Becoming A Career Firefighter

Firefighting careers are highly competitive and require hard work and dedication to successfully achieve. While there are many routes to becoming a career firefighter, many start in the fire service as volunteers and by going to school and studying a fire science, EMT or paramedic program.

EMT and Volunteering

The typical minimum requirements for becoming a career firefighter are you must be certifed as an EMT and Firefighter I. Many community colleges offer these types of courses and some fire departments may also train you to these levels.

Once you’re an EMT, the next helpful step is to become affiliated with your local fire department by applying to become a volunteer firefighter. This will help you see if it’s the job you thought it was going to be by exposing you to the job and what it involves. You don’t have to become a volunteer, but it is very helpful. Click below to learn more about the Clackamas Fire Volunteer Firefighter Program.

Clackamas Fire Volunteer Program


A final consideration is whether you want to become a paramedic or not. Clackamas Fire provides Advanced Life Support because that is what the community needs and deserves. Advanced Life Support is provided by paramedics. Clackamas Fire does also hire EMTs , but typically paramedics are hired more often. Paramedic certification costs around $11,000, takes approximately 1-2 years to complete and is offered by community colleges, hospitals and medical training companies.

Becoming A Clackamas Firefighter

Minimum Qualifications

  • High School Diploma or Equivalent
  • NFPA Firefighter I Certification
  • Current Oregon EMT or Paramedic
  • Valid Driver’s License and acceptable driving record

Testing Requirements

  • Successful Completion of CPAT through National Testing Network
  • Successful Completion of FireTeam written test through National Testing Network
  • Successful Completion of Clackamas Fire District #1 Testing Process
    • Application process – NEOGOV
    • Resume and cover letter review
    • Aerial Ladder Climb
    • Panel Interview

Post-Testing Clearance

  • Successful Background Check Clearance
  • Successful Completion of NFPA 1582 Physical
  • Successful Passing of Psychological Profile Evaluation

Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience as a career firefighter
  • Additional NFPA certifications
  • Associate’s degree
  • Associate’s degree in fire science
  • Bachelor’s degree in related field
  • Master’s degree in related field


  • Incentive Pay
  • Paid Sick Leave
  • PERS Retirement
  • Tuition Assistance
  • Paid Vacation Leave, increasing with length of service
  • Medical, Dental and Vision Insurance
  • Post-Employment Health Plan (PEHP)
  • Deferred Compensation (457b) and Employer Match Retirement (401A)
  • Flexible Spending Account
  • Employee Assistance Program
  • Comprehensive Wellness Program

*Subject to IAFF Contract

Preparation for Recruit Academy

Preparation for Recruit Academy Firefighting is a physically demanding profession. Research shows that it requires a high level of cardiopulmonary endurance, muscular strength and muscular endurance. The following information was developed to assist you with physically preparing to become a firefighter with Clackamas Fire District #1.

Preparation For The Recruit Academy

Preparation for Candidate Physical Abilities Test (CPAT)

Candidate Physical Ability Test © (CPAT) Orientation Guide