Candidate Physical Ability Test

Examination Description

The Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT) is a comprehensive assessment that measures an individual’s capability to perform the physical demands of a firefighter. The test is designed to simulate real-life scenarios that firefighters face on the job and is comprised of eight separate tasks or functions.

The tasks include, but are not limited to: ladder raise and extension, hose drag, equipment carry, forcible entry simulation, search simulation, rescue drag, ceiling breach and pull, and staircase climb.

The test is timed, and candidates must complete all eight tasks within a set amount of time, usually around 10 minutes. The CPAT assesses a candidate’s strength, endurance, agility, and overall physical fitness, making it an essential evaluation tool for firefighting agencies.

Successful completion of the CPAT is a requirement for many firefighting positions, including all full-time firefighting positions in the State of New Hampshire, and the test provides a standard assessment that is used across the country. The CPAT is a challenging test, and candidates must be prepared to work hard and demonstrate their ability to perform under pressure.

If you’re interested in becoming a full-time firefighter, it’s essential to prepare for the CPAT and take it seriously. A passing score on the CPAT is a testament to your physical capability, and it can open doors to exciting career opportunities in the firefighting industry.

Crucial Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are some of the changes to the testing procedure?
    CPAT testing will be held in April, May, June, and September. The testing sessions in April, May and June will be held at the Merrill Fay Ice Arena, 468 Province Road in Laconia, NH 03246. September test will be held at the Richard M. Flynn Fire Academy, 98 Smokey Bear Blvd, Concord NH.
  • How long is the CPAT valid?
    In New Hampshire, the CPAT is valid for 26 months. Candidates should re-test well before their CPAT expiration date. CPAT certification is a “pre-hiring” requirement. Those who are not CPAT certified cannot be hired full-time in NH.
  • How do I get on the State Entrance List?
    State Entrance lists are generated several times a year. In order for candidates to get their names on the list, they have to pass the NH CPAT test or submit an out-of-state CPAT certificate for reciprocity, along with a fee.
  • What information can I use to help me prepare for the CPAT events?
    Firstly, you should read and familiarize yourself with the entire application packet. Also, all applicants will be scheduled for a physical ability test as outlined in the CPAT Orientation Guide and CPAT Orientation Video. Candidates are not required to sign up for an Orientation Session, but it is highly recommended. Candidates should plan on each orientation session lasting approximately 3 hours. Sessions will include classroom instruction, a walkthrough of the events, and time to practice on the CPAT equipment for each event. Candidates who attend an orientation session must be dressed in the same manner as they would for the CPAT exam. All applicants will benefit from reading and familiarizing yourself with the CPAT Preparation Guide.
  • What is the dress code for the CPAT and Orientation Sessions?
    The dress code can be found in the CPAT Orientation Guide. It states, “Throughout all events, the candidate must wear long pants and footwear with no open heel or toe. Watches and loose or restrictive jewelry are not permitted.”
  • What do I bring with me on my test day?
    Only bring your Driver’s License into the Ice Arena (or NHFA if testing in September). And make sure you are dress-code approved (see above for Dress Code): NO SHORTS.
  • How do I pick my date and time?
    We will assign you a date and time as space is available. You will indicate the month desired for orientation and/or the CPAT exam on your application. We will schedule you on a “first-come, first-served” basis, starting with the first date and earliest time available. A candidate’s testing date and time cannot be guaranteed. Confirmations will be emailed to approved candidates. Applications recieved less than 30 days prior to the desired month of testing are not guaranteed a spot in that exam. Please plan accordingly.
  • What if I need to change my test date?
    We do understand that major life events cannot always be planned for. Our testing is spread out over 4 different months to accommodate all those who desire or need this CPAT certification. Please plan accordingly. We cannot guarantee that special circumstances can be accommodated, and we cannot guarantee admittance into an exam when an application comes in less than 30 days before the desired test date. Please call the Fire Academy at 603-223-4200 if something necessitates a change of test date or time, and we will try to accommodate the request. As a reminder, the fee is non-refundable.

Examination Details


  • Valid Driver’s License
  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • 18 years of age or older
  • Candidate medical release
  • Throughout all events, the candidate must wear long pants and footwear with no open heel or toe. Watches and loose or restrictive jewelry are not permitted.

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