Entry-Level Firefighter testing is conducted by the City of Seattle Department of Human Resources Fire & Police Exams Unit. Testing currently includes a written exam and oral board interview.

Written Exam

There are no specific textbooks required to study for the Written Exam. Written Exam Workshops are provided for applicants. The workshops give applicants an opportunity to take a mock exam and to explore aspects of this particular testing process. Each session is taught by firefighters who are familiar with the written test procedures. A brief video overview of the written exam is posted online.

The written examination takes one day to complete. The components of the written exam include a mandatory study period (Part I) followed by a written exam session (Part II).

Study Period - Part I

The instructions for the study period are read aloud by a test monitor. During the study period, each applicant is given 2.5 hours to study a variety of printed materials, including printed text, line drawings, written instructions, and pictures. These study materials are the basis for the aptitude test which is administered during the exam session.

During the study period, you may take breaks. Please note, however, that these breaks will shorten the amount of time that you will have for studying.

Candidates are allowed to make written notes about the study materials. Any notes must be written on paper provided by the test monitor and must be turned in at the end of the study period. Candidates are not allowed to use these notes or any study materials during the exam session (Part II).

Written Exam Session - Part II

Instructions for the exam session are read aloud by the test monitor. The test requires that applicants read printed materials and record their answers on an optically scanned computer answer sheet. Applicants will have 1.5 hours to complete the written examination.

The questions on the examination are drawn directly from materials provided during the study session. You must learn the study materials presented during the study session to do well on the examination.

Please note that candidates must attend the study period in order to take the written exam.

Oral Board Interview

Candidates who successfully complete the Written Exam will be notified of the date, time, and location of the Oral Board Interview. Oral Board Preparation Tips are available for download.

The Oral Board Interview is a structured panel interview during which candidates provide information about their skills, qualifications, background and interests. Candidates are not allowed to reference their own written materials during the Oral Board Interview.

Candidates who pass the oral board interview are placed on a ranked eligible list according to performance during the oral board interview (including veteran's preference points when applicable).

Eligible List

The role of the Seattle Department of Human Resources Fire & Police Exams Unit is to establish an eligible list of candidates who pass the written exam and oral board interview.

Final ranking on the eligible list includes veteran's scoring criteria for qualified candidates per Washington State Law (RCW 41.04.010). After passing the written exam, veterans wishing to claim veteran's scoring criteria will be asked to submit documentation (e.g., a long-form DD214) which indicates the nature of the discharge (must be an honorable discharge) in order to receive veteran's preference points. Preference points are only added to passing scores. Candidates who pass all portions of the exam and provide appropriate documentation will have veteran's preference points added to their score.

The top 25% of candidates on the eligible list proceed to the Seattle Fire Department for Pre-Employment Screening.


Questions about the testing process, including questions regarding the application process, test dates and veteran's scoring criteria should be directed to the City of Seattle Department of Human Resources Fire & Police Exams Unit via email to firecareers@seattle.gov or by phone at (206) 615-0581.

For all other questions about the hiring process, please email SFD.Recruitment@seattle.gov.