The hiring process is comprised of of two phases: The first phase consists of the application period, written exam, and Structured Oral Assessment Process (SOAP); the second phase is based on the personnel needs of Austin Fire once the Ranked Eligibility List is established. The following information details each of the items within these phases.



  • Posted on City of Austin Jobs in spring 2021 (exact date TBD). Applicants who meet the minimum qualifications will be subsequently invited to sit for the written exam.

  • Applications will only be available at the start of the hiring process for a limited time.

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 candidate preparation guide will be available.

Structured Oral Assessment Process

  • This is a professional job interview and should be treated as such. Conducted via video and recorded for grading later, candidates are given a series of hypothetical situations/scenarios, then questions to answer within a time limit for each.



Scoring/Ranking/Veteran Preference Points

  • 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.

  • Qualifying for veteran preference points requires an Honorable Discharge and the submittal of a DD214 demonstrating at least 180 days of Active Duty Status. No other discharge status is accepted.

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

  1. Background Check: Criminal background investigation, including a fingerprint check. 
  2. 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.
  3. Treadmill Fitness Evaluation: Treadmill Fitness Evaluation: Timed test simulating 12 Metabolic Equivalents (METs).

    NOTE: On the advice of medical professionals, the treadmill test will not be performed while the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing. As that situation is subject to change, the use of the treadmill test during the hiring process is yet to be determined.

  4. Medical Assessment: Conducted by the City of Austin's Public Safety Wellness Center physicians.
  5. Psychological Assessment: Conducted by the City of Austin’s Public Safety Wellness Center psychologists.

Learn more about preparation for some of the pre-hire assessments.

Disqualification criteria

Previous law enforcement/legal issues? 

Obtain a copy of your criminal record now so you have the chance to review (and clear up!) anything before submitting your application.
o   Texas residents
o   Offenses that occurred in other states will be held to the Texas equivalent.

Tattoos or tunnels? 

o   Tattoos must be coverable by AFD’s formal uniform (button-down, long-sleeve shirt with a tie).
o   Tunnels larger than ½“ in diameter are prohibited.

Medical issues 

Applicants must meet the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1582, Latest Edition, and Standard on Comprehensive Occupational medical program for Fire Departments.

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. The duration of the life of the eligibility list will be specified in the notice to submit applications.

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.

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.