Indianapolis,IN: How to Become a Firefighter

Known as first responders, firefighters are first to arrive on the scene and respond to fires, accidents, or emergencies. A firefighter provides prevention and rescue services, ensuring that people are out of harm’s way safely. Firefighters respond to fire alarms quickly, reaching onsite to control building or property fires, as well as manage forest fires.

Their other responsibilities include handling chemical spills, conducting rescue operations during road, train, or plane accidents, and providing emergency services during natural disasters. To become a firefighter in Indianapolis, IN, a minimum of high school diploma or equivalent is required. Candidates must be of at least 18 years of age and have a valid driver’s license.

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Requirements to Become a Firefighter in Indianapolis

To become a firefighter in Indianapolis, you will be required to meet certain eligibility criteria, followed by clearance of several tests. After this, recruits will have to attend a 25 weeks long training session. Once that is complete, graduates substitute at area stations until a permanent position opens up.
Following is the eligibility criteria you need to meet before you begin applying:

  • Candidate should be at least 21 years old and at most 36 years old at the time of appointment. Military veterans who have 20 years of service with an honorable discharge may not be older than 40 years and 6 months at the appointment time.
  • Candidates should have at least a high school diploma or a GED
  • Candidates should have a valid driver’s license
  • Candidates must not have any felony convictions that have not been expunged by a court
  • Candidates should be citizens of the US or should have the legal right to work in the United States. They must also be willing to live in Marion County or adjacent county.
Educational RequirementsPostsecondary nondegree award
Licensure/CertificationCertification and License is mandatory
Experience/TrainingFirefighter Training Academy
Key SkillsWork Under Pressure, Quick Response, Teamwork, Physical Strength, Adaptability, Mechanical Aptitude, Accountability, Compassion, Problem Solving, First-Aid Certified
Annual Mean Salary – Indianapolis, Indiana (2022)$60,789 per year (average)
Annual Mean Salary – Indiana (2021)$ 53,490
Job Outlook – Indiana (2020 – 2030)9%

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2021) and O*Net OnLine

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2021) and O*Net Online

Hiring Process for Firefighters in Indianapolis

To be hired as a firefighter in Indianapolis, all applicants are required to clear certain tests. The first test would be a written one and would cover areas like math, reading, problem solving and memorization. The oral interview would be next, which would take around 20 minutes. After this, you will have to clear the Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT), which will measure your endurance and upper body strength through various physical exercises. Following this, a detailed background test will be conducted, along with mental and medical exams. The mental exam would take two hours to complete and would be followed by an interview with a psychologist.

How Much Does a Firefighter Make in Indianapolis?

$53,490 was the mean annual salary of firefighters in Indianapolis, IN as per BLS in 2021. The corresponding national median annual salary of firefighters in 2021 was $ 55,290. Below are the top 5 highest paying states for this occupation in the US in 2021.


StateAnnual mean wage
New Jersey$84,930
New York$72,670

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

How Long Does It Take to Become a Firefighter in Indianapolis?

To become a firefighter with the Indianapolis Fire Department (IFD), candidates are required to attend at least 29 weeks of training program and pass a series of tests. Initially firefighter candidates have to substitute at nearby area stations until there’s a permanent position that opens up.

What Education Do I Need to Be a Firefighter?

To become one of Indy’s bravest, a series of tests need to be passed and certain requirements must be met. While the basic requirement remains the same – to obtain high school diploma, there are other things that are a part of application process.

  • Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT) This is not an easy test and requires the candidate to perform various tasks displaying cardiopulmonary endurance, muscular endurance, and muscular strength.
  • Applicants are tested in four major areas – written test, oral interview, physical fitness, and aerial ladder climb.
  • In the written test, candidates’ reading comprehension, ability to recall detailed verbal and visual information are tested. There are questions related to basic mathematics, mechanical reasoning, as well as applying mechanical concepts and principles. Candidates are required to complete this test within 30 minutes.
  • All new recruits are required to attend Indianapolis Fire Department Training Academy. At the time of graduation, 29-weeks of hands-on training and academic courses need to be completed.
  • During the training, recruits gain knowledge in EMT training, hazardous materials, fire prevention, extrication, and flashover training.

Employment Projections

O*Net Online forecasts a 6% increase in employment opportunities for firefighters in Indianapolis, IN between 2018 and 2028. This growth in employment matches the need to replace retired firefighters or those who pursue other career options. The corresponding national average for this occupation is 9% between 2020-2030. Below are the states with the highest employment level in firefighters.

North Carolina15,410

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics