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requirements for becoming a chicago


Prior to written test:

Must be 18 years of age by December 1, 2022.

No person may be appointed after age 38.

Must be a high school graduate or possess a general equivalency diploma (GED) by the date of administration of the Firefighter/EMT written examination.

By date of hire:

Must obtain proof of passing the Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT) within the last 12 months.

Must establish residency within the Chicago city limits by date of hire.

Must hold a valid Driver's License issued within the United States.

Must pass pre-employment screening, including: Background investigation with fingerprinting, drug test and medical screening.

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A Message from Commissioner Annette Nance-Holt

It's time to join the hottest team in town and ignite your career!


meet the squad

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What’s the best part about becoming a Chicago Firefighter/EMT?

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What's the most rewarding part of becoming a Chicago Firefighter/EMT?

We spoke to seasoned veteran Firefighter/EMTs as well as new recruits that are new to the job and this is what they had to say!

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The most rewarding part of being a Chicago Firefighter is being able to serve my community since it's the one that I live in. I enjoy educating the community about what it is to be a Chicago Firefighter/EMT.

Brian Chapman

I love situations when I see people's frowns turn upward. To get a smile at the end of the day means a lot. Some of our citizens are faced with trying times and to see them smile means everything.

LaShonda Hayes

Following tradition. You always see the lights and sirens going up the streets of Chicago, but to be apart of it is something special.

Demetrius Moore

So we help people every single day. We help people whether it's someone who has fallen to a huge house fire, but either way the person is so appreciative of what we do. Feeling that gratitude is so rewarding.

Jerome Williams

At the end of the day, you aren't only saving people's lives, but their homes and memories too. When we are able to do all of the above, I get the most rewarding feeling.

Julia McMillan

These FIREFIGHTER/EMTS know what it's like to be on the hottest team in town

Upcoming & past events



When can I apply to sit for the next Firefighter/EMT exam?

You will be able to apply from Saturday, September 24, 2022, through Monday, October 17, 2022.

If your application is successfully completed, received, and you meet the minimum qualifications you will be included in the random lottery at the end of the application period. The random lottery will be run in order to select 4,500 candidates who will be invited to sit for the written exam. After the random lottery is run, hiring preferences will be applied. A designated percentage of each hiring preference will be included in the group who will be invited to test. Please read the section below pertaining specific information about the preferences. The date and time of the written exam will be announced via the Official Invitation Letter. It is anticipated to take place December 14-17, 2022. If you are selected to sit for the exam, you will be provided approximately three weeks’ notice to allow time to study for the exam. Per the Collective Bargaining Agreement-Paramedic Crossover clause, in addition to the 4,500 candidates from the lottery, all current CFD Paramedics who successfully apply will be invited to sit for the exam and will not be counted in the 4,500 candidates.

How can I apply?

There is only one way to apply, and that’s online. You can find the application at www.cityofchicago.org/FireApplication starting Saturday, September 24, 2022. The online application requires you to create an account with a username and password. Please be sure to keep your username and password in a safe place. That way, you can access your application anytime during the application period, which closes on Monday, October 17, 2022. If you are unable to log into your account, you can call (312) 744-4976 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday—excluding holidays and we can assist you.

What if I don’t own or have access to a computer?

All Chicago Public Libraries have computers with Internet access available for free, public use. To locate your nearest Chicago Public Library, you can call (312) 747-4300 or visit www.chipublib.org.

• To access Chicago Public Library computers, you have to have a library card, which is free of charge. Please refer to www.chipublib.org for the requirements for obtaining a library card.

• You can also check with your alderman’s office to see whether other free computer resources might be available.

• There are a limited number of computers available in the lobby of City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle Street, Room 100, Chicago IL 60602. These computers are available Monday-Friday 8:30am- 4:30pm, excluding weekends and holidays.

The application requires me to provide an email address. What if I don’t have an email address?

You must have an email address because that is the only form of communication the City will use to provide you with the status of your application and test information.

  • You are encouraged to use an active email address that you can access at any time now and in the future. We suggest you do not use a school address or work address that you may not have access to in the future.
  • You can set up a free email address with various internet service providers. A few that we recommend are:
  1. Gmail: www.gmail.com
  2. Outlook: www.outlook.com
  3. Yahoo: www.yahoo.com
While in the application system, I hit the back browser arrow and now the computer screen is showing me an error page. What should I do?

You should not use the back browser in the application system, as you may get an error page. If you receive an error page, you MUST start over. First close out of the error page, and then click back on the application link at www.cityofchicago.org/FireApplication, log in, and start over.

What are the age requirements to sit for the exam?

Applicants must reach the age of 18 by December 1, 2022. Applicants must not be older than 38 when they enter the Chicago Fire Academy. Due to the length of time for applicants to complete the hiring process, applicant cannot take the exam if they will turn 38 prior to May 1, 2023.

What are the minimum qualifications for the Firefighter/EMT position?

Applicants must reach their 18th birthday by December 1, 2022. Verification of age will be checked at the entrance of the written exam. Candidates who will not reach the age of 18 by December 1, 2022, will not be allowed to take the written examination.

Pursuant to the Municipal Code of Chicago 2-152-410, no person may be appointed as a probationary Firefighter/EMT after the person's 38th birthday. Please note, no one from the eligibility list of this exam will be appointed before Spring of 2023. If an applicant reaches their 38th birthday at any point in the hiring process before entering the Fire Academy, they will be disqualified.

• Applicants must be a high school graduate or possess a general equivalency diploma (GED) by December 1, 2022.

• Applicants must have a valid U.S. driver's license at the time of pre-employment processing.

• Applicants must be a U.S. citizen or authorized to work in the United States at the time of processing.

• Applicants must be a resident in the City of Chicago at the time of hire and for the duration of their employment.

• Applicants must have a valid, non-expired Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT) certification at the time they are contacted to complete pre-employment processing. The Candidate Physical Ability Test consists of eight critical physical tasks that simulate job duties on the fire ground.

Note: The CPAT certification must be current and valid at the time the candidate is called for initial processing into the Chicago Fire Training Academy. The City of Chicago recommends that candidates obtain their CPAT certification after successful completion of the written exam with consideration of their assigned lottery number. Please note that CPAT certifications are only valid for one year and will need to be renewed annually.

For more information on the CPAT certification program, please visit the following websites:



Please refer to the section “After the Exam Administration” for additional information about what happens after you take the written exam

When should applicants take the Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT)?

We encourage individuals to view the CPAT video and begin preparation to successfully complete the CPAT. As the applicants assigned lottery number nears being called for processing, they should obtain their CPAT certification (note: CPAT certification is only good for 1yr and must be renewed by taking the CPAT again)

Do I have to be a resident of the City of Chicago to apply?

You are not required to be a resident of the City of Chicago at the time of application. However, you will be required to be a resident of the City of Chicago at the time you enter the Chicago Fire Academy and maintain a Chicago residency for the duration of your career.

What if I owe the City money (for example, through unpaid parking tickets or water bills)?

You must pay all debts or participate in a debt payment plan before you can enter the Chicago Fire Academy. To prove that you have paid your debts, you must provide proof from the Department of Finance that (1) the debt is not attributable to you; (2) you have paid the debt in full; or (3) you have enrolled in a debt payment plan. You can find additional information regarding payment plan options at the following:




How will I know the status or result of my application?

The application will ask questions to assess whether you meet the requirements to sit for the exam. If any of your answers to those questions indicate that you do not meet those requirements, you will immediately be informed that your application is disqualified.

  • If, during your attempt to submit your application, you are informed that your application is disqualified and you feel that your application was erroneously disqualified, please call (312) 744-4976 or email fire-application@cityofchicago.org as soon as possible. DHR staff will be available Monday-Friday from 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM. Once the application period closes on Monday, October 17, 2022, we will be unable to discuss any issues.

           i. If your application is successfully submitted, you will receive a confirmation email.

  1. If you have not received any such correspondence within three business (3) days of submitting your application, you should call (312) 744-4976 or email fire-application@cityofchicago.org to check on the status your application during the above referenced business hours. Please be sure to check the spam filters on your email account first.
  2. Only if you are uncertain that your application has been successfully submitted, we strongly advise you to contact us at the above number or email address as soon as possible. You must contact us before the application period closes on Monday, October 17, 2022. NO APPLICATIONS WILL BE ACCEPTED AFTER MONDAY, October 17, 2022.

           i. The next correspondence you receive from us will provide your lottery number and whether you be invited to sit for the exam. You will receive this information via email by mid-November. If you have not received an email with this information by the end of November, please call us at (312) 744-4976 or email us at fire- application@cityofchicago.org as soon as possible.

Can I create multiple accounts to increase my chances of being higher on the eligibility list?

No.  You can only have one application on file.  We will delete all duplicates. 

How do I update my contact information if I move or change my telephone number or email address?

You MUST update your contact information by logging into your account, which you can find at www.cityofchicago.org/FireApplication

If I already have a profile and apply to jobs on the City of Chicago’s website, do I have to create a brand-new profile in your application system?

No, if you have a profile in the City of Chicago applicant tracking system you may use that profile to apply for the FF/EMT posting.

What if I can’t log into my account?

Contact our office via email:  fire-application@cityofchicago.org or phone (312) 744-4976 or stop by City Hall, Room 100 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.  We can provide your username and reset your password.

What are the requirements for the Veterans, Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Police and Fire Training Academy and Line of Duty Preferences, and if I believe I qualify, how do I receive the preference?

Please refer to the page titled “Information Regarding Line of Duty, Veterans, Chicago Public Schools, and Chicago Police and Fire Training Academy (CPFTA) Preferences” for details about those preferences and their requirements.

The posting and FAQ refers to a “lottery” what is meant by that?

The City of Chicago anticipates a strong interest in the FF/EMT position. With such a strong interest we believe the fairest approach is to use a randomized selection process. All applicants who submit a complete application and who meet minimum qualifications will be entered into the randomized selection process, also referred to as the lottery. The lottery will be conducted via a computer system that has been validated. All completed applications will be randomly assigned a lottery number. The lottery numbers will be placed onto a list in numerical order. The Department of Human Resources will then apply various preferences to the candidates. Applications that are received and indicate an applicant wishes to receive a preference will be reviewed to ensure all necessary requirements are met. The final list of 4.500 candidates who will be invited to sit for the exam will be comprised of individuals in lottery order with the preferences applied. See below for more information about preferences.




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