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Requirements to Be a Firefighter in Chicago

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Being a firefighter in Chicago is a sought-after job, offering a lot of job satisfaction, knowing you can make a difference to your community. The starting salary is more than $40,000.00 per year, and the turnover rate is fairly low. As a matter of fact, it can sometimes be years in between vacancy announcements. Chicago firefighter applicants must meet several requirements.

Age Requirements

Firefighter applicants in Chicago must be at least 21 and present proof of age and identification with a picture ID such as a drivers license, and a Social Security card.

Educational Requirements

The minimum education requirement for Chicago firefighter applicants is a high school diploma or evidence of passing a high school equivalency exam such as the GED.

Physical Exam

To become a Chicago firefighter you must pass an extensive physical fitness exam called the CPAT or Candidates Physical Abilities Test. This test is used to determine whether the applicant can handle the exhaustive physical requirements of the job. This test may require the applicant to complete such tasks as climbing stairs and ladders or dragging heavy water hoses within a set period of time.

Background Exam

All Chicago firefighter applicants must pass a thorough investigation to determine that they do not have a criminal background and are of good character. Applicants will be required to provide all past addresses and employers, which will be verified.

Civil Service Test

Chicago firefighter hopefuls must pass a civil service test designed to establish proficiency in basic math, reading comprehension, grammar and vocabulary and reasoning skills.

Valid Driver's License

Because it may be necessary to drive the fire truck, applicants must have a valid Illinois driver's license and a clean driving history that is free of any convictions of driver-related offenses such as DUI or reckless driving.


Although applicants are not required to live within the city limits of Chicago, fire fighters are required to live in the city upon appointment.


Rebekah Worsham began writing professionally in 2007 and has been published on eHow. She has expertise in the fields of law, parapsychology and the treatment of drug and alcohol addiction. She holds a degrees in law from Beckfield College.

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