Application Period Closed

Please keep an eye on our website and social media pages for future recruitment periods


The Northwest Fire District is seeking individuals for our next Firefighter Recruit Academy Class. No experience necessary. As you apply, please note, this is an online-only application process.

The 22-week Academy has a tentative start date of January 3, 2023 and is scheduled for 40 hours a week. The rate of pay while in the Academy is $24.25 per hour.

After successfully completing the Academy, candidate status will change to Probationary Firefighter and begin a 56-hour work week schedule.  The rate of pay is $16.55 per hour or $50,444.40 annually.

IMPORTANT:  During this process applicants/candidates should not be contacting employees, visiting District work sites or requesting ride-alongs. 

If you have questions about your eligibility or the recruitment process, please refer to our FAQ section.

Still have a question about the recruitment process?  Submit your question here.


Work with Purpose. Serve with Pride.

Firefighter Recruit


  • Ability to work well in a team environment, oftentimes during stressful situations.
  • Adapt to new technologies adopted by the Fire District.
  • Administer EMS to sick or injured persons.
  • Assemble and put into use as necessary or directed to accomplish a task.
  • Attend classes in firefighting, EMS, and related duties.
  • Attend public gatherings to ensure observance of fire safety requirements, conduct public education classes as required.
  • Conduct tours and demonstrations of fire equipment and techniques for a broad range of audiences.
  • Conduct tours of fire stations.
  • Lay and connect hose, hold nozzles and direct water streams, raise and climb ladders and use chemical extinguishers, bars, hooks, lines and other equipment at the scenes of fires.
  • Operate motor vehicle equipment.
  • Operate power tools (chain saw and rotary saw) and Hydraulic Extrication Tools.
  • Operate pumps and associated equipment.
  • Perform general maintenance work in the upkeep of the Fire District property.
  • Perform salvage operations.
  • Prepare detailed and accurate reports of medical incidents.
  • Strive to enhance internal and external customer service.
  • Work in conditions that can be immediately dangerous to life and health. 


  • Must be at least 18 years of age
  • High School Diploma, General Education Development (GED) or higher degree
  • Valid Driver’s License with an Arizona Driver’s License by the start of the Academy
  • Basic computer skills


Preference Points for Veterans are granted to applicants who apply for an entry level (i.e., Firefighter) position and earn a passing score at the end of the testing process.

Have a question?

Check our FAQ section for answers.

Employment Application

To complete the application, you will need proof of completed education and resume.

Questions? Please email  Please no visits or phone calls.

Your employment application is the first phase of the selection process. If selected to move forward in the selection process, you will be notified by Human Resource Services. The next phases of the selection process consist of: online assessment, candidate physical agility test (CPAT), one-way video interview, credibility assessment, and an interview with our Fire Chief Panel. You will be contacted after each activity by email as to your status in the selection process.

If successful, a contingent job offer is made and the following must be passed: psychological testing to include an interview with a psychologist, drug testing, background checks, driver’s license check, employment reference checks/public record request, and pre-employment physical.

As a federal grant recipient, the Northwest Fire District must maintain a Drug Free Workplace
Applicant Required Notices

This is an online only application process – faxed or emailed resumes or printed applications will NOT be accepted.

What We Offer

Medical Plans: NWFD pays all medical premiums for our valued employees and their dependents
Dental and Vision Plans
25-year Retirement Plan
Holiday Pay
Life and ADD Coverage
Paid Time Off
Promotional Opportunities
Short Term Disability
Tuition Reimbursement
Uniform Allowance
Voluntary Deferred Compensation Plan

Firefighter Recruitment and Selection Process Timeline

We have compiled a timeline you can refer to that contains all the important dates for each step of the recruitment process.  Please click on Testing Details for a description of the activities. This schedule is subject to change as needed.

Applications: June 1st through July 15th
Online Assessment: June 1st through July 28th

CPAT Orientation:

July 29th through July 31st

CPAT Practice: 

August 20th and 21st
  September 10th and 11th

CPAT Test: 

September 23rd – 25th

First Interview:

July 29th through September 30th
Note: Applicants must pass CPAT before moving on to the first interview.

Credibility Assessment:

October 17th – 28th

Second Interview:

October 31st – November 11th

Pre-Employment Process:

November 14th – December 2nd

2022-01 Firefighter Academy:

January 3, 2023

The District reserves the right to change or eliminate any of these activities.  Candidates will be notified in advance of any changes and given the opportunity to withdraw. If an accommodation is needed for any of the activities, the applicant must inform Human Resource Services by email, in advance, so that the District has sufficient notice to try and accommodate the applicant.

Testing Details

The testing process will consist of five (5) phases: Online Assessment, CPAT, First Interview, Credibility Assessment and Second Interview.  Details on each are below. 

Online Assessment

The online assessment will test your cognitive ability, motivation, and personality as it pertains to being a firefighter.


Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT)

The Northwest Fire District utilizes the fire service CPAT (Candidate Physical Ability Test) as part of the recruitment selection process for our academies. The test is used throughout the country and is a pass/fail test. The District will not be accepting CPAT cards from other agencies or companies. Candidates are required to participate and pass the District’s CPAT process to move forward. CPAT certificates issued by NWFD can be accepted in lieu of the official CPAT if it was issued within the last six (6) months.

The District will offer CPAT orientations, practice sessions, and an official test as part of this recruitment process. CPAT sessions will be held at our training center. The CPAT process does allow candidates to opt out of the orientation and practice sessions by signing a waiver. However, if you are new to the CPAT, we highly recommend going through the entire process. At NWFD, the CPAT is administered by the District’s Peer Fitness Team. This group of firefighters has special training designed to help firefighters successfully do their job. They are a great asset in helping people through the CPAT process.

Reference Materials: CPAT Guide  |  CPAT Preparation Guide

First Interview

Once you pass the Official CPAT, you will receive an email inviting you to the First Interview. The First Interview is done online and consists of seven (7) video questions. You will respond to the questions being asked on video. Completing this process should take you about one (1) hour.


Credibility Assessment

Based on technology, this assessment is evaluating an individual’s honesty – one of the District’s core values. This is a pass/fail assessment. The District is interested in measuring your truthfulness in the following areas:

  1. Your employment application information. Did you include every job you have had in the last ten (10) years?  You will be able to review your application before taking the assessment, and add anything you may have forgotten to include; and
  2. Use of illegal drugs (including illegal steroids and abused prescription drugs in the last five years) and marijuana within the past 12 months; and 
  3. Criminal history.

Second Interview

Should you be selected to move forward from the First Interview, you will receive an email inviting you to the Second Interview.  Please expect to be with us for one (1) hour.


Frequently Asked Questions – Recruitment Process

In the FAQ section below, you will find answers to the most common questions we have received about our recruitment processes. Further, we continually update this section with answers to questions specific to this recruitment process for the benefit of all candidates, so check back often.

Just click on any of the questions below to view its answer.

When can I submit an application for a firefighter recruit position?

Answer: June 1, 2022 through July 15, 2022

What is the minimum age requirement to apply for a firefighter position?

Answer: All applicants must be at least 18 years of age at the time they submit their application.

If I live outside of Arizona, can I still apply for the position of firefighter recruit?

Answer: Yes.

What documents do I need to submit with my online application?

Answer: You will need to upload a copy of your Diploma, GED, Degree or Unofficial Transcripts with your online application.

Do Veterans receive any preference points?

Answer: Yes. Preference Points for Veterans are granted to applicants who apply for an entry level (i.e., Firefighter) position and earn a passing score at the end of the testing process.

What is the start date of the Fire Academy?

Answer: Tentatively January 3, 2023

How do I prepare for this recruitment process?

Answer: There are three basic areas of the testing process that require your focus:
1. Online Assessment​ – Tests your cognitive ability, motivation, and personality as it pertains to being a firefighter.
2. CPAT – The CPAT is the physical portion of the testing process –
The following documents can help you prepare for the CPAT:
CPAT Orientation Guide
CPAT Preparation Guide
3. The Interviews – This process does not require that you have any previous firefighting experience, therefore the interview will not focus on firefighting specific topics.

You should also review our information on what it is like to be in a Fire Academy. You can find that information here.

Does the written test have a study guide or study materials?

Answer: This is a general aptitude test with a variety of subjects and as such, there is no study guide or study materials.

I am unable to provide a copy of my diploma/degree. What can I provide in its place?

Answer: You may submit an unofficial copy of your transcripts indicating that you have graduated with your online application.

I don't currently have an Arizona driver's license. Can I still apply?

Answer:  Yes.  We require a valid driver’s license at the time of application – Valid: means that an individual’s current driver’s license is not revoked, suspended, expired, refused, cancelled, or restricted.

While all valid driver’s licenses are accepted to apply, you must obtain an Arizona driver’s license by the start of the Academy.

How do I know if my employment application and the files I’ve uploaded have been submitted correctly?

Answer: When you submit your completed employment application, you will receive an on-screen confirmation message thanking you for applying.

I’ve just submitted my application and realized that I made a mistake. What do I do now?

Answer: If you realize that you have made a mistake, email within 24 hours from submission of your application explaining your situation.  Please include your name and the ID number you established on your application.

Will I be paid during the Fire Academy?

Answer: Yes. You will be compensated while in the academy.

I’ve tried to upload documents as a part of the application process, but I can’t seem to upload them. What can I do?

Answer: If you’ve tried and not been able to upload your documents to complete your application, you may scan or take a picture of the documents and attach them to an email sent to In your email containing the attached documents, please make sure you include:

  • Your first and last name
  • The Applicant ID Number you established in the application.
  • A description of the documents you’re attaching
  • A good contact number and email to reach you

When you submit your materials to, you will receive a reply email within one to three business days. Beyond that confirmation notice, the Human Resources Team will only contact you if there are issues with the materials submitted to the email address. If our team cannot reach you by phone or email to address any potential issues with your documents, YOUR APPLICATION WILL REMAIN INCOMPLETE and WILL NOT BE SUBMITTED. An incomplete application or application that has not been submitted means you will NOT be included among the applicants that proceed in this process.

I am currently an EMT/Advanced-EMT/Paramedic student. Can I apply?

Answer:  Yes.

Am I required to have a COVID-19 vaccination to be eligible for employment?

Answer: Northwest Fire District follows guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Arizona Department of Health Services to ensure a safe environment for our team. Vaccination from COVID-19 is not required for employment.

Life As A Northwest Fire District Firefighter

Below you will find answers to the most common questions about life as a firefighter with the Northwest Fire District.

Click any of the questions below to view the answer to that question.

What is the typical day like for a Northwest Fire District firefighter?

Each shift starts at 0800, that’s 8 A.M., with a shift change report from the off-going firefighter. Once your personal protective equipment (commonly referred to as Turn-Out or Bunker gear) is placed on the truck, a thorough check of the truck and it’s equipment is completed to ensure response readiness. After a daily truck check, the crew will meet with the station Captain to go over the schedule/plan for the day and any new organizational memos.
In addition to responses to emergency and non-emergency incidents, a typical 24-hour shift will consists of:
– Daily truck check and equipment maintenance
– Fire station maintenance, upkeep and cleaning
– A minimum of two hours of fire-related training via hands-on drills, multi-company drills, webcam/online training, individual online assignments, etc…
– 1 hour of individual or crew physical training
– Emergency medical training and drills
– Completion of electronic patient care and fire incident reports
– Public service truck demonstrations and public education
– Fire hydrant testing and basic maintenance
– Pre-incident planning of buildings in response area
– Fire station tours
– Crew dinner preparation
– Individual study

What is it like to be a Northwest Fire District firefighter?

Serving the public as a firefighter is a physically and mentally demanding profession. To succeed in this profession, you must maintain peak levels of physical fitness, continually strive to learn and improve, and be able to operate and remain calm in a variety of high stress environments. You will have to give a lot of yourself in this line of work, but it can give back so much more: the experience of serving your community, the lifelong friendships, and the relationships you can develop.

Working 24-hour shifts can be a difficult transition for some firefighters and their family. It is imperative to develop and maintain a strong support system for yourself as a firefighter as well as for your family.

What schedule does the Northwest Fire District work?

The Northwest Fire District works a “3/4” schedule. What this means is that you work 24-hours on shift followed by 24 hours off, for 3 shifts. This is followed by 4 days off. This averages to 58 hours worked per week.  For example, you might work Monday, Wednesday, and Friday followed by four days off.  Your next work pattern would be Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday followed by Monday through Thursday off.  The work shifts continue to cycle like this, sharing weekends and holidays equally over a three-year period.

What type of promotional opportunities are available as a Northwest Fire District firefighter?

Advancement opportunities available to members of the Northwest Fire District are:

  • Engineer (Driver/Operator of the fire engines and ladder trucks)
  • Paramedic (A Paramedic is an individual trained to provide advanced life support. There is one on each responding apparatus within the Northwest Fire District)
  • Captain (Supervises an engine company which includes an engineer, paramedic, and firefighter)
  • Battalion Chief
  • Deputy Chief
  • Division Chief
  • Assistant Chief
  • Fire Chief

In addition to these ranked positions, members of the Northwest Fire District have the opportunity to extend their responsibilities with specialty certifications:

  • Hazardous Materials Technician
  • Technical Rescue Technician
  • Peer Fitness Trainer
What type of incidents does Northwest Fire District respond to?

Northwest Fire District responds to a wide variety of emergency and non-emergency incidents.

Fire responses can include:

  • Residential fires
  • Commercial fires
  • Vehicle fires
  • Brush fires

Emergency medical responses can include:

  • Mass-casualty incidents
  • Vehicle accidents
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Cardiac and respiratory emergencies
  • Seizures
  • Diabetic emergencies
  • Strokes
  • Drug overdoses
  • Traumatic injuries
  • In addition to the above, a wide variety of other medical emergencies

Non-emergency responses can include:

  • Elderly/Invalid assists
  • Smoke detector battery changes
  • Snake and desert pest removals
Does Northwest Fire District provide any type of retirement plan?

Northwest Fire District is a member of the Arizona Public Safety Personnel Retirement System (PSPRS). For more information on this visit

Are families allowed to come by the station?

Yes, the Northwest Fire District is a family-friendly organization and we welcome the families of employees to stop by from time-to-time for a visit.

How does the 24-hour shift work for families?

24 hours on shift can seem like a long time for families who are used to having their loved one home every night. On average, a NWFD firefighter works about 10 shifts per month, leaving the employee with much time at home for family activities. The shift schedule leaves the employee with more opportunities than just evenings and weekends to spend with the family, as well as some luxuries not typical to a normal 40-hour work schedule like volunteering in the classroom, going on field trips, and helping the kids with homework right after school.

How does the job and schedule of a firefighter affect holidays?

Firefighters do work on holidays, but because there are three shifts rotating throughout the year, each shift takes a turn on their assigned year. Holidays are worked just like the normal 24-hour shift, so if you are assigned to work, you will be at the station for the entire holiday. As mentioned before, families are welcome to come by the station, and some crews even invite family members for a holiday meal at the station. NWFD does pay a holiday differential to employees that are on shift.  Most NWFD employees have adjusted over the years and schedule family functions around the shift schedule.

Do firefighters sleep while on-duty?

The short answer is yes, but it’s not guaranteed. The long answer is that it depends on the assigned station and the number of emergency calls for that shift. The firefighter has an assigned room for the shift with a bed, but pillows and bedding are the responsibility of the employee as they are not provided by the District. Life at a busy station can be a challenge and it is possible for the firefighter to be awake and functioning for 24 hours.  It usually doesn’t take long to adjust to an abnormal sleep schedule, the adrenaline gets you going.

Do firefighters really cook meals at the station?

This depends on the preference of the on-duty crew, but most crews do share the responsibility of cooking the station meal at dinner. Traditionally, there is an assigned meal rotation based on the size of the station and number of crew members. Paying for the meal also depends on the preference of the crew. Some crews share the cost of the meal equally, while others have the person cooking pay for the cost of the meal. You don’t have to know how to cook to be a firefighter, but it doesn’t hurt. With so many opportunities to prepare meals, most firefighters end up with some decent cooking skills which is another benefit of the job.

What does it mean to be a Probationary Firefighter?

The first year of employment as a new firefighter is a probationary period. This can be a stressful experience. The probationary firefighter is expected to learn a large amount of information while demonstrating a strong work ethic. Upon completion of the Fire Academy, the firefighter is assigned to a fire station. Training continues at the station through book work, practical drills, and a significant amount of on-the-job training. During the probationary year, the new firefighter is required to complete a series of predetermined training modules while working their assigned shifts. After completing each module, the probationary firefighter must successfully pass both a written and practical skills test. If the firefighter successfully passes all the required modules, they will become a non-probationary employee.

What to expect from a fire academy

The purpose of the District’s Fire Academy is to turn Recruits into Firefighters.  The demands of the academy are hard, at times you will feel a bit overwhelmed and exhausted, but the effort is worth the reward.  Our academies are designed to create technically strong, mentally tough, and physically fit Firefighters.  There are academic and skills tests throughout the academy that will require passing scores.  While we would be hesitant to compare our academies to military boot camps, many of our former recruits have said they are as close to a military boot camp as they’ve ever participated.  Having said this, the District assembles a group of its finest Firefighters, Engineers, Paramedics, and Captains to lead each group of recruits through the academy process.

When we asked our last academy what they wished they had known prior to beginning, they focused on the physical aspects of the academy.  They suggested incoming recruits should be able to run a mile at a pretty good clip, be able to run for 30 minutes without stopping, and be able to do push-ups, pull-ups and bench presses.  

Additionally, “cross fit” activities were mentioned as good preparation, like “burpees” and “Murphs.” Focus on activities that involve continuous work with little to no rest between exercises.  Other helpful advice includes doing activities such as running stadiums, wearing boots to get acclimated to the increased weight factor, and going on hikes.

Remember,  good health begins with a good diet.  If you’re not eating well, start now.  If you haven’t been exercising regularly, we suggest you start slow and work on building up.  We also suggest you make an appointment with your doctor to ensure you’re physically ready for your pre-academy training and the demands of the academy. 


The Northwest Fire District is an internationally accredited, award-winning, innovative provider of all-hazards emergency response. We ensure our community receives high-quality and cost-efficient fire, emergency medical, and prevention services. Bordering the City of Tucson and 100 miles south of Phoenix, the Northwest Fire District spans areas of unincorporated Pima County, the majority of the Town of Marana, and touches into areas of the Town of Oro Valley.

The District covers 127,000 residents and more than 3,000 commercial occupancies over a 155-square mile area.  Northwest Fire maintains eleven strategically located stations with plans for future stations to keep up with our community’s growth.  All of our firefighters are trained as Emergency Medical Technicians or Paramedics.  We provide advanced life support (ALS) ambulance transportation for the most injured or ill patients within the District and have been designated by the State of Arizona as a premier EMS Provider.  In addition to suppression activity, Northwest Fire manages a Hazardous Materials Team and a Technical Rescue Team for swift water, confined space, and rugged terrain rescues.  We also provide an expansive schedule of community education programs and support progressive fire prevention codes.

More information is available on


If you’re not already familiar with our community, we’re eager to tell you about the amazing people and unique landscapes that make up the Northwest Fire District. If you’re already in-the-know, it’s a great reminder of what makes the place we call home so unique, special, and unforgettably Southwest.

Our District borders Arizona’s second largest city, Tucson, and spans into the communities of Marana and Oro Valley. Between these municipalities and the areas of unincorporated Pima County that we protect are a variety of urban, suburban, rural and undeveloped wilderness expanses that make up our jurisdiction. The areas where we work include modern, fast-paced and innovative cityscapes as well as undeveloped landscapes that are steeped in culture and history. Both perspectives present scenic views of populated or open spaces found in the deserts of Arizona. We have an amazing mix of high-level business professionals intertwined with genuine cowboys and cowgirls in dust-covered boots and hats.

In addition to the neighborhoods, schools, and businesses where we keep watch, we also protect vast stretches of I-10, the Union Pacific Railroad, Marana Regional Airport, and hiking trails that wander through the Saguaros and traverse into the mountains. Our residents and visitors are sports enthusiasts, high-end shoppers, stargazers, bird watchers, little league coaches, cuisine coinsurers, homemakers, adventure seekers, college kids, retirees and everything in between. Whatever their “thing” is, they all seem to appreciate our Southwest sunsets that are second to none.

There’s so much more to say about our community, but in short, we believe we have it all. What’s more… there’s so much that we know can only be found right here in our backyard. You can read more about the many areas in and around Northwest Fire District through the links below:

Marana  |  Pima County  |  Oro Valley  | Tucson

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