Becoming an Apprentice Firefighter

Becoming an Apprentice Firefighter

Clackamas Fire District is an equal opportunity employer. We are committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion. We believe that a variety of backgrounds and experiences best serve our purpose – to protect and serve the residents, businesses, and visitors of Clackamas County. To apply, please visit:

Qualifications – please note that these requirements are subject to change.

  • 18 years of age and older
  • High School Diploma or GED
  • Valid driver’s license and acceptable driving record
  • Successfully complete Clackamas Fire District evaluation components (see below)
  • Successfully complete Clackamas Fire District post-testing clearance (see below)

Evaluation Components

Spark Hire Panel Interviews

  • Video recorded interview process
  • Video will be reviewed by a panel of three Clackamas Fire District staff members
  • Top 40 highest scoring applicants will move onto panel Interview
  • Veterans will receive an automatic invite to the panel interview but are still required to complete the Spark Hire interview
  • Last week of February and early March 2023
  • For Spark interview tips

Panel Interview

  • Top 40 applicants and veterans will be invited for an in person three-person panel interview.
  • Top 20 applicants will move onto the next step in the process.

Chief’s Interview

  • Top 20 applicants will be invited for a Chief’s interview with the Fire Chief and his designees.

Conditional Job Offer

  • The top nine applicants will be offered a conditional job offer along with applicable number of alternates for the positions.
  • Applicants will then schedule for their Post-Testing Clearance

Post-Testing Clearance

  • Proof of vaccination or submission for medical or religious exemption (subject to change, based on state requirements)
  • Successfully complete pre-employment NFPA 1582 physical
  • Successfully complete psychological profile evaluation
  • Successfully pass a background check clearance
  • Successfully complete a pre-employment drug test


  • Paid Sick Leave
  • PERS Retirement
  • Paid Tuition
  • 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 Local 1159 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.
Preparation for the Career Recruit Academy

 *There is no CPAT or written testing for the apprentice firefighter position

Apprentice Firefighter Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How long is the firefighter apprenticeship program?

A: The Clackamas Fire District apprenticeship program is a two-year program from the first day of the fire academy, June 12, 2023, to June 11, 2025.

Q: How is the academy structured?

A: Apprentices will attend a minimum 12-week fire academy and then be assigned to an engine company with an officer, apparatus operator, and firefighter field training officer (FTO). The 12-week academy is Monday-Thursday, 0700-1700. The academy may be longer at the discretion of the training division. The academy start date is June 12 and runs to the first week of September. The fire academy is physically demanding and includes firefighter and EMS training, both hands-on and written testing and physical fitness throughout the program.

Q: What schedule are the apprentices required to work?

A: After the 12-week fire academy, apprentices will be assigned to an engine company with a company officer, apparatus operator, and firefighter FTO. The apprentices will work with a consistent crew to ensure they are receiving structured on-the-job training (OJT) on a four-platoon schedule, ABCD. The schedule is 24-hours on shift followed by 48-hours off shift, followed by 24-hours on shift, followed by 96-hours off shift. Every 24th calendar day apprentices are required to work a debit day, which mirrors their Firefighter FTO debit day. The apprentices will work 106 days a year minus any time for accrued leave usage as allowed per the Local 1159 collective bargaining agreement (CBA). Schedule: XOOXOOOO and repeat with an extra workday every 24th calendar day.

Q: Can I work another job at the same time as the fire academy?

A: This is discouraged. The firefighter academy is a 12-week program that is physically and mentally demanding and is scheduled Monday-Thursday, 0700-1700. Apprentices are required to attend all days of the academy and meet all benchmarks to successfully complete the academy.

Q: What if I don’t complete the two-year program?

A: To obtain Journey Level Firefighter status you must complete the two-year program which includes 4,000 hours of OJT and academic classes required for the program. There is no two-year commitment contract, if you complete the two-year program, you will receive a Journey Level Firefighter card from the Bureau of Labor and Industry and the Oregon State Fire Fighter Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee (OSFFJATC). This will be beneficial when seeking employment after the program is complete.

Q: Is there a probationary period?

A: Yes, there is a one-year probationary period. The one-year probationary period begins on the first day of hire and includes a structured quarterly evaluation phase and daily and monthly observation reports to ensure apprentices are meeting all fire district standards as built out by the training and operations divisions. Clackamas Fire District is committed to creating a constructive learning environment for all employees for a successful probationary year.

Q: What are the academic requirements for the program?

A: The academic requirements include Introduction to Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Algebra II MTH65, Speech Comm111, Writing 121, EMT Part I and II, and Building Construction for Fire Protection FST214.

Q: What if I have already met some or all the academic requirements?

A: If you have completed some or all the required courses, you will receive credit towards your academic requirement after official transcripts have been verified.

Q: Do I have to go to Clackamas Community College?

A: Due to the proximity of the fire district to Clackamas Community College (CCC) this would be the natural choice and currently Clackamas Fire District has a signed agreement through CCC as the related training agent. If an apprentice is already attending or has history in another community college program other than CCC, there will be consideration for attendance in another program and Clackamas Fire District can establish relationships with other institutions.

Q: Can I attend other academic classes if I have all my academic requirements met for the apprentice program?

A: Not currently. Clackamas Fire District is exploring the opportunity to fund a paramedic program for apprentices who have obtained or currently hold their EMT certification.

Q: How much does it cost to the apprentice to attend school?

A: There are no costs to the apprentice for the required academic classes, books, or fees. Apprentices are paid while attending classes on days they are on shift duty. Apprentices will not be paid to attend classes while off duty. For example, if an apprentice is on duty on Tuesday this week and they have EMT class from 4:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. they will leave shift to attend and return after class is over. The apprentice is paid while attending this required class. If the apprentice is off duty, they will not be paid for attending class. The apprentice is responsible for transportation and any other costs outside of classes, books, or fees.

Q: What if I do not complete the academic classes in the two-year apprenticeship?

A: If an apprentice does not meet all the required OJT and/or the academic requirements, they do not receive their Journey Level firefighter status. It is the apprentice’s responsibility to complete the academic requirements during the two-year apprenticeship. Clackamas Fire District will provide training, on-the-job experience opportunities, and will support the apprentice through the academic requirements.

Q: Are there any other costs associated with becoming an apprentice firefighter?

A: Apprentices will be equipped with all gear, uniform, and equipment needed to fulfil their responsibility as a firefighter. This includes and is not limited to, turnout gear, wildland gear, uniform items, footwear, helmets, flashlights, and other miscellaneous gear. Apprentices will be responsible to pay 7.5% of insurance premiums per the Local 1159 CBA. The cost is approx. $100 a month. Apprentices will also be responsible to pay Union dues as a Local 1159 member, these are also approx. $100 a month. Both deductions will be made through automatic payroll withdraws. Other payroll taxes, PERS and flexible spending and supplemental insurances optional deductions are also automatically withdrawn from apprentices’ paychecks during the two payroll periods per month (24 payroll cycles annually).

Q: What is the difference between a volunteer or student firefighter and an apprentice firefighter at Clackamas Fire District?

A: Clackamas Fire District does not have a student firefighter program. There are other programs throughout the state of Oregon. Students typically work a regular shift unless they are attending school. Most student programs provide the cost of tuition, a monthly stipend, and sometimes health insurance benefits. Students typically live in the fire station as student residents.

The Clackamas Fire District Volunteer Program requires volunteer firefighters to hold an EMT certification and attend a weeknight and weekend part-time fire academy for approx. four months. After that period, volunteer firefighters will work a required amount of 12 or 24-hour shifts per month at two rural volunteer stations. Volunteers do not respond on full-time career apparatus on regularly scheduled shifts but may occasionally ride-along with full-time career staff. For more information on the Clackamas Fire District Volunteer Program, follow the link:

Apprentices are paid full-time members who attend a full 12-week Firefighter I academy to obtain the training required for their Firefighter I certification. The apprentice will work with full-time career staff on a first out fire engine to all hazard emergencies. Apprentices will be part of a crew consisting of an Officer, Apparatus Operator, and Firefighter FTO. These positions are full-time and mirror the same shift schedule as other personnel working on first out fire apparatus. Apprentices will be working side-by-side with career firefighters responding to all hazard emergencies. For all intents and purposes, apprentices are full-time career firefighters who are learning the job and will be operating as a member of a team.

Q: Will apprentice firefighters be allowed to do everything other full-time firefighters are doing?

A: For the most part, yes. Apprentice firefighters will work with a Journey Level Firefighter FTO or member of their crew most of the time. There are rare times where the apprentice may work independently with supervision from the crew and FTO. At no time will apprentices be put in “Immediate Danger to Life or Health” (IDLH) situation without another crew member or firefighter. Apprentice firefighters will not be allowed to drive fire apparatus or go to the hospital as a rider on an ambulance by themselves. Apprentices will not be assigned to an ambulance or specialty unit (truck, heavy rescue, water rescue) but may be trained on these specialized apparatus to better understand these positions and roles within the fire service.

Q: Are volunteers allowed into the apprenticeship program?

A: Yes, if volunteers are pursuing a career in the fire service. This program is to augment a fire department’s effective fire fighting force while providing on the job training and certifications that make apprentices attractive for future employment. It also gives those who previously never considered a career in the fire service, such as women, people of color and veterans, a chance to explore a career in the fire service.

Q: Will this program affect Volunteer Fire Departments in Oregon?

A: No, this program is to augment or improve career or combination fire departments or fire districts’ response to emergencies.

Q: Are apprentices paid and how much?

A: Yes, apprentices wages are based on the Local 1159 CBA. The wage scale is 73% of the academy wage while attending the fire academy. After the 12-week fire academy, the apprentices are paid 73% of year 1 step and 80% for year 2 step based on the CBA step progression. The salary range is $46,258.41-$61,831.86.

Q: Are the apprentices allowed to be Union members?

A: The apprentices are provided a Union orientation and provided an opportunity to join IAFF Local 1159, the representing labor Union of Clackamas Firefighters. When apprentices join Local 1159, they will pay Union dues for their membership.

Q: What other benefits does Clackamas Fire District and the CBA provide?

A: The apprentice will receive the same benefit package as all other Clackamas Fire District career firefighters. This includes but is not limited to, deferred compensation, Clackamas Firefighters Health Trust, Post Employment Health Plan (PEHP), Health Insurance including dental and vision, PERS compensable wages, supplemental health care options, vacation accrual, sick time accrual, bereavement leave benefits, access to fitness equipment at each fire station while on duty, Wellness Program, and more.

Q: Where do apprentices sleep?

A: Apprentices will sleep in the fire station while on shift. Most Clackamas Fire District fire stations now have private dorms while there are a few with community dorms with dividers to separate the sleeping areas. Apprentice firefighters will live at the station while on shift but will go home when shift is over.

Q: Who will pay for this program?

A: Local employers, Federal and State Grant possibilities are being explored, such as SAFER Grants, FEMA Wildfire Mitigation Grants, along with administrative grants from the state of Oregon. The apprenticeship program is not meant to be instead of full-time firefighters but in addition to. The structure and adherence to the program is at the employer level with their IAFF Locals and the Oregon State Fire Fighter Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee (FFJATC).

Q: Will apprentices have a guaranteed job at the end of the two-year apprenticeship?

A: No, there is no guarantee of a job offer. It is a goal and a benefit to Clackamas Fire District to retain apprentices during the program or after the apprentices have received their JLFF status. Due to Clackamas Fire District’s public funding revenue structure and variability of the funding each year, it is challenging to forecast job availability for the apprentice program. Per Clackamas Fire District and Local 1159 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), any apprentice that completes one-year in the apprentice program (probationary period) will receive a panel interview invite if they pass the initial testing phase of the hiring process.

Q: Are apprentices allowed to test for firefighter positions while in the apprentice program?

A: Yes, apprentices are allowed and encouraged to test for Clackamas Fire District and any other organization if they meet the minimum qualifications for those positions while in the apprentice program. It is the goal of the program to develop apprentices to be successful JLFF both inside Clackamas Fire District and for other agencies. Apprentices DO need to complete the JLFF program to receive their JLFF card but can pursue career opportunities prior to obtaining JLFF card. Not completing the apprentice program prior to testing has NO effect on the hiring status of apprentices into a full-time career position.

Q: Who makes up the Oregon State Fire Fighter Joint Apprenticeship Committee (OSFFJATC)?

A: The Oregon State Firefighter Apprenticeship is a registered apprenticeship program through the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industry (BOLI) and the OSFFJATC. The OSFFJATC is made up of four labor and four management representatives. Currently, these representatives come from the three agencies and IAFF Locals currently involved with the program. This includes Jackson County Fire District #5, Clackamas Fire District, and Eugene-Springfield Fire. A subcommittee made up of two labor and two management members from Clackamas Fire District makes recommendations to the OSFFJATC for changes to the program standards and policies.

Q: Are apprentices required to get Covid series vaccinations to be hired as an apprentice?

A: All employees must either receive their Covid series vaccinations to be a part of the apprentice program or provide a religious or medical exemption. Note: CCC may require Covid or other vaccinations to attend their EMT program.

Q: Are there any other vaccinations that are required by Clackamas Fire District?

A: There are no other vaccinations that are required by Clackamas Fire District prior to hiring. There will be a variety of vaccinations offered once hired, but they are optional.

Q: What vaccinations does Clackamas Community College require to attend their EMT program?

A: The Oregon Health Authority requires all students enrolled in Health Science programs that will be participating in clinicals with patient contact have the following:


  •  HepB (verification of three doses or positive titer)
  • MMR (verification of two doses or positive titer)
  • Varicella (verification of two doses or positive titer)
  • Tdap (last booster within 10 years of program completion)
  • COVID-19 (verification of initial two doses. Boosters are currently not required)
  •  2023-2024 Influenza (verification of one dose. This will be available in late August, early September)


  • TB (negative two step skin test, or QG blood test no more than one prior to EMT program completion)
  • Background Check (the college arranges for and pays for this check)
  • Drug Screen (the college arranges for and pays for this drug screen, but students can choose the date, time, and location)

*While many healthcare agencies and facilities offer some exceptions for employees, they do not offer exceptions for students due to liability.

Q: Where can I obtain more information about the Clackamas Fire District Apprentice Program?

A: Go to: to learn more.

You can also go to to see what other apprentice sites are available.

The application process will close on February 12, it is unknown at this time if Clackamas Fire District will host a second apprentice firefighter process but check back often for further information. To apply, go to:

For more information, please email:, the Clackamas Fire Human Resource Officer

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