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Joining the UFD

About the Career

Firefighting is more than a job. It's a career,  an identity, a family. A life. Typically, fire departments are highly structured organizations that operate with a clear chain of command. This means that a successful Firefighter is able to respect authority and respond to directions given by a superior officer.


Firefighters answer far more medical calls than fire calls.  The UFD responded to 5,015 calls in 2016. Of those, only 3.5% were fire-related while 53% were medical calls. However, fire calls can still be serious and sometimes result in fatalities. Firefighters typically see people in the worst situations: victims of accidents, medical emergencies, and serious burns. The mental and emotional demands of this position cannot be overstated.


A Firefighter's work schedule consists of 24 hours on-duty and 48 hours off-duty; a typical workweek consists of a 55.08 hours, although some work more depending on staffing needs or serious incidents. Holidays, vacations and other leave days are allotted by sign-ups with the most senior members of the department having first choice.


Unlike an office job, work as a Firefighter occurs in an environment with close quarters where you are constantly around your coworkers, even when you eat, sleep and relax. Firefighters at the City of Urbana enjoy a competitive benefits package and representation through the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF).


  • Age: At least 20 years old and under 35 years old (as of the date you test), unless exempted under state statute (65 ILCS 5/10-1- 7.1). Exemptions are allowed for military service and volunteer, paid-on-call, part-time and full-time firefighters meeting certain conditions. No candidate will be hired unless they have reached the age of 21 at the time of offer.

  • Education: Graduation from high school or equivalent.

  • Driver’s License: Valid driver’s license (valid Illinois driver’s license at time of hire)

  • Citizenship: Must be U.S. Citizen or legally authorized to work in the U.S. (must meet I-9 requirements).

  • Physical Agility: Must provide proof of completion of Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT) and proof of passing the Ladder Climb Test with any licensed agency issued no more than 12 months prior to the written exam date. CPAT and Ladder Climb certification must also be valid at time of a conditional employment offer.

  • Residency: No residency requirement to test. If you are hired by the Urbana Fire Department, Firefighters are required to live within a 35-mile radius of the corporate limits of the City of Urbana. Check to see if you reside within these limits here:

  • Special Qualifications: No felony convictions and no misdemeanors which preclude service as a Firefighter by Illinois statute (65 ILCS 5/10-1-7.1(i)).


Applications are currently being accepted! To access the application page, please click here.

Hiring Process

It can take a few months from the exam date to the day the final eligibility list is published. Why does it take so long? See the process step-by-step.

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