The purpose of the CFPS examination is to provide a basis for determining the competency of candidates seeking the Certified Fire Protection Specialist (CFPS) designation. Current basis for the examination is the NFPA Fire Protection Handbook, 20th edition.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible to take the CFPS examination, candidates must demonstrate on the CFPS examination application that they meet one of the following criteria.

  1. Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in a Fire Protection-related discipline* from an accredited college or university, including degrees in engineering fields that are applied to the practice of fire protection; plus TWO years of verifiable work experience dedicated to curtailing fire loss, both physical and financial.
  2.  Associate’s degree in a Fire Protection-related discipline* from an accredited college or university, or a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in any unrelated field; plus FOUR years of verifiable work experience dedicated to curtailing fire loss, both physical and financial.
  3. High school diploma or equivalent, plus SIX years of verifiable work experience dedicated to curtailing fire loss, both physical and financial.

*Examples include degrees in Fire Protection Engineering, Fire Science, Fire Protection Technology, and Fire Service Administration. Examples of engineering fields that are frequently applied to the practice of fire protection include, but are not limited to, Mechanical, Civil, Chemical, and Electrical engineering.

Question: What is work experience dedicated to curtailing fire loss, both physical and financial?

Answer: This covers a wide variety of jobs, roles, and industries. If your primary job role involves reducing the risk of fire occurring (design engineering, inspections and code enforcement, etc.), or reducing physical damage, loss of life, or financial loss in the event of a fire (fire service, risk engineering, fire protection system design/installation, etc.), your work experience will apply.


All candidates must register to take the CFPS certification examination. The application form may be copied. All questions on the application must be answered or the form will not be processed. To avoid potential delays in the processing of your application, use this checklist to check your form for accuracy and completeness prior to mailing. Have you:

  • answered every question on the application?
  • enclose the correct registration fee in the form of a check or credit card made payable to NFPA?
  • paid online at the CFPS Online Services Portal or mailed a check payable to NFPA Certification Department?

  • enclosed copies of all certificates and degrees?
  • obtained the NFPA Fire Protection Handbook, 20th edition, for use during the examination?

Incomplete applications will be returned if not submitted in complete form prior to the application deadline. Mail the completed application and payment to CFPS. Please make your check payable to NFPA and note "CFPS" on the envelope.


See the CFPS exam schedule. Registrations for each written examination must be processed and approved four weeks prior to the exam date.


Cost of the exam is $350. Individuals who fail the exam are assessed a $175 retest fee if re-taken within 1 year of original examination.

About "open book" examinations

Although the fire protection specialist accumulates a wealth of knowledge and experience over the years, it remains impossible and unrealistic for anyone to commit to memory the documentation found in the NFPA Fire Protection Handbook, 20th Edition. The objective of this examination is to determine the candidate’s related knowledge base, and the ability to use the handbook as a reference in locating the correct response to questions/situations within the fire protection specialty that appear on the exam. Experience is still a primary factor because it helps you to effectively focus your search.

Examination preparations

A realistic strategy for taking this examination is:

  1. Prepare in advance of the exam by becoming familiar with the contents of the NFPA Fire Protection Handbook, 20th Edition.
  2. After the proctor has distributed the examination, review it in its entirety and answer any questions you can without the use of the reference.
  3. On the second review of the examination, focus your attention on those questions you can easily and quickly reference in the document via the table of contents or index.
  4. Use your remaining time for research using the NFPA Fire Protection Handbook to determine the proper reference and answer to the question. No photocopies of any section of the book will be allowed in the test room.


Answers are recorded on a separate answer sheet using a No. 2 pencil. No credit will be given for an answer written or indicated in the test booklet. No response or multiple responses to a single question will be scored as incorrect. A previous mark for a changed answer must be erased completely. The proctor will give instructions for entering information on the answer sheet. The candidate's name and other requested information, must appear on all the answer sheets, and must be entered correctly to assure that scores will be reported correctly and promptly. Sample exam questions.

Examination results

Approximately four weeks after the examination, CFPS will mail exam results to all candidates. To preserve confidentiality, examination results will not be given over the telephone. Individual test scores will NOT be released. Candidates will only receive pass/fail status. Successful candidates will be entered into the CFPS Registry and will receive a certificate from the CFPS Board and NFPA and may then use the credential CFPS. A scaled score of 70% or above must be achieved to pass the exam. Please note test scores are not released.

Verification of personal data

Candidates wishing to verify any personal data on file other than scores may contact the CFPS Administrative Office, 1 Batterymarch Park, Quincy, MA 02169. All inquiries about examination eligibility and procedures should be directed to the CFPS Administrative Office.

Cancellation of scores

If after taking the exam the candidate does not want his or her answer sheet scored, the candidate must send a written request to the CFPS Administrative Office. To be honored, this request must reach the office within seven business days after taking the test. Fees are not refunded for score cancellations.

Release of information

The release of scores is governed by the CFPS policy prohibiting disclosure of scores of candidates who took the exam. Names of those candidates passing CFPS certification examinations will be entered into the CFPS Registry.


By signing the answer sheet, the candidates are certifying that they are the person whose name appears on the answer sheet and that they will not copy or retain examination questions or transmit them in any form to anyone else. Scores of candidates sharing such examination information will automatically be invalidated. If an individual has obtained the CFPS certification, that certification will be forfeited for such actions.

Comments and questions

Candidates wishing to comment about test center facilities, supervision, examination content, or any other matter related to the testing program may write to the CFPS administrative office. All correspondence should include the candidate's name, address, and telephone number. If the questions or comments pertain to a previous test, the correspondence should include the name, date, and location of the test. The NFPA CFPS Office will investigate each request and reply accordingly. Address all correspondence at the address below.

Contact us

NFPA Admin & Support Services
11 Tracy Drive
Avon, MA 02322