Post Chicago Firefighter/EMT Exam: Questions and Answers Facts



What are the Veterans, Chicago Public Schools, and Line of Duty Preferences?

a. For information about the Veterans and Line of Duty Preferences, please refer to 1.pdf The Chicago Public Schools Preference, which is new, is similar to the Veterans Preference and is available to applicants who graduated from a Chicago Public High School.

b. When setting up your application profile, you will be asked if you qualify for any of these preferences. If you believe that you do, make sure you answer “yes” to the applicable question. Please remember, however, that in order to actually receive a preference, you must also provide the required documentation. Preferences will not be applied without the required documentation.

To qualify for the Veterans Preference, you must provide one of the following:

  1. Veterans must attach a letter from the United States Veterans Administration on official stationary stating dates of service and character of service. Active military personnel must attach a letter from their Commanding Officer on official stationary verifying their active duty, length of service, and character of service in the Armed Forces of the United States. This letter should also include a copy of the applicant’s Military ID; OR
  2. A DD214 for Veteran Status. The copy must include discharge status, which is traditionally known as the Member Copy 4.
    1. If you lost your DD214, you should contact the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs at or (800) 827-1000.
    2. If a copy of the DD214 can’t be obtained, then a letter from the U.S. Veterans Administration on official stationery indicating dates of service and character of service can be accepted in lieu of the DD214.

3. To qualify for the Chicago Public Schools’ (“CPS”) Preference, you must provide one of the following:

  1. A copy of your diploma from a Chicago Public High School; OR
  2. A copy of your transcript from a Chicago Public High School verifying that you graduated.


4. To qualify for the Line of Duty Preference, please visit for further instructions.

5. How do I provide the required documents for the Veterans and CPS Preferences?

  1. The quickest and easiest way to submit the required documents is to scan them, log into your online application account, and upload them into your account. You can access your account at
  2. You may also provide documents via email, US Mail, or in person.
    1. You can email documents to, and you should keep a copy of the email you sent, making sure that it has the date and time stamp showing when you sent it.
    2. For U.S. Mail, we STRONGLY recommend that you use either certified mail or delivery confirmation.1. If you choose to send documents via regular mail, you run the risk that the documents will be lost, and there will be no way for you to prove that you sent the documents. Without such proof, we cannot consider the documents received.
    3. If you wish to bring documents in person, you must come to Room 100 in City Hall, and a receipt will be provided to you.
  3. We advise providing the documents as soon as possible. The sooner they are in our system, the sooner we can apply the preferences.

i. These documents can be added to your account at any time. There is no cutoff date for the submission of documents showing eligibility for Veterans or CPS Preferences. However, the later you get them into our system, the later those preferences may become available to you.

d. Some applicants will become eligible for a preference at a later time. For example, if you are actively serving in the military but have not yet reached your six months of service, upon completion of your six months of active service, you will qualify for the preference but must change your answer to the question about preferences in your profile and provide the required documentation to receive it. We advise updating your application as quickly as possible. As stated above, the later we receive the documents, the later the preference will be available to you.

i. Please remember to update your answer to the preferences question in your profile AND provide the required documentation. If one of these steps is not followed, you will not receive the preference.


6. What is the Chicago Police and Fire Training Academy (CPFTA) Preference?

  1. Qualified applicants that have successfully completed the Chicago Police and Fire Training Academy will be granted preference for an entry position for the sworn Police or uniformed Fire Department position, providing the preference is not superseded by a collective bargaining agreement.
  2. To qualify for the preference, the applicant must otherwise qualify for the job and must be eligible for the position. The preference granted under this section shall be in the form of preference in processing.
  3. Applicants who qualify under this section will receive consideration before other qualified applicants for approved, vacant positions unless superseded by a collective bargaining agreement.

7. What if I can’t log into my account?

a. Contact (312) 744-4976 or stop by City Hall, Room 100 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. We can provide your user name and reset your password.


1. If I receive notification that I’ve passed the exam, what happens next?

a. All applicants who pass the exam are placed on an eligibility list, and that list is sorted in lottery order. You will be referred to the Chicago Fire Department in lottery order as vacancies become available.

2. What minimum qualifications must I meet if I am referred off the eligibility list?

a. You must be at least 18 of age by December 31, 2014.

i. Pursuant to the Municipal Code of Chicago, no person may be appointed as a probationary Firefighter/EMT after the person’s 38th birthday.

  1. You must possess a current, valid State of Illinois driver’s license.
  2. You must be a high school graduate or possess a general equivalency diploma (GED) by December 31, 2014.
  3. Must have a valid, non-expired Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT) certification.Note: The CPAT certification must be current and valid by the candidate’s start date in the Fire Training Academy. The City of Chicago recommends that candidate’s work on obtaining their CPAT certification after successful completion of the written exam with consideration of their assigned lottery number. Please note, CPAT certifications are only valid for one year and will need to be renewed annually.
    1. For more information on the CPAT certification program, please visit the following website:
    2. For information about where to obtain the CPAT certification, please visit the following website:
    3. To access a video of the CPAT, please visit the following website:
  4. Must pass background investigation including, fingerprinting among other pre-employment procedures.
  5. Must be a resident in the City of Chicago at the time of hire.
  6. You must be a U.S. citizen or a legal resident at the time of hire.
  1. If I meet the minimum qualifications and am placed on the eligibility list in lottery order, how long am I on the eligibility list? When does the eligibility list expire?
    1. You remain on the eligibility list until it is either fully exhausted or retired. A Firefighter/EMT eligibility list typically lasts around six (6) years.
    2. Please be sure to keep your contact information (i.e., address, phone, and e-mail) up-to-date to ensure that we can reach you if you are referred from the eligibility list. To update your contact information as necessary by either logging into your account or e-mailing your updated contact information to
  2. What if I can’t log into my account?

a. Contact (312) 744-4976 or stop by City Hall, Room 100 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. We can provide your user name and reset your password.

5. If I’m referred to the Chicago Fire Department, am I immediately admitted to the Fire Training Academy?

a. No. Before you can be admitted to the Fire Training Academy, you must pass drug screenings, a background investigation including fingerprinting, and other pre-employment procedures as determined by the Chicago Fire Department. Successful candidates will be given a conditional offer of appointment and must pass a comprehensive medical examination prior to final appointment into the Fire Training Academy as a Probationary Firefighter/EMT.

6. What happens if I fail any portion of the hiring process?

a. If you fail any portion of the pre-employment hiring the Chicago Fire Department will request that your name be removed from the eligibility list and will cease to process your application.

  1. If I am admitted to the Fire Training Academy, what kind of training will I receive?
    1. Candidates receive approximately twelve (12) weeks of EMT-B training and twelve (12) weeks of fire suppression training at the Fire Academy before graduating and receiving a field assignment as a Probationary Firefighter/EMT. Any person appointed to the position of Firefighter/EMT will be required to become EMT/B certified before graduation from the Fire Academy, and maintain said certification or be subject to dismissal from the service of the City of Chicago. All new appointment Probationary Firefighter/EMTs must serve a nine (9) month probationary period effective the date of appointment.
    2. Please note that candidates processed from the 2014 Firefighter/EMT eligibility list will be the last group offered the EMT/B certification as part of the Fire Training Academy. For all future Firefighter/EMT postings, candidates will be required to obtain the EMT/B certification by the time they are called in for pre-employment processing.
  2. How long does it take to graduate from the Fire Training Academy?a. Approximately six (6) months. Probationary Firefighter/EMTs must successfully complete all training modules and applicable licensure tests and requirements in order to graduate.

9. If I graduate from the Fire Training Academy, where will I be assigned?

a. Assignments of graduates are selected randomly and depend on the operational needs of the Chicago Fire Department at the time of graduation.

  1. When does the probationary period start? How long is it?a. The probationary period starts when you are appointed as a Probationary Firefighter/EMT. The probationary period is nine (9) months.
  2. Do I have to graduate from the Fire Training Academy in order to work as a Firefighter/EMT?a. Yes.
  3. I am a Firefighter/EMT in another jurisdiction. Do I still have to go through the Chicago Fire Department’s training program?a. Yes. Regardless of your current status, everyone hired for the position of Firefighter/EMT must attend and graduate from the Fire Training Academy in order to hold that title. Additional Information HERE

One comment

  1. When do we find out our test results and eligibility?

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