Firefighter & Fire Cadet

Are you interested in becoming a firefighter?

Get to know us and learn what firefighters do by:CFR_Recruits

Becoming a Cadet

Fire Cadets aid in increasing the diversity of the Columbia Fire & Rescue Department by bringing new ideas and problem solving skills to the fire service.  Columbia Fire & Rescue strives to develop a department that is reflective of the City of Columbia.  This program is for females and males 18 years of age and up. Participants learn about the fire service and develop personal fitness. To qualify, applicants must:

    Be at least 18 years of age at time of testing.

    Have a high school diploma or GED

    Have a valid  Tennessee driver’s license

Fire Cadet Program - part time

The Cadet Program originated in 2016 for young women and men who are interested in learning about a career in Fire Suppression and Emergency Medical Services.  The purpose of the Fire Cadet program is to help young people make the decision of whether they want to pursue a career in Fire Suppression. The Fire Cadet program is a unique blend of training designed to prepare cadets for the academic, emotional and physical rigors required to be successful as a Columbia Firefighter. 

A job as a Fire Cadet is a gateway to a full time firefighting career with the Columbia Fire & Rescue Department (CFR). Fire Cadets are part-time employees that perform various support functions while completing training to become a Columbia Firefighter.

EMT Certification

Cadets are responsible for paying their tuition and fees for enrollment into the EMT course.  However, the City of Columbia can assist by paying the required tuition and fees and allowing cadets to utilize a payroll deduction after a promissory note has been signed.

  • The fire cadet program consists of class room training to obtain EMT certification, hands on experience which includes learning to work alone as well as in a squad-based (team) environment and 96 hours of clinical rotations;
  • During the first portion of the program fire cadets will earn certification as a Level 1 Firefighter with the state of Tennessee.
  • Following the completion of basic firefighting training, fire cadets are required to become nationally registered emergency medical technicians (EMT), and will continue to advance their medical knowledge and/or begin to prepare to become a Paramedic.  
  • Gain an understanding of Columbia Fire & Rescue as a whole, through rotating work assignments.  In addition to CFD operational units, work locations include Administration, Technical Services, Construction and Maintenance, teaching lessons in Columbia area schools and at public education events, recruiting and more!  

Physical ability, where does it fit in?

Firefighting requires high levels of cardiopulmonary endurance, muscular strength and muscular endurance physical tasks.  Cadets will receive training that simulates actual job duties on the fire ground which will assist with preparing them to become Firefighters.  The major areas of physical fitness include:

  • Flexibility
  • Cardiopulmonary endurance
  • Muscular strength
  • Muscular endurance

Candidates and employees can access the IAFF Candidate Preparation Guide

Once a Cadet successfully completes the State Fire Academy, he or she is eligible for promotion to Firefighter within a twelve month period.


Eligibility Requirements for Firefighter

    Be at least 18 years of age at time of testing.

    Have a high school diploma or GED

    Have a valid  Tennessee driver’s license

    Have a Tennessee State EMT License

    Complete physical agility course, background check and physical

Firefighters undergo on-the-job training under constant supervision and increasingly performs firefighting duties and related work.  A Firefighter is assigned to the training division in Fire Operations while learning the full range of firefighting skills, knowledge and ability. The new hire testing process for Firefighter‐Recruits in Columbia includes:

  • Entry- level written test
  • Fitness evaluation (CPAT)
  • Assessment Center 
  • Series of oral interview panels

See the job description for firefighter for City of Columbia   (link)

Examples of Duties

    Responds to fire and emergency calls as a member of a fire company.

    Lays hose, carries and sets up ladders, and uses fire equipment to extinguish fires and make rescues.

    Administers first aid.

    Participates in pre-fire and fire prevention inspections.

    Participates in drills and training activities.

    Cleans and maintains fire vehicles, apparatus, and equipment.

    Maintains fire station and grounds.

    Operates department non-emergency vehicles, and when required, drives and operates fire vehicles, apparatus, and equipment.

    Participates in public fire education programs and community risk reduction events.

    Administers First Aid and CPR.

    Participates in Department workout programs.

    Maintains 240 annual training hours.

Waivers and Questionnaires