How To Become A Student Firefighter at UAF

Do you want a career in emergency services? Are you self-disciplined, responsible and focused? Do you have room for growth in a fast-paced and ever changing career? The University Fire Department is nationally-known as the only program of its kind where students can earn a paycheck ($18,000 to $24,000 per year), respond to actual emergencies as a certified fire fighter and emergency medical technician, and get a college degree. Because of the emphasis on education, work experience, and on-the-job emergency training, nearly 100% of our program alumni in recent years have successful careers in emergency services throughout Alaska and the other United States.


Student firefighters are required to:

  • Maintain 12 credit hours per semester with a grade point average of 2.00 or better;
  • Work up to 56 hours per week on rotating 24 hour shifts;
  • Maintain a satisfactory driving and criminal record; and,
  • Meet the department’s ongoing performance and conduct standards.

Student firefighters are expected to develop a personal academic plan, and obtain a degree before applying for career positions.


The steps for becoming a paid student firefighter with University Fire Department are:

  1. Complete the Candidate Profile; 
  2. Apply for admission and enroll as a student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks;
  3. Complete financial aid paperwork and be pre-approved for financial aid, if needed;
  4. Complete an application for student firefighter employment;
  5. Get accepted into the UAF-CTC Fire Academy;
  6. Satisfactorily pass and complete all requirements of the Fire Academy;
  7. Pass the Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT).

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Kalen Middleton at (907)474-5770.

Note: By completing the candidate profile, your contact information enables us to notify you with upcoming job opportunities, as well as getting to know you.

    1.  Complete the Candidate Profile.

The Candidate Profile collects basic information about you, your interests, and your ambitions. We use it to make sure we have your contact information and to start discussing your educational and career plans with you. Eventually we will use the information you provide along with your application package to evaluate your application. We encourage all potential applicants to complete this even if they aren’t sure they are ready to apply

    2.  Apply for admission and enroll as a student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

To work at the University Fire Department, you will need to be accepted and enrolled as a full-time student. You can apply for admission here. For more information about UAF’s fire science, paramedic, and emergency management degrees, click on each program or visit our web site at

    3.  Complete financial aid paperwork and be pre-approved for financial aid, if needed.

Whether or not you plan to use financial aid, begin by completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which may help pay for part of your tuition and employment. Information on student financial aid and scholarships is available here.

    4.  Complete an application for student firefighter employment.

Proceed with your application for employment even if you haven’t been accepted at UAF thus far; you will be asked on the employment application, “Are you enrolled, or intend to enroll at UAF?” – be sure to indicate “yes”, or your application will be rejected.

The application for student employment is open on-line beginning April 15th through May 31. Before you start, you will need to have the following items ready to attach to your application:

  • Resume

This does not have to be overly fancy or detailed, but should highlight things such as your education, experience, accomplishments, community activities, interests, etc.

  • Letter of interest

Why do you want to be a student firefighter with University of Alaska Fairbanks? Your letter should include a statement about your academic goals. We will be looking for applicants focused on completing a minimum of an associate degree before testing for career positions.

  • A copy of your state driving history

You can obtain this from your state’s Division of Motor Vehicles. Our driving history standard is here.

  • A copy of your criminal history

You can obtain this from the Alaska State Troopers or your state’s police agency. You may have to pay a small fee for this. The requirements for the background check are in 7 AAC 10.905.

  • A copy of your high school transcript (or at least one year of full-time college transcripts) and your SAT and/or ACT score

Unofficial transcripts are fine. Since the University Fire Department is an academic setting, we use your transcripts and test scores to ensure you will be able to handle college-level work. We typically look for a minimum of 2.5 GPA and an ACT score of 21 or SAT score of 1450, though we sometimes make exceptions.  We reserve the option to waive the testing requirements based on demonstrated performance (e.g. transcript).

  • Two letters of recommendation

There is some great information on résumés and letters of recommendation at UAF’s Career Services web site

Once you have all these documents ready, apply on-line at (Posting Number TBD- Student Firefighter).  Next recruitment will open April 15th 2016 and will close May 31st 2016 at 5pm.  Note: if you also want to apply for the UAF-CTC Fire Academy, you can do so in your employment application; see step number five below.

    5.  Get accepted into the UAF-CTC Fire Academy.

Before you can start working as a student firefighter at University Fire Department, you will need to be certified Firefighter I by the State of Alaska or another agency accredited by the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC). If you don’t have this certification, you can apply for admission to our UAF-CTC Summer Fire Academy.  Simply complete an application for student firefighter employment (listed in step 4).  On your application where the question is asked: "Are you enrolled or intend to enroll at UAF?" - be sure to indicate "yes", or your application will not be included for the summer fire academy.   It is not necessary that you have your firefighter certification before applying for student employment on line.  

The 2016 Fire Academy is scheduled tentatively as July 7th check in/ in-processing and instruction beginning July 11th through August 19th.  To apply for the summer Fire Academy, you can select “yes” on your employment application when asked if you also want to apply for the academy. We will forward your application to the CTC.

Enrollment in the summer academy is competitive and limited. If you are accepted into the academy, we have on-campus housing and meal plans available .

If you already have State of Alaska Firefighter I certification and have some prior fire department experience, the Fire Academy requirement may be waived. If you have certification from another state, we can help you get reciprocity from the State of Alaska Fire Standards Council.

    6.   Satisfactorily pass and complete all requirements of the Fire Academy.

The UAF-CTC Fire Academy is a rigorous hands-on academy that runs daily for approximately six weeks. Students learn to function in a chain of command, stand at attention, march, and perform firefighting skills with military discipline. There are reading assignments, lectures, homework, and tests. Students will take the State of Alaska IFSAC Firefighter I test in the 5th week, and the State of Alaska Hazardous Materials course and exam the 6th week. The Fire Academy is 12 lower division college credits. To be hired at UFD, students must complete all skills and coursework satisfactorily, complete all assignments, pass all tests, and pass weekly staff evaluations by UFD Officers.

    7.  Pass the Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT).

UFD uses the Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT) to make sure you are physically capable of doing the job of a fire fighter. You can see a video of the CPAT test being performed here. After payment is accepted, you will receive a receipt via email; print this and bring proof of payment with you to your scheduled testing day. If you do not have proof of payment, you will not be allowed to test, you will need to reschedule your test for another day that is being offered.

You can take the CPAT at any licensed CPAT test site, including the University Fire Department. It is $20 per attempt for UAF firefighter applicants, which is non-refundable.  The $20 is a donation to support the UAF Student Firefighters Association. For those wishing to take the CPAT and are not UAF student firefighter applicants, the fee is $100.

The CPAT will be held  June 12th, July 17th, July 31st, August 14th, and rain/make-up date August 21st 2016. All dates are subject to change.

To make an appointment to practice and/or test, please contact (907) 474-5770. You can make appointments for practice and for testing on the same day.  To pay on line in advance, click here.

If you take and pass a CPAT at a different licensed testing site, be sure to provide us with a copy of your CPAT card by faxing a copy to 907-474-5999. For more information about the CPAT, you can review the CPAT Orientation Guide and CPAT Preparation Guide.   

Candidates selected for hire will receive a conditional offer of employment. Conditional offers may be extended at any time in the above process, with employment contingent on satisfactorily completing all requirements including a medical examination. Candidates with conditional offers that satisfactorily complete all requirements will be notified to report for duty in August or January.

Fire Chief Schrage instructing Fire Academy students
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