Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT)

For Entry-Level Career Fire Fighters In Vermont

2014 CPAT Testing Information

CPAT Orientation:  Concluded for 2014
CPAT Exam:  October 28 & 29, 2014 - Time by appointment

Location:         Champlain Valley Exposition
                          Robert E. Miller Expo Centre
                          105 Pearl Street
                          Essex Junction, VT 05453

For Information or questions on our CPAT Testing Program contact
Program Coordinator Christopher Corbin at

The 2014 Application Period has closed.

The State of Vermont no longer administers a written examination as part of the entry level fire
fighter testing process. Individual fire departments have accepted the responsibility of administering their own written examination to candidates that apply for employment within their jurisdiction.

CPAT Orientation Guide (PDF)

Applicants may order the “CEB/PST Candidate Orientation Guide” by clicking the following link: and scroll down to the bottom of that page.  For $10 applicants can pay with their credit card and then immediately download and print one copy of the Candidate Orientation Guide with several practice test questions.

For more information on the CPAT Program Watch the CPAT Video by clicking here.

Currently, the following municipalities have committed to using this testing process for hiring.  If you are interested in applying for employment with any of the following fire departments, you must contact them directly for application information.

  • Burlington
  • South Burlington
  • Williston
  • Hartford
  • Saint Johnsbury
  • Springfield
  • Brattleboro

CPAT Summary

The Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT) was developed by a joint labor management initiative between the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) and the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) to address the need to develop a physical ability test for consistent pre-employment testing for the hiring of candidate fire fighters. A survey of tools and equipment, protective equipment, and job descriptions, as well as the demographics of both the fire fighters and the citizens they serve was conducted. From the results of this survey, fire ground tasks were studied and certain tasks were determined to be a fair and valid evaluation tool in the selection of entry level fire fighters.

In 2008, a working group was developed in Vermont to determine the need for, and implement the CPAT process. The working group, much like the original IAFF / IAFC task force, is a joint labor / management initiative, consisting of representatives from the Professional Fire Fighters of Vermont, the VT Career Fire Chiefs, the Vermont Division of Fire Safety, and the Vermont Fire Academy. Before CPAT in Vermont, career fire departments had varied physical agility testing requirements for entry-level firefighters. This results in a lack of standardization. CPAT is a licensed process that requires a study to be performed that ensures all firefighters within the jurisdiction, in this case Vermont, perform similar tasks with similar equipment during similar time frames. In turn, the study ensures that the CPAT test is valid and fair for all entry-level firefighters throughout Vermont. Currently the municipalities of Burlington, South Burlington, Williston, Hartford, Saint Johnsbury, Springfield, and Brattleboro have committed to using this testing process.

A test that is proven safe and is standard with job specifications results in a test that cannot be challenged by a candidate as discriminatory in any manner. The IAFF and IAFC have worked with the Department of Justice to ensure the test is fair and legal.

Just as this test is fair for all candidates, CPAT also ensures a high level of professionalism within the fire service in Vermont. Along with education and training, fitness and health are essential for an individual to succeed in today’s fire service. A fire fighter that is healthier and more physically fit is a fire fighter that will be able to provide the best possible fire protection and emergency medical services to the community they serve. Health and fitness also contribute to a fire fighter’s enjoyment of a fulfilled, and hopefully injury-free career, placing less of a burden on communities and coworkers.