Certification Exam Information

Course Approval

All training facilities wishing to offer courses leading to certification must submit a Request for Course Approval form to the Division for prior approval.  After your request has been approved, you will find the Course Approval and its Course Reference Material located in the portal under Forms.

 It is now required that all fire departments and training facilities that participate with the DPSE certification program and possess a current course approval must utilize the Public Event Calendar and schedule all course dates and practical/written examinations that pertain to their course approval. This information will be utilized to schedule a Fire Certification Specialist to conduct a training records review of all or part of the course and examinations. The following information (as applicable) is required: 

  • Name of fire department possessing course approval
  • Title of course
  • Location of course
  • Date of classroom instruction
  • Date of practical exam
  • Date of written exam
  • Name and contact information

This information must be submitted to DPSE no less than two weeks prior to the first day of the course. If the course is cancelled, notification must be submitted immediately. 

 FD Mail

The FD e-mail account process will continue to be utilized to communicate important information from OSFM. Communications from DPSE includes such things as certification approvals/denials, request for exam approval/denials, course approval/denials and expirations, and recertification reminders.

Additional required material for practical examinations or other added requirements will be distributed, by FD Mail, to approved facilities with a current course approval. Also, the OSFM public website will be updated with new information.

Contact the DPSE for log in information for your department's FD Mail account.  This information is available for the Fire Chiefs, only. 

Recertification

Recertification is currently required for the following certifications:

  • Advanced Fire Officer
  • Company Fire Officer
  • Fire Inspector I
  • Fire/Arson Investigator
  • Hazardous Materials First Responder-Operations
  • Rope Operations

​Updated Certifications

The following certification levels have been updated. Instructor Reference Manuals will no longer be sent to facilities with a course approval for these levels. Facilities must update their programs to the approved reference material.

Basic Operations Firefighter:
1. National Fire Protection Association, NFPA 1001, Standard for Fire Fighter Professional Qualifications, 2013 Edition
2. IFSTA, Essentials of Fire Fighting and Fire Department Operations, 6th Edition
3. Jones and Bartlett, Fundamentals of Fire Fighter Skills, 3rd Edition

Hazardous Materials Awareness and Technical Rescue Awareness certifications are eliminated as stand-alone certification levels. The NFPA objectives remain a requirement for Basic Operations Firefighter but are now incorporated within the Basic Operations Firefighter course. Test questions are also incorporated into the Basic Operations Firefighter written examination for these objectives 

Advanced Technician Firefighter:

1. National Fire Protection Association, NFPA 1001, Standard for Fire Fighter Professional Qualifications, 2013 Edition
2. IFSTA, Essentials of Fire Fighting and Fire Department Operations, 6th Edition
3. Jones and Bartlett, Fundamentals of Fire Fighter Skills, 3rd Edition 

Airport Firefighter:

1. NFPA 1003, Airport Fire Fighter Professional Qualifications, 2015 Edition
2. IFSTA, Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting, 6th Edition

The one-year experience requirement is eliminated as a requirement for certification.

Fire Apparatus Engineer and Fire Service Vehicle Operator:
1. NFPA 1002, Standard on Fire Apparatus Drive/Operator Professional Qualifications, 2009 Edition NFPA 1002
2. IFSTA, Pumping Apparatus Driver/Operator Handbook, 3rd Edition
3. Jones and Bartlett, Fire Service Pump Operator, Principles and Practice, 3rd Edition
4. IFSTA, Aerial Apparatus Driver/Operator Handbook, 3rd Edition

Fire Service Vehicle Operator Provisional certification is no longer available.

Fire Apparatus Engineer and Fire Service Vehicle Operator:
1. NFPA 1002, Standard on Fire Apparatus Drive/Operator Professional Qualifications, 2009 Edition NFPA 1002
2. IFSTA, Pumping Apparatus Driver/Operator Handbook, 3rd Edition
3. Jones and Bartlett, Fire Service Pump Operator, Principles and Practice, 3rd Edition
4. IFSTA, Aerial Apparatus Driver/Operator Handbook, 3rd Edition

Fire Service Vehicle Operator Provisional certification is no longer available.

Chief Fire Officer:
1. NFPA 1021, Standard for Fire Officer Professional Qualifications, 2014 Edition
2. IFSTA, Chief Officer, 3rd Edition
3. Jones and Bartlett, Chief Officer, Principles and Practice, 2nd Edition

Replaces Fire Officer III certification. Applications for Certification for this level cannot be submitted via the PSE WebAccess portal.

Instructor I, II, and III:
1. NFPA 1041, Standard for Fire Service Instructor Professional Qualifications, 2012 Edition
2. IFSTA, Fire and Emergency Services Instructor, 8th Edition
3. Jones and Bartlett, Fire Service Instructor, Principles and Practice, 2nd Edition

Firefighters who possess a State Professional Educator License are deemed equivalent to the Fire Service Instructor I and II course and state written examination. A firefighter must submit in writing a request for equivalency and attach a copy of the State Professional Educator License. If all prerequisites are met, the firefighter will qualify for certification.

Fire Inspector I and II:
1. NFPA 1031, Standard for Professional Qualifications for Fire Inspector and Plan Examiner, 2009 Edition
2. IFSTA, Fire Inspection and Code Enforcement, 7th Edition
3. Jones and Bartlett, Fire Inspector, Principles and Practice, 1st Edition

The certification requirement for course completion of Fire Prevention Principles has been eliminated for Fire Inspector I. For Fire Inspector II, an individual must be certified either Fire Inspector I or Fire Prevention Officer. Three years inspectional activity in fire prevention is also required.

Public Fire and Life Safety Educator I:
1. NFPA 1035, Professional Qualifications for Public Fire and Life Safety Educator, 2010 Edition NFPA 1035
2. IFSTA, Fire and Life Safety Educator, 3rd Edition
3. IFSTA, Fire and Emergency Services Instructor, 8th Edition
4. Delmar, Fire and Life Safety Educator, 1st Edition

A minimum of one year of fire prevention experience is required for certification.

 

Youth Firesetter Intervention Specialist:
1. NFPA 1035, 2010 Edition
2. IFSTA, Fire and Life Safety Educator, 3rd Edition

The certification title is changed to "Youth" rather than "Juvenile". The stated requirement of a high school diploma or equivalent is removed.

 

Fire and Arson Investigator:
1. NFPA 1033, Standard for Professional Qualifications for Fire Investigator, 2014 Edition
2. NFPA 921, Guide for Fire and Explosion Investigations, 2011 Edition
3. IFSTA, Fire Investigator, 2nd Edition
4. Brady, Prentice Hall, Kirk's Fire Investigation, 7th Edition
5. Jones and Bartlett, Fire Investigator, Principles and Practice, 3rd Edition

Firefighter II/Basic Operations Firefighter certification is no longer a prerequisite. Passage of the Bypass examination is no longer a prerequisite for law enforcement personnel. Three Modules for the course completion are now required. For Arson Investigator certification, the full-time employment by a local governmental agency has been removed.

Hazardous Materials First Responder-Operations:
1. NFPA 472, Standard for Professional Competence of Responders to Hazardous Materials Incidents, 2013 Edition
2. IFSTA, Hazardous Materials for First Respondents, 4th Edition
3. Jones and Bartlett Learning, Hazardous Materials Awareness and Operations, 2nd Edition
4. DOT, Emergency Response Guidebook, 2016 Edition
5. Jones and Bartlett, Fundamentals of Fire Fighter Skills, 3rd Edition

Rules updated to list a minimum of 40 hours for course completion.

Hazardous Materials Technician:
1. NFPA 472, Standard for Professional Competence of Responders to Hazardous Materials Incidents, 2013 Edition
2. IFSTA, Hazardous Materials Technician, 1st Edition
3. Jones and Bartlett Learning, Hazardous Materials: Managing the Incident, 4th Edition

Hazardous Materials Technician course is a minimum of 80 hours. The new certification of Hazardous Materials Technician will combine the requirements for both A and B. Individuals who possess a Hazardous Materials Technician B certificate will be equivalent to the new certification as Hazardous Materials Technician. Individuals may certify as Hazardous Materials Technician A and B until June 30, 2019, at which time the certification will no longer be available, and the individual will be required to successfully complete the requirements of the new Hazardous Materials Technician to qualify for certification.

Hazardous Materials Incident Command:
1. NFPA 472, Standard for Professional Competence of Responders to Hazardous Materials Incidents, 2013 Edition
2. Jones and Bartlett Learning, Hazardous Materials: Managing the Incident, 4th Edition

Rules were updated to list a minimum of 16 hours for course completion.

Trench Operations and Technician:
1. NFPA 1006, Standard for Rescue Technician Professional Qualifications 2013 Edition
2. Jones and Bartlett, Trench Rescue, Principles and Practice 3rd Edition
3. OSHA 29 CFR 1926 OSHA 29

Rules updated to list a minimum of 32 hours for course completion for Trench Operations and a minimum of 40 hours for course completion for Trench Technician. Both Trench Operations and Trench Technician require passage of the State Practical Skills examination and participating as a rescue team member in at least one live trench.

Rope Operations and Technician:
1. NFPA Standard 1006, Rescue Technician Professional Qualifications, 2013 Edition, Chapters 4 – 6
2. Jones and Bartlett, High-Angle Rope Rescue Techniques Level 1 & II 4th Edition.

For individuals who are currently certified as a Rescue Specialist-Vertical II and who want to be certified as a Rope Technician, an 8-hour bridge course must be completed. In addition to the bridge course which includes the state practical examination, a state written examination is also required. The bridge course will only be valid until June 30, 2019.


A course equivalency has been approved for all students that have passed the Illinois Fire Service Institute's Rope Technician course. The students will be required to pass the DPSE Rope Technician state written examination before December 31, 2017. If the state written examination is not passed by the expiration date, the student will be required to pass the Rope Technician state written and practical examination prior to certification.

Basic Fire Prevention Officer:
To receive certification for Basic Fire Prevention Officer, an individual must be certified Fire Inspector I and Public Fire and Life Safety Educator I. A minimum of 2 years fire prevention activities is also required. 

Advanced Fire Prevention Officer:
To receive certification for Advanced Fire Prevention Officer, an individual must be certified as a Basic Fire Prevention Officer/Fire Prevention Officer and Fire Inspector II. A minimum of 4 years of fire prevention experience is required. Course completion of an approved Plans Examiner course is also required. Proof of this course shall be kept in the individual's training file.

Certifications Currently Under Review

Following are certification levels that are currently being reviewed, or on the agenda to be reviewed, by a SCAC. These certification levels have not yet been updated to a current NFPA Standard.

  • Fire Service Executive Support
  • Fire Department Incident Safety Officer-The certification requirement for course completion of Tactics and Strategy II has been eliminated.
  • Fire Department Health and Safety Officer
  • Training Program Manager
  • Rescue Specialist – Confined Space
  • Structural Collapse Operations
  • Structural Collapse Technician
  • Vehicle and Machinery Operations
  • Vehicle and Machinery Technician
  • Water Operations
  • Watercraft Technician