Employment Information for the Hiring Process

Watch Our Agility Test Video Demonstration [video]


Under immediate supervision, performs responsible protective and preventive services, while conducting fire suppression and non-suppression work.


Respond to emergencies such as Fire calls, Medical calls, Haz-mat calls or Rescue calls. Perform firefighting duties on fires, such as combating and extinguishing fires, rescue, ventilation, salvage and overhaul procedures. Provide basic life support procedures while responding on medical calls such as CPR, defibrillation, airway advancement, etc., to render aid. Conduct rescue operations involving, but not limited to vehicles, high/low angle, confined space, water, structural collapse and trench. Participate in daily, weekly, monthly and annual training. Perform daily, weekly, monthly station, equipment and apparatus maintenance.


Education and Experience: Must be a minimum of 18 years of age, have a high school diploma or equivalent, a valid Driver’s License and successful completion of the Winston-Salem Fire Department’s Basic Fire Training Program.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities: General knowledge of firefighting techniques and procedures as applied to fire suppression; general knowledge of fire prevention and pre-planning strategies and techniques; general knowledge of emergency medical techniques and procedures; general knowledge of technical firefighting principles and techniques and principles of hydraulics as applied to fire suppression; general knowledge of the street system and physical layout of the city; general knowledge of hazardous materials and accident extrication principles and techniques; ability to understand and follow oral and written instructions; ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with fellow employees and the general public; possession of mechanical aptitude; physical endurance and agility.


All recruits must be able to obtain a valid North Carolina Class B Driver’s Licenses within 6 months of completing the Department’s Basic Firefighter Training Program.


Must be able to lift, pull or move up to 50 lbs., climb stairs and ladders, and maneuver up to 1 mile; work with large and small objects. This position will work outdoors and indoors and may be exposed to changing weather, adverse smells, conditions, sights, loud sounds and repetitive operations.

Firefighter Trainee Salary
No Degree ---------------$29,411.20
Associates Degree ---- $30,881.76
Bachelors Degree---- $32,425.90


All applicants interested in employment with the Winston–Salem Fire Department must fulfill the following requirements:

  • 18 years of age or older
  • High School diploma or equivalent
  • Valid State-Issued Driver’s License

The Winston-Salem Fire Department hiring process consists of the following five phases

Phase One

The Human Resources Department will designate a period for the application process to begin. During this period, all interested applicants must submit an application of employment with the Human Resource Department. Applications will not be accepted after the allotted time period has expired.

Phase Two

The Human Resources Department will send invitation letters to all applicants interested in participating in the Fire Department’s Physical Agility Test. The Agility Test will be held at the Deaton Thompson Stadium and the Georgia E. Taylor Recreation Center.

Candidates participating in the Agility Test will be required to complete the following chronological stages:

Stages Time Limits

  • Half-Mile Run - 6 min and 30 sec (maximum)
  • Stair Climb with High-Rise Hose Hoist Pack - 2 min and 30 sec (maximum)
  • Serpentine Course - 30 sec (maximum)
  • Chopping Simulator - (minimum of 28 hits) 30 sec (minimum) 55 sec (maximum)
  • Hose Drag/Rescue Drag - 2 min (maximum)
  • Aerial Ladder Climb - 10 min (maximum)

Candidates will complete all stages of the agility test wearing a Firefighter’s turnout coat, gloves, and a SCBA pack/bottle, with the exception of the half-mile run. A general description of each required task is listed below:

  • Run a half-mile
  • Walk up the stadium stairs to the top while carrying a hose pack
  • At the top of the stairs, hoist a 50' section of 4" large diameter hose by rope to the top of the stadium, 35'
  • Walk down the stadium stairs carrying a hose pack
  • Walk through a serpentine course set up with pylons
  • Walk to the chopping simulator and complete a minimum of 28 strikes
  • Drag a hose attached to a weighted tire 100 feet
  • Drag a 165 lb. rescue manikin 100 feet
  • Successfully climb an aerial ladder 75 feet

Phase Three

The Human Resources Department will send invitations to all applicants who successfully completed the agility test to participate in the entry-level firefighter recruitment examinations. The department uses the Comprehensive Examination Battery (CEB) Test and the Work Styles Inventory (WSI) examinations.

The CEB Test focuses on a number of skills and traits deemed relevant to superior job performance, including cognitive ability, reading ability, and selected personal characteristics.

This WSI examination is designed to measure traits required for maintaining effective relations with co-workers in the station and while working with the public that are less obvious than other personality-type tests.

The WSI aids in forecasting performance in the following areas:

  • Effective teamwork
  • Attention to detail
  • Commitment and dedication
  • Receiving and responding to orders or instructions
  • Fire Suppression and Non-Suppression duties
  • Overall job performance (the sum of all the above)

The CEB Test is scored on a pass/fail basis and then a list with candidates grouped in performance bands is generated for all those who passed the CEB. The banded list is based upon how candidates performed on the WSI examination.

Phase Four

The Human Resources Department will notify all candidates in the top band and/ or bands (depending on the allotted positions), to participate in the interview process. At the conclusion of the interview process, the Human Resources Department will offer employment to all successful applicants that were selected by the Fire Department.

All selected applicants must fulfill the following pre-employment requirements:

  • Successfully pass the “fit for duty” and drug screening process
  • Have an acceptable DMV and criminal background

Phase Five

The Human Resources Department will notify all candidates who successfully fulfilled all the pre-employment requirements with an official start day.


Listed below are a few frequently asked questions we receive from prospective team members.

1. Are females allowed to become firefighters for WSFD?

Absolutely! We encourage females to join our team. Currently in the suppression division, we have eight females working in our department ranking from Fire Captain, Engineer, and Firefighter. Winston-Salem Fire Department was the first department in the USA to hire a female.

2. When will the next WSFD Agility Test and Recruit School begin?

The next Agility Test is projected for February 2016.  The next Recruit School is projected to begin July 2016. Recruiting takes place year round for WSFD.

3. How long do Recruit Schools last?

The Recruit School runs for 26 weeks. Upon completion of Recruit School, the team member will receive State Certification training in Fire, Rescue, Hazardous Material and Medical response.

4. How do I apply for the position of firefighter with the WSFD?

The City of Winston-Salem seeks qualified applicants to fill job vacancies. You can view openings and then apply online. The City of Winston-Salem's employment practices are guided by federal, state, and local rules and regulations guaranteeing employment opportunities to all persons without regard to and prohibiting discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy, age, religion, political affiliation or beliefs, national origin or handicap, unless it prevents the applicant from performing the job for which they are applying. Visit the job openings website to apply.

5. How long is my application valid?

The application is only valid DURING THE APPLICATION PERIOD, which opens and closes at various times throughout the year. After the application period ends, the applicant must reapply. It is the sole responsibility of the applicant to be informed of application periods and deadlines. Fpr additional information, contact the city’s Human Resource Department at (336) 747-6803.

6. What kind of hours do firefighters work in WSFD?

The Firefighters’ work schedule in the Winston-Salem Fire Department is based on a 56- hour work week. The schedule is a modified 24 hours on, 48 hours off. Once per shift cycle, each platoon has 4 days off, which we call our long weekend. The WSFD has three platoons.

7. Do you have an entry-level training salary for firefighters?

Yes, there is an entry-level training salary for firefighters:

High School Diploma: $29,411.20
Associates Degree: $ 30,881.76
Bachelors Degree: $32,425.90

8. What is the starting salary for firefighters?

Starting salary for the position of firefighter:

High School Diploma: $30,881.76
Associates Degree: $32,425.90
Bachelors Degree: $34,047.52

9. Is there an age minimum for applicants to apply to be a WSFD firefighter?

Yes, applicants must be at least 18 years old.

10. What will improve my chances of being hired?

The Winston-Salem Fire Department is an equal opportunity employer and looks to hire the best candidates for the job.

11. May I run through the Firefighter’s Agility Test prior to my scheduled test date?

No, you may not run through the agility test prior to your scheduled test time. Due to the large number of applicants, your scheduled time will be the only time allowed for you to attempt the Firefighter’s Agility Test. However, the department has produced an Agility Test Demonstration that can be useful in giving the candidate a clear understanding of the different stages. You can view the video above or on our YouTube channel.

12. If I already have my NCEMT certification, will I have to take it again through the Recruit School?

Yes, all recruits must successfully complete and pass the EMT course. If you currently hold a NCEMT certification, you will not be required to take the state EMT examination. No special provisions are made for applicants that currently hold an EMT certification.

13. If I have already completed my Firefighter I & II certification, will I have to complete the same training as someone without the certification?

Yes. There are several other certifications that a recruit will receive in recruit school in addition to Firefighter I&II, so all recruits must complete the recruit academy in its entirety.

14. Does the Winston- Salem Fire Department accept lateral transfers?

No; not at this time. All applicants must participate and successfully pass the Recruit School. March 11, 2015.

15. Do I have to have some experience or prior training in the fire service?

No, you do not have to have any prior experience in the fire service. WSFD will train the recruits with the highest level of training to prepare them for the field.

16. What is the minimum education requirement to become a Winston- Salem firefighter?

WSFD requires a minimum of a High School Diploma or equivalent. We do encourage the candidates to enhance their educational levels.

17. If I am hired, will I receive a paycheck while I am in the Recruit School?

Yes, you will receive a paycheck. Once you begin the Recruit School, you are employed by the City of Winston-Salem.

18. Does the Winston- Salem Fire Department have a residency restriction?


Effective January 17, 1994, no person shall be hired, promoted, reclassified or transferred to the position of City Manager, Deputy City Manager, Assistant City Manager, City Attorney, Department, Division or Office Head, as determined by the City Manager, in accordance with the residency ordinance, unless that person maintains his principal residence within the corporate limits of the City, or establishes his principal residence within the corporate limits of the City within one-hundred and eighty (180) days of the effective date of the personnel action. Effective January 17, 1994, all persons hired, promoted, reclassified or transferred to a public safety position (sworn police personnel or fire suppression personnel below the level of Department, Division or Office Head) shall be required to maintain his principal residence in Forsyth County or any county contiguous to Forsyth County or establish his principal residence within one of said areas within one-hundred and eighty (180) days of the effective date of the personnel action. (City Employee Handbook, Page 68, Nov. 2014 edition)

19. What if I want to apply for a job that does not currently have a vacancy?

The Application Process

Applications are accepted for current, published vacancies only. A separate application must be submitted for each position for which you are applying.

All applications must be submitted online at www.cityofws.org. Applications must be FULLY completed (i.e. dates of employment, salary history, reference names and phone numbers, etc.) Resumes may not be substituted for employment history. As the applicant it is your responsibility to stay informed of the open application period, and closing dates.

20. Am I allowed to do a “Ride Along” with the Winston- Salem Fire Department prior to applying with the City?

Yes, all City of Winston-Salem residents are welcome to tour any of our departments and do a ride along under our WSFD Fire and Life Safety Public Education Program. For more information please contact our Senior Community Educator, Sabrina Stowe at (336) 773-7965 or by e-mail .

However, to ensure that the hiring process is equitable to all applicants, the fire department does not allow applicants to participate in the ride along program during the hiring process.

21. Why should I choose Winston-Salem Fire Department?

Winston-Salem Fire Department has a rich heritage and a tight knit family. We offer competitive pay, an aggressive fire suppression division, and a distinguished fire prevention team. We strive 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to serve and protect our residents. We take pride in our highly trained and professional Firefighters, Engineers, Captains, Fire Inspectors, Fire Investigators as well as the courageous Battalion Chiefs and Administration that keep us going. We use some of the most up-to-date and advanced tools and equipment available today, and take pride in our force of diehard apparatus. Winston-Salem is voted as one of the most livable communities and a front runner in today’s technology based economy. We look forward to having you on our team! Feel free to explore our website for more information regarding the Winston- Salem Fire Department.

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