Cadets jogging

Road to Austin Fire

Bring It On.

So you want to join the hottest team in town? Great! Read on to learn more about the 2023 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 employees who are qualified and excited to join Austin Fire.

Don’t sweat it, you've got this!

The hiring process (Candidate Interest Card through Final Employment Offer) is comprised of two phases: The first phase consists of the application period, written exam, and Structured Oral Assessment Process (SOP); the second phase begins with the Pre-hire Assessments. Details on each of the items within these phases is outlined below. 

Candidate Interest Card

Filling out a Candidate Interest Card is not a required step in the hiring process, but you don't want to miss any recruiting events, tips on preparing for the hiring process, or just general "good to know" stuff about us; fill this out so your name can be added to our  e-mail list!

Complete your Candidate Interest Card.

Candidate Preparation

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 18, 2023:

  • 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 card and be authorized to work in the U.S.
  • 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.


The next applications will open Wednesday, March 15 at 9 a.m. and will remain open until March 29, 2023 at 4 p.m. 

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 required. A free applicant preparation guide is available to download.

Qualified applicants will receive an e-mail invitation with a link to sign up for the Written Exam test date. All applicants must attend and pass the written exam to be eligible to move forward in the hiring process.

  • Test Dates: May 16 and 17, 2023; the # of testing dates are determined by the total qualified applicants. We are holding May 18 as a possible testing date in the event we are not able to accommodate all applicants in the first two days.
  • Location: Palmer Events Center, 900 Barton Springs Road, Austin, Texas
  • What to Bring: E-mail invitation with your confirmation number and valid current United States' driver license.


Questions? Contact

Structured Oral Assessment Process (SOP)

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. 

Applicants who successfully complete and pass the Written Exam will be invited to participate in the Structured Oral Process (SOP).  Applicants will receive an email with a link to sign-up for their Structured Oral Process.

  • Test Dates:  June 6 thru 8, 2023. The # of testing dates are determined by the total applicants successfully completing the written exam and are holding June 5 and 9 as a possible testing date should we not be able to accommodate all applicants on the three days.
  • Location:  TBD  Austin, Texas
  • What to Bring: Confirmation Number and valid current US Driver’s License.

Further information about the Structured Oral Process will be posted on this web page no later than June 1, 2023.

Veteran Preference Points

Austin Fire Department provides Military Veteran Preference Points to qualified Applicants.  Qualification for veteran preference points requires an online submission of a DD214 demonstrating both 1) at least 180 days of Active Duty Status; and 2) an Honorable Discharge. No other discharge status will be accepted.

AFD will begin accepting DD Form 214 documents online for Military Veteran Preference Points between May 1 and May 31, 2023.  In order to be considered for the additional points, the applicant must provide a copy of their DD Form 214 that displays boxes 23 through 30.  Applicants must meet three (3) criterion to be eligible for the bonus points:

  1. Electronic submission of a legible copy of the DD form 214 uploaded online AFD portal in electronic format (PDF, tiff, doc, jpg, etc.). AFD will not accept paper copies through mail or hand delivery, or electronic copies provided outside of the AFD portal such as email.
  2. Have an Honorable discharge. No other discharge status will be accepted. 
  3. Have serviced a minimum of 180-days of continuous active duty service in any branch/component of the US Military. 

The deadline for submission of DD Form 214 is May 31, 2023.  Any submissions received after this date will not be accepted.


Candidates who complete both the written exam and the oral interview will receive a composite score. Applicable veteran preference points will then be applied. That total will determine a candidate’s place on the Ranked Eligibility List.


Conditional Offer of Employment

The offer is conditional and requires the successful completion of the following Pass/Fail pre-hire assessments (otherwise candidates are disqualified).

Pre-hire Assessments/Disqualification

Candidates may move forward to this stage in "batches" based on the Ranked Eligibility List and on the needs of the Department. Additionally, not all candidates who complete and pass pre-hire assessments will be seated in an Academy; space must exist in an Academy class to accommodate a successful candidate.  

  • Background Check - includes a criminal background investigation with fingerprint check. 
  • 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.
  • Treadmill Fitness Evaluation
  • Medical Assessment
  • Psychological Assessment

Disqualification criteria includes, but is not limited to:

  • Alcohol and drug testing;
  • Criminal arrests and convictions; and/or
  • Certain tattoos and tunnels.

Learn more about disqualification criteria.

Ranked Eligibility List

In accordance with applicable law, all Fire Cadets will be hired from this eligibility list in rank order for the duration of the life of the list, which will be 24 months

Final Employment Offer

You’re in! You’re officially a part of the hottest team in town and will begin your designated Fire Academy with the rest of your cadet class. CONGRATULATIONS!