Course Equivalency, Reciprocity, and Challenges

State Fire Training (SFT), a division of the Office of the State Fire Marshal establishes, develops, and delivers standardized training and education for the California fire service. SFT recognizes that other organizations and agencies offer similar training that may also meet some or all SFT requirements. This web page represents the established course equivalencies and reciprocal courses as well as identifying the process for challenging a non-established course. Additional information can be found in the SFT Procedures Manual.  

Course Equivalency

A course equivalency is used when SFT determines that a non-SFT course is equivalent to a similar SFT course(s) and the student is not required to apply for equivalency or pay any fees. In these cases, SFT does not issue an SFT course completion diploma.  

Eligible and Recognized Courses list:
Information on eligible course equivalencies can be referenced from within the SFT Procedures Manual (PDF)

How to Apply:
It is not necessary to apply for a course equivalency. 

Course Reciprocity

A course reciprocity is used when SFT determines that a non-SFT course is reciprocal to a similar SFT course(s) and the student is required to apply for reciprocity and pay the non-refundable course reciprocity fee. For course reciprocity, SFT issues a SFT course completion diploma.  

Approved Reciprocal Courses:
A list of approved reciprocal courses and instructions on how to apply can be found on the

Course Reciprocity Application form (PDF)

Approved Reciprocal NFPA Professional Qualifications:
SFT recognizes that applicants may have obtained an IFSAC and/ or Pro Board Professional Certification that required sufficient knowledge, skills and abilities reciprocal to similar SFT course(s). In cases where SFT does not currently offer certification reciprocity, SFT has identified a list of NFPA Professional Qualifications where course reciprocity may be obtained, however, the following requirements apply: 

  1. SFT only accepts IFSAC and/or Pro Board accredited certifications
  2. In some cases, additional courses may be required in order to receive reciprocity
  3. Candidates are required to have all levels of certifications listed to be considered

A list of approved reciprocal NFPA Professional Qualifications and instructions on how to apply can be found on the

NFPA Professional Qualifications Reciprocity Application (PDF)

Course Challenges (PACE III)

SFT recognizes that applicants may have non-SFT courses offered by other agencies and institutions that are not on the approved reciprocity or equivalent tables.

Applicants can utilize the course challenge process to use a combination of non-SFT courses to justify how the Terminal Learning Objectives (TLOs) and Enabling Learning Objectives (ELOs) from the SFT course the applicant is challenging has been met through formal education.

An applicant must meet 80% of the TLOs and ELOs of the SFT course they are challenging to be approved. It is the applicant’s responsibility to show how they met the TLOs and ELOs through supporting documentation.

The applicant is required to apply for reciprocity and pay the SFT course reciprocity fee.

How to Apply:

To challenge a course that is not approved by SFT as being equivalent or reciprocal, the applicant shall submit the following items to SFT:

  1. Completed Course Challenges Reciprocity Application form
  1. A justification letter that includes:
    • A request for Course Challenge Review
    • A list of the SFT courses for which he or she seeks reciprocity
    • A corresponding list of the courses he or she wishes to challenge
  1. Course materials that demonstrate course content and learning objectives, including but not limited to:
    • Syllabus
    • Course description
    • Course outline
    • Textbook table of contents
  1. Course completion verification
    • A copy of a certificate, credential, and/or transcript for each reciprocal course requested
    • SFT may request validation with an original document during the evaluation process
  1. A non-refundable PACE III fee for each course challenged
  1. SFT shall review the application and determine if it is approved, incomplete, or denied
    • If SFT denies the request, the applicant may appeal the decision. Additionally, SFT will not accept additional documentation after a denial has been issued. Instead a new course challenge request must be submitted. See the SFT Procedures Manual for more information on this appeals process.