Become a Firefighter


We’re always looking for passionate, driven, talented men and women to join our hardworking and dedicated team at VCFD. Take an up-close and in-depth look at what it takes and how to take the next steps here.

If you want to stay up to date on recruitments, access tips on applying, and more, follow JoinVCFD on our social media pages! Through our LinkTree, you can follow us on social media, submit Interest Cards, and access other important links and resources.

The following list includes the qualifications and requirements that are needed to apply as a Firefighter Trainee. All applying candidates must:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Have graduated from high school or possess a GED certificate
  • Possess or have the ability to obtain and maintain a valid California Driver’s License

Additional requirements will be necessary at time of hire for Firefighter Trainee. View each section below for more information regarding these items:

EMT Certification
Completion of an approved California Emergency Medical Technician (CEMT) training course with the appropriate certification is required at time of hire. To find local resources where you can learn more about the steps required to obtain an EMT certification in the state of California, click here.

CPR Certification
Most EMT programs have a prerequisite requiring a valid Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) certification at the time of enrollment. You can learn more about CPR certifications by visiting the American Red Cross website or searching online for American Heart Association – BLS Provider courses.

Ventura County Physical Ability Test (VCPAT)
Successful completion of the Ventura County Physical Ability Test (VCPAT), certified and validated by the Fire & Police Selection, (commonly referred to as the “Biddle” test). Ventura County Fire Department (VCFD) will operate the test at no cost to the candidate.

The firefighter Trainee hiring process is composed of various steps, each ensuring that we hire the best and most capable individuals to serve our community. For more information regarding each step, view the corresponding section below.

On the opening date, the job bulletin will be available to view and apply to on Human Resources will review applications to determine if the stated requirements and competencies are met. It’s important that the application materials you submit clearly show your relevant background and specialized knowledge, skills, and abilities.

Written Exam
Individuals who meet the minimum requirements will be invited to advance to the written exam portion of the hiring process. This is a video-based and standard written exam with a duration of approximately two hours and it measures a range of knowledge, skills, and abilities—including human relations, mechanical reasoning, reading comprehension, and math.

VCFD will provide a voucher code to access the written exam (at no cost to the candidate) after applications have been reviewed. Various methods of completing the test are available, including at local testing facilities and through virtual proctoring. 

Oral Exam
Candidates who pass the written exam will advance to the oral exam. The oral exam may be conducted in person or virtually. During a virtual oral exam, candidates will use a computer or cell phone to record themselves answering pre-recorded questions. Those answers will then be sent to the oral exam raters to view at a later time. During an in-person oral exam, candidates are asked job-related questions by a panel often consisting of at least two people, fire personnel, and/or human resource representatives. In both situations, the raters will evaluate candidates’ responses and behaviors during the exam relative to preconstructed rating standards. Remember, this is an exam—not an interview.

Oral Exam Tips:

Eligible List

Candidates who pass the oral exam will be placed on the eligible list. Candidates are grouped in six different standings, based on their score.

  • Standing 1: 95-100
  • Standing 2: 94-90
  • Standing 3: 89-85
  • Standing 4: 84-80
  • Standing 5: 79-75
  • Standing 6: 74-70

To fill a void, VCFD Human Resources sends the Chief all names within a standing, beginning at the top of the list with Standing 1 (95-100) and moving down the list, standing by standing, until the available position(s) are filled. The higher your score, the sooner your name may be certified to be interviewed for possible hire. Your standing remains the same throughout the duration of the list, unless you’re able to reapply and retest.

Interview with Battalion Chiefs
The candidates who are atop the eligible list will be the first invited to a selection interview. This interview will consist of two Battalion Chiefs and is less structured than the oral exam, often more interactive, and dialogue-based. The goal of this portion of the hiring process is to get to know you better and determine if you would be a good fit for VCFD employment. Interview feedback is given to the Fire Chief to consider and decide who he will invite to participate in the Background/Medical process.

Background/Medical Process
An invitation to participate in the background/medical process does not guarantee a spot in the Fire Academy. From this point forward, the hiring process may take 5-6 months to determine who will be provided job offers to join the Fire Academy.

All candidates will undergo a thorough background check, including employment history, education, criminal history, driving record, and reference checks. Each candidate will complete a Personal History Statement and schedule an interview with the assigned Background Investigator. The Background Investigator prepares a summary report of findings and provides this report to Human Resources and the Fire Chief, who will take the report into consideration before making a final decision.

Medical Evaluation
Candidates will be required to participate in a pre-employment medical evaluation conducted by Ventura County’s designated providers. This includes:

Ventura County Medical Center (VCMC)​

  • Stress Test​
  • Chest X-Ray​
  • Pulmonary Function Test
  • Lab Work (Blood Draw)​

Employee Health Services (EHS)​

  • Urine Sample​
  • Vision Test​
  • Hearing Test​
  • Review VCMC Results with EHS Medical Provider

Candidates who successfully complete the background and medical process will have their names referred to the Chief for final review and determination on who will receive a firm offer to join the Fire Academy.

Ventura County Physical Ability Test (VCPAT)

Successful completion of a VCPAT is required prior to the date of hire. VCFD will operate the test at no cost to the candidate.

Academy Selection
The final step in the hiring process is the selection. Candidates who successfully completed each step of the hiring process and are determined by the Chief to receive an offer to join the Fire Academy will receive a phone call extending an invitation to become part of the Ventura County Fire Department family.

If you have additional questions regarding the application or hiring process, you may contact us at

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