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Understanding FOA Certifications &
Training Program Curriculum Requirements




 



FOA certifications are designed to show a progression of growth in knowledge, skills and abilities (we refer to them as KSAs) in fiber optics. The CFOS certifications are specifically designed to allow schools to offer specialized classes for students who have already achieved CFOT status or who want to specialize in FTTx.

First Level
CFOT - Certified Fiber Optic Technician for general fiber optics
CPCT: Certified Premises Cabling Tech, copper, fiber and wireless for premises cabling (LAN, security, etc.)
At the basic level are the CFOT and CPCT certifications that are generally achieved through a FOA-approved training course that includes both classroom and hands-on exercises. An alternate path to these certifications is to have field experience, study the FOA reference materials and take a proctored examination. 
Specialist
CFOS or Certified Fiber Optic Specialist.
Specialist certifications are for those with extensive experience or students in comprehensive training programs. Installers achieving specialist certifications will have developed excellent skills in their specialty: OSP (CFOS/O), FTTx (CFOS/H), Network Design (CFOS/D), Connectors (CFOS/C), Splicing (CFOS/S) and Testing (CFOS/T) and their knowledge must be extensive to allow passing the specialist exams.

Requirements For FOA-Approved Courses For Each Certification Level

All FOA-approved schools develop their own curriculum based on FOA certification requirements, KSAs and the reference for each certification, e.g.the FOA textbooks FOA Reference Guide to Fiber Optics, and  FOA Reference Guide to Premises Cabling, FOA Reference Guide to Outside Plant Fiber Optics (former textbooks Fiber Optic Technicians Manual and Data, Voice and Video Cabling  are no longer used) and the FOA Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide. The FOA offers curriculum for schools that do not already have or want to develop their own curriculum.

 CFOT CPCT  CFOS
 Basic Fiber Optic Technician Certified Premises Cabling Technician  Specialist: OSP, Connectors, Splicing, Testing, Design, FTTx, Instructing
 Required background: none Required background: Field experience or training course.   Required background: CFOT and field experience documented in FOA Logbook or training course.  (see requirements for each specialty for specific requirements, CPCT may require additional training to meet requirements of some of the fiber specialist certifications)
Basics
How fiber works,
fiber specifications (geometry,attenuation, bandwidth)
How fiber optic links work (transmitter,receiver,power budget)
Basics of premises cabling, structured cabling standards, UTP cabling, fiber cabling, wireless  CFOT Prerequisite, review, elaborate as appropriate for each specialty.

 Networks (telecom,data,CATV, etc.) LANs, security, video, Structured Cabling Standards  CFOT Prerequisite, review, elaborate as deemed important for each specialty
FO components:
Fibers
Cables
Connection
Splices
Hardware (patch panels, splice closures, conduit, etc)
Specialized components for premises cabling: fiber, wiring and wireless in premises networks  CFOT Prerequisite, review, elaborate as deemed important for each specialty, e.g.:
Cables (all specialties): all types, where generally used, handling, troubleshooting
Connectors: all types, recognizing old and obsolete as well as current connectors, termination types (adhesive, prepolished, etc.), termination processes, singlemode vs multimode polishing, troubleshooting
Splices: fusion vs mechanical, mass fusion, cleaving, splice trays and closures, cable/fiber handling, troubleshooting
Installation
Safety considerations and Code compliance
Reading prints and specs
Planning the installation
Pulling cable (installation hardware, guidelines to pulling, practices)
Documentation
 
Same as CFOT, emphasis on specialized techniques for wiring and wireless in premises networks  CFOT Prerequisite, review, elaborate as deemed important for each specialty
Testing
Continuity and tracing
Visual inspection of connectors and bare fiber
Loss with power meter and source
OTDR techniques
Correllation of OTDR and power meter/source loss tests
Troubleshooting
Same, plus testing UTP and coax cabling for premises networks.  CFOT Prerequisite, review, elaborate as deemed important for each specialty, e.g. to test connectors and splices effectively.
For Testing specialty:
Using power budgets to estimate loss when testing to verify results
Modal effects on loss, using mode modifiers, standards requirements for mandrel wrap and source modal launch
Using light source/power meter to make insertion loss tests, effects of launch cables, wavelength, 3 methods of setting "0 dB" reference
Using OTDRs, using launch and or receive cables, setting test parameters to get best results, bidirectional differences, ghosts, etc.
Troubleshooting with VFL, source/PM, OTDR
Standards
Components
Testing
Networks
Installation
Terms and Definitions
Structured cabling and network standards  CFOT Prerequisite, review, elaborate as deemed important for each specialty
Labs
Basic cable handling
Simple termination (one type, adhesive or prepolished/splice)
Optional splicing
Basic insertion loss testing with source and power meter, introduction to OTDR
Labs
Premises-specific wiring and fiber practices
Labs
As deemed important for each specialty.
Connector termination of various types by at adhesive/polish and prepolished/splice method, multimode and/or SM, with the connectors meeting performance (loss and reflectance) standards.
Splices using fusion and mechanical methods for single fibers and ribbons.
Testing including insertion loss and OTDR tests including both multimode and singlemode, using VFLs, etc.
Reference Books:
FOA Reference Guide to Fiber Optics,   or (online) FOA Installation Tech Bulletin.

Online References:
FOA Online Reference Guide  particularly the section Fiber Optics, the Basics and
FOA Installation Tech Bulletin


Reference Books: FOA Reference Guide to Premises Cablingand supplemental material

Online References:
FOA Online Reference Guide  particularly the sections Fiber Optics, the Basics,
 Premises Cabling and
FOA Installation Tech Bulletin



Reference Books:
FOA Reference Guide to Fiber Optics
or FOA Online Reference Textbook   and
FOA Installation Tech Bulletin, specific specialty reference materials may be required.

Online References:
FOA Online Reference Textbook  particularly the sections on design, splicing, termiination, testing, etc. and
FOA Installation Tech Bulletin


Class 20-40 hrs, 1/3 - 1/2 lab (est.) Class 20-40 hrs, 1/3 -1/2 lab (est.) Varies, Class 20-40 hrs per specialty, 1/2-2/3 lab (est.)
Exam: ~100 questions based on reference materials Exam: ~100 questions based on reference materials Exams: Exams are separate for each specialty, based on reference materials plus proof of skills documented in FOA  Logbook or by classroom exercises.

More information:

 CFOT



CPCT
 CFOS

Hands-On Lab Recommendations for FOA Certifications

These are hands-on training sessions recommended for introducing students to process involved and developing skills in those processes. While all topics are recommended for CFOT level classes, The FOA recognizes the actual labs included will depend on the focus of the CFOT class. More advanced classes will have more comprehensive hands-on labs.

 

Certification

Or training focus

Cable

Installation

Termination

Splicing

Fusion

Splicing

Mechanical

Test

Insertion Loss

Test

OTDR

Other/Notes

CFOT (general)

R

R

R

R

R

R

R, Simulator

 

(Application
 Specific CFOT)



 

 

 

 

 


Premises

R

R

R

 

O

R

R, Sim

 

IT/user

O

 

O

 

 

R, power

R, Sim

Design

OSP

R

R

O

Single & ribbon

 

R

R, Sim

 

CO

R

 

 

Single & ribbon

 

R, power

R, Sim

 

Security

R

R

R

O

O

R

R, Sim

CCTV

Municipal

R

R

O

Single & ribbon

 

R

R, Sim

 

Military

R

R

Prepolished/
splice

R

 

R

R, Sim

Tactical assemblies

CFOS/O (formerly CFospT)
R

R

O

R: Single & ribbon

 

R

R, Sim

Options for Specific Applications

CPCT

Fiber &
copper

R

Fiber &
copper

 

 

R

O, Sim

Fiber &
Copper test

CFOS/H 
(formerly CFxT)

R

R

O

O

 

R

R, Sim

Couplers, prefab cables

CFOS/T

 

 

 

 

 

R

R

O: CD, PMD, ORL, etc.

CFOS/C

 

 

A/P, PPS, SM

 

 

R

 

ORL

CFOS/S

 

 

 

Single & ribbon

R

R

R

 

CFOS/D

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Design Networks

 

Key:

R = recommended

O = optional,  depending on the application

Sim = OTDR simulator optional

 

Definition of Labs

Cable: Identify cable types, prepare for pulling, termination and splicing

Installation: Pulling and placing cables, termination and splicing (below)

Termination: Multimode, adhesive/polish (A/P), prepolished splice (PPS). Terminate cables, inspect with microscope (polish types) and test.

Splicing-Fusion: Single and optionally ribbon fusion splicing, prepare fibers, splice and test with OTDR and compare to splicer estimates.

Splicing-Mechanical: Use any available mechanical splice on MM or SM fiber, optimize with VFL, test

Test-Insertion Loss: Inspect connectors with microscope, check continuity with visual tracer or VFL, test insertion loss using FOTP-171 (single-ended patchcord test) and OFTST-14 (double-ended installed cable test, use more than one reference method (A,B,C)

Test-OTDR: Use simulator or OTDR, show setup procedures and how setup affects traces, analyze traces, identify events, find faults, compare operator analysis to autotest.


 

 
Schools can  apply for course approval online

 Online CFOT References: FOA Online Reference Guide  and FOA Installation Tech Bulletin

FOA requirements for knowledge, skills and abilities: KSAs



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