- Work-to-Cert Certification
Getting started with FOA Certification
Understanding FOA Certification Technical Requirements.
FOA Approved Training Programs
FOA's "Work to Cert" Direct Certification Program
Online Study Guides and References
FOA Online Reference Textbook particularly the section Understanding Fiber Optics, the Basics
FOA Installation Tech Bulletin
The Process of Getting Certified By The FOA
It's now CFOT® The FOA CFOT® (Certified Fiber Optic Technician) is now a registered trademark. With so many fiber optic techs holding CFOTs and the CFOT being recognized worldwide as the foremost certification in fiber optics, the FOA realized the value of the CFOT required trademark protection.
Note: Techs doing fiber installation for any particular application should have a CFOT to be qualified for doing fiber optic installation work and may also have a specialist certification in that application. The CFOT is the basic certification required for all installation personnel.
FOA also offers specialist certifications in three categories:
* Corporate members are organizations and as such are not certified but these companies/organizations get discounts on certifications and renewals among other benefits.
All FOA Certification Holders must agree to the following:
The FOA is a member of ANSI (the American National Standards Institute). FOA certifications conform to the international standard for certification bodies, ANSI/ISO/IEC 17024 Conformity assessment — General requirements for bodies operating certification of persons.
Is The Value Of Industry-Based Certifications Like The FOA
Quoted from a Georgetown University study on career and technical education:
Industry-based Certifications (IBCs)
As alternative models in higher education—such as do-it-yourself (DIY) education, competency-based education, and e-learning a.k.a. online education—are becoming more prevalent, the need for a reliable credentialing system has risen in tandem. This need arises because of the difficulty in evaluating the reliability of the credentials established by these alternative systems to ensure that workers have the knowledge and skills necessary to perform proficiently on the job.
Industry-based certifications (IBCs) are one model that is being embraced by educators, employers, and policymakers. Market forces, not the educational system, drove the creation of IBCs. They differ greatly from other kinds of postsecondary credentials and awards in that they are exam-based, administered and accredited by third parties, and developed by the private sector with little to no involvement from public institutions. They are not tied to particular programs of study, but can serve as both alternatives and supplements to traditional postsecondary awards, such as college degrees and certificates.
Industry-based certifications address several problems that postsecondary credentials currently face: relevance, accountability, consistency, and portability. Because industry-based certifications are more flexible than traditional degrees, they better reflect current industry standards and competencies, which are in constant flux."
Download the full Georgetown University report here.
Understanding FOA Certifications
How Does the FOA
Program Relate to Other Associations?
FOA Reference Materials For Certification Exams
FOA certifications are all based on FOA published reference books shown below, the FOA Online Reference Guide (available in English, Spanish and French), YouTube Videos, and the FOA's web-based training site Fiber U.
(Available Printed or eBooks - the printed or Kindle fiber book is available in Spanish and French)
Click on any of the books to learn more.
Students in training classes for FOA Certification will be trained in basic hands-on skills appropriate for the certification and the instructor will evaluate the student's abilities to learn these skills. Those applying with field experience will submit documentation of their experience and other training plus references which will be evaluated by the FOA staff.
Studying For FOA Certification Exams
If you are preparing for a FOA exam, either taking a course from an FOA-approved school or directly from the FOA, you can study for the exam using the FOA references. Reference materials for studying for these certification exams are available with the FOA textbooks or online free with the FOA Guide or Fiber U.
The Process of Getting Certified By The FOA
If you want to become FOA-Certified in fiber optics, there are several paths available. First you should understand how FOA Certifications work. Everyone who is FOA-Certified usually begin with a CFOT and can then work toward higher level certifications. To get your CFOT, you must show extensive knowledge of fiber optics and skills in the practices common to the field. How you do this depends on whether you are currently working in the field or are just getting started.
Training - Attending FOA Certification Training At An FOA-Approved School
If you are just getting started in fiber optics and have no practical experience, you should get training and become certified through one of the FOA-Approved Schools. They offer courses that provide classroom training which will provide the knowledge you need for the CFOT exam and the instruction will include labs to develop the basic skills in fiber optic cable preparation, termination, splicing and testing required by the CFOT.
Once you are FOA certified, you can work toward specialist certifications. FOA offers CFOS Specialist Certifications in both skills and applications. To qualify for these certifications, you can apply based on field experience or take a specialist course from one of the FOA-Approved Schools. You should keep a record of your experience in the field to qualify for specialist certifications. When you are ready, you can apply for the CFOS exam in any of the specialties.
Guidelines For Direct FOA Certification
FOA’s “Work To Cert” Program
FOA was founded in 1995 by a group of people representing manufacturers, contractors, users, military/government and others, all active in training those who became instrumental in creating the fiber optic industry. As trainers, we were particularly concerned by the quality of training newcomers to the industry were getting, so we developed standards for the knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) expected of professionals in the business. Those KSAs became the basis of the FOA CFOT® certification.
Many students have been trained and certified by FOA-approved schools. But in addition, thousands of industry professionals have applied to the FOA directly for certification without the need for classroom training, based on their knowledge and skills developed working the field. Included in that group are most of the current FOA certified instructors teaching in FOA approved schools.
With the increasing acceptance of FOA certifications, many experienced field technicians find themselves being required to have a CFOT® certification for employment, bidding on and/or working on a project. These are generally not people who would need to take a traditional CFOT course.
FOA has always had a policy of allowing experienced people to join the FOA directly and become certified, starting with the founders and including almost all of our current instructors. The requirements for direct certification have been clear, they are simply an extension of our KSAs for students trained at our schools. We require experience in the field and passing our first level exam.
FOA’s “Work To Cert” Program makes it easier for experienced fiber techs to qualify for the FOA certification. Qualifying experience in the industry of at least two years minimum is required.
FOA Renewal Policy And Certification Renewal Procedures
Why is it important to renew your certification?
In today's high tech world, certification is considered proof of professional status and is often required for jobs. Employers often contact the FOA to confirm the status of a job applicant. Certification requires actively working in the field. If the person’s certification is not current, we confirm when they got their certification, when it expired, and that if expired, we consider them inactive.
Cost to renew: $100US for 3 years
The FOA emails each certified individual a renewal notice one month before their renewal date. Note: be sure to inform the FOA if you change your email. You will not receive a renewal notice if we do not have a valid email for you.
Certification holders should also check expiration date on your certification ID card. If you have misplaced the card, you can contact the FOA –we will verify your status – whether you are currently certified or if you need to renew. If you need to renew, you will receive directions on what steps you need to take to be recertified.
How renewal date is determined
The renewal date is always the 3-year anniversary date of your first certification (this is the date on your certification card). If you earn additional certifications, the renewal date remains the 3-year anniversary of your first certification. When your renewal process is completed, all your certifications are updated. You will be sent a new certification card with an updated renewal date, listing all your certifications.
Submitting your renewal application
When you are ready to renew, you go to the FOA homepage: www.thefoa.org. Look for the "Renewal" link on the left-hand column with the pictures of credit cards.
Note: You must know your FOA Certification Number and Expiration Date to renew online. If you need assistance, email the FOA at email@example.com.
You have two options to renew:
FOA online store where you can renew using PayPal with a credit card or a PayPal account.
Print a renewal form and send/fax or email it to the FOA. Directions are on the form.
Renew online or print a renewal form
As part of the renewal application process, you must remain active in the fiber optic/cabling profession, review a requirement for continuing education, and review key policies and procedures on the FOA website.
These are the requirements:
1. Remain active in the field
The applicant must verify that they are active in the fiber optic/cabling profession, a requirement for renewing your certification to demonstrate that you are keeping your skills current.
2. Continuing education requirement
As part of the renewal process, the applicant must verify that they have reviewed the requirements for Continuing Education to demonstrate continued competence in the fiber optic field. Note: At the current time, this requirement is voluntary. At your next renewal in 3 years, the requirement will be mandatory.
Continuing education options
To fulfill the requirement for continuing education as part of the renewal process, certificate holders have two options:
- Take the online FOA Certification Renewal Course.
This self-study program consists of three parts:
-A review of fiber optic jargon and technology
-A update on new fiber optic technology
-An online exam on the material you study. Passage of the exam will fulfill the requirement for continuing education.
The Certification Renewal Course will be updated regularly to include new developments in the fiber optic field.
Here is a link to the course: https://fiberu.org/Renew-CFOT/CFOT.html
- Submit documentation of fiber optic training
As an alternative, you can submit documentation of training or education you have received relevant to fiber optics. This includes seminars at conferences, manufacturers product training or online courses including but not limited to those offered at Fiber U. You must accumulate 16 hours of training to renew your FOA certification. Contact the FOA for guidance on acceptable courses.
3. Review FOA Certification Holders Agreement
You must review the FOA Certification Holders Agreement and agree to abide by the provisions outlined here.
4. Sign the application
Finally you must verify that you meet these requirements for renewal with your signature (sign the printed application or use the electronic agreement on the page for online payment). Individuals who do not provide or falsify e-signatures/signatures may have their certification cancelled.
Applications will be reviewed by the FOA credential staff. Applicants will be notified if information submitted with the application is insufficient or incomplete.
If your application is approved, the applicant should expect to receive their new certification card in approximately 3-4 weeks.
How to re-establish expired FOA certifications
If you expire but are still active in the fiber optic/cabling field
If you wish to re-establish your FOA certification(s) after your expiration date, you have to recertify. Recertification requires that you are active in the fiber optic/cabling field. You will have to meet the same renewal requirements but you will also have to arrange to retake your certification exam. Contact the FOA at firstname.lastname@example.org to make arrangement for your retest.
If you expire but are no longer active in the fiber optic/cabling field
If you wish to re-establish your FOA certification(s) after your expiration date but you are not currently working in the fiber optic field, you will be required to take an appropriate course from a school approved by the FOA. Contact the FOA at email@example.com for further instructions.
If you do not recertify, your records will remain in the FOA database with the expired date for record-keeping purposes.
Denial of Eligibility
Any applicant who does not meet the eligibility requirements will be notified that their credential application has been denied. The reasons for the denial shall be indicated.
Appeal of Denial of Eligibility
Applicants who are denied eligibility may request reconsideration of the decision of denial by making an Appeal to the FOA. Requests for an appeal must be made no later than 30 days after the applicant is denied. Within 6 months of the receipt of the written appeal, the FOA must conclude its deliberations. All decisions of the FOA are final.
FOA Communications Regarding FOA Certifications
How to Contact the FOA
All questions about the renewal process or any other questions about the FOA and its program should be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org or you can call the FOA at 760-451-3655. You will normally receive a reply acknowledging the receipt of your inquiry within 24 hours. If the question/comment requires consulting with a member of the technical staff or if a specific action by the FOA is required, we will then give you an approximate time frame when we will be able to respond back with the information you are requesting.
Confidentiality and Release of Information
If the FOA receives a written request from a source such as a potential employer, regulatory agency or company doing background checks, we will release only the following information about your certifications:
Use Of FOA Trademarks And Logos
Trademarks and Copyrights
CFOT® and Fiber U® are registered trademarks of the FOA. All FOA curriculum and reference materials are copyrighted and the property of the FOA. The intellectual property rights and copyright of the original material remain the property of The Fiber Optic Association, Inc.
The FOA is pleased to have those holding current FOA certifications display the appropriate FOA logos. FOA members are free to use them on personal business cards, stationery, signs, websites, vehicles, etc. promoting that they are a member of the FOA.
The FOA makes these logos available for use by its members and certified technicians only as a sign of their "personal" affiliation with the FOA. The FOA logo may not be used to represent a business or company as being affiliated with the FOA. If you represent a company that is interested in supporting the FOA, here is a link to our corporate program:
Proper use of the logos is the responsibility of the member. The FOA assumes no liability for the use of these logos or the actions of those displaying them. The FOA reserves the right to revoke permission to use the FOA logo at its discretion.
For further information on the FOA Usage Policy for FOA Copyrighted Technical Materials, link here:
All FOA Certification Holders must agree to the following:
FOA Certifications Are Recognized By The US Department of Labor
FOA Certifications have been recognized by the US Department of Labor. The DoL reviews certifications and how they relate to job opportunities and training. The DoL Career OneStop website helps individuals explore career opportunities to make informed employment and education choices. The Web site features user-friendly occupation and industry information, salary data, career videos, education resources, self-assessment tools, career exploration assistance, and other resources that support talent development in today's fast-paced global marketplace.
Go to FOA Certifications Listing By US Department of Labor - Career OneStop and search for "Fiber Optic Association" to see all the FOA certifications listed.
See also The DoL Occupational Outlook Handbook which has a page covering fiber optic technicians under "Line Installers and Repairers" and links to FOA certifications.
FOA is listed
in the section "How
to Become a Line Installer or Repairer."
This website lists all sorts of interesting information, including what these workers do in their jobs, how they get trained and certified (where the FOA is referenced) and something everybody is interested in - sections on "Pay" and "Job Outlook" - see the red arrow above.
Where In The US Do Contractors Need Licenses For Fiber Optics?
We often get asked where in the US do contractors doing fiber optic installations need licenses. We found a good website for that information, the NECA -NEIS website. You might remember NECA-EIS, as they are the partner with the FOA in the NECA/FOA 301 Fiber Optic Installation Standard. NECA is the National Electrical Contractors Association and NEIS stands for National Electrical Installation Standards. They have a very easy to use map and table that gives you data on every state in the US, so mark these pages for future reference.
http://www.neca-neis.org (See “State Regulations”)
http://www.neca-neis.org/state/index.cfm?fa=state_regs (all electrical licensing)
Low Voltage: http://www.neca-neis.org/state/index.cfm?fa=specialty_licensing
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