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Firefighter Applicant Process START to FINISH. SAFD APPLICANT PROCESS. Apply August 2011 (completed 8/26/11) Exam October 2011 *CPAT Practice Nov.2011–Jan.2012 CPAT TEST - TBA *Personal History Statement Feb. 2012 1 st Class June-Aug. 2012 2 nd Class

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Apply August 2011 (completed 8/26/11)

Exam October 2011

*CPAT Practice Nov.2011–Jan.2012


*Personal History Statement Feb. 2012 1st Class

June-Aug. 2012 2nd Class

*Medical, Psychological, Polygraph

June-Aug. 2012 Class 1

*Class Starts Jan.-Feb. 2013 Class 2

*Time frames are approximate

first phase meet qualifications
  • The minimum qualifications applicants must meet in order to take the Firefighters entrance examination include:

Be at least 19 years of age, but have not reached 34 years of age by the date of taking the entrance exam.

  • Do NOT have any of the following items on their record:
    • Conviction of a felony or other crime involving moral turpitude.
    • Any discharge from the Armed Forces other than honorable discharge (Uncharacterized and Entry Level discharges may be accepted on individual basis).
    • Two or more traffic violation convictions within the 12 months preceding the date of taking the written examination.
    • Conviction of a Class A or Class B misdemeanor or its equivalent within the 24 months preceding the date of taking the written examination.
    • Conviction of a Driving While Intoxicated, Driving Under the Influence of Drugs, or the equivalent within the 5 years preceding the date of taking the written examination.
meet qualifications
  • Must be a high school graduate or its equivalent (GED).
  • Applicants must be able to read, write, and speak in the English language.
  • Must have completed the Hepatitis B vaccine series prior to their date of entry into the Fire Training Academy.
take written exam

Entrance Exam ApplicationThe San Antonio Fire Department posts official notices on this page announcing dates for taking the SAFD written Civil Service entrance examination for a given year. In order to take the exam, applicants must first submit an application.Entrance ExamApplicants must pass the Civil Service entrance examination with a minimum score of 70%. The exam consists of one hundred (100) questions with a two hour and thirty minute time limit. The exam location is listed in the announcement and is typically a known venue in San Antonio. Some helpful resources to use for preparing for the exam:

  • "Firefighter" by ARCO, available for purchase at major bookstores or online.
  • “Firefighter Exams” by BARRONS, available for purchase at major bookstores or online.
  • “The Encyclopedia of Firefighter Examinations (Vol. 1)”, available at www.fireprep.comor by calling 1-800-989-FIRE.

Veteransare eligible to receive five (5) additional points after passing the exam with a minimum of 70%. A copy of DD Form 214 copy 2, 4, 6, 7, or 8 showing a minimum of 180 days consecutive service must be received by the date specified in the exam announcement in order to have the veteran’s preference points added to the passing score. Active Duty members of the military anticipating an Honorable Discharge before the start of a Fire Academy class can receive a conditional five (5) additional points. They must produce a letter, signed by an officer in their chain of command, stating that they will discharge under honorable conditions. They must present their DD214 prior to the start of their Fire Academy class in order to keep their position on the eligibility list.

placement on eligibility list
  • Eligibility List If an applicant passes the entrance exam, their name is placed on the eligibility list. Applicant names are listed in rank order based on their test scores - highest scores at the top and lowest scores at the bottom. A lottery system is used to rank applicants that have the same passing score. After taking the written exam, applicants are asked to draw a number. This number is attached to their answer sheet at the scoring table. If several applicants receive the same score, the numbers that were drawn will determine the ranking on the eligibility list.
second phase firefighter candidates
Second Phase: Firefighter Candidates
  • Second Phase: Firefighter Candidates
  • After meeting the minimum requirements and successfully completing the entrance exam, SAFD applicants must complete a series of tests and assessments:
candidate physical ability test cpat
Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT)

The CPAT is made up of eight separate events that are meant to simulate the strenuous, physical activities a Firefighter would have to do when responding to a fire. The CPAT is a timed, pass/fail test.

The official CPAT video can be seen at

applicant processing
Applicant Processing

Candidates that pass the CPAT will proceed to the next steps in

the process according to their placement on the eligibility list.

  • Behavioral Personal Assessment
  • Background investigation
  • Medical and Psychological Evaluation
  • Polygraph

Candidates who successfully complete the tests and assessments for this phase

in the hiring process will have their files submitted to the City Manager for

final consideration and selection. If selected, candidates receive notification

of when to report to the San Antonio Fire Academy.

After being selected for the Academy, the processing of the candidate

continues to the next phase:Firefighter Cadet.

third phase firefighter cadets now its time for training
Third Phase: Firefighter Cadets Now its time for Training!! 

Firefighter Candidates who are appointed to the San Antonio Fire Academy by the City Manager undergo about six months of extensive academic and physical training, including:

  • SAFD's 940-hour, 25 week fire fighting program, earning their certification as a Basic Structural Firefighter.
  • SAFD’s 200-hour Emergency Medical Technician curriculum, earning their Basic Emergency Medical Technician certification.
continued emphasis on physical fitness
Continued Emphasis on Physical Fitness

Cardiovascular fitness is basic to the profession of firefighting, and if a Candidate is selected to attend the San Antonio Fire Academy, it is extremely important to show up in good shape. The Cadet Fitness Cover Letter and the Cadet Fitness Program outline the SAFD Cadet Physical Training Program. Keep in mind that these documents indicate the minimum fitness level a Candidate should be at upon entry to the academy. We also recommend that incoming Cadets be able to achieve the following:

  • Run 1.5 miles in less than 13:00 minutes.
  • Complete 30 push-ups in 1 minute.
  • 5 Pull-ups
  • Complete 40 sit-ups in 1 minute.
  • Have a Body Fat Index of less than 20%.
  • Sit & Reach of 19 inches
after graduation from the fire academy
After Graduation from the Fire Academy
  • Graduating Firefighters, also known as Probationary Fire Fighters, will immediately participate in standard fire service activities such as fire suppression, inspections, rescue operations, pre-fire planning, and station and equipment maintenance.
promotional opportunities
Promotional Opportunities
  • Promotional opportunities to the next higher rank begin three years from the date a Firefighter entered the Fire Academy. At that point, they are eligible to take a promotional examination for the next higher rank. Examinations are given yearly and an eligibility list is formed with the passing scores. Individuals on the list are eligible for promotion as vacancies occur within the department. As employees are promoted, additional assignment opportunities will open up in areas such as:
    • Emergency Medical Service
    • Fire Prevention
    • Arson Bureau
    • Fire Training Academy
    • Aircraft Rescue Firefighting Team
    • Hazardous Materials Response Team
    • Technical Rescue Team
    • Wildland/Urban Interface Team