Frequently Asked Questions
What is IFSAC?
IFSAC is a peer-driven, self-governing system of both fire service certification programs and higher education fire-related degree programs. The IFSAC Certificate Assembly provides accreditation to entities that certify the competency of and issue certificates to individuals who pass examinations based on National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) fire service professional qualifications and other standards approved by the Assembly. The IFSAC Degree Assembly accredits fire science or related academic programs at colleges and universities. For more information about IFSAC and its assemblies, IFSAC's history, and its governing structure, click on the following links:
How does an entity or program become accredited?
The first step is for the entity or program to become a member of IFSAC by submitting an application for membership along with supporting documentation to IFSAC Administration. Certifying entities can find the form to apply for membership by clicking on the Certificate Assembly Handbook link. Degree related program representatives can find the form to apply for membership by clicking on teh Degree Assembly Handbook link. Additional information regarding membership and necessary documentation or requirements can be found in the bylaws for each assembly. For a summary of the membership and accreditation process, click on the applicable link below.
Membership and accreditation process for certifying entities
Membership and accreditation process for degree granting programs
Additional information regarding IFSAC bylaws, rules, policies, and accreditation criteria can be found on each assemblies' handbook webpage. Of course you can, and please do, contact IFSAC Administration with any questions you may have or if you need guidance.
The following are questions frequently asked by fire service personnel, certification program candidates, or other individuals.
Many people contact IFSAC Administration inquiring about how they can get “IFSAC certification”, transfer certification from one U.S. state or Canadian province to another (reciprocity), replace certificates, or purchase an IFSAC seal for certificates they already have. While we are happy to answer these questions as well as any other questions you may have when you call or email us, we hope to save you some time and some frustration by providing the following information below.
What is the difference between certifcation and accreditation?
To accredit is to give official authorization to or approval of; to provide with credentials; to recognize or vouch for as conforming to a standard; to recognize (an educational institution) as maintaining standards that qualify its graduates for admission to higher or more specialized institutions or for professional practice. Accredit is often confused with certify. Accreditation involves the program or institution itself while certification is a function of the program or institution and applies to individuals.
How do I obtain my transcripts and verify any college credit that I have received through the courses I have taken?
IFSAC Administration does not maintain transcript information for training or certification, nor for credits earned for academic courses or degrees. The entity from which you received your certificate or degree should be contacted regarding your question. They should be able to provide you with the degree transcripts or certification records.
IFSAC Administration can, however, verify that you have been certified to specific levels offered through an IFSAC accredited certifying entity, or confirm that a degree program is accredited. Certifications can also be verified through the issuing entity.
How can I get IFSAC certified?
IFSAC does not certify. Certification is developed, administered, and issued by state, provincial, regional, and government entities. Those with certification programs accredited by IFSAC issue IFSAC numbered seals with the state/provincial/DoD certificate to individuals meeting all requirements set by these entities as well as those outlined in the relevant NFPA standards including successfully completing knowledge and practical skills examination for levels the entity is accredited for. For more information and to inquire about certification requirements, contact directly the certifying authority of the jurisdiction in which you want to obtain certification. You can find contact information for IFSAC accredited entities by clicking on the Certificate Assembly Members link. To find out which certifying entities are accredited, click on link for Certificate Assembly Accredited Members in the left menu above.
I have lost my certificate. How do I get a replacement?
First, contact the certifying entity that issued your original certificate. IFSAC Administration cannot replace the original certificate you received with an IFSAC numbered seal. Certificates and IFSAC numbered seals are issued only by the certifying entity. Although IFSAC Administration supplies each accredited certifying entity with IFSAC seals to place on their certificates, we cannot issue IFSAC seals directly to certified individuals even when the certifying entity will not issue a replacement seal.
However, if the certifying entity will not replace your certificates, IFSAC Administration can, after verifying your certifications and the IFSAC seals issued, provide a memorandum verifying your certifications and the IFSAC seal number issued for each. We cannot guarantee though that an entity will recognize this memorandum for reciprocity purposes or that employers or fire departments will accept it as an official document in place of your certificates. We suggest you contact those entities or employers first to find out what form of documentation is acceptable.
I found a training facility advertising they are IFSAC accredited. Is this true?
IFSAC does not accredit training programs – only public certification programs delivering competency based knowledge and skills examination. However, keep in mind that although such a claim is false, some may only be misleading due to incorrect wording. Some training facilities making this claim may legitimately be approved by an IFSAC accredited certifying entity to conduct training for them. Some IFSAC accredited entities deliver their own training. In any case you should contact the accredited certifying entity found in the IFSAC Certificate Assembly Member Directory to inquire about training requirements and where you can complete training to qualify for entry into their certification program.
I went to another state/province/jurisdiction to acquire my certification and was issued an IFSAC seal. Why won’t my state/province give me reciprocity?
We highly encourage you to contact the certifying authority of your jurisdiction prior to entering any other certification or training program to find out whether a certification or training you acquire outside of their jurisdiction will be accepted. IFSAC accredited entities set their own policies regarding reciprocity.
Can I order an IFSAC numbered certificate seal from IFSAC?
IFSAC numbered certificate seals can only be issued by a certifying entity accredited by IFSAC and only for levels of certification the entity is accredited for. IFSAC Administration cannot issue the certificate seals directly to individuals.
I was certified for Hazardous Materials Awareness, Operations and Fire Fighter I and II, but I was only issued a seal for my Fire Fighter certifications. I am seeking employment/reciprocity and they are requiring that I show them I have seals for the pre-requisite levels. How do I get a seal for each level.
You will have to contact the entity that issued your certifications to find out if you can get seals for all your certifications. Some IFSAC accredited entities have chosen to issue one seal for multiple levels or only for the highest level achieved. While it is preferred that accredited entities issue a separate IFSAC seal with each certificate, we do not have a policy in place to enforce this.
Does my certification expire?
There are currently no requirements for recertification on a national level. We are aware that some jurisdictions, though not many, require recertification. IFSAC as an organization does not require recertification in its accreditation criteria or policies and does not consider any certification registered with us as expired. If you seek reciprocity from one state that requires recertification to another that doesn’t, it is up to the state you are seeking reciprocity with whether they do or do not recognize and enforce the expiration of your certification and vice versa.
Why isn’t my state, province, regional authority or degree program accredited?
Accreditation is voluntary. An entity or institution must apply for and be approved for membership before becoming accredited provided it meets the criteria for IFSAC membership. Once a certifying entity is approved for membership, it has five (5) years from the date of approval for membership to apply for and be accredited for at least one level of certification. Reaccreditation is required every five (5 ) years.
At this time there is no defined period of time for post-secondary institutions to have a fire-related degree program initially accredited after becoming a member. However, once a degree program is accredited, reaccreditation is required every five (5) years to maintain the accreditation.