Employment with the Fire Department

The current Firefighter/EMT I recruitment process is: OPEN
Lateral Firefighter/EMT/Paramedic Hiring Process is: OPENING SOON

Please check the following links for additional information

Frequently Asked Questions

Starting Pay

Starting Salary: $60,008.00

If you possess a current valid Virginia (VA) EMT-Intermediate or VA Paramedic certification you will be eligible to receive the relative premium pay upon hire:

  • VA EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) Intermediate - $0.88 per hour (non-shift rate)
  • VA Paramedic - $1.75 per hour (non-shift rate)

Work Schedule

Firefighter/EMT Recruits will start employment on a 40 hour Monday through Friday while they attend our 28 week Recruit School.

Upon graduation from Recruit School, recruits will become Firefighter/EMT Trainees and be assigned to a crew at a fire station in Operations. At that point they will move to an average 52 hour work week consisting of 9 or 10, 24 hour shifts per month.

Operations personnel are split into three platoons, A, B, and C. Shifts start at 7:00 a.m. and end at 7:00 a.m. the following day. Shift schedules rotate on a 9 day schedule consisting of a 3 day "tour".

  • Day 1: Work 24 hours
  • Off duty 24 hours
  • Day 2: Work 24 hours
  • Off duty 24 hours
  • Day 3: Work 24 hours
  • Off duty 96 hours (4 days)

Sample 2 week schedule:

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday


Everyone on shift work gets one rotating Kelly Day (day off duty) each month. Members are allowed to sign up for overtime on their Kelly Day and get preference over members from other shifts.




Holidays: There are eleven paid fixed holidays each year, as well as two floating holidays. Initial allotment of floating holidays may vary based on when you are hired.

Health and Dental Insurance: Four group health insurance plans are offered - a health maintenance organization, two plans with in-network only coverage, and a high-deductible plan with in and out-of-network coveerage, along with a Health Savings Account (HSA). Group dental insurance is also offered, with two options for coverage. The County pays a significant portion of the premium for these plans for employees and their dependents. The County also contributes to the HSA.

Life Insurance: Basic life insurance is provided at no cost to employees. The benefit is one times annual salary. Additional life insurance may be purchased for yourself, spouse, and/or children.

Retirement: The County retirement program is made up of three parts: a defined benefit (pension) plan, a defined contribution plan (401(a)), and a deferred compensation plan (457). The defined benefit plan provides a monthly retirement benefit based on your final average salary and years of service with the County. You contribute a portion of your salary on a pre-tax basis to this plan. General employees contribute 4% of pay; uniformed public safety employees contribute 7.5% of pay. The County also contributes to this plan. Employees become vested in the plan at five years of service.

For general employees, the Countyalso contributes 4.2% of pay to a defined contribution plan (401(a)). The 457 deferred compensation plan allows you to save for retirement on either a pre-tax (457b) or post-tax (457 Roth) basis up to the IRS annual limit. New employees are automatically enrolled with apre-tax contribution equal to 2% of your pay. A variety of investment options are available for the 401(a) and 457 plans.

Other Benefits: The County also offers health care,dependent care, and parking flexible spending accounts; adoption assistance, tuition reimbursement;transit and walk/bike to work subsidies; a college savings plan; wellness programs; training opportunities; and a variety of other benefits.


Is prior experience or training required?

No prior experience or training is required. You will receive all the training needed to be a starting firefighter/EMT-B while you are getting paid to attend the 28 week Recruit School.

Recruit School


Recruits are required to report to the Fire Training Academy (FTA) for 28 week Recruit School. FTA staff shall establish reporting days and hours, which generally correspond to a 40-hour, Monday-Friday workweek. At the discretion of the FTA staff, Recruit School days and hours may be flexed to adjust work hours to accommodate night operations and other unique training opportunities. Advance notification will be provided to recruits when this is scheduled to occur.

Attendance during Recruit School is mandatory. Portions of the curriculum have 100% attendance requirements. Absences as a result of extenuating circumstances, such as injury or illness, will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Recruits who do not meet minimum attendance requirements established by the certifying bodies or who miss five unexcused days of a specific curriculum will be subject to separation from employment at the discretion of the fire chief. Recruits who are tardy three times, in accordance with the Recruit School Handbook, are subject to separation from employment at the discretion of the fire chief.

Physical Fitness

Performing the duties of a firefighter/Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) is physically demanding. To prepare recruits for the rigors of emergency response, mandatory physical training will be conducted daily. The physical fitness evaluation of recruits will be ongoing from the start of school throughout graduation. Physical training will consist of aerobic and anaerobic exercise, along with job related tasks.

EMS Curriculum

Recruits shall participate in all classroom and practical sessions but may not be subject to certifying body tests if already certified. All recruits shall successfully complete the AHA Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) certification course. CPR certification is a mandatory criterion to continue the EMS portion of Recruit School. All recruits must successfully obtain the Commonwealth of Virginia EMT Certification.

Performance Standards and Testing

 Recruits will be evaluated during Recruit School by the FTA staff using:

  • ModuleTests
    • Eight total modules tests are administered throughout Recruit School. Module tests are designed to be cumulative and cover all material learned to date. Four module tests are administered during the Fire School and four during EMT School.
    • Recruits unable to achieve a grade percentage of 70% or higher at the conclusion of the fourth EMS or fire module test will be separated from employment at the discretion of the fire chief.
  • Quizzes
    • Quizzes will be offered during each of the EMT school and fire school portions of Recruit School.
  • Certification tests
  • ACFD skill sheets


What training do I receive during Recruit School?

  • Arlington County New Employee Orientation
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Training
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and National Incident Management System (NIMS) Independent Study (IS)
    • 100
    • 200
    • 700
    • 800
  • Virginia Department of Fire Programs (VDFP) Introduction to Technical Rescue (ITR) Mod 1 (online)
  • VDFP Firefighter (FF) I & II
  • VDFP Hazardous Materials Awareness & Operations
  • VDFP Emergency Vehicle Operators Course (EVOC) Levels I, II & III
  • National Registry EMT-B
  • Rescue Task Force (RTF)
  • Introductions to our specialty programs including:
    • Swift Water Rescue
    • Fire Marshals & Bomb Team
    • Technical Rescue
    • Hazmat