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Frequently Asked Questions


  • Do I need to live in Urbana in order to apply?

No; we welcome applicants from around the world!  If you are an Urbana resident, you may be eligible to receive five preference points as part of the selection process. 

  • Is there a fee to apply or test?

There is no fee if you choose to test in Urbana on November 18, 2023 or December 2, 2023. If you choose to test through the National Testing Network, test fees will apply. A testing fee waiver may be provided to candidates who provide proof of financial hardship. Please download and complete the fee waiver form which can be found here. Then scan and submit the form along with your proof of hardship to Please initiate this process early. The waiver review process may take up to three weeks and does not exempt candidates from meeting the December 10, 2023 testing deadline. NOTE: the application fee waiver decision must be made PRIOR to scheduling the FireTEAM exam; it cannot be applied retroactively.

  • Are there exceptions to the age limit?

Yes. The age limitation does not apply to: 

1) any person previously employed as a full-time firefighter in a municipal fire department or fire protection district located in Illinois, (ii) a fire protection district whose obligations were assumed by a municipality under Section 21 of the Fire Protection District Act, or (iii) a municipality whose obligations were taken over by a fire protection district; 

(2) any person who has served a municipality as a regularly enrolled volunteer, paid-on-call, or part-time firefighter for the 5 years immediately preceding the time that the municipality begins to use full-time firefighters to provide all or part of its fire protection service; or

(3) any person who turned 35 while serving as a member of the active or reserve components of any of the branches of the Armed Forces of the United States or the National Guard of any state, whose service was characterized as honorable or under honorable, if separated from the military, and is currently under the age of 40. 


  • What is the physical agility test like?

For more information, visit the CPAT/Ladder Climb Tests page.

  • Does the Urbana Fire Department offer CPAT testing?

No, you cannot take the CPAT/Ladder Climb tests at the Urbana Fire Department. You will need to contact one of the agencies listed on the CPAT/Ladder Climb Tests page.

  • If I've already tested with the City of Urbana for Firefighter before, do I have to take it again?

Yes. You MUST reapply in order to be considered for placement on the new Firefighter register.

  • What can I do to improve my chances of being hired?

The Firefighter selection process is very competitive, so preparation is critical to doing well.

1. Consider ordering a practice test. The City of Urbana will be using the FireTEAM test, which will cover four subject areas: human relations, mechanical aptitude, reading and math. There is no study guide, but more detailed information and 30+ practice items with discussion is available on the FireTEAM Practice Test website at

2. Review the Oral Interview Prep Guide. The oral interview portion of the selection process is worth 60% of the total score, so doing well on this step is critical for achieving a top score. 

3. Review the Preference Points categories and what you need to submit to claim your points. You will receive an e-mail when you can submit your claim for Preference Points, and you will have 10 days to do so. You cannot submit your claim once the 10-day window passes.

  • I'm from out-of-state and can't find a ladder climb test. What are my options?

Because this prerequisite is a matter of state law, we cannot waive this requirement. In our experience, out-of-state applicants can either: 1) complete the Ladder Climb (only) at a facility in Illinois, or 2) contact one of the four facilities offering the CPAT/Ladder in Illinois to determine what the test specifications are, and then request your local agency to match those requirements so that you may certify appropriately.



  • How many people are going to be hired?

The number of people hired varies from year to year, depending upon the number of employees retiring, the amount of employee turnover.  The register that is established by this testing process will be valid for two years and by law, the Fire Chief may consider candidates in either the top five percent or the top five numerically on the Final Eligibility List.

  • How long does it take to be hired?

It depends on your placement on the eligibility list and how many vacancies occur. By law, the Fire Chief can consider the top five candidates (or top 5%) at a time, so the higher you place on the list, the better your chances are. It is important to note that not everyone on the list will be hired and placement on the list does not guarantee a job.

  • Is there a residency requirement if I am hired?

Yes. If you are offered a job as an Urbana Firefighter, you must reside within 35 miles of the city limits.  Check to see if you reside within these limits here:


  • What is training like?

Training takes place at the Illinois Fire Science Institute in Champaign, Illinois. If you are selected to be an Urbana Firefighter, the City pays for your IFSI tuition and you receive a salary and benefits during training.

  • Can I transfer my certification to Illinois from another state?

Illinois does not grant automatic reciprocity.  For more information about requirements and the review process, please visit the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal at:

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