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Join San Diego Fire-Rescue

Choosing a career as a Firefighter is the beginning of a journey. It can be one of the most challenging, exciting and rewarding experiences of your life.

Learn more about being a Firefighter

Learn more about being a Dispatcher

PDF icon Joining the Fire Service in San Diego County

Meet the Chief

Chief Colin Stowell is the 18th fire chief of the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department (SDFD). Chief Stowell was hired by SDFD in 1988 and has served in every rank in the department. He earned an associate’s degree in fire science from Miramar College, a bachelor’s degree in public administration from San Diego State University and completed the Executive Fire Officer Program at the National Fire Academy.

Read more about Chief Stowell

photo of Chief Colin Stowell

Application Process

1 Get started


2 Meet the minimum requirements

You must meet the following requirements on the date you apply, unless otherwise indicated.

AGE: You must be at least 18 years old to apply (no maximum age).

EDUCATION: Graduation from high school OR passage of the California High School Proficiency Examination (CHSPE) or General Education Development (GED) examination.

CITIZENSHIP: You must be a United States citizen or have the current legal right to work in the United States.

CERTIFICATE: You must have ALL of the following valid certificates:

  1. Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Certificate or a Paramedic License issued ONLY by the State of California or by the National Registry (NREMT-Basic) or by an EMT or Paramedic certifying agency approved by the State of California.
  2. Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Card (Healthcare Provider/BLS Provider equivalent or higher).


  • A valid County of San Diego Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Certificate or Paramedic License issued by the State of California and certified by the County of San Diego is required at the time of hire.
  • A valid Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Card (Healthcare Provider/BLS Provider equivalent or higher) is required at the time of hire.
  • A Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) or Pediatric Education for Prehospital Professionals (PEPP) Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Certificate is NOT qualifying.

LICENSE:  A valid California Class C Driver License is required at the time of hire.  

3 Submit an application

Go to the City's Open Job Opportunities page to fill out an application for Fire Recruit.

Is the application period closed? Here's what you can do while you wait...

  • Be notified when applications are being accepted again by filling out the Job Interest Card.
  • Associate's Degree programs for Fire Science or Emergency Management are appropriate degree tracks for the Fire Service. Though they are not required, it is a great way to begin preparing for your career advancement opportunities.
  • IMPORTANT! Get your Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT) certification, which is required at the time of hire.

4 Take the written exam

If you pass the application phase, then it's time to take the PDF icon written exam.

5 Get scheduled for an interview

Once you pass the exams and meet the criteria for an interview, you will be notified by Personnel about your scheduled interview date. If you have questions about any portion of the process, please contact Personnel at or 619-236-6400.

Recruitment Events

There are no recruiting events at this time.


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