Chicago fire department station

Chicago Fire Department Test – How To Prepare & Become a Firefighter?

Firefighting is one of the most rewarding occupations out there. It takes a lot of determination and hard work to join the ranks of one of the largest public service departments in Illinois.

Thanks to the hard work of Commissioner Annette Nance-Holt, the national fire department is receiving more women and African American firefighter applicants than ever before. With the help of JobTestPrep, you will stand a chance to become a Chicago firefighter.

Take the Chicago Fire Department Practice Test to improve your score.

About The Exam

Tens of thousands of people apply for the Chicago fire department and there is a long waiting process before new firefighters are accepted. The first step to protecting the city of Chicago from fires and to serve its men and women, is to complete one of the city’s most demanding exams.

Studying for the Chicago Fire Department test well in advance is crucial to passing. The Chicago fire department’s acceptance rate is not publicized, so it is hard to say what the minimum requirements are for the job. What we can say for certain is that the Chicago firefighter exam focuses on six fields of knowledge.

closeup of yellow helmets for firefighters

What to expect from the Chicago firefighters entrance exam


Firefighters need to deal with a lot of math while on the job. Chicago’s exam will contain numerous math word problems based on what normally comes up in the field. From estimating the correct ladder and hose lengths, to knowing how much water is left in the tank, is crucial to dealing with different types of emergencies.

Reading Comprehension

These questions will revolve around matters of public safety. The Chicago fire department will be testing whether you understand the rules and regulations necessary to ensuring the safety of the city.

Mechanical Aptitude

Chicago’s Firefighters use a lot of mechanical principles. This section will test you on your understanding of what the most secure way to place a ladder is, how to carry something efficiently and how to forcibly enter vehicles and structures when necessary.

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Situational Judgment Questions

As a fire fighter, you are expected to make calls on the fly. It is especially necessary for leadership & team work. No two emergency scenarios are the same. In this part of the exam, the Chicago Fire Department will see if you can keep your head in the game.

Spatial Orientation

In the heat of the moment, you can easily miss crucial information. Firefighters are tested on their spatial orientation, to see if they can identify the signs of a fire or lives that need saving.

General Knowledge

young man studying in front of laptop

This part of the firefighters entrance exam will test you on general knowledge and things you learned until high school.

How to prepare for the Chicago fire department test?

If you want to get a sense of what will be on the test, the job description on the City of Chicago website states what knowledge, skills, and abilities are required for firefighting.

Create an outline of the key points for each topic. You can use this as evidence in your answers. Studying with other test takers can help you streamline your notes. Explaining your work to someone else also helps you cement your knowledge better than any quiz.

Make time to study every day. Diligence is the master of any exam. But do not focus on a single topic for every session. You will find that you can retain more information by approaching a variety of different subjects in a single sitting.

There is a big mass of applicants expected to come in from all over the country whenever the firefighter exam opens. this means that if you don’t pass the test on your first try. then you have to wait a year to take it again. We highly recommend you start preparing as soon as possible to avoid this.

pinned exam data in the calendar

How long does it take to become a firefighter in Chicago?

An aspiring Chicago firefighter needs to fulfill certain criteria before the test. They need a high school diploma, valid Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certification and passing the Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT). Every fire department has its own screening process and some offer courses like EMT training.

The written test is just the first step. The application process also includes an interview, background & medical examination, drug screening, and a psychological evaluation. Once all these steps are cleared, your training begins which varies from fire department to fire department. On average, the whole process can take eight to twelve months!

As of 2023, the average firefighter in Illinoi is paid a salary of $48,039 for a year’s service.

closeup fire truck

It is of the utmost importance that you prepare for the Chicago firefighter test as best you can. With proper test prep you will reach the top of the candidates list and impress the hiring managers.

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Firefighting is not the only option if you are interested in a career of fire safety. EMT, Fire investigator, and fire safety experts require similar training and are just as important to the community as firefighters.

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