What's Included in Our Recruitment Process

  • City of Berkeley Employment Application and Supplemental Questionnaire
  • Candidate Informational Workshops
  • Several rounds of interviews
  • Paramedic Skills Assessment
  • Background Investigation
  • Pre-Employment Medical

Written Examination

Applicants must have completed the FCTC written examination no later April 2, 2017.  Candidates can locate a FCTC the exam schedule by clicking here. Online written test study materials can be accessed by clicking here.

NOTE: Do not sign up for the FCTC ALS examination; Berkeley Fire administers their own paramedic skills assessment.

Candidate Informational Sessions

All candidates are invited to attend our informational sessions (tentatively scheduled for March 31, April 21 and May 26, 2018). Attendance at these sessions is not required for employment consideration, but is highly encouraged. Each session will cover a different topic, candidates may choose to attend any one of the offered sessions; or all of them. The sessions may include an overview of the Berkeley Fire Department, the City of Berkeley, and a review of the testing process and information on what the Department is looking for in a candidate.

Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT)

The Berkeley Fire Department requires that candidates include a copy of their CPAT card as part of their application packet. The CPAT card must be issued no earlier than April 2, 2017.

Review the CPAT test, see the minimum qualifications to participate, the dress code, and register for an upcoming CPAT test by clicking here.

Background Investigation

Candidates must complete a Personal History Questionnaire and provide information related to employment, military experience, driving history, Fire Service/Public Safety experience, financial history, legal history, and substance use. Candidates are advised to provide complete and accurate information. Any misrepresentation may be cause for disqualification.

Candidates will be asked to sign an authorization form allowing the Berkeley Fire Department to conduct background checks. Information gained in the Background Investigation will be used in consideration of candidates and their possible employment as entry-level Firefighters.

This process generally takes approximately 3 to 6 weeks.

**Upon successful completion of the Background Investigation a condition job offer is extended.**

Pre-Employment Medical Exam

Selected candidates will be scheduled for a complete Firefighter pre-employment medical examination

Before the final employment offer, candidates must successfully pass a pre-employment medical examination. Candidates are required to complete a comprehensive medical history questionnaire. Candidates must provide complete and accurate information in the questionnaire and during the medical examination with the clinic physician.

Any misrepresentation may be cause for disqualification from consideration.

This medical exam includes a comprehensive medical history, blood & urine samples, hearing/vision testing, physical condition assessment, a tuberculosis (TB) test, and other related medical tests. The TB test will be placed during the initial visit and will require an approved health professional to evaluate it within 24-72 hours. The exam will take approximately two (2) hours.

All candidates must successfully pass the medical exam including pre-employment drug screening (may also include pre-employment psychological exam) in order to be eligible for consideration for employment.

Interview Preparation 

This step is often overlooked by many applicants and, in reality, is the first thing you should do in preparation for the firefighter selection process. You should find out as much as you possibly can about the Berkeley Fire Department and the job of a firefighter. The best way to obtain this information is to visit local fire stations during normal business hours (8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.)., it is reccomended that you call ahead and find out the best time to arrive. The Fire Department encourages everyone to spend some time talking to firefighters, because they know, and are willing to explain what the job is about. Ask them questions about their training, their duties, how they perform them, and how working 24-hour shifts affects their lives. In short, ask them any questions that will help you understand what being a firefighter is really like.

In addition, ask questions regarding the department expectations of it's firefighters, the Fire Department’s organizational structure, wages, different assignments, etc. This information will help you convince the interview panels that you have the ability and a real interest in a career as a City of Berkeley Firefighter.

Each interview is your opportunity to “sell yourself” and demonstrate to the panel that you have the ability and desire to become a firefighter.

The interviews usually measure interpersonal relations, oral communication skills, judgment and analytical ability, and motivation to be a firefighter. The panel will be impressed if you are well groomed and wear business attire. Casual clothes are fine for the physical ability test, but are not appropriate for the oral interview. For the interview, it is important to be on time, honest, poised, confident, and polite. Remember, the interview panel will be evaluating communication skills; therefore, it is important to listen carefully and respond clearly and precisely. It is important to use good grammar and to avoid slang during the interview.

The panel will usually ask open-ended questions. For example, to evaluate the candidate’s motivation to be a firefighter, you may be asked, “Why do you want to be a firefighter?” Examine your own personal reasons for wanting to be a firefighter and present them sincerely. If the response does not sound sincere, it will not be well received.

Other questions which may be asked are:

  • Give an example that shows how you work as part of a team.
  • Give an example of your being a responsible person.
  • What would you do if you arrived at a fire and the residents in the building were yelling obscenities at you?
  • What is your biggest strength/weakness?
  • Give us an example of when you demonstrated problem-solving skills with a co-worker.