Employment-Related FAQ’s

East Pierce Fire & Rescue 64

Employment-Related Frequently Asked Questions

How do I become a firefighter?

Every fire department uses different recruitment, training, and hiring process.

Likewise, there is no single path to becoming a firefighter in Washington State, but here are some options that may be useful:

  • Obtain a Fire Science degree
  • Successfully complete a Washington Paramedic Education Program
    • Central Washington University Paramedicine Program
    • Harborview Medical Center – University of Washington
    • Tacoma Fire Department
    • Bellingham Technical College
  • Become a volunteer firefighter

Do you have a volunteer program?

We do not have a volunteer program. Local agencies that do are:

  • City of Buckley Fire Department
  • Graham Fire & Rescue
  • Riverside Fire & Rescue (lower Puyallup River Valley)
  • Pierce County Fire District 13 (Browns Point/Dash Point)

What physical demands are required to becoming a firefighter?

Firefighting is a physically demanding job. We require candidates to successfully pass the Candidate Physical Abilities Test (CPAT) within six (6) months before the application close date. This test is the standard assessment for measuring an individual’s ability to handle the physical demands of being a firefighter.

We accept CPATs from any certified testing facility, not just National Testing Network.

What are the requirements to become a firefighter?

Every fire department has its own requirements. We do not require EMT or fire certifications for our entry-level recruit firefighters. The only exception would be if we are specifically recruiting for paramedics, which would be identified in the posting.

Our requirements, subject to change, typically include the following:

Minimum Requirements

  • 21 years of age by date of hire
  • Valid Driver’s License
  • High school graduate or GED certification
  • Legally authorized to work in the U.S
  • Successful completion of ANY (not just NTN) valid CPAT within 6 months before the application close date
  • Ability to read, write, and speak the English language
  • Must meet all minimum physical, medical, and suitability standards for firefighter
  • Ability to complete the probationary period, including EMT certification and Academy

Do you accept lateral candidates?

Yes. To be considered a lateral candidate, in addition to the advertised minimum requirements, candidates must be:

  • A member in good standing with a minimum of one (1) year field experience as a full-time career Firefighter/EMT by the application close date and must have been employed within the last 6 months of the close date
  • Current EMT-B certified
  • IFSAC FFI and FFII certified

If lateral candidates are hired as part of an entry-level recruit class process, they will be required to attend the Fire Academy with the other recruits, which may include an EMT class.

What does the testing process entail?

Every fire department has its own unique testing process. Ours typically involves the following:

Initial Testing:

  • Candidates must test with National Testing Network (NTN).
  • Schedule a test at www.nationaltestingnetwork.com, select fire, and select East Pierce Fire & Rescue.
  • Tests must be completed within one year before the application close date.
  • Upon completion of the closing date, NTN will forward all candidate scores to EPFR only for those that have selected EPFR as a department.
  • Top candidates will be invited to continue in the district selection process outlined below.
  • We use the NTN recommended scoring method, which includes the candidate’s PSSA score.
  • Contact NTN directly with any questions regarding your account.
  • To learn more about NTN testing, visit NTN’s Candidate Frequently Asked Questions.

Application Process:

  • To be considered for a posted position, candidates must apply online with East Pierce Fire & Rescue (EPFR) by the advertised close date at www.governmentjobs.com/careers/eastpiercefire
  • Candidates will be required to upload a resume and verification of their successful CPAT completion.
  • Only candidates that apply online AND test with NTN, as outlined above, will be considered.
  • Candidates must apply for each posting they are interested in.

District Selection Process: Candidates successfully completing each component will advance to the next step.

  • Candidates who have completed the NTN test and EPFR application process will be selected for pre-screen interviews based on NTN scores, typically the top 75 candidates.
  • Pre-screen Interviews conducted virtually.
  • Oral Board Interviews conducted at EPFR HQ, typically the top 30 pre-screen candidates.
  • Chief Interviews conducted at EPFR HQ.
  • Establish a list and extend conditional offers.
  • The pre-employment process will include a medical exam, psychological screening, and comprehensive background check, including criminal history and driving record.
  • Confirmed offers.

How will I be contacted by the District?

Only candidates applying online with EPFR (placing them in our system) will be contacted via email. If you only applied at NTN but not through our website, you will not be contacted. Candidates will be notified if they advance in the process or not.

What are the details for your Fire Academy?

Candidates who have confirmed offers attend the Pierce County Fire Training Consortium (PCFTC). This Academy includes EMT-B, FFI, FFII, and Hazardous Materials Awareness Operations certifications. Candidates are not required to have these certifications before application. Candidates with these certifications upon hire will still be required to attend the full Academy. The Academy typically runs 22-25 weeks. Candidates receive full salary while attending.

The Academy is not open to the public. It is only for career firefighters hired by one of the PCFTC departments.

Do you offer Veteran's Preference?

Please review the Washington State Careers webpage at Veterans’ Preference for veteran definitions and preference categories. Preference is added to the final, passing NTN score.

Can I schedule a ride-along?

Based on the volume of candidates, we are unable to accommodate ride-along requests during the hiring process.

I can't make changes to my application. Do I need to submit another application?

Yes. When you reapply, most of your information is saved with your GovernmentJobs account and will automatically populate. You can then edit what you need to. Please note it will create a duplicate record, so only the most recent application will be considered. Previous versions of your applications will be declined.

I can't access my GovernmentJobs account. Can you help?

We do not have the ability to reset passwords or troubleshoot your account. For GovernmentJobs technical assistance, please visit GovernmentJobs Frequently Asked Questions.

Is COVID vaccination a requirement of employment?

Vaccination is not an employment requirement. Proclamation 21-14-1 requires firefighters licensed as an EMT or paramedic to provide their employer with proof of vaccination OR have an approved accommodation. Proof of COVID vaccination will be requested upon hire. EPFR has a process for requesting vaccination accommodations.

What is the work schedule for your firefighters?

EPFR personnel works a “modified Detroit 56” three 24-hour shifts (0800 to 0800) every nine days. Below is an example of the rotations. Green represents A Shift, red represents B Shift, and blue represents C Shift.

Employees assigned to 24-hour shift schedule shall receive one (1) Kelly day (K-Day) off every 27-day work cycle. K-Days are 24-hour blocks of paid time off to reduce the average number of hours worked in a work cycle.