Harper College

Functional Abilities: Fire Science Technology

Prior to making any decision regarding a career in fire science, any individual contemplating such a career should be fully aware of the legal requirements and limitations of the State of Illinois.

Illinois law requires that selection be made on merit, so most communities have selected psychological testing, physical agility, cognitive ability and drug screening to determine the applicant's aptitude for the job.

Requirements vary depending upon the municipality. Generally they include, but are not limited to:

Physical Requirements

A physical ability test is used to identify candidates who meet the basic physical requirements for the job. The physical ability is a pass/fail test. A series of eight (8) physical tasks are performed. The tasks are determined by specific job requirements that are required of a firefighter on the fire-ground. Applicants will wear a helmet; gloves, and 50 pound vest. The test is timed and candidates must complete the course within the established time standard of 10 minutes and 20 seconds (10:20).


Applicants usually must be at least 21 years of age by the closing date of the recruitment period. Some volunteer fire departments allow applicants to be 18 years of age.


(NFPA Standard 1582) Far visual acuity shall be at least 20/30 binocular, corrected with contact lenses or spectacles. Far visual acuity uncorrected shall be at least 20/100 binocular for wearers of hard contacts or spectacles. Visual field performance without correction shall be 140 degrees in the horizontal meridian in each eye. Candidates who have had or intend to have ophthalmologic procedures such as radial keratotomy, or Lasik, will be subjected to the same standard.

Driver's License

Must possess a valid State Driver's License by hire date, and must have maintained a good driving record. A non-CDL class "B" license is normally required.

Medical Evaluations

Psychological, polygraphs and medical evaluations - including drug testing - will required. A background check of your character and criminal records will be conducted.

Last Updated: 4/8/24