ACT Fire and Rescue Recruitment


Interested in becoming an ACT firefighter? It's a tough recruitment process, only the best applicants are successful. This guide will give you a head start and help you understand what to expect when you apply.

NOTE - this is an ACT specific guide. For general information on becoming a firefighter read the "how to become a firefighter in Australia" page.

As an active firefighter, I know how difficult it can be to get a Fire & Rescue job. With years of experience in helping candidates get through the application, I've learned a thing or two about the ACT recruitment process.

act cta

Competition in ACT Fire and Rescue Recruitment

Despite the organisation only having 340 full-time urban firefighters, you can expect to be up against at least 800 other candidates. ACT Fire and Rescue recruitment is fiercely competitive. It's not unusual for successful candidates to make several applications before getting in.

Let's be clear; I'm not telling you this to scare you.

It's crucial that you understand what you're up against. Learning the competitive nature of the process gives you insight into how much work needs to go into your application.

The Requirements

To save everyone time and avoid disappointment, check you meet the essential criteria before making your application.

To be deemed suitable, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • A current first-aid certificate.
  • A current Australian C Class license with no restrictions & completion of a 'Heavy Vehicle Knowledge Assessment' OR Australian MR  Class driving license with no restrictions.
  • Have a current ACT WWVP (working with vulnerable people) card.
  • Obtain a National Police Check (NPC).

How to Become a Firefighter in ACT (Canberra)

1. Submit your Application

The first stage of the process is submitting an application. When applications are open, you will be able to apply on the Government website using this link (the link will be regularly updated).

Read the application thoroughly and answer the questions carefully. You'd be amazed by how many people mess this up - first impressions count.

Key Tip - If applications are closed make sure to check back regularly. Social media is an easy way to keep up with opening and closing dates, you can find us on Facebook here.

2. Aptitude Testing

The Aptitude test (provided by Hudson psychometric test )  is the second stage of the application. It's designed to help identify the candidates who possess the character traits needed to succeed in the ACT Fire and Rescue Service.

The exam assesses areas such as literacy, numeracy, abstract reasoning, and spatial awareness. This year the test will be carried out online, with later verification required if you are successful.

Key Tip - Use real practice questions to prepare. This will help you get comfortable with question layouts and feel confident in the real exam.

I've recently completed a comprehensive guide to help you pass the ACT Aptitude test which you can read here. Here are some example questions from the aptitude test:


3. BEEP Test

Next, you will be invited to perform a cardiovascular challenge called the BEEP test (also known as the multi-stage fitness test). Emergency situations are mentally and physically demanding, making the BEEP test perfect practice.

The test is a shuttle run designed to measure your aerobic capacity. Participants will run back and forth between two points marked 20 meters apart. The objective is to reach each point, keeping in time with the beeps which get progressively faster.

You will be expected to achieve a score of 9.6 to pass.

Key Tip - When practicing for the BEEP test, train to score beyond 9.6. Try to make the pass mark a regular score for you, not a ceiling.

Here's a BEEP test demonstration:

CFA Recruitment Beep Test Sample

4. Assessment Center & Physical Aptitude Test (PAT)

If you do achieve a 9.6 score in the BEEP test or fall within the resit range (more on this later) you will be invited to the fourth stage in the application process. This involves a teamwork activity, an initial interview and a physical aptitude test.

The teamwork activity is a chance to showcase your teamwork and people skills.

Don't be shy and if you come across a quiet team member help them make a contribution by asking their opinion during discussion. If you have a time-based task, a great idea is to offer to be the timekeeper. This shows you can take responsibility and use your initiative under pressure.

In your interview it's important you make a good impression. Research the service and make sure you've prepared some questions. This will let the interviewer know you've done your homework and that you're passionate about the role.

The PAT is a physically demanding test consisting of 10 different stages. You will be required to complete every stage in the test to pass. Make sure you bring athletic clothing and suitable footwear with you.

10 stages of the PAT:


Key Tip - You will only be invited to sit the Physical Aptitude Test if you are successful in both the teamwork activity and the interview. Don't let the first two tasks become an afterthought, if you fail these you won't even sit the PAT.

Guidance for each section of the test, plus information on training for the PAT can be found here.

5. Aptitude Test Verification

This stage is for the applicants who are successful in being invited to sit the PAT test. You will be expected to undergo a supervised version of the aptitude test in order to verify you are capable of passing the test.

Key Tip - Although going through a test again may seem daunting, just relax. You've already passed once and the only thing stopping you from passing this time will be nerves.

6. Final Interview

Once the Aptitude Test results have been successfully verified, candidates will face the final interview. This stage is designed to ensure that candidates possess all the mandatory requirements in order to join ACT Fire and Rescue.

Failure to provide the necessary evidence will result in candidates being unable to sit the final interview.

Key Tip - Don't think because you've made it this far you'll be able to wing it. As with the first interview, do your homework and prepare some good questions. You should prepare for the final interview with the same effort you used for the earlier tests.

Here are some great tips for getting through the interview:


7. Final Checks & Medical Examination

The applicants who have made it this far will need to complete the following checks:

  • Reference Verification
  • Psychological testing
  • Medical assessment

Key Tip - Get your references in order as quickly as possible. Letting them know they will be contacted for verification will help you ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible and without delay.

Recruitment Dates

Firefighter recruitment dates and outlook for Fire and rescue ACT this year.

Education Requirements

ACT Fire and Rescue high school education requirements

Failing Physical Tests

Firefighters work extremely hard and are known for their high fitness levels. It's no surprise to see an emphasis on physical testing during the application process.

If you failed either of the physical tests, there is a chance you can retake them:

BEEP Test Resits

Not everyone who failed will have the chance to retake the test. The candidates who fell just short (scores between 7.6 and 9.5) will be eligible to retake the exam at a later date.

PAT Test Resits

If you are not successful in the PAT test there is an opportunity to resit at a later date. It's worth noting that you will be required to re-sit the entire PAT test, not just the element of the test you failed.

Candidates must still be considered "suitable" during the recruitment process at the time of the resits.

You can find more information about the BEEP and the PAT test over at 

ACT Fire Brigade Salary

Firefighting comes with many benefits, one of which is the pay. Before you commit to applying, it's important that you know the expected salary.

According to Indeed, the average salary for a firefighter in Canberra ACT is $86,410. Data from the ACT Fire and Rescue Enterprise Agreement 2020-2024 illustrates how pay can vary across roles and will increase between 2021 and 2023:


Learn more about firefighter salaries here.

Get Help Passing the ACT firefighter Recruitment Process

Getting employment in one of the most sought-after Australian fire services isn't easy. By reading this far you've already gone one step further than most of the competition. Doing your research is key to understanding what each stage of the process has in store for you.

All that's left for you to do is make sure you're fully prepared and committed to passing each stage of the application.

For female applicants, you’ll be interested to learn that the need for gender equality has been highlighted within the ACT service. With females making up as little as 2% of all firefighters. ACT Fire and Rescue are keen to overcome the male-only stereotypes of firefighters, making them a great service for females to apply for.

If you need some extra support, or just want to give yourself the best possible chance of passing the ACT Fire Brigade recruitment, our mentoring programs are a great way to get help.

By joining, you can tap into years of life experience from someone with excellent knowledge of ACT firefighter recruitment. Book a call today to see how we can help support you in getting through the application process.


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