Cadet Phase

Cadets doing squats The third phase to becoming a firefighter is the cadet phase. Candidates who have been approved by the City Manager undergo about six months of academic and physical training, including:

  • 940-hour, 25 week fire fighting program, earning their certification as a Basic Structural Firefighter
  • 200-hour Emergency Medical Technician curriculum, earning their Basic Emergency Medical Technician certification

Physical Fitness

Cardiovascular fitness is foundational. The Cadet Fitness Cover Letter(PDF, 32KB) and the Cadet Fitness Program(PDF, 9KB) outline the SAFD Cadet Physical Training Program.

Keep in mind that these documents indicate the minimum fitness level a Candidate should be at upon entry to the academy. We also recommend that incoming Cadets be able to achieve the following:

  • Run 1.5 miles in less than 13 minutes
  • Complete 30 push-ups in 1 minute
  • 5 pull-ups
  • Complete 40 sit-ups in 1 minute

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is the cadet school? Is it in San Antonio? What are the hours?

The cadet school is approximately five and one-half months. It is conducted in San Antonio at the Fire Academy located at 300 S. Callaghan Rd. Cadets report to training Monday through Friday from 7:45 AM to 4:30 PM However, during the Emergency Medical Training course, your hours may vary.

I am already an EMT, do I still have to get certified?

If you are already a National Registered EMT (NREMT), you will not have to re-take the National Registry EMT certification exam. You will still have to participate in the five week program, and pass the tests administered through the UT Health Science Center system.

After graduating from the Academy, do you get to pick at which fire station you work?

At the end of the cadet class, you will be given a list of available openings in the department. Openings are filled based on seniority.


Graduating Firefighters also known as Probationary Fire Fighters, will immediately participate in standard fire service activities such as fire suppression, inspections, rescue operations, pre-fire planning, and station and equipment maintenance.

Promotional Opportunities

Promotional opportunities begin four years from the date you enter the Fire Academy. You will be eligible to take a promotional examination for the next higher rank.

Examinations are given annually and an eligibility list is formed with the passing scores. Individuals on the list are eligible for promotion as vacancies occur within the department. 

As employees are promoted, more assignment opportunities will open up in areas such as:

  • Emergency Medical Service
  • Fire Prevention
  • Arson Bureau
  • Fire Training Academy
  • Aircraft Rescue Firefighting Team
  • Hazardous Materials Response Team
  • Technical Rescue Team
  • Wildland/Urban Interface Team