FAQ About the Rochester Fire Department Recruitment

 Rochester Fire Department Hiring Process Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

       Becoming a Rochester Firefighter
       Civil Service Examination
       Civil Service Exam Preparation Sessions
       Application Assistance Workshops
       Physical Fitness & Medical Standards
       Background Investigations
       Working as a Rochester Firefighter

Becoming a Rochester Firefighter

 What are the necessary steps to becoming a Rochester firefighter?

The hiring process in its entirety is comprised of the following sequential steps:
• Civil Service Exam
• Physical Agility Test
• Background Investigation
• Conditional Offer of Employment
• Medical Exam
• Appointment as a Firefighter

Please click on the following link to view the hiring process flow chart

How do I start the process to become a Firefighter?

Please take a look at the Job Opportunities section of the City of Rochester, NY webpage. For more information you may contact the City's Department of Human Resources.

How and when do I apply?  

The Rochester Fire Department is not currently accepting applications at this time; however, during the recruitment period hiring announcements for the Rochester Fire Department are posted on the City of Rochester website at: https://www.cityofrochester.gov/jobopportunities.  Paper applications can also be obtained and submitted in person to the Human Resources department located at City Hall, 30 Church St., Room 103A, and Rochester, NY 14614.

Can I use my Veteran's credits towards my exam score?

Yes. New York State Civil Service Law provides that Veterans who meet certain requirements are entitled to additional credits (or points) added to their passing civil service exam scores. If you are a Veteran and want to apply for Veteran credits (points) you can do so at any time up until the eligible list is established. However, processing Veteran’s credit information can take time and you are urged to submit your application as soon as possible. Veteran's credits cannot be granted after the list is established.

How do I submit my Veteran’s credits?
When you submit your application you can also fill out a Veterans Credit, Form VC1. This form is available from the City's Human Resources Department.

For more information go to: https://www.cityofrochester.gov/EmploymentForms.aspx  or call the Department of Human Resource Management at (585) 428-7115. 


 Do I have to be a citizen of the United States?

No. However, if you are a non-citizen, you must have acceptable documentation which shows you are a legal resident of the United States. This documentation must be presented when a job offer is made.

What is the minimum age for applicants?

There is no age requirement for an individual to participate in the exam. However, you must be at least eighteen (18) years old at the time you start the Fire Academy Recruit Class.

Do I have to be a high school graduate or have a GED?

To participate in the examination you will need to possess a high school diploma or GED by the date of the examination.   

I do not currently live in the City of Rochester. Can I still apply?

Yes, however you will be required to be a resident of the City of Rochester and maintain residency (90) days prior to the physical agility examination.  To ensure compliance with this residency requirement, we strongly encourage all candidates to be a resident of the City of Rochester by the date of the examination. During the background process you will be required to provide proof that you have complied with the above residency requirement. 

In the event your address or name changes after you have applied for the examination, please visit the following page on the city’s website for the options available to you to officially notify the Department of Human Resource Management of the change: https://www.cityofrochester.gov/EmploymentForms.aspx.  To apply, click the aforementioned link and then click on the City of Rochester Civil Service Application link.

Do I need to be a New York State certified EMT at the time of application?

No. Each recruit will take EMT training during the recruit academy. If you are already certified as an EMT (or above) you will undergo a basic EMT refresher course during your recruit academy.

I was a firefighter somewhere else. Do I have to take the written exam, and/or do I have to attend the fire academy? 

Your experience as a firefighter may help in the testing and selection process. However, the Rochester Fire Department is unable to accept transfers. You will be required to test and if successful, you will have to go through the training as a firefighter recruit.  

Civil Service Examination

 When is the Firefighter Civil Service exam?

Currently we are not accepting applications for the next Firefighter Civil Service Exam. Information will be provided on our website when the next hiring period will begin.  

Can the written exam be taken at another time?

In certain situations in which a candidate is unable to make the date above they may request an alternate test date. This includes those who may be actively deployed in the Armed Forces  who would be unable to attend because of religious reasons. For more information on the City’s Alternate Test Date Policy go to: https://www.cityofrochester.gov/article.aspx?id=8589937349  or call the Department of Human Resource Management at (585) 428-7115.

What is the exam comprised of?

The Firefighter Civil Service Examination will have two (2) parts:
Part 1 of the examination is a written test in a multiple choice format and will test for general abilities needed to succeed in entry-level Firefighter training. No previous knowledge of firefighting work is necessary to succeed on this test.

The following is the scope of the examination:

  • Reading Ability: these questions test your ability to read, retain, recall, and comprehend written material.
  • Mathematical Reasoning: these questions test your ability to add, subtract, multiply, and divide.
  • Map Reading: these questions test your ability to read street maps and orient yourself with basic written instructions pertaining to a graphical map.
  • Human Relations: these questions test your interpersonal competencies.
  • Practical Skills: these questions test your practical skills related to spatial rotation and mechanical aptitude.

*Candidates who pass Part 1 of the examination will be invited to Part 2.

Part 2 of the examination is a qualifying Physical Agility Screening Test which is comprised of an aerobic cardiovascular endurance test which consists of a series of timed 20 meter runs to determine whether a candidate possesses a minimum VO2 or oxygen uptake level.

Are there any study materials available for the examination?

Study Guides will be made available during the application process on our website or a copy may be obtained at City Hall, 30 Church St., Room 103A, Rochester, NY 14614.

What am I required to bring to the written examination?

• Valid proof of photo identification (i.e. non-driver ID card, driver’s license, passport, school or military ID, etc.)
• Your written exam notice, either in hardcopy or saved on your phone.
• Two (2) no. 2 pencils.

Not allowed:
Study guides or any other reference material.
• Any electronic/communication devices to include calculators, pagers, headphones, etc. will not be allowed within the testing area .

 *NOTE: Cell phones must be turned off and stored away upon entering the testing area and for the duration of the examination. Cell phones may be turned back on once you successfully depart from the examination facility.

Can reasonable accommodations be provided for the examination?

If you require reasonable testing accommodations for the examination because of a documented disability, you must indicate “Yes” to the question on the application regarding special accommodations. Next, forward a request with the supporting documentation pertaining to the disability, to the Department of Human Resource Management. This request can be e-mailed to the Department of Human Resource Management HR@cityofrochester.gov or mailed to City Hall, ATTN: HR MGMT., 30 Church St., Room 103A, Rochester, NY 14614.

When will I receive the results of my written exam?

Written examination results, including your examination score, will be emailed and/or mailed six (6) to (8) weeks after the examination. Those who receive a passing score will be placed on the Firefighter Civil Service Eligible List and depending on the score bank you rank in, you will be invited to participate in Part 2 of the examination.

Is there a fee to take this examination and if so are there any conditions for which I may have that fee waived?

In order to participate in this examination you will need to pay an examination application fee of $25.00 by the application deadline. Late fees will NOT be accepted. Failing to pay by the application deadline will result in not being able to participate in the examination. There will be no refunds of the examination fee in the event you either do not qualify to take the examination or fail to appear for the examination.

New York State Civil Service Law allows for examination fees to be waived for individuals who are currently unemployed or are receiving public assistance. If you meet either criteria or believe for any reason that you will be unable to afford this examination fee, you are encouraged to go to the following page on the Department of Human Resource Management’s website to determine if you qualify for the fee waiver and to submit your request: https://www.cityofrochester.gov/EmploymentForms.aspx#FeeStatement

How long is the Firefighter Civil Service Eligibility List good for?

The Firefighter Civil Service Eligibility List is good for a minimum of one (1) year and a maximum of four (4) years. During the life of this list it is imperative that you notify the City’s Department of Human Resource Management of any changes to your home address, e-mail address, or phone number. Failing to do so may result in you not being notified of a step in the hiring process which will disqualify you from consideration.

Civil Service Exam Preparation Sessions

The Rochester Fire Department hosts sessions on test preparation and test-taking tips to help prepare candidates during  application periods. Your attendance at one of these sessions is not mandatory; however, you must register to attend. You must arrive on time and in business attire.

The Fire Fighter Civil Service Exam is designed to measure your Reading Ability, Mathematical Reasoning, Map Reading, Human Relations, and Practical/Reasoning Skills.

The Test Prep Sessions are designed to:

  • Answer questions you may have regarding the information provided in the RFD Comprehensive Examination Battery Entry-Level Firefighter Candidate Orientation Guide
  • Explain how the skill areas assessed on the Civil Service Exam relate to the duties of a fire fighter
  • Assist you with the sample questions provided in the Candidate Orientation guide
  • Direct you to resources or other study aides you may access to help build your skills in areas in which are deficient

All attendees should bring a copy of the guide (A General Guide to Written Test) from the RFD Fire Fighter webpage.

Please bring photo ID for verification purposes. If you have any questions, contact us directly at RFDRecruit@CityofRochester.gov

Register for the Civil Service exam preparation session here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/rfd-civil-service-exam-study-sessions-tickets-77913165375

Application Assistance Workshop

Is there assistance available for completing my application?

Yes. The Rochester Fire Department hosts several Application Assistance Workshops (AAW) during the application period. These workshops are designed to provide applicants with the opportunity to ask questions pertaining to the hiring process and job requirements. These sessions will also provide applicants with the information and support needed to successfully and accurately complete the application. 

 Physical Fitness and Medical Standards

 Are there specific physical fitness standards for firefighters?

Yes, all firefighter applicants for the City of Rochester Fire Department must pass the physical agility test. The Rochester Fire Department uses the Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run (PACER Test) as an entry level physical agility exam. The PACER test is administered after an applicant successfully passes the firefighter written civil service exam. Applicants that do not pass the PACER test cannot continue in the hiring process. The Department of Human Resources does not offer “re-tests” or do-overs”.

What does the PACER Test measure?

The PACER test ensures that all candidates possess the base level of physical fitness needed for entry-level firefighter training. The PACER test was designed to measure cardio endurance and overall performance and fitness levels. Please click the following link to learn more about the physical agility requirements .

Is there a video I can watch or a practice session for the Physical Agility Test/PACER/Beep Test?

We do not offer opportunities to practice the PACER Test as a part of the firefighter hiring process. However, there are several videos that demonstrate how the PACER Test is administered. Please refer to the link below to view a few sites that will provide a general overview of the test.
Blue Lion Fitness : Everything you need to know about the beep test
Beep Test Academy YouTube Video on the beep test protocol

How can I find out if there is a medical condition that will disqualify me from being hired as a firefighter?

Candidates must pass a medical examination in accordance with the standards set forth in the most recent edition of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1582: Standard on Comprehensive Occupational Medical Program for Fire Departments. This standard outlines guidelines aimed to reduce risks and improve the health, safety and effectiveness of firefighters. Please click on the link to view more specific information on the most recent NFPA 1582 edition. Compliance with this standard is required throughout employment as a uniformed member of the Rochester Fire Department.

Background Investigation

What if I have had a previous encounter with the criminal justice system?

All firefighter recruits go through an extensive background screening process before being hired. Criminal history and convictions will be reviewed prior to a final job offer. Sworn public safety positions require closer scrutiny by hiring authorities during the background screening process. Disclosure of all criminal and driving history is required for the background screening process and failure to do so will result in an automatic disqualification from the hiring process.

Working as a Rochester Firefighter

What will my work schedule look like?

Rochester Department firefighters currently work a 42 hour rotating work week. This schedule consists of three 10 hour days followed by three 14 hour nights.

What's the starting salary for a firefighter?

The starting salary for a firefighter is currently $45,173 with top pay at $78,884 after five years. This is subject to change per the collective bargaining agreement.

Is there room for advancement?

Yes, after four (4) years of employment you are eligible to take promotional exams.