Become a Firefighter!

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City of Charleston Fire Department Exam

Upcoming Test: May 4, 2024 at 8:00AM
  Deadline to Apply: April 25, 2024

Access Application Here

We are excited you are interested in joining our department! We are a progressive career department providing Fire, ALS Ambulance, Rescue, Haz-Mat, and Technical Rescue services (TRT) with 24 Firefighters-Paramedics, six Lieutenants, three Captain-Paramedics, a Chief and Assistant Chief. Located in Coles County in East Central Illinois, we provide ALS ambulance and rescue to Charleston, Eastern Illinois University, and the Eastern half of Coles County, which is a sparsely populated rural area with an additional eight towns and villages. Engaged in Mutual Aid Response with ten area fire departments and five area ambulance services, we responded to 5,675 fire and emergency medical calls in 2023.

The Charleston Fire Department is a great place to grow and learn as a firefighter and paramedic. With our TRT and Haz-Mat teams our members have the opportunity to serve a large part of the state and continuously learn new skills. The City of Charleston supports our department through ongoing investment in the equipment we use and benefits provided. All of our ALS ambulances are equipped with Stryker Power Load Cots, Zoll X Series Monitors, Zoll AutoPulse systems and more to ensure our providers are equipped to provide a high quality of service to our citizens and guests.


  • 21 Years of Age
  • High School diploma or equivalent
  • US Citizen
  • Under 35 years of age, unless exempt*
  • No felony convictions
  • EMT Basic, Paramedic, or Prehospital RN License at the time of hire (all appointees must become a paramedic by the end of their probationary period)
  • Residency - 40 miles from Charleston City Hall by end of probationary period

  • Health and life insurance
  • Paid sick leave and vacation
  • Floating holidays
  • Personal leave
  • Educational leave
  • Defined benefit pension plan
  • Growth and promotion opportunities
  • Uniform allowance
  • EMTs - Paid paramedic class tuition and wages during class/clinicals

We offer a competitive salary to complement our benefits package. Probationary firefighters earn $46-50K to start and $52-56K in the first year.

Salary Schedule

Years of Service 5/1/2023 5/1/2024
Probationary 3,888 3,985
6 months- 1 year 4,350 4,459
Second year 5,037 5,163
3 years through 5 years 5,542 5,681
6 years through 8 years 5,769 5,913
9 years through 11 years 5,880 6,027
12 years through 14 years 5,974 6,123
15 years through 17 years 6,083 6,235
18 years through 20 years 6,192 6,347
21 years through 25 years 6,278 6,435
More than 25 years 6,418 6,578
EMT-P/Pre-Hospital RN- $300 per month
Cleaning Allowance- $12 per month paid twice a year

What to Expect at The Test

When you turn in your application you will be given a study guide for the written exam, so turn your application in early! The study guide will provide you with sample questions and important information to review prior to your test. On the day of the test please arrive at the Charleston City Hall (520 Jackson Ave, Charleston, IL) by 8:00 A.M. and make your way to the lower level where you will check in, confirm your identity (please bring a photo ID), and be seated for the written exam. You will be given instructions by the exam proctor before you begin. Once you complete the written exam it will be scored, if you score over a 70% then and you will move onto the physical agility portion of the exam. If you have a valid CPAT card, you will not be required to take the physical agility portion. If you pass the physical agility portion, a group interview will be conducted. Wear comfortable athletic wear and shoes for all aspects of the exam day. Scores will be compiled and you will be notified by mail of your ranking on the eligibility list. You will be able to submit documentation for preference points once the eligibility list is compiled.

Download Application

*The age-35 limitation shall not apply in cases where the applicant was previously employed as a full-time firefighter in a regularly constituted fire department of (i) any municipality or fire protection district located in Illinois, (ii) any fire protection district whose obligations were assumed by a municipality under Section 21 of the Fire Protection District Act (70 ILCS 705/21); or (iii) a municipality whose obligations were taken over by a fire protection district. To qualify for these exceptions to the age limitations, the applicant shall have been actively working as a firefighter within two (2) years of the date of his or her application to this City. To qualify as “employment status” for purposes of this section, the applicant must have received or should receive a W-2 from a municipality under federal law or regulations.
Furthermore, the age-35 limitation shall not apply to any applicant who turned 35 while serving as a member of the active or reserve components of any of the branches of the Armed Forces of the United States or the National Guard of any state, whose service was characterized as honorable or under honorable, if separated from the military, and is currently under the age of 40.