Click here to skip navigation
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Skip Navigation

In This Section

Policy, Data, Oversight Classification & Qualifications

Fire Protection and Prevention Series, 0081

In addition to the requirements below, Firefighter positions at the Department of Defense are governed by the Department of Defense Fire and Emergency Services Certification Program [DoD 6055.06-M].

Individual Occupational Requirements

Experience, Education, and Training Requirements

The following table shows the amounts of experience, education, and/or training required to qualify for positions covered by this standard.

GS-3 6 months None 1 year of related education or training
GS-4 None 1 year equivalent to at least GS-3 2 years above high school with related course work
GS-5 None 1 year equivalent to at least GS-4 4-year course of study above high school leading to a bachelor's degree
GS-6 and above None 1 year equivalent to at least next lower grade level* None

Equivalent combinations of education and experience are qualifying for grade levels for which both education and experience are acceptable.

* See provision on crediting level of experience for inservice placement actions in the "General Policies and Instructions" section of this Manual.


General Experience (for GS-3 positions): Work experience or military service that demonstrated the ability to follow directions and to read, understand, and retain a variety of instructions, regulations, and procedures and that otherwise demonstrates the ability to perform or learn to perform the duties of the position.

Specialized Experience (for positions at GS-4 and above): Experience that demonstrated the particular knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA's) to perform successfully the duties of the position. Such duties may include (1) controlling or extinguishing fires as a member of an organized military, industrial, volunteer, or governmental fire department or brigade; (2) rescue operations; (3) detection, reduction, or elimination of potential fire hazards; (4) operation of fire communications equipment; (5) controlling hazardous materials incidents and/or (6) developing, implementing, or providing training in fire protection and prevention.



Education/Training (for positions at GS-5 and below): Appropriate firefighter training may be substituted for experience on a month-for-month basis. Firefighter training obtained as part of a high school curriculum- may be substituted for the 6 months of general experience required for GS-3. Successful completion of a 2-year course of study in an accredited college or university in Fire Training, Fire Science, or other related fields of study is qualifying for GS-4. Successful completion of a 4-year course of study in an accredited college or university with major study in Fire Science, Fire Training, or other related fields of study is qualifying for GS-5.

Use Of Selective Factors

Some positions in this series require knowledge, skills, and abilities in addition to those described in this qualification standard. For such positions, job-specific selective factors may be required to ensure that applicants have the background necessary for successful performance in the position to be filled. For example, consideration may need to be limited for positions involving emergency medical treatment to applicants with certification as emergency medical technicians or for positions involving emergency response to hazardous substance releases to those individuals with appropriate experience, training, or certification.

Requirements For Motor Vehicle Operation

For those positions requiring employees to drive motorized firefighting equipment, candidates must possess and maintain a valid State motor vehicle operator's license of the appropriate classification or kind. Applicants also may be required to pass a practical road test and provide information on their driving record. See 5 CFR 930 and the "General Policies and Instructions" section of this Manual for additional requirements for motor vehicle operators.

Mechanical Equipment Operator Qualifications

For those positions requiring the operation of specialized firefighting pumping equipment, mounted pressurized systems, dispensing devices, and/or rescue tools, applicants may be required to demonstrate the ability, before appointment, to operate the specific equipment to which they will be assigned, or similar related types of hydraulic equipment.

Performance Test

Agencies may require candidates to demonstrate satisfactory performance of the minimum physical abilities necessary to perform safely and efficiently the essential tasks of a particular position. The abilities may be demonstrated through prior satisfactory performance in the same or a similar position, or agencies may choose to use a task demonstration. A task demonstration must be directly related to the essential job tasks, and thus, must consist of a sample of operations or steps that reflect a reasonably faithful representation of those selected job tasks. Any demonstration required must be uniformly applied to all similarly qualified candidates; the level of proficiency required cannot exceed that which is required in actual job performance; and reasonable accommodation must be provided where necessary.

Medical Requirements

Applicants for positions that have duties of an arduous or hazardous nature must meet the medical standards described below. Since individual positions may not include all such duties, a physical condition or impairment may be disqualifying for employment only if there is a direct relationship between the condition and the nature of the duties of the specific position to be filled.

Employees in positions involving firefighting duties or other duties involving arduous physical exertion may be subject to periodic (e.g., annual) medical examinations following appointment to determine fitness for continued performance of the duties of the position. (See 5 CFR 339.)

Any serious deviation from sound medical condition may be grounds for rejection of an applicant regardless of whether the condition is named below. Remediable defects or curable diseases will not exclude a person from consideration, but proof that such defects have been remedied or the disease cured must be received during the life of the eligible register before persons otherwise qualified may be considered for appointment under civil service rules.

Eyes: Corrected distant vision must be at least 20/30 in one eye and 20/70 in the other eye. Uncorrected distant vision is required only if it is likely that corrective lenses may be lost or broken. If so, uncorrected distant vision must be at least 20/100 binocular. Ability to distinguish basic colors is required. Applicants must be free from acute or chronic eye disease.

Ears: Using an audiometer for measurement, there should be no loss of 30 or more decibels in the unaided worst ear at the 500, 1000, and 2000 Hz levels.

Nose, Mouth, and Throat: Applicants must be free from conditions that interfere with distinct speech, free breathing, or with the use of breathing apparatuses or protective equipment.

Lungs: Applicants must be free from any pulmonary or chest wall disease or condition that results in not being able to perform the duties of the position.

Heart and Blood Vessels: The following conditions may be cause for rejection: organic heart disease, valvular or vascular diseases, coronary heart disease, angina pectoris, recurrent syncope, or history of myocardial infarction.

Abdomen: Acute or chronic disease or inflammation of the abdominal viscera, hernia, or significant enlargement of the liver or spleen that interferes with the performance of the duties of the position will be cause for rejection.

Spine, Pelvic, Sacroiliac and Lumbo-Sacral Joints: Applicants must have free movement of spine and pelvic joints.

Neurological System: Degenerative neurological disease or disorder that results in documented evidence of neurological impairment that renders the applicant unable to perform the duties of the position will be cause for rejection. A history of serious mental disease may be disqualifying.

Extremities: Individuals cannot have anomalies in the number, form, proportion, and movement of the extremities that interfere with function. This includes non-united fractures; nonreducible dislocations; united fractures and reduced dislocations with incomplete restoration of function; amputation of arm, hand, leg, or foot; loss of any skeletal portion of the thumb of either hand; loss of more than the two distal phalanges of the ring or little fingers of either hand; any lose joints; pes cavus, weak foot, or clubfoot; flatfoot with symptoms unresponsive to orthotics; loss or deformity of great toe or any two toes on the same foot; torn cartilage or loose foreign bodies within the knee joint; instability of the knee joint; or inadequately healed surgical procedure.

Maximum Entry Age

Title 5 U.S.C. 3307 authorizes the head of any agency to establish a maximum entry age for the original appointment of individuals to the position of firefighter.

Back to top

Control Panel