The firefighter application and exam period runs from May 29, 2023 to September 29, 2023. Below are some frequently asked questions about the process of becoming a Philadelphia firefighter.  

I want to become a Philadelphia firefighter. What are the requirements?  

You must have, or will have, education equivalent to the completion of high school by December 31, 2023. At the time employment is offered, you must be at least 18 years of age, have a valid Pennsylvania driver’s license, and be physically able to perform the required duties of a firefighter. In addition, the new residency requirement enacted in 2020 requires that you have established bona fide residence in the City one year prior to appointment. Non-residents will not be eligible for job opportunities and will not be contacted as job opportunities arise until one year from the date that they establish residency. For additional information on residency, please contact the Office of Human Resources at   

What’s the first step?  

You must apply to take the firefighter exam. The city’s Office of Human Resources will accept online applications from May 29, 2023 until September 29, 2023. All applications must be submitted by close of business on September 29, 2023. No late applications will be accepted. No exceptions.  

After the application period opens, the Philadelphia Fire Department (PFD) will share the direct link to the application on its website and social media accounts: Twitter, Facebook and Instagram 

What happens after I apply? 

If you indicate that you meet the education requirements described above when submitting your online application to the Office of Human Resources, you will immediately receive instructions on how to register for and take the examination with the National Testing Network (NTN).   

When is the actual test?  

There is no specific test date. You must register and schedule to take the examination with NTN by September 29, 2023. You can take the examination virtually using your own computer or you can schedule to take the examination at an NTN test center. Note that candidates who apply early will have more time to schedule and prepare for the examination; applicants are strongly urged not to wait until the last minute to complete the test. 

What does the test cover and how can I request a study guide?  

It’s a six-part exam that assesses skills in reading, math, decision-making, and mechanical reasoning. Applicants must complete all parts – including the two public safety self-assessments – but not necessarily in one sitting.  

There is no required study guide. However, a practice exam is available once applicants create an account on the NTN website. NTN cannot guarantee that reviewing the practice exam will result in a passing written test score.  

What should I bring to the test?  

If you plan to take the examination at a testing center, when you schedule your appointment, you will be provided information regarding anything that you need to bring to the testing center.  

If you plan to take the examination using your own computer, you will need to review the virtual testing instructions provided on the NTN website and ensure that your computer meets the minimum system requirements to take the exam. If your computer does not, you can schedule to take the examination at a testing center.  

How will I receive exam-related notifications?  

Applicants who provide an email address in their application account profile will receive all correspondence regarding this examination via email. You should add 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.  

You are required to provide an email address when registering with NTN. Any communications from NTN will be sent to the email address that you provide during registration.  

DO NOT SEND ANY EMAILS TO It is NOT monitored for questions. Please see below for instructions on how to submit questions. 

What if I require a special testing accommodation for a documented medical reason?  

Candidates may request an accommodation for a Civil Service exam by contacting the Equal Employment Opportunity / Affirmative Action Unit of the Mayor’s Office of Labor Relations at 215-683-5085.  

When will I be notified of the results?  

It is anticipated that you will receive your exam results, including score and rank, during the week of November 6, 2023. Note that this date is projected and may change without warning due to any number of factors. We appreciate your patience and understanding if the notification of results unexpectedly gets delayed.  

What happens after the results come out?  

Everyone who is successful on the examination will be ranked according to their score on a hiring list. Some candidates are eligible for extra points if they submit additional documentation as outlined in the application sections titled “Notes to Applicants” and “Other Requirements.” Once the PFD decides to start hiring for the 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?  

Once the hiring list is established – likely during the week of November 6, 2023 – the list will remain active for two years. The PFD expects to hire off the list during that time but cannot give firm estimates on when new cadet classes will be formed.  

What are the next steps in the hiring process?  

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. Candidates who fulfill those requirements will be invited to join a cadet class for an academic, practical, and physical training program where they will learn basic firefighting and emergency medical services (EMS) skills at the Philadelphia Fire Academy. The training lasts about nine months.  

Firefighter cadets are paid according to the first step in the pay scale ($59,795 annually, as of July 1, 2022). Medical benefits are administered through IAFF Local 22 and are effective the first day a cadet starts at the Fire Academy.   

What if I already filled out a job interest form with the PFD Recruitment Unit?  

Our job interest form is NOT an application. You must apply for the position through the Office of Human Resources.  

Do I have a better chance of joining the PFD if I apply early?  

No. It doesn’t matter whether you apply on May 29, 2023 or September 29, 2023, or any day in between. Everyone who applies during the application period and meets the requirements will be invited to take the exam. However, candidates who apply early will have more time to schedule and prepare for the examination.  

When was the last time the city accepted applications for the firefighter exam?  

The last application period was June 28, 2021 to October 1, 2021.  

What if I took the firefighter exam in 2021 and haven’t been hired yet?  

The PFD is currently hiring off a list that expires on December 14, 2023. Anyone still on that list when it expires will not be called to interview for future cadet classes. You must apply to take the test again during this application period (May 29, 2023 to September 29, 2023).  

What if I want to join the PFD as a paramedic, EMT or dispatcher?  

This exam is for firefighters only. If you would like to join the PFD in another capacity, please look at our FAQs for paramedic, EMT or dispatcher 

What if my question isn’t answered here?  

For trouble with the online testing process, contact NTN via their website or support number: 206-428-3265. 

For questions about preference points and/or additional documentation, email  

For questions about the firefighter position, contact the PFD Recruitment Unit at or 215-685-3748. 

For all other questions, please contact the Office of Human Resources at or 215-686-0880.