Become a Firefighter

Vancouver Fire will be accepting Entry Level Firefighter/Paramedic applications from June 1-30, 2024. We are not taking applications from Lateral Firefighter/Paramedics or Firefighter/EMT candidates at this time.

The fastest-growing fire department in the region

Vancouver Fire Department

About Vancouver Fire

VFD is committed to safeguarding lives, property, and the environment within our community. Currently responding out of 11 stations with over 220 frontline fire personnel, VFD is the largest and busiest fire department in southwest Washington and responds to over 38,000 calls per year. Vancouver firefighters serve the community in many ways including fighting fires, providing emergency medical care through our state–of–the–art Emergency Medical Service (EMS) program, responding to hazardous materials incidents, performing on specialty response teams, and providing education to the community. Vancouver firefighters work as a team to provide the community with professional, effective, and compassionate service.

Qualifications, Compensation and Benefits

Minimum Requirements

Entry-Level Firefighter Paramedic

  • 21 years old at application closing date
  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Valid driver’s license
  • Firefighting experience is desired but not required
  • Minimum PST written test score of 70% (a competitive score is usually at least 85%)
  • Successful completion of CPAT
  • Current Paramedic certification for FF/Paramedic applicants (must be eligible for Washington reciprocity)
  • Current EMT certification for Firefighter applicants is preferred

Firefighter/Paramedic starting salary: $108,768

Firefighter starting salary: $91,428

Lateral Firefighter

  • 21 years at application closing date
  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Valid driver’s license
  • 3 years full time firefighting experience is required
  • Firefighter 1 certification or equivalent
  • EMT or Paramedic certification (must be eligible for Washington reciprocity)

FF/Paramedic Salary Range: $108,768-$142,140 depending on experience*

FF/EMT Salary Range: $91,428-$124,812 depending on experience*

*Starting salary step commensurate with years of full-time experience divided by 2. For example, a Lateral Firefighter coming in with 8 years of full-time experience would start at Step 4. Per IAFF Local 452 2023-2025 Labor Agreement.


  • Firefighters work a four platoon 24-on/48-off/24-on/96-off schedule with 11 debit shifts per year
  • Paid vacation and sick leave with generous accruals
  • Comprehensive medical, dental, vision, and prescription coverage for employee and family
  • Competitive public safety retirement plan – Washington State LEOFF II
  • Law Enforcement Officers’ and Fire Fighters’ (LEOFF) Retirement System

LEOFF Plan 2 is a defined benefit plan, a retirement plan in which your benefit is based on a formula rather than an account balance. The formula provides a monthly benefit based on your years of service and your Final Average Salary. When you meet plan requirements and retire, you are guaranteed a monthly benefit for the rest of your life.

You, your employer, and the state each contribute a percentage of your salary or wages to help fund the plan. The LEOFF Plan 2 Retirement Board adopts contribution rates and periodically adjusts them to reflect the overall cost of the plan.

You are vested in the plan when you have five years of service credit. Once you are vested, you have earned the right to a future monthly benefit. You are eligible to retire with a full benefit at age 53 if you have at least five years of service credit. Retirement before 53 is considered an early retirement. If you have at least 20 years of service credit and are at least age 50, you can choose to retire early, but your benefit might be reduced.

  • Specialty training opportunities
    • High angle rope rescue
    • Swift water rescue
    • Fireboat and shipboard firefighting crews
    • Tiller truck operations
    • Hazardous materials response
    • Confined space and trench rescue
    • Structural collapse rescue
    • Public Information Officer
    • SCBA Technician
    • Honor Guard
  • Tuition reimbursement program and opportunities for career advancement

Application Process

Three-Step Process

  1. Complete a written exam through Public Safety Testing
  2. Pass a licensed Candidate Physical Ability Test within the last six months
  3. Submit a City of Vancouver Firefighter or Firefighter/Paramedic job application

Entry Level Firefighter/Paramedic applications are open from June 1-30, 2024. 

1) Written Exam

The Public Safety Testing (PST) written exam may be taken from home, but many prefer to take it in person and there are several opportunities to do so listed on the PST Test and Event Calendar. Vancouver Fire is hosting a PST written exam in Vancouver on Saturday, June 29, 2024.

2) Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT)

VFD will accept a CPAT passing result from any licensed testing location in the United States or Canada. Detailed information about the CPAT is available at the following links for licensed CPAT testing locations in Washington and Oregon. The CPAT must be completed within six months of the date of application closure. If not taken through PST, the CPAT certificate of completion must be emailed to Megan Mairs ( prior to the application closing date.

3) City of Vancouver Application

All applicants must also complete a City of Vancouver job application at the link below. After the application process has closed on June 30, selected applicants will be invited to in-person interviews to take place August 17, 2024. To be hired, applicants must be able to score well in a panel interview, pass a thorough background investigation, do well in a Chief’s interview and successfully complete psychological and medical testing.

About the City of Vancouver

Life is better in Vancouver

The City of Vancouver is the fourth largest city in the state of Washington. Located directly across from Portland, Oregon on the North bank of the Columbia River, Vancouver combines the excitement of a major metropolitan area with small-town charm. Vancouver offers quality schools, a favorable tax climate, affordable housing, livable neighborhoods and an abundance of recreational opportunities.