Careers in Fire Rescue

If you dream about becoming a Firefighter or Paramedic, then start here to learn what it takes to make those dreams come true.


The following are the entry-level positions with Hillsborough County Fire Rescue (HCFR): 


  • Candidates for this position must:
    • Have a State of Florida Certificate of Compliance (Firefighter II) certification
    • Have a State of Florida EMT certification
    • Complete the National Testing Network FireTeam video-based assessment
    • Complete the National Testing Network Candidate Physical Abilities Test (CPAT)


  • Candidates for this must:
    • Hold a State of Florida Paramedic certification
    • Complete the National Testing Network FireTeam  video-based assessment
    • CPAT is not required for this position

The next level positions: 

FireMedic Trainee

  • First promotion you can receive as either a Firefighter or Paramedic
  • Needs and can use both certifications
  • To sit for stand-alone testing, you will need 1944 hours of riding on a rescue car


  • Can serve as the lone medic on a fire engine

Additional information

  • You must successfully complete both the FireTeam and CPAT no more than one year prior to submitting an application
  • Applications for employment are only accepted during open recruitment
  • Open recruitment occurs periodically as dictated by operational needs
  • Click the tabs to check out information on pre-employment testing, qualifications, and benefits

Pre-employment testing

HCFR uses National Testing Networks for the initial screening tools in the pre-employment process for the positions of:

  • FireMedic 1
  • FireMedic Trainee
  • Firefighter/EMT
  • Paramedic (EMPACCT)

Visit the National Testing Network, where you can schedule events. Simply select the fire icon and then click on the applicable position sought with HCFR. The site will then navigate you through the various components required to schedule an exam.

The National Testing Network website provides:
  • Detailed information about the testing process for both the FireTeam and CPAT testing
  • Opportunity to take online practice tests at FireTeam
  • Entry level testing in a standardized, professional environment
  • Prices for both FireTeam and CPAT testing
  • Testing scheduling flexibility to meet your needs
  • Automatic forwarding of your scores to HCFR for consideration upon completion of the required exams
    • Scores are valid for one year from testing date

All candidates for employment are required to successfully complete FireTeam and CPAT (as required by position sought) prior to submitting an application.


In addition to the certifications, FireTeam and CPAT tests, candidates also must have the following qualifications:

  • Background Screening 
    • Pass a background screening including:
      • state and national criminal history checks
      • driver’s license record checks
      • employment verifications
      • educational verifications
      • certification verification
      • reference checks
  • Education
    • High school graduate or equivalent
  • Work history can't include:
    • discharge or resignation to avoid discharge within the last five years for
      • neglect of duties
      • violation of job safety standards
      • violation of rules or standards regarding conduct toward the public
      • violation of rules and standards governing punctuality and dependability
      • inability to meet performance/training standards in a similar kind of work
    • past acts that would indicate you are a poor employment risk
    • employment as a firefighter/and or paramedic and you appropriated money, property or evidence for personal use or purpose
    • omission of any material employment information
  • Driving record can't include:
    • One conviction within 5 years prior to the date of employment of any of the following:
      • 1. Voluntary and Involuntary manslaughter resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle
      • 2. Failing to stop and render aid, as required under any applicable State or Federal law, in the event of a motor vehicle accident resulting in the death or personal injury of another
      • 3. Attempting to elude police
    • One conviction within 3 years prior to the date of employment of any of the following:
      • 1. Driving a motor vehicle or being in actual physical control while having an unlawful blood alcohol level or while being under the influence of alcoholic beverages or any other illegal substances controlled under any State or Federal law
      • 2. Reckless driving
      • 3. Driver license suspension for failure to submit to a chemical test for impairment (either breathalyzer or blood test)
    • One conviction within 3 years prior the date of employment of any of the following:
      • 1. Driving a motor vehicle while the driver’s license is suspended or revoked for reason’s other than financial responsibility (ie insurance proof requirement)
      • 2. Leaving the scene of an accident resulting in property damage of more than $50
      • 3. Unlawful speeding resulting in an accident
    • Suspended driver’s license within 2 years prior to the date of employment due to:
      • 1. Failure to attend court ordered driving schools
      • 2. Failure to pay two or more traffic fines. The circumstances resulting in the non-payment of only one traffic fine will be evaluated on a individual basis and may or may not disqualify the applicant
      • 3. Financial responsibility suspensions (i.e. insurance proof requirement) will be evaluated on an individual basis and may or may not disqualify the applicant
    • Traffic conviction record in which the accumulation of points resulted in the suspension of a driver’s license within 4 years prior to the date of employment
    • Seven points or greater within 2 years prior to the date of employment
    • Any two convictions for driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance
  • Criminal conduct
    • Criminal conduct can't include:
      • Convicted of, pled nolo contendere to, or had adjudication withheld for any charge of a felony crime within 10 years prior to the date of employment
      • Convicted of, pled nolo contendere to, had adjudication withheld for a misdemeanor offense AND it has not been 3 years since the expiration of sentence
      • Current probation following any criminal conviction
      • Pending felony or misdemeanor charges
    • If you have an arrest record, we will review it on an individual basis and may consider disqualifications due to the number of instances and totality of circumstances
  • Controlled substance/drug use
    • We will be disqualify your application if you have been involved with drugs under any of the following conditions:
      • Used or possessed, within the last 5 years prior to the date of employment, any controlled substance defined as a violation under Chapter 893, Florida Statutes, the possession of which constitutes a criminal offense under Florida law
      • Use or possession of such controlled substances more than 5 years ago may or may not disqualify the applicant depending on the totality of the circumstance
      • Any illegal sale, within 5 years from the date of employment, of a controlled substance to others whether for profit or not
      • Used, possessed, or sold any controlled substance after becoming a State of Florida certified firefighter, emt or paramedic or while employed (paid or volunteer) as a sworn firefighter
  • Tobacco use
    • You can't have used tobacco or tobacco products for at least one year immediately preceding employment
    • You must sign a notarized document affirming non-use of tobacco products
    • We will screen for nicotine in the pre-employment physical process
    • If you test positive for tobacco use, we will not consider your for employment for a minimum of one year from the original test date
  • Tattoos
    • The Fire Chief or his/her designee will evaluate perspective candidates for types, locations, and numbers of tattoos, and this may be used as a disqualifier for employment
    • You can't have visible tattoos that are offensive, in excess, vulgar, or otherwise deemed detrimental to the professional appearance, and positive public image of members
    • No tattoos of any type are allowed that are about the neck, head, and/or face
  • False Information
    • If you are shown to have knowingly omitted material information or presented false oral or written information during you consideration for employment with HCFR, we will disqualify your application
  • Character
    • You must demonstrate excellent moral character with respect to:
      • sobriety
      • honesty
      • maturity
      • loyalty
      • trustworthiness
      • reliability
      • discretion
      • associates
  • Medical examination
    • You must pass a medical exam administered by an HCFR designated physician or his/her designee
    • We may require you to submit to a polygraph and/or psychological testing


  • 2.5 percent county contribution to deferred compensation account
  • 11 paid holidays
  • Annual uniform allowance
  • Cafeteria benefit
  • Enrollment in the Florida Retirement System Special Risk Group
  • Excellent health, dental and life insurance benefits
  • Shift work – three week R-day (48 hour work week) 24 hours on duty followed by 48 hours off duty
  • Short and long term disability insurance
  • Tuition reimbursement available after probationary period
  • Two weeks paid vacation after first year of employment