Frequently Asked Questions

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

When will AFD be accepting applications again?

Please visit joinafd.com for more information and updates on our hiring process. We will publicize hiring process dates as soon as they are confirmed. 

Are there any sample tests for the written entrance exam?

Sample tests and other resources are typically provided by the test vendor once the company has been selected and a testing date set.

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.


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

Treadmill Test for New Hires


Time (minutes)

Speed (mph)

Incline (% Grade)

Warm – up

0:00 – 2:59




3:00 – 3:59




4:00 – 4:59




5:00 – 5:59




6:00 – 6:59




7:00 – 7:59




8:00 – 8:59




9:00 – 10:59



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. 

Are there any educational requirements for application eligibility?

In order to be certified as eligible for a Fire Cadet position with the Austin Fire Department, applicants must have:

  • A high school diploma, GED, or equivalent;
  • Fifteen hours of college credit from an accredited college or university, with a minimum of 2.0 GPA (calculated from all transcripts), earned by the date of the written exam. Course credits may be in any subject. You may submit an application for the entrance exam before completing college credits.
  • Active military duty, reserves, or National Guard with the United States Armed Forces are exempt from the college credit requirement if they received an honorable or under honorable conditions discharge.

Additionally, applicants who qualify for military points will have three bonus points added to their composite test score. To qualify for military points, a candidate must have been Honorably Discharged and submit a DD214 demonstrating at least 180 days of Active Duty Status. No other discharge status will be accepted.

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.

Do trade school hours count towards the required 15 hours of college credit?

Trade school credits must be issued by an accredited institution in the form of an official transcript. Applicants can check the accreditation status of their school by referring to the US Department of Education's Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs.

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. 

Can I apply for college credit after completing AFD’s Fire Academy?

Yes. Graduates from AFD’s Fire Academy can get up to 15 hours of college credit from Austin Community College. Please note that these hours will NOT substitute for the 15 college credit hours required for the initial application process.  

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 usually available from the test vendor.

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?

Our website is the primary source of official communication for the Fire Cadet Employment process; information will be posted on the employment website as it becomes available. Please visit joinafd.com to stay up to date. 

Does the Austin Fire Department have a policy on tattoos?

Yes. All tattoos must be coverable by an AFD uniform. The only exceptions would be tattooed wedding or commitment bands. Any tattoos displaying inappropriate content must be covered while on duty.

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.