Fire Cadet - Position Details

Fire Cadets are uniformed civilian employees who work in an apprentice-style program designed to prepare Cadets for a career as Milwaukee Firefighters. Duties include training, administrative and clerical functions, as well as fire house duties. The assignments are widely varied so that the Fire Cadet will gain a broad range of operational and administrative experience. Fire Cadets are required to meet established program criteria to complete a prescribed course of college curriculum and a physical fitness program prior to being considered for appointment to Firefighter.

What Will You Do as a Fire Cadet?

The Fire Cadet Program consists of academic and physical training conducted by the MFD along with several of our community partners at sites throughout Milwaukee County.  The organization of the Fire Cadet Program closely follows the semester schedule of most Milwaukee Area Colleges and Universities.  Cadets are required to complete the components of a given semester in order to maintain employment and progress in the program. 

  • The fire cadet program consists of 100 weeks of training and work experience which includes college level coursework in firefighting, pre-hospital medicine, and general education subjects such as foreign language and advanced sciences. 
  • During the first portion of the program fire cadets will earn certification as a Wisconsin Level 1 Firefighter at the MFD Training Academy.
  • Following the completion of basic firefighting training fire cadets are required to become nationally registered emergency medical technicians (EMT) and will begin to prepare to become a Paramedics.  EMT Basic classes are taught by MFD instructors at our training Academy. 
  • Fire Cadets begin work towards an associate degree by completing college credits while maintaining a minimum 2.0 college GPA.  Tuition reimbursement is available.
  • Gain an understanding of the Milwaukee Fire Department as a whole, through rotating work assignments.  In addition to MFD operational units, work locations include MFD Administration, Technical Services, Construction and Maintenance, teaching lessons in Milwaukee area schools and at the Survive Alive House, specialized response units, recruiting and more! 
  • The second year of the Fire Cadet program is spent preparing and completing training to become a Nationally registered Paramedic.  Paramedic education is completed at Milwaukee County EMS and various clinical sites throughout the City of Milwaukee.

Fire Cadet Program Videos

Fire Cadet Program courses

Essential Functions

Duties include, but are not limited to:

  • Participate in and complete academic and physical training program in preparation for future Firefighter duties.
  • Participate in classroom instruction and clinical medical endorsements.
  • Lift, carry and operate heavy tools and equipment.
  • Perform maintenance of departmental equipment, buildings and grounds.
  • Perform administrative and clerical duties such as typing, filing and data entry.
  • Answer and direct phone calls.
  • Perform general housekeeping duties.
  • Assist with safety education, community and recruitment events.
  • Assist with special projects as assigned.

Conditions of Employment

  • A 40-hour work week, with off-days by assignment. Note: Firefighters work one 24-hour shift every three days.
  • Work assignments include various fire department and training sites.
  • Attain certification as a Nationally Registered EMT-Basic.
  • Maintain Licensure as a Wisconsin EMT.
  • Successfully complete Wisconsin Firefighter 1 (NFPA 1001) program. 
  • Must complete 24 college credits prior to completion of the Fire Cadet program and maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA on applicable credits.
  • Within six months of being hired Fire Cadets must establish an actual and bona fide residence within 15 miles of the city of Milwaukee's jurisdictional border.  The Fire and Police Commission has created a searchable map to assist you in determining compliance.

Minimum Requirements

  • Must be at least 17 years old at time of application; and may not be more than 19 years old on the starting date of the Fire Cadet Class.  
  • Graduation from an accredited high school or completion of a G.E.D., high school equivalency certificate or State of Wisconsin home school certificate.
  • Physically able to perform Fire Cadet – and eventually Firefighter – training and job duties.
  • Must possess a valid State of Wisconsin driver’s license within six months of date of hire, and maintain a valid driver’s license throughout employment with the department.
  • You may not have been terminated / discharged or resigned with charges pending from either the Milwaukee Fire Department or Milwaukee Police Department within the last two years from the date of application.
  • Must successfully pass a Background Investigation. Applicants who have failed a Department background investigation may not apply for two years after the date of disqualification.
  • United States citizenship, or must have resided in the United States for at least five years immediately prior to the date of application and be legally authorized to work for any employer in the United States. Non-citizen applicants should request information regarding Fire and Police Commission rules and citizenship requirements at time of application. [FPC Rule VI.4.(b). and Rule XI.2.(b)]

Knowledge, Skills, Abilities & Other Characteristics

  • Willingness and aptitude to learn the skills necessary to communicate effectively with a diverse population, in person and via telephone.
  • Willingness and aptitude to learn excellent customer-service skills.
  • Ability to take direction from supervisors.
  • Possess good moral character exhibiting honesty, responsibility, and trustworthiness with a positive attitude.
  • Ability to complete the required firefighting educational and training programs.
  • Ability to speak clearly.
  • Ability to complete the required strength and conditioning physical fitness programs.


The current annual starting salary is $32,778.72 for City of Milwaukee residents. The non-resident annual starting salary is $31,824. The city offers a generous benefits package including 12 days of vacation, 11 paid holidays and 12 days paid sick leave per year; plus health, dental, and life insurance, and tuition and textbook reimbursement.

Selection Process

The examination process may include a written test, oral interview, physical ability test, and background investigation. All phases of the examination must be successfully completed in order to continue in the selection process. Failure in any segment of the examination disqualifies a candidate from continuing in the selection process. The test takes into consideration Firefighter requirements, as Fire Cadets who successfully complete the program may become Firefighters.  Candidates who successfully complete the written examination will receive information about the date, time, and location of the other testing components. 

Candidates unavailable for one or more portions of the examination due to military service or training, must provide written notification to the Fire and Police Commission, City Hall Room 706 prior to the examination.  Reasonable accommodations requested by qualified individuals with disabilities will be made in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, as amended by the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) of 2008.

Eligible List:

Candidates who successfully complete all phases of the examination will be placed on an eligible list. Candidates who turn twenty years old over the life of the eligible list will have their name removed from the list.

Pre-Employment Medical Evaluation, Psychological Evaluation, and Drug Test:

Persons offered employment must pass a pre-employment medical examination, psychological evaluation, and drug test as a condition of employment.


Final appointment as a Fire Cadet is contingent upon passing all pre-employment components, the number of vacancies, and approval by the Fire and Police Commission.

Preference Points:

Preference points may be added to the final passing score in accordance with State Statutes and Fire and Police Commission Rules.

  • Qualified veterans will receive military preference points added to the final passing score; a DD-214 is required as proof of service.
  • Preference points may be added to the final passing score, if candidates are bona fide residents of the City of Milwaukee when they apply; proof of residency must be provided.

In order to receive military veteran or residency preference points, the DD-214 or proof of residency must be provided as part of the application. The preference points claim forms are included within the online application, and the necessary supporting documentation may be uploaded to the online application, mailed to the Fire and Police Commission at Room 706, City Hall, 200 E. Wells Street, Milwaukee, WI 53202-3554, or emailed to [email protected].

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