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Deciding to pursue a career in the fire service is a big step. We have put together information for a variety of audiences with more details and answers to questions you may have. Just click on the box that best describes you; if you still have questions, don't hesitate to contact us!

High School Students
College Students
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High School Students

Although we require applicants to be at least 21 years old to apply, it's never to early to start planning for a career in the fire service.  Successful firefighters have a mix of certain knowledge, skills, abilities and personalities that help them in the diverse situations they work in. Here are some ways you can begin to prepare:

  • Considering taking electives that focus on automotive mechanics, construction, physics, anatomy and physiology, and other life sciences.

  • Graduate from high school or obtain your GED. Consider expanding your education to include EMT certification or a degree. Not sure what kind of degree to pursue? Visit the College Students section to learn how different degree options can benefit your career in the Fire Service. 


College Students

Each UFD member brings a unique skill set, life experiences and interests, but all serve with the passion of knowing that serving the public is our highest duty and greatest honor. If you're wondering how you could use your skills and talents in the UFD, here are just a few ideas:

  • Business/Public Administration - Command staff positions require strong knowledge of finance, human resource management and organizational development. Having this type of background will greatly benefit you as you work you way up the career ladder.

  • Construction/Engineering - Knowing building types, construction features and materials will help you understand fire behavior, the best ways to ventilate a building, code enforcement requirements, and other key aspects of fire prevention and suppression.

  • Education - UFD members at all levels help educate the public on a variety of safety matters. Some members also serve as instructors at the Illinois Fire Service Institute.

  • Life Sciences/Nursing/Health Sciences - Did you know that most of our calls for service are medical related? UFD members are required to earn EMT-Basic certification, but we prefer advanced level certification. A background in biology, anatomy and physiology, nursing or a health science will give you a head start! In addition, Firefighters with advanced certification in emergency medicine receive a salary premium for having and retaining these skills.

  • Social Sciences - Firefighting involves intense interaction with a wide variety of people. A foundation in Psychology, Sociology, Government or Political Science will prepare you well for helping citizens deal with very difficult situations

  • Preference Points - If you have an associate's degree (or 60 hours of college credit) or higher in any degree field, you are eligible to receive four preference points to your score. For more details, see the Preference Points page. 

  • Education Bonus - In addition, Firefighters receive an annual bonus pay for earning college credits in certain fields. If you have an Associate’s in Fire Science and/or Paramedic: $800.00  per year (you must have a minimum 60 credit hours completed). If you have a Bachelor’s degree  in Fire Administration, Business Administration, or Public Administration, you will receive $1,600.00 (you must have a minimum of 120 credit hours completed).


If your family member is considering the Urbana Fire Department for a career, you probably have a lot of questions. Here are some of the core values of the UFD:

We Value Safety

Safety is the heart of every action a UFD Firefighter takes. The department constantly trains for the variety of situations they might encounter.

We Value Education

Both the City of Urbana and the Urbana Fire Department place a premium on education.  Probationary (starting) UFD Firefighters enjoy paid tuition to attend the Illinois Fire Service Institute on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign while receiving full pay and benefits. The City also provides opportunities for continuing education through IFSI, and Firefighters receive bonus pay for college-level courses.


We Value Family

Our firefighters live and work together, so becoming a UFD Firefighter is like gaining an extended family.  We also appreciate each person's individual family situation. Because of the unique schedule that allows two days off for each one worked, UFD members are able to raise and support families with plenty of opportunities to enjoy special events and everyday moments together.

​A probationary UFD Firefighter starts at $53,092.65 annually without EMT-I certification (or higher). With certification, the pay begins at $54,685.43. Firefighters also enjoy longevity incentive pay based on the number of years at UFD, paid health insurance for themselves and a pro-rated amount for family coverage, paid vacation and sick leave, uniform allowance, and specialty pay opportunities for those who achieve designated certifications.

We Value Opportunity

The UFD offers a career ladder with multiple opportunities to reward motivation and achievement. For those seeking promotional positions, the department offers Engineer, Lieutenant and Captain positions, as well as appointed Division Chief positions. The UFD also offers multiple opportunities for special assignments.

Education Professionals

Why should a student consider a career with the Urbana Fire Department?
  • The U.S. Department of Labor considers municipal firefighting as a Bright Outlook Occupation, which means that it is expected grow much faster than average, projected to have 100,000 or more job openings over the period 2014-2024, and is a new & emerging occupation in a high growth industry.

  • City of Urbana Firefighters are required to acquire and maintain state and nationally-recognized professional certifications.  Firefighter training standards and certifications are managed by the Division of Personnel Standards and Education within the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal, which oversees training and certification for over 50,000 firefighters in Illinois.

  • Newly hired UFD Firefighters attend training at  the Illinois Fire Service Institute, the state's flagship fire academy for the State of Illinois. The City covers the cost of tuition, and Firefighters receive pay while attending this training.

  • A probationary UFD Firefighter starts at $53,092.65 annually without EMT-I certification (or higher). With certification, the pay begins at $54,685.43. Firefighters also enjoy longevity incentive pay based on the number of years at UFD, paid health insurance for themselves and a pro-rated amount for family coverage, paid vacation and sick leave, uniform allowance, and specialty pay opportunities for those who achieve designated certifications.

  • The Urbana Fire Department offers a career ladder for promotional opportunities and specialty positions in a variety of fields.

City of Urbana | 400 S. Vine St., Urbana, IL. 61801 | 217/384-2451

The City of Urbana Welcomes Diversity! 
We foster an environment that values and encourages mutual respect, inclusion of all people, and utilizing differences and similarities as an organizational asset. EOE.