A majority of Fire Departments in San Diego County require a valid CPAT card at time of application and/or appointment.  The Miramar FIPT Program offers a preparation class during each 8-week session.  You will have to attend an actual test in Orange County to get certified. (Approximately $150).  You do not have to take the CPAT Preparation class in order to take the exam, however you are strongly encouraged, since the CPAT Prep course (FIPT 100D) is now recognized as a PE credit toward your degree at Miramar College.  A current CPAT Certification card is required for a San Diego Fire Rescue Fire Academy Open Enrollee.

Candidate Physical Ability Test


This Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT) consists of eight separate events. This test is a sequence of events that requires the candidate to progress along a predetermined path from event to event in a continuous manner. This test was developed to allow fire departments to obtain pools of trainable candidates who are physically able to perform essential job tasks at fire scenes.

This is a pass/fail test based on a validated maximum total time of 10 minutes and 20 seconds.

Weights & Clothing

In these events, you wear a 50-pound (22.68-kg) vest to simulate the weight of a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) and fire fighter protective clothing. An additional 25 pounds (11.34 kg), using two 12.5-pound (5.67-kg) weights that simulate a high-rise pack (hose bundle), are added for the stair climb event.

Throughout all events, you must wear long pants, a hard hat with chinstrap, work gloves and footwear with no open heel or toe. Watches and loose or restrictive jewelry are not permitted.

Tools & Equipment

All props are designed to obtain the necessary information regarding your physical ability. The tools and equipment were chosen to provide the highest level of consistency, safety and validity in measuring your physical abilities.

Sequence & Timing Procedures

The events are placed in a sequence that best stimulates fire scene events while allowing an 85-foot (25.91-m) walk between events. To ensure the highest level of safety and to prevent exhaustion, no running is allowed between events. This walk allows you approximately 20 seconds to recover and regroup before each event.

To ensure scoring accuracy by eliminating timer failure, two stopwatches are used to time the CPAT. One stopwatch is designated as the official test time stopwatch; the second is the backup stopwatch. If mechanical failure occurs, the time on the backup stopwatch is used. The stopwatches are set to a pass/fail time and count down from 10 minutes and 20 seconds. If time elapses prior to the completion of the test, the test is concluded and you fail the test.

Preparing for the CPAT

Being a career firefighter is one of the most physically demanding jobs a person can have, and our hiring standards reflect situations you are likely to encounter on the job.  Use the link above as a guide to help you prepare for the CPAT.  Candidates who attend the CPAT practice session and who participate in some form of physical training prior to taking the test have a higher pass rate.