Firefighter Trainee Recruitment Information


If you’re interested in joining our team, click this Interest Card PDF. Within it, you can review the Firefighter Trainee job classification, submit an interest card, and be notified when the application period opens. Once the application period is open, applicants must complete a VCFD employment application.

The following list includes the qualifications and requirements that are necessary to apply as a Firefighter Trainee. At the time of application, candidates must:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • 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 for hire, though they do not need to be met prior to application. View each section below for more information regarding these items.

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

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.

Pre-Academy Physical Ability Test
Successful completion of a physical ability test is required prior to the date of hire. In the coming weeks we will provide further information about the organization we will partner with to proctor this test.

The Firefighter Trainee hiring process is composed of various steps, each ensuring that we are hiring 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 on Human Resources will review applications to determine if the stated requirements and competencies are met. It’s important that the application materials that 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 2 hours and it measures a range of knowledge, skills, and abilities, including human relations, mechanical reasoning, reading comprehension, and math.

The department will provide a voucher code to access the National Testing Network (NTN) FireTEAM exam (at no cost to the candidate) after the applications have been reviewed. There will be various methods to complete the test, including at local testing facilities and through virtual proctoring.

Candidates may view a sample practice question on the Ergometrics website

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 6 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 vacancy, Human Resources sends the Chiefs all names within a standing, beginning at the top of the list with Standing 1 (Score of 95 and above), 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 are able to re-apply and re-test.

Chiefs’ Interview
The candidates who are in the top of 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 how well of a match you would be for the Ventura County Fire Department.

Interview feedback is given to the Fire Chief to consider and decide who he will invite to participate in the Background/Medical process.

Background and 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, 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 his findings and provides this information to Human Resources and the Fire Chief who will take into consideration the report for a final decision.

Medical Evaluation
Candidates will be required to participate in a pre-employment medical evaluation conducted by the 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 that 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.

Academy Selection
The final step in the hiring process is the selection. Candidates that 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 invite to be a part of the Ventura County Fire family.

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

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