The Certified Fire Protection Specialist Board was established in 1971 by a group of fire protection professionals to recognize, through certification, qualified individuals who are dedicated to curtailing both physical and financial loss due to fire. In 1998, NFPA began administration of the program. Presently, there are over 1,500 individuals holding the CFPS credential.
In order to earn the Certified Fire Protection designation, a candidate must meet the program eligibility requirements and successfully complete a 3-hour examination. CFPS certificate holders need to submit documentation of their professional development every three years to fulfill recertification requirements described further in this paper.
The Certified Fire Protection Specialist Board is responsible for governance of the program, approving examination items and examination cut scores, and reviewing finance, marketing and administration activities. There are twelve elected members on the CFPS Board of Directors each serving two-year terms. Four of the director positions serve on the executive committee, while other directors serve on various subcommittees. Each year half of the Board positions expire. Through a self-nomination process, all CFPS certificate holders are eligible to run for a position.
The CFPS Board meets periodically to review program issues. The Board conducts an annual meeting for all Certificate Holders, which is held in conjunction with the NFPA World Safety Conference. All CFPS certificate holders are encouraged to participate.
The certification industry is growing in the US and the world. Today, we rely on quality in our products, services and the people who provide them. Certification helps to increase the public's confidence in the capabilities and the competence of the person holding the certification.
Certification's increasing popularity stems from a variety of things. One is corporate downsizing, which has created flatter and leaner organizations and the need for individuals to distinguish themselves from peers. Another is that today's college graduates receive a very broad education and upon graduation are not experienced to go into the work place and take responsibility for the practical and technical aspects of many employment positions. Certifications help to close this gap by demonstrating an individual's competency in specialty areas to employers as well as creating value for employers.
As consumers paying high prices, we are demanding qualified and competent services and products. But perhaps more than any other single reason, people seek certification as fulfilling a personal development goal. Most often this is where people receive an intrinsic reward and satisfaction from their certification. The value of credentials may be viewed differently, but a certificate holder can be viewed a valuable product.