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Become a Firefighter

Information about qualifications, disqualifications and open enrollment.

Becoming a Fire Fighter

To apply to become a firefighter for the Albuquerque Fire Rescue, applicants must meet all of the following requirements:

  • Must be at least 21 of age by the end of the Open Enrollment period
  • Must have a High School Diploma or GED
  • Must be a United States Citizen or Legal Resident
  • Must possess a valid drivers license (out of state applicants must obtain a New Mexico driver's license within 30 days of being hired)
  • Possession of, or have the ability to obtain a valid Class E New Mexico driver's license by graduation from the academy
  • Must possess a current State or National Registry Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) license at the basic level or higher by close of Open Enrollment.
  • Males under the age of 25 must be registered for Selective Service.

Those who successfully pass the written entrance examination, Pack Test, Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT), and structured oral interview are eligible for selection by the Fire Chief. If selected, applicants must then pass a background investigation and medical exam.

Additional Information

  • If applicants are not New Mexico licensed but are Nationally Registered EMTs and/or Paramedics and are selected as cadets, they will be required to complete the reciprocity process and acquire a State of New Mexico EMT license by graduation from the academy.
  • To enroll in a EMT Basic Course applicants may contact any New Mexico College or University, such as Central New Mexico Community College or the University of New Mexico's EMS Academy at (505) 272-5757.

How to Apply: Open Enrollment

As a convenience, you can sign up to be notified when Open Enrollment will occur.

Sign up for Open Enrollment notification.

The Open Enrollment period will be announced in the Albuquerque Journal Sunday edition in the classified ads section before and during the Open Enrollment period.

Apply during Open Enrollment.

Firefighter Selection

The Albuquerque Fire Rescues greatest asset is its workforce, whether uniform or civilian staff, and in order to be successful, it is critical that we hire the most qualified/suitable candidates we can find for the position of cadet-firefighter and other critical support positions.

Albuquerque Fire Rescue has an obligation to our community to maintain a highly effective and disciplined workforce that reflects the diverse character of our community. Our success is dependent on administering a hiring process that reflects high organizational standards, has a high level of professional integrity, and is absent of political influences.

The Albuquerque Fire Rescue members are dedicated to providing total quality service to enhance the lives of those in our community. We will save lives, protect property and the environment with emphasis on firefighter safety and survival.

Characteristics of Good Firefighters

  • Communication skills (Listener, Articulate, Courteous, Kind)
  • Integrity (Honest, Trustworthy, Reliable, Accountable)
  • Physical Fitness (Ability to perform the physical tasks)
  • Adaptability (work through stress)
  • Dedication (Loyalty, Passion, Pride, Heart, Desire, Drive, Competence, Work ethic)
  • Team Player
  • Mechanical Aptitude (Technical Problem Solving)
  • Understands public image and trust
  • Responsible (ability to act without constant supervision)
  • Accountable (holding oneself accountable for their actions)
  • Self Discipline
  • Tolerance (Understanding, Compassion, Level headed)
  • Self-Sacrifice (Courageous, Giving)

Application Process

Applicants are required to submit an online application at during open enrollment. Open enrollment held at the beginning of each calendar year, and open enrollment dates are advertised in the Sunday edition of The Albuquerque Journal in January. The completed application is reviewed for completeness and verification of eligibility requirements.

Applicants are required to have proper government issued identification and current EMS license on their person when checking in to all scheduled testing sessions. Applicants must be on time for each testing session. Applicants that are late or do not have the proper identification will not be admitted for testing.

If accepted, the applicant is notified and scheduled for the following:

  • Written examination
  • Pack Test
  • Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT)
  • Oral Interview
  • Fire Chief Selection Committee consisting of Deputy Chiefs and the Training Division Commander

Out-of-Town Applicants

An applicant that lives 100 miles or greater from the City of Albuquerque may participate in the Out of Town Applicant examination week. Applicants will be scheduled to take the Written Examination, Pack Test, and Structured Oral Interview. Each applicant must pass each element of the hiring process before proceeding to the next portion of the hiring process. Failure of any one element will result in removal from the hiring process.

Out of Town applicants must provide a Certificate that indicates successful completion of the Candidate Physical Ability Test when reporting for the Written Examination. The CPAT must have been completed within one year of the date of the Written Examination.

Written Examination

The written examination is designed to measure the skills and abilities needed to succeed as a firefighter. The written examination consists of 100 multiple choice questions. Skills and abilities measured include listening comprehension, mathematics, mechanical reasoning, language mechanics and reading comprehension.

Pack Test

The Albuquerque Fire Rescue has adopted the Pack test as a physical ability component in the hiring process. Candidates must successfully complete the Pack Test at the arduous level. The Pack Test Sheet provides a detailed description of the test and training. When an applicant passes the Pack Test, he/she is scheduled for the CPAT process.

Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT)

The Albuquerque Fire Rescue has adopted the Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT) as a physical agility component in the hiring process. Testing is for candidates for hire only.

Firefighting requires above average aerobic and anaerobic capacity, muscular endurance and strength, and flexibility. The test is designed to identify individuals who have the physical attributes to perform the job of a firefighter. The Orientation Guide provides a detailed description of the course and explains the Pass/Fail scoring system.

Candidate Physical Ability Test Orientation

As part of the Selection process the Albuquerque Fire Rescue will offer a CPAT orientation. The Orientation class includes:

  • Information about the physical and mental rigors of the firefighter profession
  • Discussion of basic exercise concepts
  • Specific CPAT physical training tips
  • CPAT video that describes and demonstrates each test task

CPAT Preparation Guide & Orientation Guide

The CPAT Orientation Guide provides a detailed description of the course and explains the Pass/Fail scoring system. The CPAT Preparation Guide provides information about basic exercise concepts, specific flexibility, aerobic, and strength training exercises. It will also show you how to design your own exercise program and how to practice some of the events at home. Both the CPAT Preparation Guide and Orientation Guide are given to candidates at the CPAT Orientation.


The CPAT tests a candidate to determine whether he/she is physically qualified to perform the job of a firefighter. The test consists of eight separate job related physical tasks performed in a continuous sequence. All candidates must successfully pass the CPAT test for consideration of employment with the Albuquerque Fire Rescue.

The required job skills of modern firefighters are complex and rigorous. Firefighting is one of the most physically demanding jobs in the country, and it requires high levels of cardiopulmonary endurance, muscular strength, and muscular endurance.

The CPAT workshops will afford candidates the opportunity to view test events, talk with instructors, and physically examine each test component in a controlled setting.

Candidates will be allowed to practice and train in each specific activity. In most instances, training in each task proves the most effective means of success in the event. Candidates are also provided two opportunities to participate in a CPAT timed practice test.

Participants will be required to sign an injury waiver prior to their participation in any workshop or timed practice test.

Structured Oral Interview

Candidates will have the opportunity to demonstrate their personal qualifications, training, experience, attitude, and personal attributes. The structured oral interview panel consists of two Albuquerque Fire Rescue Company or Command Officers and one non-sworn City employee.

Fire Chief Selection Committee

Once all candidates have passed all phases of Albuquerque Fire Rescue's hiring process, the candidates names are placed alphabetically onto a spreadsheet that includes criteria considered during the selection process.

Cadet Disqualification List

  • Personal Integrity - An applicant must not have committed any act(s) in their background that would indicate a lack of personal integrity or morality on the part of the applicant.
  • Dishonesty - An applicant must not intentionally or unintentionally omit facts during any part of the background investigation.
  • Drivers License - Applicants must possess a valid drivers license and out-of-state applicants must obtain a New Mexico drivers license within 30 days of being hired.
  • Driving History - An applicant must not have a noticeable pattern of traffic arrests, citations and/or convictions within the last 3 years. Stop sign violations, red light violations, reckless driving, speeding, parking tickets and careless driving are just a few examples of traffic violations that could disqualify an applicant if he/she has developed a pattern.
  • Employment History - An applicant must not have a history of unsatisfactory employment.
  • Financial History - An applicant must not have a history or chronic recurring financial problems indicating an unwillingness or inability to live within his/her financial means. An applicant who has filed for bankruptcy will not necessarily disqualify an applicant. An applicant cannot be in collections for $500 or more.
  • Military Service - An applicant must have had an honorable discharge or a general discharge under honorable conditions.
  • Criminal History - An applicant must not have been convicted of any misdemeanor violation within the last 3 years. A misdemeanor violation that an applicant did commit in his/her past, but not within the past 3 years, will be looked at on a case-by-case basis. A felony conviction will automatically disqualify an applicant. An applicant cannot have been convicted of Domestic Violence.
  • Driving While Intoxicated - An applicant will be disqualified if he/she has had a conviction or any admittance of guilt for driving under the influence of alcohol within the last 5 years or have committed multiple DWIs within the last 10 years whether from an administrative sanction by the Motor Vehicle Department, a criminal conviction or any admittance of guilt or by military disciplinary action.
  • Illegal Drug Usage - An applicant must not have used any illegal drug that would amount to a misdemeanor crime if found in possession within the last 3 years.
    • *Exception: an applicant must not have used marijuana within the last two years. An applicant must not have used an illegal drug which would amount to a felony crime if found in possession within the last 5 years.

Employment of Relatives

Albuquerque Fire Rescue recognizes and honors the family tradition of joining the firefighting profession by providing due consideration in the hiring process. Candidates with legacy ties to Albuquerque Fire Rescue must still be competitive in the hiring process.