Certified Fire Chief
The Capstone of the California Fire Service Career Ladder
The process of certifying firefighters has its roots in the creation of the Study of a Fireman’s Occupation, a series of documents that were initiated in the 1920s and modified many times over the following decades. In California, the certification system reached a critical point with the adoption of the Master Plan of Training and Education in the early 1970s. Once the certification process had been implemented for Firefighter I, a career ladder process began to evolve that produced several generations of fire service leaders. However, even with this career ladder, a capstone to the certification experience was missing.
The State Board of Fire Services recognized in the early 1990s that the missing element was a process that would recognize the skill levels necessary to be a fire chief. A study was conducted by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) - Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) in cooperation with the League of California Cities to determine what those skill sets were. The analysis resulted in the creation of an application process that combined education, experience, and practical application into a career profile. This process was adopted by the State Board of Fire Services and given the title of “Fire Chief Certification”. Shortly after California’s initial effort in this area, the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI) instituted a similar process at the international level. The California application process was submitted for consideration and adoption by Center for Public Safety Excellence (CPSE). Both the State of California and the national process have evolved and now mirror one another. CAL FIRE - OSFM has entered into a reciprocity agreement with the CPSE so that candidates from California would achieve recognition at the national level. This reciprocity agreement has been exercised to encourage a high level of professional mobility. The Chief Fire Officer Certification Program sits as a capstone for the certification and qualification system. It should be considered as a goal for upward mobility in the fire service. Its achievement by an individual is a highly desired qualification. The OSFM would like to recognize those fire service professionals who have achieved Fire Chief Certification.
Fire Chief Certifications