Improving the Health & Safety of all Emergency Responders

The Advantages of Certification

Why is it important for an individual in emergency services to be certified?

Professionalism has long been a goal sought by emergency services personnel, but it has only been within the last 33 years that a system has evolved to produce national standards for the fire service. A standard is now available for the Health and Safety Officer and the Incident Safety Officer.

So why is it advantageous for an individual to become certified under these national standards?

First and foremost it provides recognition that you have demonstrated proficiency and an ability to do the job in accordance with nationally recognized peer-developed standards. In addition, it provides for a common yardstick and a level playing field for all fire service personnel regardless of your status as a career or volunteer, or the size of your department. Your sense of achievement will be recognized by peers and will be honored wherever you go in the fire service. In addition, the credibility of your fire service organization is certainly enhanced by having members certified to national consensus standards.

What about my fire department?

Fire departments like all branches of government compete for resources. A high percentage of certified members within your department should help fire department managers in their pursuit of adequate funding at budget time. Such organizations possess a commitment to excellence and demonstrate this by helping members meet the National Professional Qualification Standards.

What is the National Registry?

The National Board of Fire Service Professional Qualifications (Pro Board) maintains a permanent registry that contains the names and levels of certification of all nationally certified individuals. This will be especially helpful to you in establishing professional credibility during promotions or at a time of transfer to another agency. Remember, you may seek certification in more than one discipline and in fact should pursue this as you move through a variety of assignments.

What is the Pro Board?

The Joint Council on Fire Service Organizations founded the National Board on Fire Service Professional Qualifications (Pro Board) on October 25, 1972. The purpose of the Pro Board was to develop peer driven professional standards for the fire service. The National Fire Protection Association agreed to publish these documents and charged the technical committees with the task of creating performance standards in such a clear and concise manner that they can be used to determine that any person measured truly posses the required skill.

After standards were developed through this process of peer group representation, the Pro Board was charged to oversee and validate the standards development process and guide implementation. As organizations requested the accreditation authority to certify fire service personnel to national standards, it was the Board’s duty to see that the entire process from agency to agency was carried out in a scrupulously fair and equitable manner. Today the process remains unchanged, with the goal of continuing the national system of developing fire service professional qualifications for fire service personnel. The Fire Department Safety Officers Association is proud to be an accredited certifying agency of the National Board on Fire Service Professional Qualifications.

How can I become certified?

  • Contact FDSOA to purchase the necessary study materials.
  • Study at your own pace.
  • Tests are offered individually or 5 times a year in conjunction with national fire service conferences.
  • Determine which method of testing works best for you.
  • Fill out both pages of the testing application and submit it to FDSOA 15 days prior to the testing date.
  • FDSOA will send you a test confirmation notice.
  • Report to the test site 30 minutes prior to the announced starting time.
  • You must present valid picture identification.
  • You will be required to take a 100 question multiple-choice exam.
  • You will be given 4 hours to complete the exam.
  • You must have a minimum of 70% to pass the exam.
  • If you fail the exam you will be allowed to re-take the exam within 90 days of the original test date with no additional fee being required.

Special Needs

It is FDSOA’s policy to comply with all federal, state, and local laws concerning the treatment of individuals with disabilities, including the Americans With Disabilities Act.

FDSOA will not discriminate against any qualified applicant with respect to any terms, privileges, or conditions of certification or re-certification because of the individual’s physical or mental disability.

FDSOA also will make reasonable accommodations whenever necessary for all applicants with disabilities, provided that the individual is otherwise qualified to safely perform the essential functions for certification or re-certification and provided further that any accommodations made do not place an undue hardship on FDSOA.

Contact: programs@fdsoa.org  •  248-880-1864
FDSOA, 33365 Raphael Rd, Farmington Hills, MI 48336