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

Welcome to the City of Durham Fire Department Hiring Page.  
 We anticipate a hiring process for entry level firefighters in October with applicants from that process beginning employment in early January. 

If you would like to be contacted regarding upcoming processes, 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 position is to complete an employment application at  Our next job posting is expected to open in October.

The starting salary for entry level firefighters is $34,388 and for certified/lateral firefighters is $36,098 (see requirements for certified firefighters below).  
Steps to Remember for Upcoming Hiring Processes

  • Step 1- Applicants will be notified via email regarding scheduling of their upcoming written/agility test date.  Applicants should check email DAILY for information monitoring junk and spam folders.  
  • Step 2 - Applicants should plan to spend the 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 and MUST bring a signed Physician Approval for Ability Testing form. This 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.  Failure to bring a signed form will disqualify applicants from our process.  
  • Step 3 - Oral interviews for top candidates 
* If you are applying as a certified firefighter, you must meet the requirements below tentatively as of January 1, 2019.  
  • 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).
Certified firefighters do not attend a formal academy, but will spend approximately 3 weeks in training.

Four Components

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

Before participating in written and agility 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 before arriving at Fire Administration. The physical ability test and written exam are performed on the same day. Wear athletic shoes and exercise clothing on that date.

Written Exam

Certified firefighter applicants will be a given a job knowledge test from the 6th Edition of IFSTA Essentials of Firefighting.  The test will last approximately 2 hours. Certified applicants who score a 70 or higher on the test 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.