CPAT Test in Illinois

All about CPAT in Illinois

The CPAT in Illinois is a rigorous physical ability exam for those who are aspiring to become firefighters in Illinois. The test is conducted by certain licensed institutions in Illinois, which follow the framework and guidelines set up by the founders of CPAT; namely, IAFF and IAFC to the full spirit. This article discusses the test in detail and throws light on its logistics, such as the testing facilities, schedule, courses and so on.

Everything You Need to Know About CPAT in Illinois:

  1. For What Purpose is the CPAT Conducted?

    The CPAT is conducted to evaluate the physical strength, mobility and agility of entry-level firefighting applicants in the state of Illinois. The applicants are selected for training and further employment by the fire departments in Illinois if they are able to complete all the tasks in this test without any fumbles and within the specified time of 10 minutes and 20 seconds.

  2. What Tasks Must the Applicants Perform?

    In line with the guidelines established by IAFF and IAFC, the CPAT consists of a sequence of 8 tasks, which the applicants are required to complete in the same order. To mention a few, the tasks include exercises such as stair climbing, ladder raising, search and rescue and so on. The tasks are monitored by an examiner, who times the entire test and issues warnings regarding fumbles or failures. A complete list of the tasks is available on the IAFF CPAT website at The 8 tasks are designed to test the endurance, muscle strength and fitness of the applicants. During the entire test, the candidates are required to wear a body vest that weighs 50 lbs.

  3. When and Where Can Applicants Take the Test in Illinois?

    The CPAT is administered by two academies; namely, NIPSTA or Northeastern Illinois Public Safety Training Academy and SUFD or Southwest United Fire Districts Academy. Both these academies provide one test location each in the towns of Glenview and Darien, respectively.

    NIPSTA publishes its latest testing schedule and application information on its website - The NIPSTA testing schedule generally consists of one testing date for every month in a year. It is recommended that the applicants register for a testing date at least 8-9 weeks prior to that date, so that they can avail the orientation and practice sessions held at NIPSTA. To register for the test at NIPSTA, you may click on the registration link on the NIPSTA website mentioned earlier.

    SUFD provides 6-7 testing dates in a year, the latest schedule of which is available at The applicants are recommended to register at least 2 months prior to a testing date, so that they can attend the orientation sessions and coaching program conducted at SUFD.

    Recently in March 2013, a new testing center has been opened up by the Central Illinois Fire Chiefs (CIFC) agency in Decuater, Illinois and tests will be conducted in this location starting May 2013 onwards. For more details, you may look for the press release at this link -

  4. What Coaching Programs are Available in Illinois?

    NIPSTA, SUFD and CIFC provide certified coaching programs for the test. The details of their programs are described below:

    • NIPSTA CPAT Pre-Test Preparation Program: This program includes 2 two-hour orientation sessions, followed by 2 clocked practice sessions. The orientation sessions are held at least 8 weeks prior to the actual test appointment, while the practice sessions are held 30 days prior to the test appointment. The applicants may choose either of these coaching options, though it is recommended that both of these options must be taken for maximum benefit. You may also download the lesson videos and self-practice guide from the NIPSTA website (web-link mentioned earlier) to be prepared even before the start of this program.

    • SUFD CPAT Program: This program includes an orientation session, followed by a station practice session and finally, 2 timed course sessions. Their orientation session is conducted 2 months prior to the testing date and the station practice session is held a week after the orientation. The timed courses happen about a month before the actual test appointment. The station practice and timed courses are provided under the full guidance of qualified SUFD fire personnel. Moreover, there are instructional videos and guides available on the SUFD website mentioned earlier in this article.

CIFC also provides similar training sessions for all its entry-level applicants, the details of which are available on the City of Springfield website, the link for which provided earlier in this article.

In conclusion, we hope that this article has addressed all your questions regarding the test in Illinois and you are now more confident about how to go about this exam. Finally, you must remember that though this is a physical ability test, it is important that the candidates know all about the structure and aspects of this test before they register for the same.

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