Recruitment FAQ

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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 by email at or by calling (585) 428-7115.

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:  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 one of the following:

  • Currently possess a high school diploma or GED; OR
  • Expect to receive a high school diploma or GED by August 1, 2023; and if successful on the examination, you will NOT be certified for appointment UNTIL you have submitted proof of completion of your high school diploma or GED to the City of Rochester Examination Administration unit. Proof MUST be submitted no later than 2 (TWO) MONTHS after the completion of your degree or diploma. 


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, you must send an email to with the subject line of “Change of Address / Name.” In the email, be sure to include:  

  • your name (new and old if applicable)
  • old address
  • new address
  • new phone number
  • the last 4 digits of your Social Security Number
  • the effective date of change
  • attach documents to verify residency, if applicable  (See below for details)  

Residency Verification: 
If you are moving from a NON-CITY address to a CITY address, you must attach two (2) documents/files showing the new address.  The documents that will be accepted are:

  • Driver’s license with a printed address
  • Mortgage statement  
  • Lease agreement or rent receipt
  • Bank statement
  • Credit card billing statement
  • Recent legal document which includes an address (ex. A marital separation agreement)
  • Utility bill (ex. Electricity, telephone, water bill, etc.)
  • Voter registration card issued by the Board of Elections

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

Recruits that do not have a NYS approved EMT Certification will be registered in and complete a NYS EMT-B original course. 

NYS EMT Certified Recruits will be registered in and complete a NYS EMT-B original course. 

  • Successful completion of the course will lead to the NYS Practical Exam. 
  • Passing the Practical Exam will allow entry into a written certification exam. 
  • Passing the written certification exam will lead to NYS EMT certification.

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

The next Civil service Exam has not been announced yet.

Can the written exam be taken at another time?

In certain situations, in which a candidate is unable to make the examination date above they may request an alternate test date. Requests for alternate test dates due to non-emergency situations must be submitted to the Examination Administration section of Human Resource Management no later than ten (10) working days prior to the scheduled date of the written exam. The request shall contain a complete explanation of the reason the candidate cannot take the examination as scheduled and be supported by appropriate documentation, if available.

For emergency situations, the candidate must notify the Examination Administration section of Human Resource Management of the need for an alternate test date no later than two work days following the scheduled written exam date.

To request an alternate test date must send an email to with the subject line of “Alternate Test Date Request”.

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.

*Currently, the consultant developing this Firefighter Exam for the City of Rochester is conducting a Job Analysis of the Firefighter position at the City of Rochester.  The purpose of this Job Analysis is to identify the job duties and knowledge, skills, abilities, and personal characteristics of the City's Firefighter position for the examination to be developed from.  At the conclusion of this Job Analysis, an Examination Scope for this Firefighter Exam will be emailed to all candidates who have applied for this examination and will be posted on this page of the City's website.*

*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 - also known as the Beep or PACER test, is an aerobic cardiovascular endurance test that consists of a series 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?

Candidate Orientation GuideTraining Video, and Study Guide will be available for candidates to prepare for this written examination.   Upon the completion of the Job Analysis for this examination, a link to this information will be emailed to all candidates who have applied for this examination and will be posted on the City's website.

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 (Admission Letter).  If you received this by e-mail, it must be printed and brought with you.
• 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 special testing accommodations for a Civil Service Examination because of a documented disability you must forward a request, with supporting documentation pertaining to the disability, to the Department of Human Resource Management.  This request can either be e-mailed to the Department of Human Resource Management at  with the subject line of “Special Accommodations for Examination” or mailed to 30 Church Street, 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 band you rank in, you will be invited to participate in Part 2, the qualifying Physical Agility Screening Test, 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?

There is no fee to participate in the Firefighter Civil Service Examination.

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.


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?

A workshop will be conducted in conjunction with Personal Energy Inc., the company that developed and administers the Firefighter physical examination, which will be an in-person event geared toward preparing candidates to successfully pass this portion of the examination.

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.