Firefighter and Paramedic Employment and Testing

​​Thank you for your interest in employment with the Bellingham Fire Department. The following information is provided to answer some of your questions about the firefighter recruitment process.


  • Entry:
    • Must have received a high school diploma or G. E. D.
    • Candidates must not have smoked tobacco products for a minimum of 24 months prior to application to be considered for employment as a firefighter. 
    • Must be 21 years of age.
    • Must be a U. S. citizen or a registered permanent resident able to work in the United States.
    • Must pass a pre-employment drug test.
    • Employment contingent upon passing a criminal convictions check, child and adult abuse records check and local background check with no felony convictions within last seven years.
    • Misdemeanor convictions will also be reviewed. A misdemeanor conviction will not necessarily disqualify an applicant but offenses within the last seven years may, by their nature and recentness, reveal a lack of specific qualifications for the position.
    • Valid Washington State driver’s license and good driving record.  Candidates must submit a three-year driving abstract prior to hire. No record of driver’s license suspension or revocation in any state within the last three years.
    • Must possess or obtain a Washington State Emergency Vehicle Accident Prevention (EVAP) certification within 90 days of initial hire.
    • Must possess Washington State EMT certification or acquire within one year of employment and maintain for the duration of employment.
    • Successful completion of Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT).
    • Must certify ability to meet and/or pass testing of all required physical ability and medical standards, including ability to swim at distance, tread water and retrieve a submerged weight.
    • Willingness and ability to work at considerable heights (up to 100 feet) on a ladder.
  •  Experienced:
    • Must meet all entry-level requirements.
    • Two years of full-time, paid experience as a structural firefighter with an agency responsible for residential and commercial fire responses, at least one year of which must have been within the last three years.
    • Graduate of a recruit academy and/or National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1001 Firefighter I certification.  Documentation of completion or certification required.
    • Must possess Washington State EMT certification or have ability to obtain within 90 days of hire.

Recruitment Process

The City of Bellingham partners with National Testing Network, Inc (NTN) to provide full testing services for the position of Firefighter. Please see below for more information on anticipated recruitments. Candidates interested in testing with the Bellingham Fire Department should sign up for the job interest alerts to be notified of future recruitment processes.

  • Entry/Lateral Firefighter and Paramedic: The testing window for the January 2022 Academy is now open. Please visit the job announcement for more information on the process.

Entry Firefighter: For more information, to fill out an application and schedule to test, go to National Testing Network, select Fire and sign up for the Bellingham Fire Department (available during the recruitment period).

What to expect at the National Testing Network website:

  • Completion of the application process
  • Review information related to the Bellingham Fire Department firefighter position, including minimum requirements, salary and benefits.
  • Detailed information about the testing process for both the written exam and CPAT testing.
  • Opportunity to take online practice tests at
  • Schedule your own convenient test time. Tests are offered multiple times a week, including Saturdays.
  • Take high quality job simulation tests in a standardized, fair testing environment.

Compensation and Benefits

The 2021 salary for the position of firefighter is $6,206/month; the full salary range is $6,206 – $7,873/month. An extensive benefits package is provided including medical, dental, vision and prescription drug coverage. Employees are subject to the provisions of a union contract. The 2018-2020 collective bargaining agreement is available online​.

If you have any questions regarding the recruitment process, contact Human Resources.  Also visit the Fire Department’s web page.

Equal Opportunity Employer

Our environment is characterized by respect for cultural backgrounds, belief systems, and ethnic diversity. The City of Bellingham is an Equal Opportunity Employer and values diversity in its work force. We do not make decisions on the basis of an individual’s race, religion, creed, color, national origin, sex, marital status, age (40+), disability, retaliation, sexual orientation or gender identity, honorably discharged veteran or military status, status as a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking, use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability, or any other basis prohibited by local, state, or federal law. All are encouraged to apply for employment.

Reasonable accommodation and/or assistance will be gladly provided for any applicant with sensory or non-sensory impairments, upon request of the human resource department that can be reached at 360-778-8228.