How to Become a Firefighter NSW


Become a Firefighter in NSW in 12 Months or Less

This article is specific to becoming a firefighter in the state of NSW Australia.

I will not be wasting time on general how to's that can already be found on the "How to become a firefighter in Australia" page.

To remove any confusion, I'm talking about how to become a firefighter with Fire & Rescue NSW.

Case Study: Trent M - NSW Firefighter

Here is a picture of Trent below with his letter of offer from Fire & Rescue NSW. Trent had tried 5 times or 5 years and been unsuccessful to become afirefighter in NSW. When he used the methods I'm showing you below, he managed to do a complete 180 that very same year.

The reason I share this is to illustrate the time you can waste if you don't have the right approach and guidance.

become a firefighter nsw trent case study

Competition in NSW Fire and Rescue Recruitment 2024

The fire & rescue NSW recruitment process is without doubt the most competitive fire service in Australia. Over the last decade or so, I have been following firefighter recruitment in NSW the amount of applicants has fluctuated between 3000 – 11000 applications in the many variations of recruitment that FRNSW has conducted by them.

It is worth noting this from the beginning so you understand the potential of the competition and what may be required in order to beat these thousands of people.

This is by no means meant to put you off the idea, more to make you consider the fact that simply winging it will more than likely land you on the unfortunate heap of disappointed applicants that don’t understand how they could have possibly been overlooked.

NSW firefighter turn out gear

Tests Needed to Become a Firefighter NSW

At the time of writing this article, Criteria is the test provider for NSW. The Criteria suite of tests is the KEY to becoming a firefighter in NSW.

The reason for this is that there is more than just a simple cognitive component to the Criteria tests for the NSW fire and rescue recruitment process.

Criteria is one of the more comprehensive test providers for fire services around Australia, and FRNSW uses one of Criteria’s most comprehensive testing regimes. Fire & Rescue NSW tests preparation is an absolute must if your looking at being competitive.

Criteria Test for NSW Fire and Rescue Recruitment 

Criteria classic cognitive ability assessment

This assessment examines your verbal, numerical and abstract reasoning, and your ability to acquire, retain, organise and apply information. This assessment has a time limit.

The Key – With any cognitive assessment the key is to make sure you are using relevant test questions for your practice, there is a bit more to it but that’s the big one. Unfortunately, a lot of the practice stuff you will find via web search is NOT what you will experience on the day. I have seen every mistake under the sun related to this issue.


This game-based assessment forms part of the cognitive testing NOTE: Cognify has been removed for the last intake.

This assessment examines your reasoning ability, and your ability to acquire, retain, organise and apply information. This assessment has a time limit. You can access example tests for cognify in the Membership Area

The Key – The thing you need to understand about the “cognify” game-based assessment is that you want to get exposure to the test before the day. “Cognify” gives the recruiters a deeper insight into your actual reasoning ability as it records not only your answers but also your behaviour whilst attending the test.

Work Safety Test – NSW Fire & Rescue Recruitment

This assessment contains a variety of statements about beliefs and attitudes regarding safety requiring a response along a 5 point scale. This assessment is not timed but should take approximately 15 minutes to complete.

The Key – With the work safety test you need to develop an understanding around the beliefs and attitudes of the preferred candidate profile Revelian and FRNSW have come up with. Once you understand this it allows you to avoid mistakes thousands of people make each year


Emotional Intelligence Test – Emotify

This assessment will require you to complete two engaging, interactive assessments that ask you to correctly identify emotions based on facial expressions, and to understand the emotions people feel in different situations. This assessment is has two “mini-games” that are timed and will require approximately 20 minutes in total to complete.

The Key – With emotional intelligence, although you may consider yourself emotionally mature, I believe it’s best to gain some exposure to this test and ensure you are familiar with it. This also allows you the opportunity to close the gaps if there are any before the actual test.

Work Reliability Scale

This assessment considers beliefs and attitudes regarding honesty and integrity based on your responses. . The assessment is not timed but should take approximately 10 minutes to complete.

The tests above are usually accompanied by some strategic questioning as the beginning of firefighter recruitment in NSW.

At this stage, a huge number of candidates normally drop out of contention.

TIP: Simply searching “revelian test frnsw” “nsw firefighter test” or “free test firefighter”  “nsw fire and rescue recruitment” will prove a waste of your time and may even lead you down a path of being locked out for 12 months

PAT Test – Physical Aptitude Test For NSW Fire Service

The NSW Fire & Rescue recruitment process has a significant physical testing component that should be taken seriously.

Honestly, most applicants don’t pay a lot of attention to the PAT test. This is a mistake unless you take into account the fact most of the people that take it for granted are the same ones who will never actually make it to the PAT anyhow.

Here’s the thing about the PAT - it’s specific so at a minimum familiarise yourself with it. The PAT is not something you want to fail after going through all the effort to get through the initial testing, it’s also the most transparent test you will face as in you know the benchmarks you’re required to meet.

My motto is always “control the outcome of what you can” and the PAT definitely falls into this category so why wouldn’t you make sure you can control the outcome of something so simple?

When I’m working with a client on the PAT we boil it down into a training method of the “minimum effective dose” so that absolutely every minute of effort is propelling you towards the goal and zero effort is wasted doing things that will not contribute.

Listen to this podcast for more on NSW fire service fitness tests: 2 minutes

NSW Fire Recruitment Interview Process

Format: Candidates will face questions from four different two-person panels to ensure divergent opinions determine the best candidates for the role.

The interview process is easily your biggest opportunity in the entire process to beat your competition.

See this podcast for a free debrief with our in-house interview coach

The Interview is actually the least competitive aspect of the process as usually at interview they have culled hundreds or even thousands of applicants. NSW fire and rescue recruitment is super competitive but by the time you reach this hurdle you have gotten past most of your competition

Do not assume that if you reach this stage the interview is simply a formality; more candidates will be brought to interview than there are positions available. It is a critical part of the selection process and is subject to rigorous assessment.

So at this stage you might only have to be better than 20-40 other applicants.

It is at this stage of the process I get really excited for the guys I work with because I know if they simply follow my training and show up to their coaching sessions they are almost guaranteed a job.

Group Activity – 7 Tips on How to Deal with the Different Activities in Group Activities

The NSW fire and rescue recruitment process has a group exercise to assess your effectiveness at working within a team.

Here’s a brief video on group activities & Tips

This guide was made for FRV but the fundamentals apply across the board including:

Written Task

Your last activity will be a written task to assess your communication skills. 

Employment Checks

Employment checks will be undertaken following a successful interview and include the following:

  • Reference checks – referees should be a supervisor/manager within a work environment.
  • Conduct and Service Checks – NSW Government employees only.
  • Driving history check – this information will be requested at the interview stage.
  • Criminal Records Check – this information will be requested after being cleared medically fit.

Tip – Check your online presence and social media history, because they certainly will.

NSW Medical Requirements

Understand what you will be subjected to before the medical, If you have something you are worried about it will pay to speak to someone confidentially before your medical as there are things that can be done before it’s too late. I like to do this at the beginning with people I'm working with as it allows us to remove doubt and focus on more fruitful activities that will get us a job.

NSW Fire and Rescue Recruitment Dates

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

Education Requirements

NSW Fire & Rescue firefighter high school requirements

NSW Firefighter Salary

Check out the latest NSW fire and rescue salary

Skills, Attributes & Attitude Needed to Become a Firefighter in NSW

  • – Mindset: you need to be able to get into the right frame of mind to become a firefighter in nsw, many people struggle with the journey and find the challenge insurmountable. If you can get this right from the start you’re half way there. Commit to the journey
  • – Develop skills and understanding around all aspects of the testing suite for the current intake.
  • – Attention to detail.
  • – Communication skills, you will need to develop extremely good communication and interpersonal skills.
  • – Positive winning attitude, every minute spent on an unproductive negative activity or conversation is a minute wasted that could be put to use. Don’t be like the masses.

NSW Fire and Rescue Application Process

TIP: Position Description is a gold mine in the right hands

  • – Respond to the 2 targeted questions – EXTREMELY IMPORTANT!!!
  • – You have 1 opportunity to get this right so don’t take any chances
  • – This is generally your first interaction with the service so make it count. Make it contribute to your success, it’s a real opportunity to do just that.
  • – Read the instructions carefully & Follow them to the letter. Sounds simple but so many people mess it up.
  • – Gain an understanding of what IS important to include and what IS NOT. You don’t want to paint yourself in a dull light just because you don’t fully understand whats superfluous and what is crucial to have on your application. You can be a great candidate but not a great writer so don’t let this be the reason you’re out of the game for another year.

Fire & Rescue NSW application page under "recruitment and volunteering" tab

TIP: Getting a second opinion from a suitably qualified professional before submitting could make or break you at this point. In my opinion If you can control the outcome of something it is wise to do everything in your power to do just that.

Process MAP – Products & services to help you at every stage

Fire & Rescue NSW tests preparation

Fire & Rescue NSW is Australia's Largest Professional Firefighter Employer.


Information from Fire & Rescue NSW (bear in mind every applicant has access to this). The information can give you some clues on whats important to be across and what the nsw fire service values.

Find here the candidate information pack, There is some great information inside this publication that you need to be familiar with as a starting point. Here is a link to The Firefighter recruitment page for FRNSW This will give you up to date information about NSW fire and rescue recruitment timeline and information around becoming a firefighter in NSW as far as the NSW Fire service is concerned.Here is a previous article on

Other relevant information for NSW fire and rescue recruitment

preparation for fire service recruitment and fire and rescue NSW

Tools to save you wasting your time.. 

Firefighter Recruitment Bundle

What Every Applicant Needs To Know About Firefighter Recruitment Testing to Stand a Chance!

The bare minimum for anyone that claims to be "serious" about becoming a firefighter.

If you are currently preparing for the next firefighter recruitment intake. These guides give you simple details that help you prepare properly for every test you'll face and — the application process, the Aptitude, Personality, and Physical tests, and the Interview.

Get the Edge

Work With Me & My Team

Personalised coaching sessions based on decades of experience and tailored to your needs.

If you think you need that little bit of extra help to make it through the next recruitment intake or you're sick of missing out and not knowing why, then this may be perfect for you. Together, we'll work out a strategy that:

  • Builds on your strengths and fills you with confidence and certainty
  • Learn the reasons behind why people fail time and again so you don't
  • Improve your weaknesses to eliminate points of failure
  • Show you exactly what to expect so you can present the best version of yourself every step of the way.

Wherever you are in the process, and whatever challenges you’re facing right now, Working with us gives you step-by-step guidance, personal support, and resources not available anywhere else to help you get where you want to be in the quickest way possible. You don’t need to struggle on your own anymore!