How To Become A Student Firefighter

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 $25,000 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, 90% 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.


Follow these steps to become the next student firefighter at University Fire Department:

  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 a University Fire Department (UFD) employment application;
  5. Submit a IFSAC Firefighter I certificate;
  6. Pass the Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT).

Listed below you will find the step by step resource guide to assist with your success to becoming a paid student firefighter. Our hiring rubric is another guideline for you to review that our managment uses to rank student firefighter employement applications.

    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 your profile information additional to your employment 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 enroll for UAF student admission here. For more information about UAF’s fire science, paramedic, and emergency management degrees, click on each program.

    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 a University Fire Department (UFD) application for student firefighter employment.

The application for student employment is open on line at (Posting number 497291 Student Firefighter). Applications will be accepted throughout the year. We hire several times each year. Before you start, you will need to have the following items attached to your application:

  • Resume

This should highlight things such as your education, experience, accomplishments, community activities, interests, etc.

  • Cover Letter

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 as a career goal to prepare you before testing for a career position at other departments. This would describe why you want to be a student firefighter with University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Cover letters can be addressed to Fire Chief, Doug Schrage.

  • 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 an ACT test score of 21 or SAT test score of 1060. If you tested with the old SAT test, we look for a score of 1450. The ACT/SAT test a substitute for a written test. 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

    5. Submit a IFSAC Firefighter I certificate.

Before you can start working as a student firefighter at University Fire Department, you will need to be certified as a 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 UAF-CTC Summer Fire Academy.  

If you already have a State of Alaska Firefighter I certification, submit this with your employment application. If you have a certification from another state, we can help you get reciprocity from the State of Alaska Fire Standards Council.

    6.  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 firefighter. You must pass the test before you can be hired. You may take the CPAT test during the academy or anytime in August if you have a conditional hire letter.You can see a video of the CPAT test being performed here. You can take the CPAT at any licensed CPAT test site, visit for a list of test sites. The University Fire Department is a licensed testing facility. It is $20 per attempt for UAF firefighter applicants, which is non-refundable.  The $20 is a donation that  supports our UAF Student Firefighters Association. 

CPAT testing fees may be paid in advance online here A receipt will be emailed to you, this is your proof of payment. Bring proof of payment  with you to your test. If you do not have proof of payment, you will not be allowed to test and you will need to reschedule your test for another day that is being offered. For cash or check, bring your payment to the testing site the same day of your practice and/or test. 

CPAT testing will be conducted on the following dates, weather permiting: May 21, June 4th, June 18th, July 9th, July 23rd and rain/make-up dates are May28th, June 11th, June 25th, July 16th and July 30th.

To make an appointment to practice and/or test, please contact 907-474-5770. 

Cancellations: All CPAT fees are non-refundable. Candidates may cancel their test, but fees will be forfeited.

Unfortunately, our testing is conducted outside, and inclement weather can force a cancellation. We strive to maintain consistency with ALL of our candidates, we encourage you to contact the Battalion Chief at 907-455-3473  to confirm if testing will still be conducted on your scheduled test day.

If you pass your CPAT at a different licensed testing site, be sure to provide us with a copy of your CPAT card or certificate 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 in early June. Conditional offers may be extended at any time in the above process, with employment contingent on satisfactorily completing all requirements including a Pre-employment respiratory physical examination. Candidates with conditional offers that satisfactorily complete all requirements will be notified to report for duty in August or January.

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