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Certification FAQs - higher certification levels

Years of experience

CE and college courses

Years of experience

  • How does the commission compute "years of experience?"

    The Standards Manual refers to this as "years of fire protection experience." We may also refer to it as "years of service."

    In short, the commission defines "years of experience" as time during which a person:

    1. Holds an active TCFP certification or equivalent certification, and
    2. Is assigned to fire protection duties for a fire department or government entity.

    To determine your "years of experience," look up your certification online and:

    1. Determine years of certification time by using the beginning date of your first basic certification until the present (assuming there are no breaks in certification).
    2. Look at your "employment history" to determine the amount of time with departments or other entities. (If there is a period of time in which you were employed with more than one entity at the same time, do not count this time twice. Also, do not count breaks in employment time.)

    When determining years of experience, certification time and employed time must each total the minimum number of years required for a particular certification.

    Example: Three individuals are applying for a certification that requires 4 years of experience.

    Person One has 4.2 certified years and 3.7 employed years. This person does not qualify for certification.
    Person Two has 3.8 certified years and 4.5 employed years. This person does not qualify for certification.
    Person Three has 4.4 certified years and 4.0 employed years. This person qualifies for certification.

    Special note: When computing years of experience for fire inspector certification for those who completed training from a curriculum dated after January 1, 2005, the commission only credits time in which the individual has been certified as a fire inspector and appointed to inspection duties according to our records. The fire protection organization must notify the commission of the individual's appointment to inspection duties.

    Please refer to Item 51 in 421.5 of the Standards Manual for specifics on crediting years of experience. Contact a member of the commission's certification team for additional assistance.

  • I am an individual certificate holder. Am I accumulating "years of experience?"

    An individual certificate holder (i.e., someone who is not attached to a department), is not accumulating years of experience.

    An individual may earn credit for years of service in other ways. Please refer to Item 51 in 421.5 of the Standards Manual for specifics on crediting years of experience. Contact a member of the commission's certification team for additional assistance.

  • Does the commission count out-of-state or military service toward "years of experience?"

    An individual may earn "years of experience" credit for certain out-of-state or military service. You will have to provide documentation of the experience. The commission may require documentation of fire protection training, medical training or employment records to determine whether your experience is equivalent to what it requires for a Texas certification. Contact a member of the commission's certification team for additional assistance regarding required forms and documents.

  • Does employment with a private fire protection company count toward "years of experience?"

    If the commission regulates the private fire protection company, the commission counts the "years of experience" of its certified fire protection employees. Employment time with non-regulated private entities does not count toward "years of experience."

CE and college courses

  • When I submit training documentation, do I need to submit a specific combination of "A-list," "B-list," and college credit?

    No specific combination is necessary.

    Think of the required training in terms of "points." For example, to move from basic to intermediate certification, you will need to document eight "points." To move from intermediate to advanced certification, you need to document eight additional "points."

    One B-list course = one point.
    One A-list course = four points.
    Three semester hours in an approved college subject = four points.

    Any combination of training that adds up to eight points is sufficient to move from one certification level to the next (assuming you have the required years of experience for the next level). Keep in mind that any training that you previously used, either to gain certification or to move up a level in a discipline, cannot be used again in that same discipline.

  • Can I use the same combination or group of training courses to move up in more than one discipline?

    It is possible to use the same group or combination of A- and B-list courses to move up in multiple disciplines. For example, you could use the same group of A- and B-list courses to move from both basic structural fire protection and basic fire investigator to intermediate in both of these disciplines.

  • Does the commission accept any college subjects other than fire science for credit?

    The commission accepts Fire Science/Technology, EMS, Emergency Management, and Public Administration courses for training credit. The course typically will have a code that identifies it as one of the above (examples: FIRS1305, EM1100, PA3321, etc.). In order for the commission to accept a college course, you must show that the college awarded semester-hour credits to you.

  • Does the commission accept continuing education on a college transcript as credit toward higher levels of TCFP certification?

    No. Continuing education on a transcript does not count toward higher levels of certification.

  • I was awarded college credit for my original training. Can I use it toward higher levels of certification?

    College credit awarded for original fire academy training will not count toward intermediate or advanced certification in the same discipline. It is possible, however, to use this training toward higher levels of certification in other disciplines. Additionally, you can always use college credit for original training when you apply for a master certification, even if you used it to gain initial certification in the same discipline.

    You have 26 college hours from your original structure fire protection academy training. You wish to apply for intermediate fire investigator and intermediate structure fire protection using some of these semester hours. The commission can issue the investigator certification using these hours, but cannot issue the structure fire protection certification, since you earned the hours were as part of the original structure fire protection training.

  • Can I use "A-list" or "B-list" courses toward a master certification?

    The commission restricts training credits toward master certifications to college transcripts. You cannot use A- and B-list courses for a master certification.

  • I took a training course that has the same name as a course on the A- and B-lists, but it was from a different provider than the one the commission lists. Will the commission accept it?

    In order for the commission to accept an A- or B-list course for credit, the course must have been from the provider or providers listed in parentheses next to the course name. The ICS courses shown on the B-list (100, 200, 300 and 400) may be from various providers, but they must be NIMS compliant.

Certification and professional development

Certification and professional development

A brief introduction to the commission's certification and professional development program.

Certification requirements

The commission offers 40 certifications or certification "levels" (i.e., basic, intermediate, advanced, etc.). This chart provides links to the requirements for each certification and each level.

Certification verification

A form to verify a certified individual's certification status.

Basic fire suppression

Overview of the requirements to become certified as an entry-level fire fighter in the State of Texas.

CE - required hours

How to determine how many hours of continuing education are required to renew.

Individual renewals

Information and FAQs for individual certificate holders. (Individual certificate holders are those who are not affiliated with a regulated department.)

Transferring to Texas

Guidelines for transferring out-of-state or military fire protection certifications to Texas.

A-list and B-list courses

A-list and B-list courses for higher levels of certification.

CE sources

Sources of continuing education.

Courage to Be Safe resources

Resources and links to more information about the Courage to Be Safe program.

Traffic safety course resources

Resources and links to more information about the required traffic safety program.