February 16, 2016 – The National Board on Fire Service Professional Qualifications (Pro Board) is pleased to announce that more than 350,000 Pro Board-recognized records for Department of Defense (DOD) members have been entered into their web-based certification registry, at no charge, so that military personnel can easily apply for career and employment opportunities in the fire service. Previously, the individual uniformed or civilian service member paid a fee to be included in the Pro Board registry.
Registration records also now include the edition date of National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards and the specific level to which the certificate was issued to military personnel. Certifications affected by this change were earned by service members over the past 13 years since DOD became Pro Board-accredited. Registry updates and free access will also extend to new DOD certifications earned in 2016.
“We recognize the challenges that our veterans face in finding career opportunities when they return home; and we acknowledge that our service members bring the necessary skills and experience to America’s fire and emergency services,” Pro Board chairman Jim Estepp said. “The recent Pro Board registry changes go a long way in helping vets share their relevant training with prospective employers and get re-established in civilian life.”
Service members interested in seeing their certification status can go to www.theproboard.org, click on certification search, and enter their last name and the last 4 digits of their social security number or the code established by DOD to access the certification registry.
Pro Board Accreditation
Mission: The purpose of the Pro Board (www.theproboard.com) is to establish an internationally recognized means of acknowledging professional achievement in the fire service and related fields. The accreditation of organizations that certify members of public fire departments, both career and volunteer, is the primary goal. However, other organizations with fire protection interests may also be considered for participation. Accreditation is generally provided at the State or Provincial level to the empowered certifying authority of that jurisdiction.
Accreditation: The Pro Board accredits organizations that use the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA's) professional qualification standards. The accreditation process begins with the submission of an application, including a detailed self study document, by the organization seeking accreditation. The application package is then reviewed by the members of the Committee on Accreditation (COA) for completeness and compliance with the accreditation criteria of the Pro Board. The next step is a site visit by a team of COA members, usually two, who perform an extensive on-site review of the organization's testing and certification processes. The site visit team prepares a report and presents it to the COA. The COA decides if accreditation is granted.
Certification: An entity that is accredited by the Pro Board makes certification available to its members. Members are then eligible to be entered into the Pro Board's web based certification registry and receive a certificate from the accredited entity, or apply for a certificate from the Pro Board, affirming that they were certified by a Pro Board accredited entity and that they are entered in the Pro Board's certification registry. In addition, the Pro Board encourages reciprocity among certifying entities. This helps assure that Pro Board certification will be recognized by the department as the members seek advancement, and by other departments should they seek to transfer within the fire service.
Benefits: Professionalism has long been a goal sought by members of the fire service. It has only been within the past 30 years that a system has evolved to produce professional qualifications standards that an entity can use to establish performance measures for personnel. Entities that achieve Pro Board accreditation are recognized as having met the rigors of review by an independent organization. This third party independent review is the best way to assure candidates and governance bodies that the entity’s program meets the national standards.
Pro Board recognized certification from an accredited entity is a statement of success, an indisputable mark of performance belonging to individual fire service professionals. Each successful candidate for certification from an accredited entity knows that he or she has been measured against peers and meets rigorous professional qualifications standards. Certification affords the individual a uniformity and portability of qualifications. In addition, the credibility of an organization is enhanced by having members certified to consensus standards. A high percentage of certified members within a department should certainly help managers be assured of the qualifications and capabilities of their department.
About the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
Founded in 1896, NFPA is a global, nonprofit organization devoted to eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards. The association delivers information and knowledge through more than 300 consensus codes and standards, research, training, education, outreach and advocacy; and by partnering with others who share an interest in furthering the NFPA mission. For more information visit www.nfpa.org. All NFPA codes and standards can be viewed online for free at www.nfpa.org/freeaccess.
Contacts: Lorraine Carli, National Fire Protection Association, Public Affairs Office: +1 617 984-7275
Frederick W. Piechota, Jr., The Pro Board, +1 413 374-8051