CFOT : Certified Fiber Optic Technician
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More than 53,000 techs have been certified by The FOA
through over 200 FOA-Approved training organizations worldwide!
New: Preparing For The CFOT Exam
CFOT - Certified Fiber Optic Technician - is the FOA certification for general fiber optics applications. CFOTs have appropriate knowledge, skills and abilities in fiber optics that can be applied to almost any job - design, installation, operation - for almost any application - outside plant, premises, manufacturing, etc.
FOA CFOT certification is based on an extensive knowledge of fiber optics technology and application as well as demonstrated skills in appropriate tasks. Most CFOTs work in the industry as contractors or installers. Consultants, network designers, estimators and trainers would also be expected to have such credentials. Many CFOTs are involved with the manufacture of fiber optic components such as cables, patchcords, active devices and communications systems.

However, the CFOT certification has been structured as a general technology certification, not aligned to any specific job function. It is used by all installers, both outside plant and premises installers, two very different applications, plus component manufacturing technicians, network managers, network designers, etc. A well-prepared fiber optic technician will have a CFOT plus appropriate specialist certifications (CFOS) for the skills needed for the job (spicing, connectors, testing, design, etc.) and applications (FTTH, OLAN, etc.)

The FOA also offers certification in premises cabling (CPCT,) which also includes copper wiring and wireless.

The FOA CFOT certification requires a test of the applicant's knowledge of fiber optics in a broad-based exam that covers technology, components, installation and testing and also requires verified skills and/or experience in fiber optics.

It's now CFOT  The FOA CFOT (Certified Fiber Optic Technician) is now a registered trademark. With about 40,000 fiber optic techs holding CFOTs and the CFOT being recognized worldwide as the foremost certification in fiber optics, the FOA realized the value of the CFOT required trademark protection. Now it's official!

How Does One Qualify for the FOA CFOT?
FOA CFOT certification means the person with a CFOT has demonstrated extensive basic knowledge of fiber optics and demonstrated skills and abilities in processes used in the industry. These requirements are summarized as KSAs (knowledge, skills, abilities). Here are KSAs for the CFOT certification.

Knowledge is tested in the FOA CFOT exam taken by all applicants.

Skills can be demonstrated in hands-on lab exercises and verified by instructors giving an FOA-Approved course or for those already working in the industry, verified industry experience.

Abilities: Needless to say, fiber optic techs need the ability to perform relevant tasks, evidenced by showing skills in hands-on tasks.
There are two paths to CFOT certification: 1) training at an FOA-Approved school or 2) experience in the industry and other training or self-study, as preparation for taking the FOA CFOT exam.

Anyone who attends a CFOT course at an FOA-Approved school wil be able to take the exam as part of the course. 

Those currently working in the fiber optic industry who have had other training and/or at least 2 years working experience in the fiber optic industry may take the exam. Credit for hands-on training at non-FOA-Approved schools will be by presentation of a certificate or written confirmation from the instructor(s) that the training has been completed and the student has demonstrated adequate skills. Credit for industry experience can be documented by resume.
Find an FOA-Approved school

Apply directly for FOA  Certification (PDF)   (DOC)   

What Are the Benefits of FOA Certification ?
Like any certification program, the benefits to the members who pass the certification tests are based on the recognition of achieving a level of competence in the fiber optics field. For the end user looking for competent fiber optic personnel, it is the knowledge that this person has demonstrated knowledge and ability in the field and, perhaps even has documented experience. For the vendor of fiber optic products, it offers a technically- qualified pool of employees as well as contractors to recommend to end user customers who need to find installers for their networks. Many companies require FOA certifications or even offer FOA certifications to their personnel through internal training classes.

What Training Is Required To Take The Exam?
Although most CFOTs obtain their certification by attending an FOA Approved school, no specific training is required to take the CFOT exam if you already have experience in the industry. The basic knowledge required may be gained from formal training classes, picked up from experience in the field or from self-study. The exam is based on the FOA-written textbooks, the FOA Reference Guide To Fiber Optics, or the FOA Online Reference Textbook website and FOA Installation Tech Bulletin for those who wish to study for it themselves. 

For a guide to self-study for the FOA CPCT exam, go to Fiber U, the FOA free online self-study website.
For those wanting a formal course of study, there are many FOA-approved schools that include the FOA CFOT in their programs. To see what is involved in the courses, see  Detailed Curriculum Requirements For FOA-Approved Training Programs. For a guide to self-study for the FOA CFOT exam, see the CFOT online study guide

How Is the Certification exam administered?
For the CFOT certification, there is a certification exam. FOA-Approved Schools offer the CFOT exam at the end of their training classes or allow taking it afterwards. For individuals, arrangements can be made for taking the exam either on paper or online with a local proctor. The proctor may be a supervisor, instructor, teacher or other professional, but may not be a co-worker or relative. 

How Does the Program Relate to Other Associations
We are often asked how we relate to contractor associations, professional training programs and other organizations involved in related areas. We feel we complement each other quite nicely. Our specialization is one technology - fiber optics. We're not into anything else and many of these other groups often have very broad interests.
We have developed an association that is vendor-independent, application-independent and designed to fit the needs of a large audience, because fiber optics needs many certified personnel. Our charter is to fix that !

What Does Certification Cost?
If applying directly to the FOA (not through a FOA-Approved School,) see the application form for certification costs. The price includes the first year FOA membership and registration. Discounts for CFOT certification testing is available to students in FOA approved training programs.
Certification must be renewed annually. 

Preparing For The CFOT Exam
If you are planning on taking the CFOT exam, you need to study the materials on which the exam is based. The CFOT exam is a written exam consisting of 100 multiple choice, matching and true false questions. You must answer at least 70 questions correctly to pass. The exam is based on the FOA-written textbook,  the FOA Reference Guide To Fiber Optics, or the FOA Online Reference Textbook website,   particularly the section Understanding Fiber Optics, the Basics, and the FOA Installation Tech Bulletin which should be used as references for any classes that aim toward FOA CFOT certification. The FOA Online Reference has a CFOT Study Guide for preparing for the exam.

You should read the FOA Reference Guide To Fiber Optics textbook and answer all the chapter questions. Pay special attention to the basics, cables, termination and splicing, installation and testing. You need to understand power budgets too.
FOA Reference Guide To Fiber Optics
You may also study the FOA Online Reference Textbook  instead.  Use the online CFOT Study Guide for preparing for the exam. Pay particular attention to the section Understanding Fiber Optics, the Basics, and take all the online quizzes in those sections, called "Test Your Comprehension."
The Fiber Optic Technicians Manual: this previous FOA CFOT reference textbook is no longer used as a FOA reference.
Installation techniques, standards and codes are important and the CFOT exam will cover these topics. or FOA Installation Tech Bulletin is equal in content and available on the FOA website.

Applications to get started on FOA certification:
Apply directly for FOA  Certification (PDF)   (DOC)   

Those getting started in fiber optics should find an FOA-Approved school
Preparations For Taking The CFOT Exam:
Online self-study references for the CFOT: the FOA Online Reference Textbook  particularly the section Understanding Fiber Optics, the Basics, and the  CFOT Study Guide 

More on FOA certifications 
KSAs for the CFOT certification.

Renew your CFOT
Certification Renewal Application(pdf)
Certification Renewal Online 

Training Course Approval
Information for schools interested in gaining FOA Approval for their courses and offering FOA Certifications.


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