The Division of Personnel Standards and Education

The Division of Personnel Standards and Education (DPSE) is responsible for assisting local governments in improving the levels of education and training standards for local firefighters.  DPSE administers the Claims for Reimbursement program to offset some firefighter training costs. 

This Division manages programs of training and certifications for over 50,000 firefighters in Illinois. The programs involve developing standards, utilizing the input of State Certification Advisory Committees (SCAC) members for training, testing and certifying at all levels, including firefighting, fire prevention, public education, fire investigation, fire department management and specialties (i.e., apparatus driver, airport firefighter, hazardous materials and rescue).

The Division's WebAccess program allows fire departments access to our Personnel Standards and Education system where they are able to update contact information and rosters, Course Completion Rosters, Course Approvals, Request for Examinations, Applications for Certification, and request course and certification reports. 

Contact the Division of Personnel Standards and Education

Tutorials and training videos

Scheduling Notice: 

Pearson VUE owned and operated sites work to their business hours with the following holidays - New Year's Day; Memorial Day; Labor Day; Christmas Day; Martin Luther King, Jr. Day; Independence Day and Thanksgiving. 

For 3rd Party sites they have the freedom to determine their own hours and days of operation. This is particularly relevant to Colleges and Educational establishments that tend to close over the student holiday period. 

Due to such closures, test-takers should plan accordingly.

New Computer Based Testing

June 1, 2018, twenty-five state written examinations became available to be challenged through a new, computer-based, testing process.  As certification programs are revised to the updated NFPA Standards, more examinations will become available.

Examinations Available:

  • Basic Operations Firefighter Complete, Mod A, Mod B and Mod C
  • Advanced Technician Firefighter Complete, Mod A, Mod B
  • Company Fire Officer, Advanced Fire Officer
  • Airport Firefighter, Fire Investigator
  • Fire Apparatus Engineer, Fire Service Vehicle Operator
  • Hazardous Materials Operations and Technician
  • Instructor I, II and III
  • Public Fire Life Safety Educator I, Fire Inspector II, Youth Firesetter
  • Rope Operations and Technician
  • Trench Operations and Technician

The Division of Personnel Standards and Education (DPSE) has partnered with Pearson VUE testing centers, who has over 80 locations throughout the state of Illinois with testing centers also available in neighboring states.   The traditional paper-and-pencil testing will continue to be offered initially, but will eventually be phased out.  More detailed information regarding this process will be released at a later date.

How to schedule a computer-based exam:

·       The Request for Examination must be submitted to DPSE by the Fire Chief or Training Officer, or other such authorized individual.

·       As always, a Request for Examination must first be submitted for approval to the DPSE through the OSFM portal.    The form should be marked "computer-based test" and a date entered in the date field.  The date represents the first day that the individual will be permitted to challenge the exam.  This date also marks the first day of a 45-day window in which the individual must complete their exam. 

·       Important - prior to submitting a Request for Examination, the individual must to be registered for the OSFM portal or the request will be denied.

·       Approval is a manual process by DPSE staff and are generally processed within 1-2 business days. 

·       Once approved, Pearson Vue is notified and they will email the individual with instructions for registration and scheduling their exam.

·       The individual will then be able to personally schedule their test at a Pearson Vue site: 

o   Individual will select a date and time for exam. 

o   Web scheduling is available 24/7. 

o   Pearson Vue emails confirmations to candidates when they schedule, cancel, or reschedule an exam. 

o   Pearson Vue website address is 

OSFM will pay 100% of the exam fee for a candidate's first scheduled test attempt at a Pearson VUE test center (includes pass, fail, and no-show).  All exam retakes at a Pearson VUE test center will be $59, payable by the candidate or fire department, as applicable.  Exam status (pass or fail) will be presented to candidates immediately following the exam, within 24 hours the candidate may view their test score in the OSFM portal.

Two (2) forms of identification are required at the testing center.  One government issued, photo- and signature-bearing ID (passport, driver's license, etc.) and one alternate ID (for example, a credit card).

Individuals are provided with one exam authorization.  Individuals must be reauthorized by OSFM for each exam retake attempt, in the event that they fail the exam (this is the current Request for Exam process).  Individuals may cancel or reschedule their exam no later than 48 hours before their reservation date and time or else they will forfeit their test fee.

Firefighter Web Access Portal

All Illinois firefighters who are currently employed by an Illinois fire department have the capability to register and view their records. In addition to the PSE WebAccess portal was the development of the Public Event Calendar. This calendar lists all public course availability and regional examinations as well as training information for their respective fire departments. 

The Web Access Portal is here


State Certification Advisory Committees

The DPSE has adopted a new State Certification Advisory Committee (SCAC) and guidelines to ensure that certifications are revised and updated to a current NFPA Standard. A majority of the certification programs have been submitted to the Fire Advisory Commission and State Fire Marshal for approval. Once approval is documented, the certification program update/revision changes must be submitted to revise the Administrative Rules governing the certifications. The Administrative Rule changes can be a prolonged process. Our goal is to notify the Fire Service of the upcoming changes by utilizing the FD Mail and website.

The purpose of the SCAC is to review and recommend published reference books and instructor outlines. With this change, an Instructor Reference Manual will no longer be developed for distribution. In addition to this change, the DPSE will no longer accept, review or approve end of course examinations as equivalent for the state written examination.

More SCAC Committee details are here

New Firefighter Certification Rules

Many months ago the Division of Personnel Standards and Education (DPSE), with the assistance of the State Certification Advisory Committee (SCAC), embarked on an effort to update the administrative rules that govern the firefighter certification program in the State of Illinois. These new rules were recently adopted by the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) and took effect in August, 2017.

The new rules are meant to more closely align Illinois certification regulations with their respective National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standards and Job Performance Requirements. These changes include updated NFPA Standard editions, examinations, certifications and requirements. 

The updated rules can be found here