LAFD Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have to apply again if I was on the previous list that expired due to the budget cuts?
Yes. This exam administration is from a different bulletin. Therefore, no test parts or scores will be waived, extended or carried over. All interested candidates must start from the beginning.
How do I apply to become a Los Angeles Firefighter?
Once the job bulletin is posted, the first step in the examination process is to complete the Preliminary Background Application (PBA) and job application. The PBA is part of the job application and both must be completed on-line.
Do I need a valid CA driver's license to apply? Does having a valid out-of-state driver's license meet the minimum qualification?
You must have a valid CA driver's license at the time of appointment. A valid out-of-state driver's license does not meet the minimum qualification.
When do I need to submit my CPAT proof?
Proof of passing the Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT) is not required when you submit your application. However, candidates who successfully pass the multiple-choice written test must provide proof of a current passing score on the CPAT before they will be scheduled for an oral interview. Candidates will be notified on how and when to submit their CPAT proof when the examination is open.
Are out of State CPAT cards accepted?
For eligible testing locations, out of state candidates may contact the CPAT National Testing Network http://nationaltestingnetwork.com/publicsafetyjobs/cpat_info.cfm or the International Association of Firefighters at http://www.iaff.org/HS/Well/statelist.htm.
Once I submit my CPAT proof as instructed, do I need to keep it valid?
Because a passing score on CPAT is only good for one year, candidates are responsible for keeping their CPAT valid. At the end of the selection process, only those with valid CPATs will be certified or deemed eligible for hiring consideration for the next drill tower class.
Do I have to be a U.S. citizen to apply?
U.S. Citizenship is not required to apply. However, candidates must have the the proper status (green card, work visa, etc.) to work legally in the United States of America.
Do I need an EMT certification from a National Registry to apply?
A valid EMT certificate is required prior to hire. Candidates must provide proof of an EMT certification by the time all test parts have been successfully completed to be certified or deemed eligible for hiring consideration. Local candidates are required to submit a current, valid California State EMT license. Applicants from out of state must submit a current National Registry EMT / or higher certification AND a current and valid EMT / or higher license from their state. Click here to see a list of EMT/Paramedic programs in Southern California.
Am I required to have a Fire Science degree and Firefighter I academy certification?
The Los Angeles Fire Department hosts its own 20-week Fire Academy (Drill Tower). Additional Firefighter Academy certification is not required. All Fire Science and training will be reviewed as part of your application package, but is not a requirement for application or hire.
Does the Personnel Department offer entry-level test date accommodations for those overseas in the military?
The Personnel Department generally does not make any test date accommodations for regular (non-continuous), open competitive exams. However, for military commitments, a late test request may be considered on a case-by-case basis. The applicant must file an online application during the filing period and make a request to the Firefighter exam analyst no later than 3 days prior to the written test date in order to be considered for a late test. The request MUST include some official document regarding the applicant's military commitment dates. Many factors will be assessed to determine the feasibility of granting this late test request, including cost effectiveness, rater availability, reasonable expectation of the applicant being appointed during the life of the list, etc.
Will tattoos affect my chances of getting hired?
Tattoos are allowed. However, the Los Angeles Fire Department holds its members to the highest standards of professionalism, therefore, our professional appearance is of the utmost importance. Members with tattoos and scarification must keep them covered by a Department-approved uniform or a skin patch while in the field. However, members will not be required to cover their tattoos in quarters, unless visitors (non Department members) are present. Click here for the complete LAFD Tattoo, Scarification and Branding Policy.
Do I have to be in good physical shape to be a Firefighter?
Yes. Firefighters are members of one of the most physically demanding occupations in the world. You must be in top physical condition to perform the tasks required of a Firefighter, such as rescuing victims, carrying equipment, raising ladders, and performing automobile extractions. In addition, Firefighters will be required to demonstrate proficiency in performing essential job duties on an annual basis throughout their career with the Los Angeles Fire Department.
To test minimum physical aptitude and agility, candidates will be required to pass the Candidate Physical Ability Test. However, that is just an abbreviation of the skills and stamina required to be effective on the job.
A Preparatory Fitness Program has been developed to develop the strength and fitness levels required to be successful in the Firefighter selection process, during training, and on the job. The fitness program focuses on several categories which include Functional Movement, Movement Preparation, Prehabilitation, Core Strengthening, Resistance Exercises, Kettle Bells, Recovery and Regeneration. Each component is equally important and needs to be included in your complete fitness program. Anyone interested in a career as a Firefighter is strongly encouraged to use this or a similar program to prepare. Even if you do not ultimately become a Firefighter, such a program can be the start of a commitment to fitness that will benefit you throughout your life.
How do I maintain the necessary strength and fitness levels if I am hired?
Being physically fit is a condition of employment as a Firefighter and you will be required to maintain your fitness level throughout your career. All fire stations and many other LAFD facilities have exercise rooms and equipment to maintain strength and fitness levels. Physical conditioning is part of a Firefighter's daily schedule. Additionally, the Fire Department has developed a wellness program to evaluate fitness levels on a quarterly basis. Do not rely on the fire academy to get you in shape. Firefighter fitness begins now!
What kind of living arrangements can I expect at a fire station?
Modern fire stations have separate sleeping and bathroom/shower facilities for men and women. Older stations have been retrofitted with separate bathroom/shower facilities, but common sleeping areas remain. The Department makes every effort to provide the best available solution to privacy issues at each station. And by the way, everyone takes turns cooking, so you might want to start thinking about some of your favorite family recipes.
What would my work schedule be during training?
Firefighter training, also known as the Drill Tower, lasts for 19 to 20 weeks and is currently conducted at Drill Tower 81 located in Van Nuys. Hours of training are 6:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday with a day off on Wednesday. Upon completion of training you will serve a 12-month probationary period, during which you will be assigned to three different fire stations for four months each. Your schedule during probation will be the platoon schedule discussed below.
What kind of work schedule can I expect as a Firefighter?
As a Firefighter at one of the City's 103 fire stations, you will be assigned to one of three platoons. You will work three alternating 24-hour shifts and then have four consecutive 24-hour shifts off. For example, you may work Monday, be off Tuesday, work Wednesday, be off Thursday, work Friday, and then be off Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. You would then work Wednesday, be off Thursday, work Friday, be off Saturday, work Sunday, and then be off Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. And so on.
Overtime is often available and is frequently required when necessary to provide adequate staffing and when working extra hours at fires and other emergencies. Firefighters are regularly scheduled to work on holidays. Work schedules are laid out far in advance so you will know when your days off will be (including which holidays you will be working and which you will be off), allowing you to plan accordingly.
As you progress in your career, you may become eligible for assignments other than at a fire station, which offer more traditional work schedules.
The Certification Statement at the end of the PBA will help candidates determine if they have a realistic chance of success in the Firefighter application process. The PBA can be previewed through the Supplemental Questions tab of the on-line City job bulletin.