Paramedic Testing Frequently Asked Questions


I’m currently in Paramedic school. Am I eligible to apply?
Yes, if you will complete an accredited Paramedic program and pass the National Registry examinations by July 29, 2022. You may apply now and will be required to provide email documentation by 12:00 (noon) PDT, July 29, 2022.

Are there application and/or testing fees?
No, West Pierce does not charge any application or testing fees.
*Any websites requiring fees to view job postings and/or submit online applications are not affiliated with WPFR. Online applications are only accepted via our Employment webpage with a free Government Jobs account.

What type of training is provided for entry-level Firefighter/Paramedics?

  • Hire date is Monday, October 31, 2022.
  • Recruits will be placed on a Monday-Friday schedule for 5-6 weeks.  During this time they will participate in a 2-day organizational onboarding followed by paramedic training and orientation to the organization. The paramedic orientation will require recruits to participate while being evaluated on their paramedic skills in a didactic setting.  Training material will include orientation to the Pierce County EMS Protocols, Healthcare Provider CPR, Advanced Cardiac Life Support, advanced pre-hospital trauma training, pediatric medical and trauma, pharmacology, report writing as well as an orientation to medical equipment used at West Pierce and operational orientation to the medic units and local hospital system.  Successful completion of the Pierce County EMS protocol exam, and state of WA certification will also be a requirement during this time (if not already achieved).
  • After successful completion of paramedic training/WA certification, recruits will be placed on a 24-hour shift schedule with a Field Training Officer (FTO) for the next 2 months.  (Please see below example on 24-hour shift work schedule). Recruits will be evaluated strictly on their paramedic skills and abilities in the field; riding as a “third” person on the medic unit and will only function as a paramedic in the field during this time.  Recruits will not participate in fire suppression activities and will not be placed on apparatus other than a medic unit.  Recruits will be evaluated on their ability to safely and effectively provide patient care in an operational setting with their FTO.  Additionally, they will be evaluated on medic unit operations and their ability to function as a member of a team.
  • Recruits will start Red Knights Fire Academy in February 2023.  This 13-week fire academy consists of a Monday-Friday schedule and is a comprehensive, fire training program.  Recruits who successfully complete the fire academy will obtain IFSAC certifications in Firefighter I, Firefighter II, HazMat Awareness, and HazMat Operations.
  • After Red Knights Fire Academy, probationary Firefighter/Paramedics will complete a 5-week “mini-academy” where they will receive training in Rescue Systems I, pump operations, and other West Pierce specific operational training prior to being assigned to a shift to complete probation.
  • Upon successful completion of all the above, Probationary Firefighter/Paramedics will be assigned to a 24-hour shift schedule and a primary FTO.  At this phase, they will be expected to function as a Firefighter/Paramedic and will begin completion of their probationary task book.  Probationary time on shift will take them through nearly all major fire suppression functions.  They will be evaluated by their FTOs during this time and complete a mid-term probationary exam (after ~35 shifts) and final probationary exam (after ~60-70 shifts).  Upon completion of the final probationary exam, probationary firefighter/paramedics will officially have completed their probationary period.

Do lateral recruits go through the same training and academy?
Lateral Firefighter/Paramedic recruits may have the Red Knights Academy attendance waived on a case-by-case basis.  Academy waiver approval will be based on individual performance skills assessment during the initial phase of training.  Lateral recruits will be advised during the first few weeks of employment if Red Knights Fire Academy is required. For those waived from Academy, they will remain on 24-hour shift schedule until mini-academy.

What is the “24-hour shift” work schedule?
WPFR personnel have a “Modified Detroit 56” schedule, which is three 24-hour shifts (0800 to 0800) every nine days. Below is an example of the rotations. For the nine-day period of June 2-10, employees on A Shift (red) work June 2, 4 and 6.

Employees assigned to 24-hour shift schedule receive 18 Kelly Days (K-Days) per full year of employment. K-Days are 24-hour blocks of paid time off, to reduce the average workweek to 47.72 hours/week annualized.

Can I schedule a ride along after submitting an application? 
Based on volume of candidates, we are unable to accommodate ride along requests during the hiring process.

Do I need a current Candidate Physical Abilities Test (CPAT) to apply?
No, CPAT is not required to apply. If you have not completed CPAT by the time job offers are made, it will be a condition of employment. WPFR pays all costs associated with conditions (CPAT, medical exam, drug screening, psychological assessment, and background investigation). WPFR utilizes Public Safety Testing for CPAT if a condition of employment. Candidates with valid CPAT certification completed after November 1, 2021 will not need to test again. We accept CPAT certification from any testing agency, which provides CPAT in accordance with the International Association of Fire Fighters standards.

What can I expect during the interview process?
There will be a panel of WPFR personnel, comprised of 4-6 individuals. You will be asked general interview questions as well as medical assessment questions. After interviews, candidates will be sized and fitted for bunker gear and uniforms. Please plan on about 1-2 hours on site.

The job posting notes a background investigation includes criminal history and driving record review. Are there automatic disqualifiers for employment?
We encourage candidates to review RCW 43.43.830 for information on background checks. Findings from a civil adjudication proceeding and/or convictions of crimes listed within the RCW are possible disqualifications. Records are reviewed on an individual basis as a condition of employment. Employees must have the ability to legally operate a vehicle in Washington State and are required to provide proof of a current/valid driver’s license prior to hire date.

What is required for veterans’ preference? 
Please review the Washington State Careers webpage for veteran definitions and preference categories. Preference is added to final, passing (minimum of 70%) score. You must attach documentation (DD214, NGB form 22 or equivalent) to your online application if claiming preference.

I live out of state. What options are there if I’m selected for an interview?
Video or phone interviews may be considered for those living out of the area and/or unable to travel.

I am unavailable and/or out of town August 1-5. Are there alternative interview dates? 
Possible options may include video or phone interviews, if unable to attend in person. We are unable to accommodate alternative dates.

How soon after my interview will I know results? 
We anticipate certifying an eligibility list and advising candidates of their status by 4:00 pm PDT on August 8. This includes notice of conditional employment offers.

Am I able to meet with panel member(s) to get feedback? 
No, but upon request, we will provide an overview of feedback via email.

If I receive an employment offer, how are conditions scheduled?
All costs associated with employment conditions are paid by WPFR. The background investigation is an online process managed by WPFR. You are provided contact information to schedule the medical examination, psychological assessment and CPAT (if needed). Conditions must be successfully completed by 12:00 (noon) PDT, October 28 as the hire date is October 31. If you live out of the area, we will assist with scheduling conditions in a condensed timeframe and reimburse for travel.

Is COVID vaccination a requirement of employment?
Vaccination is not an employment requirement. Proclamation 21-14-1 requires firefighters licensed as an EMT or paramedic to provide their employer with proof of vaccination OR have an approved accommodation. WPFR has a process for requesting and approving vaccination accommodations.

I already have a vaccination accommodation from my current employer.  Can it be used for an exemption at WPFR?
No.  A request for accommodation must be submitted through the process set forth by WPFR.

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