Becoming a Fire Medic

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Fire Medic

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Interested in a Career as a Fire Medic? 

Do you think you may be interested in becoming a fire medic? A career in the City of Fairfax Fire Department is very rewarding and provides an environment where each day has new challenges. You will work with dedicated fire and EMS professionals (both career and volunteer) as well as citizens who share your goal of making the community with a superb quality of life. As an individual and as a member of a highly respected team, our expectations are high, because we strive to have the very best that can really make a difference.

The basic qualifications to be considered for a career position as a fire medic or firefighter EMT with the City of Fairfax include:

  • A legal resident of the United States.
  • A minimum of 21 years of age by the date you are hired.
  • A valid high school diploma, or have a valid G.E.D. certificate.
  • You must have a valid drivers license with no restrictions (vision correction or related excepted) in your current state of residence. If you will be relocating to Virginia, you must be able to obtain a valid Virginia drivers license upon appointment.
  • Virginia FFII Certification or equivalent (Non Virginia certificates must have ProQual Board or IFSAC endorsements, and will require Virginia reciprocity within the first year of employment)
  • Virginia Emergency Vehicle Operator (EVOC) or equivalent
  • NFPA 472 Hazardous Materials Operations (Virginia preferred)
  • Virginia Emergency Medical Technician Intermediate (fire medic) or Basic (firefighter) (National Registry will be recognized but will require conversion to Virginia as a condition of employment)
  • No felony criminal convictions, convictions of domestic assault, or conviction that would prohibit your possession of a firearm.
  • Be of good moral character, honest and possess values that are consistent with the requirements of the City of Fairfax Fire Department
  • You must have the ability to speak, understand and write English clearly.

Want to Get Started on Your New Career? 

First, you should check the job openings and submit an application.

Once city personnel office receives your application, it will be forwarded to the fire department for a review to make sure you meet the basic qualifications. If qualified, you will be scheduled to take the written applicant test and work performance exam. Exam sessions are scheduled twice a year, typically on the third Saturdays in March and September. You will receive notification about the test date, time, and where to report.

You will need to score 70% or higher on the written exam to move on to the work performance exam and complete it under 10 minutes 47 seconds.  This is a practice session of the work performance exam.  However, if you complete the session within the time limit it will be counted as your test.  If you do not complete the session within the time limit, you will be given a test date to complete the work performance exam.  You must pass either the practice session or the test to continue in the employment process.

Once you have passed the written exam, you will be given a personal history statement packet to complete and return to the fire department. The Personal History Statement requires you to list information about yourself that will be used to conduct your background investigation and to evaluate you for the position. This information includes such things as your educational background, any military service, the location of your current and past residences, credit information and personal references. Return your completed packet to the fire department following the instructions sent with the packet.

Once your personal history statement packet has been received the fire department will begin a reference check and preliminary background investigation. During this time you will be in regular contact with members of the fire department who will be asking you follow-up questions and will be available to discuss any questions you may have.

\Once the preliminary background investigation step is concluded, recommended candidates are selected to take part in the interview phase. During this phase you will be scheduled to meet with a panel of fire department staff and asked to respond to several general questions.  If you are recommended by the interview panel you will then take an online EMS exam.  This exam will be administered by fire department personnel and taken by all potential employees that are recommended by the panel.  You will need to score 70% or higher to be considered for employment. 

The complete background investigation has many components, including:

  • Contacting your references.
  • Contacting your previous employers.
  • Obtaining your educational transcripts.
  • Scheduling you for a pre-polygraph interview and polygraph exam.
  • Reviewing your driver’s license transcript.
  • Checking criminal history and arrest records

If selected for employment after completion of all of the phases of the process, you will be given a conditional job offer. If you accept it, you will be scheduled for your physical and polygraph exam. If you successfully complete your physical and polygraph exams as well as your complete background investigation, you may then be offered a position with the City of Fairfax Fire Department.

You can expect the entire process to take from three to six months from the time you first apply to the completion of the process. 

Summary of Salary & Benefits for Fire Department Members

The city uses a two-week pay period, based on 40 hours per week, with 26 biweekly pay periods each year. Your base salary does not include any overtime that may be worked. Except for overtime exempt employees, hours worked on an overtime basis are paid at 1.5 times your normal hourly rate. In addition, the city’s pay scale provides steps above base salary levels based on years of service and positive annual performance evaluations. These pay step increases normally occur on your employment anniversary date and coincide with your annual employee performance evaluation.

Shown below are the current salary levels for City of Fairfax Fire Department positions:

  • The starting salary range for entry level firefighter/EMT is $54,494 to $86,972.
  • The starting base salary range for entry level Fire Medic s $59,546 to $95,036.
  • After 3 years as a fire medic, and meeting other certification prerequisites you will be eligible to apply for the promotional exam which is offered every two years. If promoted to lieutenant the pay range is $67,021 to $106,965.
  • After two years as a lieutenant you become eligible to apply for the captain’s promotional exam. After successful completion, you will be entered into a candidate pool and will have to apply and interview when a vacancy becomes available. The pay range for Captain is $77,695 to $123,069.
  • After two years as a captain you become eligible to enter into the Command Officer’s Development Program. With successful completion of this program you may become a fill-in battalion chief. When a battalion chief vacancy becomes available to you may apply and interview. The pay range for this position is $87,446 to $138,515.

Annual Leave

City employees earn annual leave to use for personal time, vacations or for any other personal activities. Annual leave is earned each pay period and is based on your length of service with the city.

  • If you have been with the city less than 3 years you will earn 4 hours of annual leave each pay period.
  • Once you have worked for the city for 3 years you will earn 6 hours of annual leave per pay period up to your 15th year of service.
  • On your 15th year of service you will earn 8 hours of annual leave per pay period.

Sick Leave

You may use sick leave when sick, ill, have medical appointments during your scheduled working hours, or need to attend to the illness of an immediate family member. Employees earn 4 hours of sick leave per pay period with no limit on the number of hours you may accumulate.


The city observes 10.5 holidays per year. The city’s holiday schedule closely follows the schedule of the federal government and Commonwealth of Virginia. Unless you are an "essential employee", you will be off the day of the holiday and receive regular pay for the day. If you are an essential employee and scheduled to work when a city holiday falls, you will receive your regular pay for working your shift and receive additional pay at an overtime rate for the hours you work during the holiday.


Once employed as a fire medic you will become a member of the city’s retirement program. The city has two plans and you will be automatically enrolled in both. The first is a city retirement plan for public safety employees. The second plan is the Virginia Retirement System, which is managed by the Commonwealth of Virginia. These plans are separate and distinct plans with their own eligibility regulations, benefits and options. 

City employees are also given the opportunity to participate in an Internal Revenue Service approved deferred compensation program (457 plan). Under this program you may use a payroll deduction to set aside up to $18,000 each year with interest earnings being tax deferred. 

City of Fairfax Public Safety Retirement Plan

The city retirement plan provides you with full retirement when you have completed 25 years of service. Both you and the city contribute to this plan. Your cost for the plan is 7 percent of your base salary, tax deferred, paid through a payroll deduction. Your actual retirement pay is based on your total years of service, your age and your highest average salary during 36 consecutive months. There is no minimum age needed in order to retire, but you must have a minimum of 25 years of service. 

If you retire under the age of 55, your retirement will be 62.5% of your highest average salary period until you reach the age of 55. When you reach the age of 55, or retire after reaching 55, the percentage rate drops to 37.5% of your highest average salary. There is an additional reduction on the date you are eligible for payments from the Social Security Administration. The percentage rate drops to 32.5% of your highest average salary. 

The city retirement plan also provides retirement options for both work related and non-work related disabilities.

The Virginia Retirement System Plan 

The second retirement plan provided to city employees is the Virginia Retirement System (VRS). This is a state wide retirement plan of the Commonwealth of Virginia and available to all state employees and to local governments who desire to participate. Your contributions to this plan are portable to any other Virginia state agency or local Virginia agency that participates in VRS. Your VRS retirement account will remain intact, your years of service with the city will be fully credited and you can continue to contribute under your new employer’s account. At retirement as a city fire department employee, you may begin immediately to receive income from the city’s retirement plan. If you obtain employment with another agency that is a member of the VRS plan and continue to contribute into the VRS plan, you will earn additional years of service time towards your VRS retirement.

The city pays its share of the VRS costs as well as your contribution, which is 5 percent of your current base salary. You are eligible for retirement under the VRS plan based on a combination of age and total years of service. For more information about the benefits of this plan please contact the city personnel office or speak with a fire department representative during your application phase. 

Virginia Retirement System