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Fire-Rescue Department

SDFD Careers Frequently Asked Questions

What are the minimum requirements to be a firefighter?

Fire Recruits minimum requirements are:

  • At least 18 years of age
  • A U.S. citizen or have the legal right to work in the U.S.
  • High school graduate or equivalent
  • A valid Emergency Medical Technician Certificate issued by the state of California, National Registry or by a EMT certifying agency approved by the state of California
  • Valid CPR Certificate issued by an American Heart Association healthcare provider or equivalent
  • A valid California Class C Driver's License

Where can I obtain an application?

  • City of San Diego Community Service Centers 5 convenient locations throughout the City. For the location nearest you call 619-235-5202.
  • Employment Information Center
    Civic Center Plaza Building
    1200 Third Avenue
    San Diego
  • By mail send a 9" by 12" self-addressed stamped envelope to:
    City of San Diego Jobs
    1200 Third Avenue Suite 300
    San Diego, CA 92101
  • Call Employment Information Center for more details 619-236-6467

How often are applications accepted?

Approximately every 1 to 2 years the department will establish a 2 to 3 week period in which to accept applications.

Be notified when applications are being accepted again by filling out the Job Interest Card.

How can I find out when applications are being accepted?

The City Personnel Office will send an email to people who fill out a "job interest card" online.

Can applicants get the status of their application?

If you are approved, you will be notified by mail and given a date to take the City's Civil Service Exam.

If your application is not approved, you will receive a Notice of Application Review. The notice states that you have five working days to contact the Testing Section of the Personnel Department. You may have your application re-evaluated by providing additional information you did not include on your application.

To learn the status on an application you submitted, please call the Testing Section of the Personnel Department at 619-236-6358 between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

What types of questions are in the written entry exam?

There are 5 sections in the written entry exam:

  • Mathematics;
  • Audio retention;
  • Reading comprehension;
  • Visual retention; and
  • Mechanical reasoning.

Will a four year degree give me an advantage?

A four year degree is not a requirement, but it may help during the interview phase of the hiring process.

How long is the San Diego Fire-Rescue Academy?

The Fire-Rescue Academy is 18 weeks long.

Are there any height or weight requirements?

The San Diego Fire-Rescue Department has no height or weight requirements.

How physically demanding is the San Diego Fire-Rescue Academy?

The San Diego Fire-Rescue Academy is very physically demanding and many of the drills are designed to simulate tasks you will encounter during emergency operations.

What happens when I graduate from the San Diego Fire-Rescue Academy?

Successful graduates of the San Diego Fire-Rescue Academy will be placed on probation for 1 year. During that first year the Probationary Firefighter will be assigned to a training station. The training stations are designed to continue academy training and help with the transition from academy drills to emergency fire ground operations.

What is the salary range for Firefighters?

A Firefighter I base salary is $3,275 monthly. Firefighter II salary ranges from $4,392 to $5,300. And the Firefighter III salary range is $4,611 to $5,564.

There is additional compensation for specialized skills or assignments:

  • Paramedic Certificate - $3.63/hour
  • Explosive Ordnance Disposal Detail - 10% of salary
  • Hazardous Material Detail - 10% of salary
  • Heavy Rescue - 10% of salary
  • Bilingual Pay - 3.5% of salary
  • Annual Uniform Allowance - $1,000
  • Emergency Medical Technician - 8.5% of salary
  • Field Trainer - 5% of salary

Will I be paid while attending the San Diego Fire-Rescue Academy?

Most recruits attending the San Diego Fire-Rescue Academy are City of San Diego employees and will be paid $3,400 monthly.

I've passed the EMT exam given by the State of California or the National Registry. Now what do I do?

Assuming you are at least 18 years old, a high school graduate and have the legal right to work in the US, you are eligible to apply for the position of Fire Recruit with the City of San Diego.

You must wait for an open application period.

We currently have an open application period every one to two years, based on staffing needs.

The City's Employment Information Center will be able to give you the most accurate idea of when the next open application period will most likely be. You can contact the City's Employment Information Center at 619-236-6467.

I'm certified as an EMT in another California county or another state. Will my EMT Certificate transfer to the City of San Diego?

Contact the County of San Diego Office of Emergency Medical Services at 619-285-6429.

If you have an EMT certificate from another California county, they will need a copy of your current EMT card and CPR card.

If you have an EMT certificate from another State, they will also conduct a background check and Live Scan (fingerprints).

I'm certified as a Paramedic in another California county or another state. Will my Paramedic License transfer to the City of San Diego?

Contact the State of California Office of Emergency Medical Services at (916) 322-4336.

If you have an emergency, dial 9-1-1 More information on calling 9-1-1.

For other questions or concerns, call 619-533-4300 or email