Our 2017 Hiring Process is closed.    

Welcome to the City of Durham Fire Department hiring page.  Our annual hiring process for entry level fire recruits and *certified firefighters was open from August 29, 2016 - September 23, 2016. Even though we typically have one process per year, we often hire applicants from that process for 6-12 months.  Because we anticipate opening a new station in late 2017 or early 2018, most applicants selected from this process will not hear from us until mid 2017.  

Feel free to complete a Firefighter Interest Recruitment Form so that we can email you when our 2017 hiring process opens. 

 As a first step, all applicants must apply at DurhamNC.gov.  

The starting salary for all Durham Fire Department firefighters is $33k annually plus education and bilingual incentives.  Entry level firefighters are paid throughout the DTCC Fire Academy. 

Dates to Remember
  • September 12, 14, and 17 - Practice physical ability testing is conducted at 2008 E. Club Blvd in Durham at 6 p.m. on September 12 and 14 and at 8 a.m. on September 17. (No forms needed for practice sessions.) You must arrive before the practice session begins on the scheduled dates.  Wear exercise clothing if you plan to participate in any part of the practice session.  Depending on the number of applicants in attendance, some applicants may not be able to take part in every phase.
  • October 3 - 7 - Applicants should plan to spend the day with us when notified of their testing date. Testing will include the physical ability test and a written test.
  • October 17 and 18 - Written testing for certified applicants that pass physical ability and written testing above
  • October 24  - October 28 - 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, have you been AND are you currently a paid, full time employee  of a government fire department OR within the past two years did you graduate from the Durham Technical Community College 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 an academy.

Four Components

The firefighter hiring process consists of the four components below:
1. Complete 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 release form should be 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; purchase of the test will have NO bearing on the hiring process.  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 6th Edition.  These applicants will choose to take the job knowledge test on October 17 or October 18 at 8:30 am.  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).

If you are unable to successfully complete any task in the physical ability test or if you fail to complete the 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.