will AFD be accepting applications again?

We project the next hiring process will be held in 2021.

Are there any sample tests for the written entrance exam?

During each hiring process, a sample test will be available to applicants on the Fire Employment webpage.

When is the CPAT test? Is there a fee?

Only those applicants who have passed both written and oral exams with top composite scores will be invited to complete a Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT). There is no fee. 

Each candidate is offered two CPAT orientation sessions.  We encourage candidates to attend at least one of the sessions.  The orientation session will last approximately one hour.  Individuals will have the opportunity to ask any questions and practice each phase of the CPAT.  Applicants will be allowed to waive the second orientation if they do not wish to attend.

CPAT Practice Run. Each candidate is offered two practice runs before the final test.  If they successfully complete one of the practice runs within the alotted time of 10:20, it will count as a passing score for the CPAT and the candidate will not be required to take the final test. Each candidate is encouraged to participate in two practice runs.  Candidates who require a second practice run will be scheduled on-site after their first practice run. A test time will be scheduled, if necessary, following the second practice run, or upon notification to AFD that the applicant is waiving his/her practice run opportunities.

Resources:

NOTE: CPATs MUST be completed with AFD. Certificates issued elsewhere will NOT be accepted.

Treadmill Test for New Hires

Stage

Time (minutes)

Speed (mph)

Incline (% Grade)

Warm – up

0:00 – 2:59

3.0

0

I

3:00 – 3:59

4.5

0

II

4:00 – 4:59

4.5

2

III

5:00 – 5:59

5.0

2

IV

6:00 – 6:59

5.0

4

V

7:00 – 7:59

5.5

4

VI

8:00 – 8:59

5.5

6

VII *

9:00 – 10:59

6.0

6

New hires must complete the entire test. The warm-up stage lasts three minutes.  Stages I through VI last one minute.  Stage VII lasts one minute and 59 seconds.  The test will terminate at 11 minutes.

Are there any state or local residency requirements to apply?

There are no residency requirements. However, applicants who are not United States-citizens must hold current immigration status and be permitted to work a full-time job in this country. 

What is the difference between an “official” college transcript and an “unofficial” college transcript?

  • An official transcript carries the signature of the school registrar and the seal of the educational institution; it is typically kept inside a sealed envelope.
  • An unofficial transcript is a copy of the official transcript and has no value outside the institution. It does not carry the signature or seal of the issuing authority.

What can I do to prepare for the application process?

  • Check your criminal history and driving record to ensure it is correct and up to date.
  • Contact the appropriate agency now to resolve any inaccuracies.
  • Review the minimum qualifications and automatic disqualifiers on our website.
  • Check your credit score. If there are any issues, start working now to resolve them.
  • Review information about the Candidate Physical Ability Test and begin an aggressive workout schedule.  Use the CPAT Candidate Preparation Guide as a starting point.  You should also view the Cadet Readiness Physical Fitness Standards for information about physical conditioning for the training academy.
  • Monitor joinafd.com frequently for updates.

Are there any volunteer firefighter opportunities at AFD?

No, but some smaller departments in the region may have some. 

Do I need to buy a book or study guide for the written exam?

The exam is a general aptitude test that measures basic reading, writing, and math skills. A free candidate preparation guide is available to applicants during the hiring process.

Do you have to be a US citizen to apply with AFD?

No. 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. If you have questions about your immigration status or work permit, please contact Immigration officials.

Does AFD have an e-mail list or interest list that I can join so that I am notified about the next hiring process?

Yes.  Fill out a Candidate Interest Card.

Does the Austin Fire Department have a policy on tattoos and tunnels?

Tattoos which cannot be covered by the formal uniform (button-down long-sleeve shirt with a tie) and tunnels larger than ½” in diameter are not allowed per our grooming policy.

Tattoos that violate the policy must be completely removed prior to any final offer of employment from the Austin Fire Department.  We recommend candidates with tattoos who wish to continue being considered for employment during this current hiring cycle (valid through summer of 2021) start the removal process of any tattoos that do not meet our standards as soon as possible.

Chosen candidates who are not able to completely remove tattoos prior to a formal job offer will be given a deferral option for our next class within the 2019 hiring cycle as long as proof is provided of their tattoo removal progress. These markings must be removed prior to the first day of cadet class; our Training Academy staff will make a visual inspection to ensure compliance to policy.

Those candidates who are unable to complete the removal process prior to the start of the last class in the 2019 hiring cycle (approximately the first quarter of 2021) must start over and reapply for a position in the next hiring cycle.

Tunnels (large diameter ear piercings) that exceed the ½” requirement must be repaired/corrected prior to any final offer of employment from the Austin Fire Department.   Tunnels in violation must be repaired/corrected prior to the first day of cadet class; our Training Academy staff will make a visual inspection to ensure compliance to policy.

Choosing whether or not to have a tattoo removed or tunnels repaired/corrected is solely your decision. Should you choose not to comply with policy, you will be disqualified from the current hiring cycle.

Does the Austin Fire Department hire for any positions besides firefighters?

Yes. Those that are available are posted on the City of Austin’s jobs site.

If I was convicted of a felony when I was 18, will this disqualify me from being hired by AFD?

A felony conviction will automatically disqualify an applicant except those exempted under The Texas Family Code, Chapter 58. If you have any questions on how this may affect your qualifications for firefighter, please consult your attorney or probation officer. For more information, please see our Disqualifiers page.

I’m not sure if I was convicted of a crime. How can I find out?

If you are unsure about this, please obtain a copy of your criminal history record. Applicants can contact their state or county offices for information on obtaining their criminal history. If the offense was in Texas, you can visit the Texas Department of Public Safety website for additional information.

For the purposes of responding to questions on AFD’s application regarding criminal history, applicants can use the following information as a guide for the definition of conviction: A person is considered to be convicted of an offense when an ADJUDICATION OF GUILT is entered against said person by a court of competent jurisdiction, or a PLEA OF GUILTY is entered, including situations where:

  • The sentence is subsequently probated and the person is discharged from probation;
  • Deferred adjudication is granted; and/or
  • The accusation, complaint, information, or indictment against the person is dismissed and the person is released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the offense, and the person is pardoned for the offense, unless the pardon is expressly granted for subsequent proof of innocence.

What are the age requirements for the position of Fire Cadet?

Applicants for the position of Fire Cadet must be at least 18 years of age, not to exceed age 35, on the date of the written exam.

Will I get paid while I’m in the Academy?

Yes, AFD Fire Cadets are considered full-time employees and receive pay with benefits; please see our Benefits Summary page for more information. 

Will the Austin Fire Department sponsor me to get a valid work permit?

No. AFD is unable to sponsor individuals desiring a work permit.

How can I find out if a medical condition will disqualify me from being hired?

Medical evaluations are conducted at the end of the employment process for those who receive a conditional offer of hire. Applicants must meet the requirements set forth in the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1582, Latest Edition, and Standard on Comprehensive Occupational medical program for Fire Departments. You can view the standard here: www.nfpa.org.

I am already a certified firefighter. Do I need to get re-certified? Will my experience and rank in other fire departments carry over? Do I still need to attend the AFD Fire Academy?

You are not required to have any certifications, or prior experience, to apply with the Austin Fire Department. Prior experience or training as either a firefighter and/or EMT, while beneficial for personal experience, will not aid you in the hiring process, and you will still be required to attend our 28 week fire academy. If you are certified in Texas, you will still have to take all tests during the academy, however, you will not have to retake the state certification test at the end of the academy.