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Fiber Optic Specialist Certifications

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FOA Specialist Certifications
 
For those wanting to learn more about specialized fiber optic applications or who wish to develop greater skills in the process of fiber optic installation, FOA offers specialist training and certifications.

Specialist certifications are available in two categories, Skills-based and Applications-based.

Click on any specialist certification for more details.

Skills-Based Specialist Certifications For Techs Involved With Fiber Optic Installation
Outside Plant Installation (CFOS/O)
Termination (Connectors) (CFOS/C)
Splicing (CFOS/S)
Testing (CFOS/T)
Fiber Characterization (CD, PMD, SA) (CFOS/FC)
Fiber Optic Network Design (CFOS/D


Applications-Based
Specialist Certifications For Users, Designers, Contractors and Installers
Fiber To The Home/Curb/etc. (FTTx) (CFOS/H)
Optical LANs (OLANs) (CFOS/L)
Fiber To The Antenna (FTTA) (CFOS/A)
Data Center Cabling (CFOS/DC
Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) (CFOS/DAS)



FOA specialist certifications are available two ways -

All FOA CFOS Certifications Require:
Complete directions of the certification process are below.

The FOA requirements and exams are based on FOA approved training curriculum, The FOA Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide, the FOA textbooks or self-study programs on Fiber U.

If you are already a CFOT or CPCT interested in specialist certifications, you should keep records of your field experience qualifying for FOA specialist certifications.

The FOA schools listing includes schools offering FOA specialist classes.

If you wish to apply for certification directly based on your industry experience, read the information on the FOA "Work to Cert" program below on taking the specialist certification exams. Directions for "work to cert" Specialist certification application.

If you are a current CFOT or CPCT, you do not get a new CFOT/Membership number. Upon completion of the requirements, you will receive a new FOA ID Card with your new certifications listed. Your CFOT number and expiration data will not change.



Skills-Based Specialist Certifications For Techs Involved With Fiber Optic Installation
Skills-based certifications are those involving hands-on process related to the design and installation of fiber optic networks such as outside plant (OSP) installation, splicing, termination and testing. Skills-based certifications require a CFOT or CPCT as a prerequisite for both classes at a FOA-Approved school or application for direct certification.



CFOS/O:  OSP
Installation  (Skills-based)

OSP fiber optic installation

This is a specialist certification covering outside plant fiber optic network installation intended for technicians involved in the design or installation of OSP fiber networks.

Prerequisites: CFOT (some FOA-approved schools teach a combination CFOT and CFOS/O course.)


What To Expect In Training Programs For OSP Specialist Certification
To qualify for Certified Fiber Optic Specialist/OSP certification, a specialist training program will cover at least the following topics:


Typical Field Experience For Direct OSP Specialist Certification
To qualify for the CFOS/O certification, a CFOT plus two years of field experience are required, including documented experience installing and testing OSP fiber optic networks. Training by employers, manufacturers or vendors of cabling products will be recognized as part of the experience requirements.
Field experience installing and testing OSP fiber optic networks must include the following:


What To Study To Prepare For The Exam
For preparation for the CFOS/O course or direct exam, you should take the Fiber U Outside Plant Fiber Optics self-study course.

More information on the CFOS/O certification .


CFOS/C: Connectors/Termination (Skills-based)

installing fiber optic connectors

This is a specialist certification covering fiber optic termination using various connector styles and procedures intended for technicians involved in terminating fiber optic cables in connectors for manufacturing or field installation.

Prerequisites: CFOT or CPCT

What To Expect In Training Programs For Connectors Specialist Certification
FOA-Approved training for Certified Fiber Optic Specialist/Connectors certification meets the following requirements:

Typical Field Experience For Direct Connectors Specialist Certification
To qualify for the CFOS/C certification, the field, or factory installation experience needs to meet the following requirements:
The applicant must provide data supporting their experience and a recommendation from a client or customer.



What To Study To Prepare For The Exam
For preparation for the CFOS/C course or direct exam, you should take the Fiber U Basic Fiber Optic Skills Lab self-study course, Lesson 5: Termination.



CFOS/S: Splicing (Skills-based)
 
splicing fiber optics

This is a specialist certification covering fiber optic splicing procedures intended for technicians involved in the installation of OSP fiber networks.
Prerequisites: CFOT

What To Expect In Training Programs For Splicing Specialist Certification
FOA-Approved training for Certified Fiber Optic Specialist/Splicing certification meets the following requirements:
 
Typical Field Experience For Direct Splicing Specialist Certification
To qualify for the CFOS/S certification, the field splicing experience needs to meet the following requirements:


What To Study To Prepare For The Exam
For preparation for the CFOS/S course or direct exam, you should take the Fiber U Basic Fiber Optic Skills Lab self-study course, Lesson 4: Splicing.



CFOS/T: Testing (Skills-based)
 
testing fiber optics

This is a specialist certification covering fiber optic testing 
intended for technicians involved in the design, installation, testing, troubleshooting or maintenance of fiber networks.

Prerequisites: CFOT or CPCT


What To Expect In Training Programs For Testing Specialist Certification
FOA-Approved training for Certified Fiber Optic Specialist/Testing certification meets the following requirements:

Typical Field Experience For Direct Testing  Specialist Certification Based On Field Experience
To qualify for the CFOS/T certification, the field testing experience needs to meet the following requirements:

What To Study To Prepare For The Exam
For preparation for the CFOS/T course or direct exam, you should take the Fiber U Fiber Optic Testing self-study course.


CFOS/FC: Fiber Characterization (Skills-based)

Fiber characaterization

This is a specialist certification covering fiber optic testing for the purposes of characterizing long distance fibers used in very high speed WDM networks. It is intended for technicians involved in the design, installation or testing of fiber networks.

Prerequisites: CFOT, CFOS/T recommended


What To Expect In Training Programs For Fiber Characterization Specialist Certification
FOA-Approved training for Certified Fiber Optic Specialist/Fiber Characterization certification meets the following requirements:

Typical Field Experience For Direct Fiber Characterization Specialist Certification Based On Field Experience
To qualify for the CFOS/FC certification, the field testing experience needs to meet the following requirements for field techs:

What To Study To Prepare For The Exam
For preparation for the CFOS/FC course or direct exam, you should take the Fiber U Fiber Optic Testing self-study course and the material on fiber characterization on the FOA Online Guide. Contact the FOA for additional resources.



CFOS/D: Design (Skills-based)
Fiber optic network design

This is a specialist application certification covering fiber optic network design
intended for managers or technicians involved in the design or installation of fiber networks.
 
Prerequisites: CFOT, CPCT
  or equivalent basic knowledge of fiber optics and communications networks.


What To Expect In Training Programs For Design Specialist Certification
To qualify for Certified Fiber Optic Specialist/Design certification, a specialist training program must cover at least the following topics:


Typical Field Experience For  Design Specialist Certification
To qualify for the certification, two years field experience with  fiber optic networks are required, including documented experience designing fiber optic networks. Training by manufacturers or vendors of cabling products will be recognized as part of the experience requirements. The applicant must provide data supporting their experience and a recommendation from a client or customer.
Direct applicants for CFOS/D certification are expected to provide documentation of their involvement with several complete fiber optic cabling projects, including

What To Study To Prepare For The Exam
For preparation for the CFOS/D course or direct exam, you should take the Fiber U Fiber Optic Network Design self-study course.


More information on the CFOS/D certification .



Applications
Specialist Certifications For Users, Designers, Contractors and Installers
Applications-based certifications are based on specific applications of fiber optics like fiber to the home (FTTH) or optical LANs (OLANs.) These application-based certifications do not require a CFOT or CPCT as a prerequisite but do require a basic knowledge of fiber optics. That basic knowledge may be obtained online, for example using the free Fiber U Basic Fiber Optics or Premises Cabling course or an introductory presentation at a school prior to the start of the actual course.



CFOS/H: FTTx, Fiber To The Home/Premises/Curb/Node, etc. (Application-based)
FTTX OLT Installation

This is
an application specialist certification covering FTTx networks, cabling design and installation, which includes PON networks  (formerly FOA CFxT) It is intended for anyone interested in the application of FTTH networks.
 
Prerequisites: CFOT, CPCT
or or equivalent basic knowledge of fiber optics and communications networks. If attendees are not already familiar with or trained in optical fiber, a fiber review is available as part of the course. 

What To Expect In Training Programs For FTTX Specialist Certification
To qualify for Certified FTTX Specialist certification, a specialist training program must cover at least the following topics:


Typical Field Experience For FTTx Specialist Certification
To qualify for the FTTx certification, two years field experience designing and installing FTTx networks are required.
Training by manufacturers or vendors of cabling products will be recognized as part of the experience requirements.

The applicant must provide data supporting their experience and a recommendation from a client or customer.



What To Study To Prepare For The Exam
For preparation for the CFOS/H course or direct exam, you should take the Fiber U FTTx self-study course.


More information on the CFOS/H certification
.


CFOS/L: Optical LANs (OLANs) (Application-based)
 
CFOS/L

This is an application specialist certification covering optical LAN (OLAN) networks, cabling design and installation, which includes P2P and PON networks used in place of traditional LAN cabling based on traditional structured cabling standards for copper/fiber networks. It is intended for anyone interested in the use of fiber optics in LANs

Prerequisites: CFOT, CPCT  or or equivalent basic knowledge of fiber optics and communications networks recommended. If attendees are not already familiar with or trained in optical fiber, a fiber review is available as part of the course.
 
What To Expect In Training Programs For OLAN Specialist Certification
To qualify for Certified Optical LAN Specialist certification, a specialist training program must cover at least the following topics:


Typical Field Experience For Direct OLAN Specialist Certification
To qualify for the certification, two years field experience designing and installing optical LAN or other optical premises networks are required.
Training by manufacturers or vendors of cabling products will be recognized as part of the experience requirements.
The applicant must provide data supporting their experience and a recommendation from a client or customer.


What To Study To Prepare For The Exam
For preparation for the CFOS/L course or direct exam, you should take the Fiber U Optical LAN (OLAN) self-study course.



CFOS/A: Fiber To The Antenna (FTTA) (Application-based)

cell antennas

This is an application specialist certification which covers how fiber optics is used to connect antennas to electronics at the base of cellular telephone towers. Cell antennas on buildings, small cells and distributed antenna systems (DAS) are described also. It is intended for anyone interested in how fiber is used in cellular communications.

Prerequisites: CFOT, CPCT or or equivalent basic knowledge of fiber optics and communications networks. If attendees are not already familiar with or trained in optical fiber, a fiber review is available as part of the course.

What To Expect In Training Programs For FTTA Specialist Certification
To qualify for Certified FTTA Specialist certification, a specialist training program must cover at least the following topics:


Typical Field Experience For Direct FTTA Specialist Certification
To qualify for the certification, two years field experience designing and installing FTTA systems is required.
Training by manufacturers or vendors of cabling products will be recognized as part of the experience requirements.
The applicant must provide data supporting their experience and a recommendation from a client or customer.


What To Study To Prepare For The Exam
For preparation for the CFOS/A course or direct exam, you should take the Fiber U FTTA self-study course. (Coming soon)


CFOS/DAS: Distributed Antenna System (DAS) Cabling

stadium

This is an application specialist certification which covers how fiber optics and coax cable are used to connect antennas to electronics for DAS systems in buildings, large public facilities like sports stadiums, etc. where large crowds of users need multiple antennas for proper service as well as buildings, tunnels or other locations where cell phone signals are weak. It is intended for anyone interested in private cellular and WiFi wireless networks.

Prerequisites: CFOT, CPCT or or equivalent basic knowledge of fiber optics and communications networks. If attendees are not already familiar with or trained in optical fiber, a fiber review is available as part of the course.

What To Expect In Training Programs For FTTA Specialist Certification
To qualify for Certified DAS Specialist certification, a specialist training program must cover at least the following topics:


Typical Field Experience For Direct DAS Specialist Certification
To qualify for the certification, two years field experience designing and installing DAS systems is required.
Training by manufacturers or vendors of cabling products will be recognized as part of the experience requirements.
The applicant must provide data supporting their experience and a recommendation from a client or customer.


What To Study To Prepare For The Exam
For preparation for the CFOS/DAS course or direct exam, you should take the Fiber U DAS self-study course. (Coming soon)



CFOS/DC Data Center Cabling

data center

This is
an application specialist certification covering the cabling used to connect servers, switches and storage in data centers. It covers all types of cabling: UTP copper, coax copper, optical fiber and active optical cables (AOCs).. It is intended for anyone interested in the current state of the art in data center cabling.

Prerequisites: CFOT, CPCT or or equivalent basic knowledge of fiber optics and communications networks. If attendees are not already familiar with or trained in optical fiber and premises cabling, a fiber review is available as part of the course.

What To Expect In Training Programs For Data Center Cabling Specialist Certification
To qualify for Certified Data Center Cabling Specialist certification, a specialist training program must cover at least the following topics:

Typical Field Experience For Direct FTTA Specialist Certification
To qualify for the certification, two years field experience designing and installing data center cabling systems is required.
Training by manufacturers or vendors of cabling products will be recognized as part of the experience requirements.
The applicant must provide data supporting their experience and a recommendation from a client or customer.


What To Study To Prepare For The Exam
For preparation for the CFOS/DC course or direct exam, you should take the Fiber U Data Center Cabling self-study course.



Directions for Direct “Work to Cert” FOA Specialist Certification

If you meet FOA’s requirements for experience and knowledge, you can take FOA certification directly. To qualify for direct certification, you must follow these steps in the application and testing process:

Also, this process is available in English only – you must have adequate English language skill to participate in this program

Please read the qualifications for the exam you are interested in pursuing - each specialty has its own very specific requirements - see above. 

Review the study material provided for the certification you are interested in

Before you submit your application, please complete each step:

1. Prepare documentation on the prerequisites for the course you are taking. 
Each FOA Specialist certification requires a CFOT, CPCT or equivalent experience.  Submit proof that you have recently achieved the CFOT or CPCT certification and that your membership is current

2.Update your resume 
You must have at least 2 years recent experience performing tasks directly related to the certification you are seeking.    Include a description of the different skills, including designing, installing, testing, maintaining and restoring fiber optic networks.  

You will be required to submit specific documentation applicable to the certification you are applying as outlined in the certification description.

You may also be asked to submit letters of recommendations

3. Complete the FOA Experience Log
In addition to your resume, we require submission of documentation of experience, for example using the FOA Experience Log for CFOS O,C, S, T certifications.  In this log, you must document a sufficient number of jobs you have worked on and different processes you have performed (e.g. number of connectors, splices, insertion loss or OTDR tests on hundreds of links) as outlined in the certification description.  You should cover at least 2 years of recent experience in the log.

(Download and start your Experience Log - Excel spreadsheet)

Include which specific equipment was used, including splicers, test instruments, tools and what types of components the applicant has worked with, e.g. cables, connectors etc. 

You can also supply job documentation or test reports submitted with the system documentation on your jobs.

4. Verify Your Knowledge (If Required)
For some Specialist certifications, you may need to verify your knowledge by taking the Fiber U web-based online qualification exam for that specialist.  See the recommended study guides for individual certifications linked above. If the Fiber U course has a "Fiber U Certificate of Completion" available, that will be required before taking the FOA Specialist Certification exam.

5. Submit your application
Submit your application for the FOA Specialist certification exam with the  supporting documents required for the certification you are applying for as outlined above.  Do not send your application unless you have compiled all the required documentation listed above.


Download An Application  (DOC file  or PDF file)

As part of the application, you must provide the name of a proctor.  The proctor is a person who agrees to supervise you while you take the online FOA
Specialist certification exam and verify that you have taken the exam without assistance from other people or referring to a text. This person can be a manager in your company or a teacher you know - does not have to be a fiber optic teacher.  It can also be a local librarian.

If your application is accepted, we will email to let you know.  The fee for this is exam is $60US payable when your application is accepted.

6. Set up a proctor and time for your exam

You must arrange with your proctor a date for the FOA
Specialist certification exam and email this date to staff@thefoa.org. On the day of the exam, we will email the access codes for the exam to your proctor. You must take the exam on the date you submit to the FOA.

If for some reason, you or the proctor cannot meet at the designated time or place, DO NOT take the exam.  Contact the FOA office – staff@thefoa.org - to reschedule the exam date.

The FOA certification exam is a closed-book, timed exam. The proctor will verify you took the exam alone without assistance. The test will record the time you start the exam and limits your time available to take the exam.

7. Take the exam

Your test results will automatically be sent to the FOA.  If you score is under 80% you will be asked to go back and restudy some material and possibly retest.   Anything under 70% would require a retest.  You can take the test one additional time but must wait a month before retesting.  

When you fulfill all the requirements for the certification you are testing for,  you will be sent a new membership card listing your new certification in addition to the certifications you already have.  If you live outside the US or Canada, your card will be emailed to you.

Please note: your renewal date is one, two or three years from the date of your first certification.  Adding certifications does not alter your renewal date.






Application CFOS Certifications (pdf)
 

 

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