FOA School Approval

Training for Fiber Optic Association certification is only offered by FOA-Approved schools. As a nonprofit educational organization and certifying body for fiber optics, the FOA does not focus on quantity but quality. The FOA only approves the best schools that will maintain the highest quality training. 
The FOA is not itself a training organization. The FOA is a non-profit professional association which offers certifications to persons who work in the fiber optic industry. Our charter is to develop standards for training and certification of fiber optic technicians and instructors. We also develop and provide training curriculum for FOA-approved schools. Here is more information on the FOA.

As well as approving schools to participate in the FOA certification programs, the FOA approves classes at the first level for CFOT or CPCT certification and specialist level (FTTx, OSP, termination, splicing, testing, design and instructing.)

What are the advantages of FOA approval of your courses? FOA Certification is desired by many students and, by virtue of it's unbiased nature and comprehensive certification examinations, widely respected -and expected - in the industry. FOA approval will lend credibility to your organization. It will provide a basis for prospective students to judge the quality of your programs. It will allow you to offer FOA certification, known and respected worldwide. The FOA will list your school on a master list of FOA-approved schools available on our Web site, which, we are told by schools helps recruiting students.

To gain FOA approval, you must meet the criteria defined below. If you have questions or want to submit a course for approval, contact The FOA or fill in the application form and return it to the FOA.

Overview of FOA Approval of Training Organizations
The FOA has developed guidelines for fiber optic training courses and approves training organizations around the world that meet our standards. One of the reasons the FOA has such a good reputation world-wide is that we accept only the best training organizations and require them to maintain the highest standards so that they produce the best fiber optic technicians in the world. We also require all instructors to be FOA certified as instructors. To maintain our reputation, we require all our schools to maintain these high standards and monitor their performance.

Not every school that applies for FOA approval is accepted. The FOA evaluates the school on the basis of curriculum, instructors, facilities, financial stability, reputation and longevity plus the need for schools in a geographic area. Thus not only is the educational capability evaluated but also the business acumen and service to the industry. The FOA also considers the number of schools in any geographic area and reserves the right to limit the number of schools in an area where additional capacity is not warranted.

FOA approval is granted only to a program at an individual location for a specific program using designated instructors. Any changes in the organization as approved requires the FOA be notified and approval of the changes given in writing. This includes any changes in ownership, financial stability (e.g. bankruptcy), instructors, etc.

FOA offers curriculum free to approved schools under a "site license." FOA curriculum may not be transferred or sold, put online or otherwise used except in the manner defined by the license agreement.

FOA approval requires annual renewal and updating of all the relevant information for the school.

FOA operates as an international "virtual" organization that depends on a large amount of volunteer help from its approved schools. FOA expects and requires its FOA-Approved schools to understand how the organization operates and actively participate in making the FOA work efficiently. FOA represents hundreds of schools worldwide and could not operate without their cooperation. Schools that do not cooperate or participate in the process are subject to having their FOA approval taken away.

If your organization is accepted by the FOA, you join a worldwide community of professional educators. FOA schools are expected to participate in the development and updating of certifications, curriculum and reference materials. Sharing resources among FOA-approved schools is an important part of the "community" we have developed over our history and schools are expected to respect and participate in that process. In the past, this has involved cooperating on translating materials and working together with other organizations to develop programs.

FOA school approval is not transferable. Schools may not sell, transfer or otherwise move the FOA approval or certification to any other organization without reapplying for school approval. Instructors cannot take FOA school approval to another school; the approval is for the school, not the instructor.  If a school changes an instructor, a new instructor may be designated as long as they meet FOA certification requirements before teaching classes and the FOA is notified immediately.
If your organization is approved and you agree to comply with the FOA guidelines, you will be provided with the appropriate instructions to offer FOA certifications and your courses will be promoted on the FOA website.

Requirements for all schools applying to become a FOA-Approved School 

FOA requires all organizations applying for approval to be evaluated on three major issues: the organization, the curriculum and the instructors.

FOA requires all schools to be established training organizations with a substantial history of providing training to the satisfaction of students. FOA will not approve any newly-established organization that wishes to become a training organization or established organization that wishes to start a training operation.

Courses must include both classroom sessions and hands-on labs appropriate to the certification and the school must have appropriate equipment to teach students the knowledge and skills required by the certification. (KSAs) Schools will be asked to provide documentation on the training organizations facilities and laboratory equipment appropriate for teaching fiber optic courses.

Organizations applying for FOA approval must designate the instructors for the courses. All instructors teaching courses that offer FOA certifications must meet FOA requirements for instructors.
Training organizations applying to become an FOA Approved Organization must already have an experienced fiber optic/premises cabling instructor on staff and a history of successfully teaching an appropriate or similar course.  The school evaluation process includes evaluation of your instructor(s).  You are not eligible to apply if you do not have the qualified instructor(s) on staff.  If you plan on hiring experienced fiber optic/premises cabling instructor(s), this person must be on staff and actively instructing for your organization for at least one year before you can apply.  At this point, this instructor would have to apply for the CFOS/I certification as part of the FOA Approval process

Please note: if you are thinking of hiring an FOA CFOS/I certified instructor, be aware that the instructor certification is tied to the school not the individual.  This instructor must re-apply for the certification with the new organization.

If you have an immediate need for training and certifying fiber optic or premises cabling technicians, you should contact the FOA office and we will recommend an FOA Approved School that could work with you.

All courses taught for FOA certification must meet the requirements for FOA curriculum and be approved by The FOA. It is the responsibility of the school to review the course requirements and appropriate KSAs  and affirm that the course meets FOA requirements before submitting a school application. The KSAs require that all classes include both classroom and hands-on lab sessions, which should generally be at least 1/3 to 1/2 of total class time. FOA will consider "blended learning" classes as long as in-person hands-on training to develop skills is included.

Organizations applying for FOA-approval must be credit-worthy and may be asked to provide documentation.

To Apply

Organizations must apply online using the New School Application (below). Before final approval the school will be required to pay a nonrefundable application fee which includes the first five certifications, including those of their designated instructors.

Organizations must submit a course outline for each course proposed for offering FOA Certification, including a description of hands-on labs (which should generally be at least 1/3 to 1/2 of class time), class notes and reference text(s) for FOA review on each course submitted for approval. Schools will be required to document their training facility and equipment. Schools must review their courses and affirm the courses meet FOA requirements for certification courses.

Organizations must submit resumes for all proposed instructors.  As part of the process of evaluating an organization for the FOA Approved School program, an instructor candidate is asked to take appropriate exams.   Passing these exams does not automatically confer CFOS/I certification.   This is one part of the overall Approved School evaluation.  The CFOS/I certification is only conferred if the organization achieved Approved School status.

Additional information may be requested, such as a review copy of training materials, handouts, etc., lists of lab equipment available, digital photos of labs, incorporation papers, resale/sales tax documentation, references, etc.

All schools must sign and return to the FOA the "FOA Approved Training Organization Agreement" before approval will be granted.

Withdrawal of Approval

Approval of the organization and/or any course may be withdrawn at any time with 30 day notice if the organization violates FOA rules, procedures or policies or engages in unethical activities. This may include but is not limited to not notifying FOA of changes or disputes of ownership, offering a FOA certification course that fails to meet FOA requirements or is given by a instructor who is not FOA certified, if unresolved complaints are received regarding the course, the school does not submit certification applications and payments promptly, the school advertises FOA certification for courses but does not offer it to all students, the school uses FOA curriculum for courses not offering FOA certification, the school uses FOA certification exams but does not send applications and fees to the FOA, violates the license agreement with the FOA governing the use of FOA copyright materials or engages in any activity that reflects badly on the reputation of the school or the FOA.

Schools are expected to be active and submit certifications regularly to the FOA.

Schools may also be removed if not responding promptly to annual renewals or inquiries from FOA staff.

Schools must cease use of FOA logos or claims of offering FOA certification courses immediately upon withdrawal of approval.

License Agreement/Terms Of Use

All schools must sign and return to the FOA the "FOA Approved Training Organization Agreement" before approval will be granted. Under this agreement, the school is obligated to abide by FOA rules.

FOA approval and all the FOA Certification tests, curriculum and background information to run programs in the training organization are offered subject to the acceptance of license agreements and warranty terms.

This agreement is limited to the named organization, its designated instructors and courses given at the approved location. Any changes are subject to removal of approval and may require re-application.

Organizations are licensed to use FOA material for its intended purpose only, namely training and certifying students in fiber optics as part of FOA certification programs. You may not use the FOA certification exams in any way except to print and administer the exams to your students for the purposes of FOA certification and must pay the FOA application fee for each exam given.  No other use is authorized.
No FOA materials may be resold or transferred to any other party.

The organization agrees that it is its responsibility is to protect the exams and all other FOA material from unauthorized distribution or use.

The intellectual property rights and copyright of the original material remain the property of The Fiber Optic Association, Inc. 

Apply online using the New School Application Form.

For more information, contact The Fiber Optic Association. Please remember the office is on California time!

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