Some Points To Consider Before Taking The CPAT

A Career in Firefighting

The CPAT is a fire rescue certification test. It is also a physical skills aptitude test that involves firefighting activities, which a test taker has undergo and perform well in order to pass in the examination. Conducted by the California Firefighters Joint Apprenticeship Committee, the test is of utmost importance to a person wanting to take up a career in firefighting in the USA. Developed by the Task Force, this examination is standardized to international standards. The performance of the test takers is assessed by a team of experts with in-depth knowledge in the domain and physical assessment tests, in general.

CPAT Sections, Question Types, Duration and Scoring

The certification entrance test has eight exercising modules, in which a test taker has to display his/her proficiency in the physical activities, as per the requirements of the test. The 8 modules are listed as follows:

  1. Stair Climb
  2. Hose Drag
  3. Equipment Carry
  4. Ladder Raise
  5. Forcible Entry
  6. Search
  7. Rescue Drag
  8. Ceiling Breach & Pulls

Each of these activities of the test consists of exercises that have to be performed within 10 minutes and 20 seconds. Adequate rest is given to the test takers in between the exercises for them to recover from exercise fatigue. They are also given hydration treatment throughout the exercising program, in order to maintain healthy levels of body fluids in their bodies while they perform the strenuous exercises. As the examinees are made to undergo a mandatory orientation and timed practice sessions, prior to attempting the final test, they are expected to be well prepared for the physical strain they would experience in the final test. The test consists of only the physical skills test; the candidates do not have to appear for any textual academic test. The examinees have to attain a minimum passing score in all the modules of this test in order to be CPAT certified.

How is a Career In Firefighting Going to Be?

Before taking the certifying test, it is important for the firefighting aspirants to be aware of different aspects of a career in firefighting, so that they are not disappointed by unexpected situations in the course of their careers as firefighters. Discussed below are some of these aspects:

  • Know your priorities in life: A career in firefighting is for those persons who are primarily adventurous and are interested in serving people in need. They should like adventure and should be mentally prepared for risking their lives for the sake of others. Above all, one should have a very robust health in order to endure the rigorous physical fitness and rescue operations regime that they have to maintain, as a part of their professional requirement.

  • Work style: As you are already aware, this is not a routine 9-5 job. The challenges, the action and the adventure involved, make this an uncommon and thrilling job. Moreover, you should be prepared to report to work at any time of the day regardless of your current location or situation in a short notice period. This may affect your family life adversely, but you can spend your off-days with your family. On the one hand, every work opportunity will give you the feeling of a hero when you rescue helpless people from fire, but on the other hand, you may have to witness causalities and death as well, for which you need to tune your mind to a professional mental set up without becoming emotional. The rules laid out by the fire services organization that you may be working with, can be strict.

  • Career growth and salary: The salaries of firefighters are quite competitive and career growth will be fast for the persons who have an impressive performance record. On the whole, this is a very competitive career to be a part of if you are able to pass the certification exam.


A career in firefighting is one of the most alluring careers of the day, for those who are daring and want an adventurous life. However, one should fully assess his/her suitability for this career before opting for it. Once decided, one can take the test in order to qualify for a career in firefighting in the USA.