- What is IFSAC?
- What is accreditation?
- What is the commission's relationship with IFSAC?
- What is an IFSAC seal?
- What is the advantage of having an IFSAC seal?
- How do I apply for an IFSAC seal for which I qualify?
What is IFSAC?
IFSAC is the acronym for the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress, an organization that accredits international, national, or regional fire service certification programs, with emphasis on the certification testing process. IFSAC is a peer-driven organization that not only ensures compliance with IFSAC policy and procedures, but improves the quality of an entity's program. Specific information about the organization is available on the IFSAC website.
What is accreditation?
When one or more of an entity's certification testing programs are accredited by IFSAC, it means that IFSAC has reviewed the processes and has verified that the program or programs meet a nationally recognized standard. IFSAC only accredits programs that are administered by a state's official certifying entity.
When determining if an organization's testing program is eligible for accreditation, IFSAC reviews:
- The laws empowering the organization to administer the state's certification program.
- The organization's policies relating to the certification testing programs.
- Administrative aspects, including how the organization schedules and announces tests, how it notifies candidates of their scores, how it retains records and maintains test security, how it retests, how it distributes IFSAC seals, and other administrative issues.
- The content of both written and practical exams to determine whether the tests adequately cover the adopted standards.
- Questions on the written exam regarding validity and reliability, and to determine whether the test provides a fair evaluation of examinees' knowledge.
- Skills on the practical exams to determine if they cover the appropriate standards, how the entity chooses which skills to test, how evaluators are trained and how they deliver instructions to examinees, and how the tests are graded.
What is the commission's relationship with IFSAC?
The accredited entity in the State of Texas is the Texas Commission on Fire Protection. IFSAC has reviewed and accredited several of the commission's certification testing programs. The commission earned Fire Fighter I and Fire Fighter II accreditation for its basic structure fire protection program on May 3, 1997. Several additional programs have been added since then, with a total of 16 seals being offered as of January 2009. IFSAC re-examines accredited programs every five years. An IFSAC site team visited and assessed the commission in 2008, with all of the commission's programs receiving high marks and being approved for another five years.
In addition to state certification, the commission offers IFSAC seals in the following disciplines:
- Fire Fighter I
- Fire Fighter II
- Hazardous Materials Awareness
- Hazardous Materials Operations
- Hazardous Materials Technician
- Airport Fire Fighter
- Driver/Operator - Pumper
- Fire Instructor I
- Fire Instructor II
- Fire Instructor III
- Fire Officer I
- Fire Officer II
- Fire Investigator
- Fire Inspector I
- Fire Inspector II
- Plan Examiner I
Specific requirements for each of the seals are included on the second page of TCFP-051, Application for IFSAC Seals .
What is an IFSAC seal?
When an individual demonstrates proficiency in a particular area by passing a certification examination and meeting any other requirements of the standard, the individual is eligible to obtain an IFSAC seal. Possession of an IFSAC seal demonstrates "reasonable assurance of the content and quality of the testing program offered by the entity" to other institutions and programs. It says that the individual has successfully met the requirements of the applicable NFPA standard.
What is the advantage of having an IFSAC seal?
If, for instance, you move to another state that participates in IFSAC, that state may accept your IFSAC seal as proof of training to the level stated on the seal. Each jurisdiction establishes its own certification requirements. Other states may or may not recognize Texas state certification as proof of training, but states that participate in IFSAC are required to establish a reciprocity process for IFSAC seal holders. Some private fire protection providers are requiring their employees to hold IFSAC seals in various disciplines, particularly those organizations contracting to provide services at federal facilities.
Fire fighters who come to Texas from another IFSAC jurisdiction can use seals they have obtained as proof of training. For example, out-of-state applicants who document to the commission that they possess Fire Fighter I, Fire Fighter II, HazMat Awareness and HazMat Operations seals are eligible to apply for Basic Structure Fire Protection state certification (assuming they have also completed the required minimum level of medical training).
How do I apply for an IFSAC seal for which I qualify?
Complete TCFP-051, Application for IFSAC Seals and return it to the commission with the required fees and any additional documentation that may be needed for demonstrating qualification. Please carefully read the qualification guidelines on pages 2-3 of the application form. The fee for each seal is $15.
Training approval and testing
Overview of the Texas Commission on Fire Protection's training approval and testing program.
Information regarding testing dates at the commission's regional testing sites.
Contact information for fire protection training facilities certified by the commission. Visitors can search for training facilities by city, county, or training discipline.
This page provides a tool to search for upcoming commission-approved courses.
Questions and answers about the Texas Commission on Fire Protection's accreditation by the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC).
A list of ID numbers for commission-approved courses.
An online course to become a commission-approved field examiner.
Exam procedures for fire academies wishing to test in accordance with commission rules, includes information and instructions when applying for a state certification exam.