The City of Durham Fire Department is a great place to work!        

Welcome to the City of Durham Fire Department Hiring Page.  While we do not have a date for our next hiring process, the details below from the previous hiring process will provide information on how we run our processes.   

If you are accessing this page after our October 2017 hiring process has closed, feel free to complete a Firefighter Interest Recruitment Form so that we can email you when our next hiring process opens. 

The first step that all applicants must take to apply for a firefighter or fire recruit position is to complete an employment application at  Our job postings are expected to open on October 9, 2017 with applications being accepted through midnight on October 22, 2017.  

The starting salary for entry level firefighters is $34,388 annually.  Education and bilingual incentives are awarded after completion of the Fire Academy which lasts approximately 8 months.  Entry level firefighters are paid while attending the DTCC Fire Academy.  The starting salary for certified/lateral firefighters is $36,098 (see requirements for certified firefighters below).  

Dates to Remember for the October 2017 Hiring Process
  • October 23-25 - Applicants will be notified via email of their scheduled test date that will take place during the week of October 30.
  • October 30-November 3 - Applicants should plan to spend the entire day with us on their scheduled test date.  Testing will include the physical ability test and a written test.  Applicants should dress in exercise clothing.  
  • November 13-17 - Oral interviews for top candidates 
* If you are applying as a certified firefighter, you must be:

  • Firefighter I and II Certified
  • Certified as Hazardous Materials Responder Level I
  • Certified as an EMT Basic
  • For the past two years, you must have been AND are currently a paid, full time employee  of a government fire department OR within the past two years you must have graduated from the Durham Technical Community College Fire Academy or another municipal Fire Academy. (Note:  government fire department is defined as a city, town, or Department of Defense fire department).
Please note that certified firefighters do not attend a formal academy.

Four Components

The firefighter hiring process consists of the four components below:
1. Completion of a City of Durham Application.
2. A Written Exam (Certified applicants will take 2 exams)
3. A Physical Ability Test
4. An Oral Review Board (Interview)

Before participating in written and ability testing, please read procedures outlined in Applicant Procedures carefully. You must bring the completed Physician Approval for Ability Testing and the Release of Liability and Assumption of Risk forms on your testing date. The Physician's Approval form will require a mini-physical or a visit to your physician, so applicants must plan in advance to obtain the signed form.  The release form should be also completed and signed before arriving at Fire Administration. The physical ability test and written exam are performed on the same day. It is highly recommended that you wear athletic shoes and exercise clothing on that date.

Written Exam

Entry level applicants will be given a general cognition test (no prior firefighting experience is required for this test). The CEB/PST "Comprehensive Examination Battery and Practical Skills Test Candidate Orientation Guide" found at Test Guide may assist you in preparing for the written exam. The cost is $10 and the purchase is optional. The Durham Fire Department will not know if you purchased this practice test. Free practice tests may also be available using an internet search.  

Certified firefighter applicants will be given the same general cognition test as entry level applicants (see entry level applicants' information above). Certified applicants who pass the general cognition test will also be a given a job knowledge test from the IFSTA Essentials of Firefighting.  The test will last approximately 2 hours. Certified applicants who score a 70 or higher on both tests will be scheduled to interview.

Physical Ability Test

See a sample video of the Durham Fire Ability Test or view a text description of the ability test (PDF).  Please note that this test is a SAMPLE only.  Applicants do not wear turn-out gear and a claustrophobia component may be added.  

If you are unable to successfully complete any task in the physical ability test or if you fail to complete the physical test within the specified time allotted, you will be disqualified from the remainder of the hiring process.

Oral Review Board

Some of our top scoring candidates who successfully complete the written exam and the physical ability test will be invited for an interview. Review panels generally consist of three (3) individuals who will ask the candidates several questions and will rate their responses.

Background Investigation

A background investigation will be conducted for all finalists being considered for hire. This investigation includes, but is not limited to, verification of job performance at previous places of employment, a criminal background check, and a review of the applicant’s driving record.

Note: Misdemeanors are not an automatic disqualification. Positions offered are contingent upon the results of a physical exam/health screening, audio/visual test, and drug/alcohol test.