How To Become A Student Firefighter at UAF

Want a career in emergency services?  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 real 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, over 70% of our program alumni 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.


To become a student fire fighter, you need to: 

·           Apply for admission to and enroll as a student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks;

·           Apply for student employment;

·           Pass a physical ability test;

·           Pass a written test;

·           Pass an oral board interview;

·           Obtain certification as a State of Alaska (IFSAC) Firefighter I;

·           Get hired! 

The detailed steps for each of these requirements are listed below. Good luck! If you have any questions, please call or email! 

Phone   (907) 474-5770

Fax       (907) 474-5999



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

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


You can proceed with your application for employment even if you haven’t been accepted yet; you will be asked on the employment application if you are enrolled or intend to enroll at UAF – be sure to indicate “yes.”


You should also complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which may help pay for part of your tuition and employment.  Additional information on student financial aid and scholarships is available here.


Apply for student employment 

The application for student employment is on line.  Before you start, you will need to have the following items ready on your computer: 

  • Résumé

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

  • Two letters of recommendation 

These can be letters from a supervisor, teacher, coach, pastor, etc. 

  • 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). 


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 Note, if you would also like to apply for our summer Fire Academy, see the section below before starting your employment application.


Pass a physical ability test 

UFD uses the Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT) to make sure you are capable of doing the job of a fire fighter. You can see a video of the CPAT test being performed here.


You can take the CPAT at any licensed CPAT test site, including the University Fire Department. We charge $20 per attempt, which is non-refundable.  

(PLEASE NOTE:  Testing dates for 2015 have not been established and will be posted mid-spring 2015.)

To make an appointment to practice and/or test, please contact Susan Sanborn at (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 andCPAT Preparation Guide.   


Pass a Written Test 

We use a written aptitude test that measures your skills at reasoning, mechanical aptitude, basic math, reading, and memorization. You can take the written test in Fairbanks, Anchorage, or other locations.

  • In Fairbanks: at UAF Testing Services, weekdays by appointment. The Testing Center charges $50 to take this test.
  • At other locations: if it is not convenient for you to test in Anchorage or Fairbanks, we will work with our test vendor to allow you to take this test at other approved sites, such as community college, local library, or high school counseling office. The fee for this is $50 in addition to any fees your proctor might charge. For more information on this option, see here. 

The test must be completed and your results delivered to us by August 1 – no exceptions. The passing score is 70%. Please see ourstudy guide to help prepare your for this test.   Many of our firefighters have had success with Norman Hall's Firefighter Exam Preparation book with flash cards available at bookstores or online.


Pass an Oral Board Interview 

If you pass the written exam and CPAT, you will continue on to an oral interview with a panel of interviewers. Oral interviews will be scheduled in Fairbanks for August 16 and 17. You will be emailed a date and time for your oral interview.  You should expect about 15 questions scored not only on your response, but also how your response is given. There is some helpful information on preparing for interviews here. 


Obtain certification as a State of Alaska (IFSAC) Firefighter I 

Before you can start working as a firefighter, you will need to be certified by the State of Alaska or another agency accredited by the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSACP). If you don’t have this certification, you can apply for admission to our military-style UAF-CTC Summer Fire Academy or get it during the fall semester at UAF. It is not necessary that you have your firefighter certification to apply for employment. 

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. The deadline for application to the fire academy is May 31. You can still apply for employment through August 1, but only if you do not plan to attend the summer academy. 

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, all you have to do is provide us with a copy of your certificate. If you have certification from another state, we can help you get reciprocity from the State of Alaska Fire Standards Council.


Get Hired! 

The total of the written test and oral board scores for all successful applicants will be ranked on an eligibility list. If you get on the list, we will call you when openings occur. If you have obtained your Firefighter I certification, we will tell you when to report to work for orientation! If you haven’t got your certification yet, we will call you again when another opening occurs. The list lasts for a year, and we have hired everyone on the list for each of the past three years. The chances are very good that if you pass all the tests and get on the list, you will get hired as a student firefighter during your first year at UAF!

Fire Chief Schrage instructing Fire Academy students
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