Firefighter applications were accepted online from May 6 to July 26, 2019. Eligible applicants will be invited to take the Civil Service exam on September 14, 2019. Here are some frequently asked questions about the exam and the process of becoming a Philadelphia firefighter. If you want to be notified when the next firefighter application period opens, please fill out a job interest form.
I applied to take the Civil Service exam to become a firefighter. What happens next?
If you have, or will have, education equivalent to the completion of high school by December 31, 2019, then your application will proceed to the next step in the hiring process. You will receive a Notice to Appear for the exam at least two weeks prior to the exam.
How will I receive exam-related notifications?
Applicants who provided an email address in their application account profile will receive all correspondence regarding this examination, including a Notice to Appear and Notice of Results, via email. You should add Phila.OHR@phila.gov to your address book or list of trusted contacts to prevent notices from being marked as spam by your email provider. If you do not provide an email address, all notifications will be sent to the postal address listed in the contact information of your application account profile. Providing an email address is strongly encouraged to ensure timely exam notifications.
When and where is the actual test?
The test is scheduled for Saturday, September 14, 2019. This is the only scheduled test date for this exam. The time and location of the exam will be indicated on your Notice to Appear. You must appear to take the exam on time and in person. Late arrivals will not be admitted. No exceptions.
How much does the test cost?
The test is free.
What if I can’t attend the exam on September 14, 2019?
Saturday, September 14, 2019 is the only scheduled exam date. Make-up exams may only be granted for active military service, religious observation, or jury duty. All requests for make-up exams must be submitted in writing at least one week prior to the date of the exam and must include supporting documentation. Requests are subject to review and approval on a case by case basis. For make-up requests due to active military service or jury duty, please contact Laura Knox at firstname.lastname@example.org. For make-up requests due to religious reasons, please contact the Equal Employment Opportunity / Affirmative Action Unit of the Mayor’s Office of Labor Relations at 215-683-5085.
What if I require a special testing accommodation for a documented medical reason?
The City of Philadelphia is committed to ensuring access to Civil Service examinations by providing appropriate accommodations for candidates with documented medical reasons. Candidates may request an accommodation for a Civil Service examination by contacting the Equal Employment Opportunity / Affirmative Action Unit of the Mayor’s Office of Labor Relations at 215-683-5085. The accommodation process is interactive and requires cooperation and communication between the applicant requesting a test accommodation and the EEO Unit. Decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis using the required documentation that is submitted. Requests are to be made in a timely manner prior to the scheduled date of the Civil Service examination.
What does the test cover and how can I request a study guide?
This test is different from the past firefighter tests. There is no required study guide. However, there is a candidate orientation guide and video. The guide and video should not be confused with previous examinations as they are NOT a mandatory part of the testing process. They are completely optional and only for informational purposes.
What should I bring to the test?
You must bring your Notice to Appear and current photo identification. Acceptable forms of photo identification are:
- Driver’s license or other photo identification card issued by the Dept. of Motor Vehicles (any state)
- United States passport; United States passport card; Permanent Resident card
- United States military identification; foreign government issued passport
- City of Philadelphia employee identification
- Employee identification from any other municipal or state government or from any federal agency
Do NOT bring children, drivers, relatives or friends. They will not be admitted into the building for any reason. Food and beverages are NOT permitted in the building. Please be prepared to provide your Social Security number. All cell phones and smart devices must be turned off and cannot be used during the administration of the examination or at any time in the testing building.
What do I need to do if I am bilingual?
Bilingual candidates must respond affirmatively on their application that they are fluent in a non-English language or in American Sign Language, OR submit a written request at any time prior to the examination on September 14, 2019. The Office of Human Resources will verify the candidates’ ability to communicate fluently in the non-English language or languages or in American Sign Language. Candidates who pass the qualifying examination will be identified on the eligible list as bilingual – fluency verified in a specified language or languages. Candidates who fail the bilingual qualifying examination will not be eligible to fill positions in the bilingual specialty, but will remain on the eligible list and will be eligible to fill positions in the specialty that does not require fluency in a non-English language or in American Sign Language.
When will I be notified of the results?
It is anticipated that you will receive your exam results, including score and rank, on or around November 8, 2019.
What happens after the results come out?
Once the Philadelphia Fire Department (PFD) decides to start hiring for its next cadet class, candidates will be contacted in rank order to begin the next steps in the hiring process.
If I score well, when would I actually get hired?
The PFD anticipates hiring off the list after it is established on or around November 8, 2019. The list will remain active for two years. The PFD anticipates hiring several cadet classes from this list, but cannot estimate when new classes will be formed or how large they will be.
Is it possible to get extra points added to my score for this exam?
Yes. Candidates who apply, pass the written examination, and meet the required criteria by September 14, 2019, may be eligible for extra points for the following:
- U.S. Veteran’s preference:
- Ten (10) points for veteran’s preference will be added to the scores of eligible veterans who are honorably discharged from the U.S. armed forces by September 14, 2019. You must attach to your application or submit to Laura Knox at email@example.com a copy of your DD214, member 4. Spouses of disabled or deceased veterans may also be considered.
- Legacy Preference:
- The children or grandchildren of Philadelphia Firefighters or Police Officers who were killed or died in the line of duty shall have ten (10) points added to their final score.
- National Volunteer Service Preference:
- Additional points will be added to the examination score of any candidate who has successfully completed a term of volunteer service with Peace Corps, AmeriCorps NCCC (including FEMA Corps), or AmeriCorps VISTA by September 14, 2019. Candidates will be awarded five (5) points for the completion of a two-year term of service or three (3) points for the completion of a one-year term of service.
- Candidates who have successfully completed at least 450 hours of service with AmeriCorps State and National (including Teach For America) by September 14, 2019 will be awarded points in the following manner:
- One (1) point added to their final score if they have completed 450 hours by 9.14.19
- Two (2) points added to their final score if they have completed 675 hours by 9.14.19
- Three (3) points added to their final score if they have completed 900 hours by 9.14.19
- Five (5) points added to their final score if they have completed 1700 hours by 9.14.19
- Fire Service Paramedic series experience: Any employee currently allocated to one of the classes in the Fire Service Paramedic series (6B22-6B26, 6B30) with five (5) or more years of service in the Fire Service Paramedic series of classes with the City of Philadelphia by September 14, 2019 who takes and passes the open competitive examination for the class of Firefighter shall have an additional ten (10) points added to their examination score.
- Emergency Medical Technician experience: Any employee currently allocated to the class of Emergency Medical Technician with five (5) or more years of service as a Emergency Medical Technician with the City of Philadelphia by September 14, 2019 who takes and passes the open competitive examination for the class of Firefighter shall have an additional ten (10) points added to his or her examination score.
- The Philadelphia Fire Department’s Fire Explorer Cadet Program: Three (3) points for the successful completion of the Philadelphia Fire Department’s Fire Explorer Cadet program by September 14, 2019 that has included a minimum of 160 hours of training offered by the Philadelphia Fire Department, a minimum of 100 additional hours of community service, and has passed 80% of quizzes and examinations throughout a single training period
- A Philadelphia High School Fire & EMS Training curriculum: Three (3) points for successful completion of a Philadelphia High School Fire & Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Training curriculum by September 14, 2019.
- Associate’s Degree in Fire Science: Three (3) points for the successful completion of an Associate’s Degree in Fire Science from an accredited college or university by September 14, 2019.
No more than six (6) additional points may be awarded for Fire Explorer Cadet Program, Philadelphia High School Fire & EMC Training Curriculum, and/or Associate’s degree in Fire Science.
What is residency preference?
Candidates who have maintained a bona fide residence in Philadelphia for at least one year prior to the date of the examination shall have priority over all other persons receiving an identical test score. If you have maintained a bona fide residence in Philadelphia for at least one year immediately preceding September 14, 2019, you are eligible to claim residency preference.
Your response to the residency question on your application will be used to determine eligibility for residency preference. Documentation of residence may be required if there is any question as to whether you meet the residency preference requirements.
What are the next steps in the hiring process after the eligible list is established?
Candidates will be invited to the next hiring phase according to the order in which they are ranked. The next phase includes an orientation, interviews at the PFD, criminal background and indebtedness checks, and a medical examination. Those who fulfill those requirements will be invited to join a cadet class for academic, practical and physical training where they will learn basic firefighting and emergency medical services (EMS) at the Philadelphia Fire Academy. The training lasts about six months.
Firefighter cadets are paid according to the first step in the pay scale ($54,856 annually). Medical benefits are administered through IAFF Local 22 and are effective the first day a cadet starts at the Fire Academy. Non-Philadelphia residents must move into the city within six months of being hired as a cadet. Here is a brief overview of additional requirements, the hiring process, and salary and benefits package.
What if I want to join the PFD as a paramedic?
This exam is for firefighters only. If you would like to join the PFD as a paramedic, please fill out a job interest form and we will notify you when the next paramedic application period opens.
What if my question isn’t answered here?
Please contact the Office of Human Resources at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215-686-0880.