- Certified Outside Plant Fiber Optic Specialist, CFOS/O
- ( Formerly CFospT)
FOA defines as “outside plant” or “OSP” fiber optics is any networks
connected by outside fiber optic cabling. This cabling can be
underground (pulled in conduit), direct-buried (trenching or plowing),
aerial or underwater (submarine.) Applications include telecom, the
Internet, CATV, security including CCTV, utility and Smart Grid
management, and many more.
All FOA certifications begin with KSAs, what Knowledge, Skills and
Abilities a tech must have to be competent in a technology. Here are the FOA KSAs for OSP. Any good fiber optic
course will generally be about half classroom and half hands-on lab.
Lectures will teach about the jargon, the systems and components and
the labs will show students how those systems and components are used
in the real world. It is important that the equipment used in labs be
like that used in the field and kept up to date and in good operating
An OSP fiber optic course for FOA
certification will include classroom materials based on the FOA
textbook, The FOA Reference Guide to Outside Plant Fiber Optics. The
material in the FOA book includes descriptions of typical OSP
applications, components used to build networks, installation processes
and testing. A full chapter in the book is devoted to designing
networks, and while many students may never design a network, the
information on this chapter will help them understand other parts of
the processes. Much of this material will be familiar to instructors
teaching a CFOT course, but considerable additional information has
been added on specific OSP topics. FOA curriculum materials are
available for the classroom part of the course.
OSP specialist “hands-on” labs are different from typical CFOT or CPCT courses and
should be tailored to the students’ interest. Cable preparation labs
involve different cables, typically loose-tube and ribbon cables with
both gel and dry water-blocking compounds. Students need to know how to
safely open loose tube, armored and other cable types, exposing and
preparing fibers for splicing and termination.
For OSP certification, all applicants need to be familiar with splicing,
mainly fusion splicing. OSP cables are mostly singlemode fiber cables
due to the distances involved in OSP links, so termination generally
involves fusion splicing factory-made pigtails onto the fibers. There
are multimode OSP applications, however, such as campus links and
security cameras, where direct termination may be needed. The
instructor should work with the students to determine the importance of
termination for the class exercises.
cables, especially where cables are concatenated (joined) for longer
links, generally requires both insertion loss testing with a light
source and power meter or optical loss test set (OLTS) and an optical
time domain reflectometer (OTDR) to verify splices. Extremely long
cables may require chromatic dispersion (CD), polarization mode
dispersion (PMD) and spectral attenuation (SA) testing. Classroom
sessions will cover all these tests but labs should concentrate on
insertion loss and OTDR testing, leaving CD, PMD and SA for specialist
- The reference book for the CFOS/O certification is The FOA Reference Guide to Outside Plant Fiber Optics. Online, there is also an OSP section of the FOA Online Reference Guide.
- Curriculum Topics
installation requires knowledge and skills in the installation of fiber
optic cabling underground, aerial and undersea. As a result, the
breadth of knowledge and skills for this certification is greater than
other other certifications.
- It is appropriate to have a single course training for both CFOT and CFOS/O where the students receive both certifications.
- Fiber Optic Jargon
- Fiber Optic Communications Systems
- Optical Fiber
- Fiber Optic Cable
- Splicing and Termination
- Splicing processes
- Fiber Optic Network Design
- Skills Learned in Hands-On Labs
- Fiber Optic Cable Placement and Preparation
- Spicing (fusion and mechanical, single fiber and ribbon)
- Termination (direct termination is optional for OSP)
- Testing (including insertion loss, OTDR, CD and PMD Testing)
- To better understand the requirements for CFOS/O certification, see this page on training program requirements.
- Experienced techs may apply directly for FOA Certification (PDF) (DOC)
- Schools can print this form to apply for course approval or apply online.
to The FOA Home Page
(C)1999-2012, The Fiber Optic Association,