Q: How long is the hiring process?
A: The hiring process can seem lengthy, but we want to ensure that those who receive job offers are well-qualified to become firefighters. So, the multi-tiered process usually lasts 8 - 10 months. For example, if you take the written exam in March, the final steps of the hiring process would be completed in early winter.
Here is a brief breakdown:
- Gather Required Documents and Submit PHQ
- Take Written Exam
- Take Candidate Physical Assessment Test
- Schedule Panel Interview
- Complete Initial Background Checks, Reference Checks & Take Polygraph Exam
- Complete Pre-Placement Assessments (medical exam, fitness assessment, final background checks), and
- Get Fitted for Uniform and Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA)
Q: I have received Driver's Licenses in more than one state; how many DMV records do I turn in?
A: You must submit a DMV record for EACH state that has issued you a license in the past five (5) years, or your PHQ is considered incomplete and you risk disqualification. Start requesting old, out of state DMV records now!
Q: I have a specific medical condition that I'm worried might disqualify me; who can I talk to about it?
A: Fire HR staff cannot give you any specific medical information. Your best bet is to contact Occupational Health Services at 757-385-4851 for anything medical-related.
Q: Can I submit a copy of my degree to prove I graduated from high school?
A: No! You must submit a copy of your high school diploma or G.E.D. We also accept high school transcripts that show a graduation date. You may also submit a letter from your high school on letterhead that confirms you graduated and lists your graduation date.
Q: I have Firefighter, HazMat and/or EMT certs. Will this help me in the hiring process?
A: Public safety and emergency medical training is great to have on your resume and may make you feel more at ease during the interview, or in the Academy. However, having this background does not guarantee that you will be hired, or that you will be ranked above another applicant who does not have experience.
Q: I have out-of-state Fire and EMT certs. How do I transfer them to VA?
A: The Virginia Department of Fire Programs (www.vafire.com) and Virginia Department of Health Professionals, Office of Emergency Medical Services (www.vdh.state.us/OEMS) are great resources for transfer information.
Q: What if I don’t have any experience?
A: No experience, no problem! The training you will receive in the Academy will prepare you for a position as a Firefighter. Not having experience will not prevent you from being hired.
Q: How many people will get hired?
A: The number of candidates hired depends on the number of vacancies within the department. Typically, each new Academy class has between 20 and 30 new recruits. Usually, one Academy is held per year.
Q: Do I have to live in VA to apply?
A: No. However, you will be required to obtain a VA or NC driver’s license within 30 days of employment. Also, count on making at least 4-5 trips to Virginia Beach to complete the hiring process.
Q: Do you honor veteran’s preference points? What about veteran’s disability preference points?
A: Yes, the City of Virginia Beach honors both veteran’s preference and veteran’s disability preference points. Contact Fire Human Resources for more details (757-385-4228).
Q: What is the Fire Department’s tattoo policy?
A: Currently, the Fire Department does NOT have a policy restricting tattoos. However, this is subject to change. Contact Human Resources with any concerns about your ink (757-385-4228).
Q: What can I do now to start preparing?
A: If you don’t already have a good physical fitness routine, start one! If you already have one, keep it up! Physical fitness is crucial to successfully completing the Academy.
Visit a station near you, talk to a recruiter, apply to participate in our Ride-Along program, or check out our Facebook page or YouTube channel to get a feel for what firefighting is really like. We also visit area middle and high schools for Career Days, local universities/colleges and military bases for Job Fairs and many other community events.
Local Stations: Fire Stations (can also be found as a tab on the VBFD Home page)