Employment Opportunities

Central Fire District Mission

To improve quality of life by protecting the community from the risks and consequences of fire, medical, rescue, hazardous material, and natural disaster incidents.

Our Values

Safety - Service - Professionalism

Central Fire District serves the communities of Capitola, Live Oak, Soquel, Aptos, Rio Del Mar and La Selva Beach, and covers an area of 55 square miles. The District responds to requests for service for fire, water rescue, emergency medical services, hazardous materials calls, and assorted alarms.

More About Our District

Organizational Chart

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When you join Central Fire District, you join a select group of courageous and dedicated individuals that serve their community with honor and integrity. You’ll build trust and friendship with your co-workers, as together you respond to emergencies and other challenging situations. We provide employees with a variety of career choices and opportunities, and a comprehensive benefits package for you and your family. Fire Station staffing is on a two-days on, four-days off schedule, providing ample time for weekday activities with friends and family. We hope that you will consider an exciting and valuable career with Central Fire District!

For questions regarding the application and hiring process, please email our recruitment division.

Employment Opportunities Mailing List

Notify Me of Current Job Openings & Recruitment Events.

Sample Shift Month ABC

Non-Safety & Management Positions

If you are interested in learning about positions in Fire Administration, Community Risk Reduction or Fleet Services, we have information available on our Non-Safety Employment Opportunities Page.

In addition to these Non-Safety Positions, we also have a Fire Chief, Assistant Chief, Division Chiefs and Battalion Chiefs.  Their current Salaries & Benefits and Job Descriptions are also available on our website.

Minimum Requirements

Below are the minimum requirements for entry-level positions as a Paid Call Firefighter, Firefighter/EMT or Firefighter/Paramedic.  For information on requirements for other positions, or to view the full job descriptions for each position, visit our Job Descriptions page.

  1. Paid Call FF
  2. Firefighter-Apparatus Operator
  3. Firefighter-Paramedic
Entry-Level applicants for Paid Call Firefighter positions must:
  • Be 18 years of age.
  • Possess a high school diploma or GED.
  • Possess a valid California Class C Drivers License and pass an "insurability check" by the District's insurance carrier.
  • Successfully complete a District-approved Fire Academy
  • Must live within Santa Cruz County
  • Provide Proof of eligibility to work in the United States.
  • Current Certified First Responder (or equivalent).
  • Possess a valid Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Card.

Salary & Benefits

Below is information on our salary range for each Safety position (Firefighter through Battalion Chief), as well as our comprehensive benefits package for healthcare, dental, retirement and more. For a more detailed list of benefits for each position, you can view the MOU's listed on our Salary and Benefits page.  Note: Paid Call Firefighters are paid hourly, and as such are not included in the Local 3535 Bargaining Unit MOU.

  1. Salary Range
  2. Health & Dental
  3. Life Insurance
  4. Retirement
  5. Leaves & Holidays

Base Salary Range By Position:

Firefighters and Paramedics are paid in 4 different salary steps. Fire Captains and Battalion Chiefs have three steps for each position. Below are the lowest to highest base salary pay for each of these positions.

PositionHourly RangeMonthly RangeAnnual Range
Firefighter$31.19 - $41.93 $7,589.38 - $10,204.01  $91,072.54 - $122,488.13 
Firefighter/Paramedic$34.31 - $46.13 $8,348.62 - $11,224.41$100,179.80 - $134,932.95
56-Hour Fire Captain$47.81 - $52.71$11,632.57 - $12,824.91$139,590.87 - $153,898.94 
40-Hour Fire Captain$70.47 - $77.69$12,214.20 - $13,466.16$146,570.42 - $161,593.89
56-Hour Battalion Chief$59.03 - $65.08$14,363.90 - $15,836.20$172,366.81 - $190,034.42
40-Hour Battalion Chief$82.87 - $91.36$14,363.90 - $15,836.20 $172,366.81 - $190,034.42 

Scheduled Cost of Living Increases:

5% COLA for Pay Period including 1/1/2024, and another 5% for Pay Period including 1/1/2025.

Specialty Pay & Educational Incentive Pay: 

As detailed in MOU - Must meet certain eligibility requirements or be assigned to certain specialties.

Longevity Pay: 

2.50% for >20 yrs

Prepare Ahead - EMT Programs

EMT Classes are offered by many community colleges, universities and private companies. Most courses last a semester long, and some accelerated courses can be as short as two weeks. Below is a list of some EMT programs available in the Bay Area.

  • UnitekEMT - Fremont
  • American Health Education - Dublin
  • Mission College - Santa Clara
  • Foothill College - Palo Alto
  • San Jose City College - San Jose
  • South Bay Regional Training Consortium - San Jose
  • Defib This - Santa Cruz
  • The EMT Academy - San Jose
  • National University Polytechnic Institute - San Jose
  • Bay Area Training Academy - San Leandro
  • Merrit College - Oakland
  • Chabot College - Hayward
  • Los Medanos College - Pittsburg
  • Napa Valley College - Napa
  • Santa Rosa Junior College - Santa Rosa & Petaluma
  • Skyline College - San Bruno
  • NCTI - Roseville
  • City College of San Francisco - San Francisco
  • Cal JAC Academy - Livermore 

Firefighter Candidate Testing Center (FCTC) Written Test

The FCTC Written Test was developed by the California Firefighter Joint Apprenticeship Committee (Cal-JAC). It is a 100-question exam, administered at a minimum quarterly.  Visit the FCTC Website to obtain more information on the test process, get a schedule of upcoming test dates, and prepare for the written test with their Free Study Guide.

The California Fire Foundation (CFF) FCTC offers Financial Aid Awards that cover the following:

(2) CPAT Practices @ $30 each  
(1) CPAT Test and (2) Orientations @ $160  
(2) FCTC Written Test Preparation Courses @ $25  
(1) FCTC Written Test @ $50 

To apply for financial aid, visit the FCTC website.

Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT)

The Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT) is the recognized standard for measuring an individual’s ability to handle the physical demands of being a firefighter.  Visit Job Step Prep for more information on the CPAT testing process.  You can also watch this video showing the CPAT testing process.

For more information and to schedule your CPAT visit the Firefighter Candidate Testing Center’s website.

Central Fire District of Santa Cruz County is an equal opportunity employer, providing equal opportunity to all regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, ancestry, sex, marital status, disability, religious or political affiliation, age or sexual orientation. We offer well-paying, fulfilling careers and opportunities for advancement.

Every effort is made to keep the information on this page current. Central Fire District of Santa Cruz County Firefighters are represented by Central Firefighters, International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) Local 3535.

Current MOU for Local 3535 Bargaining Unit (PDF)

Email Current Local 3535 Leadership