Fire Fighter Recertification

The 100-hour Fire Fighter Recertification allows a pathway for those who have been separated from the fire service for greater than one year to renter the fire service. The problem is these courses have very low student counts. Following are issues that we need to resolve to make this course both economically feasible for the Fire College (AFC) and our partner Regional Training Center (RTC)’s and tactically feasible (safe) for both staff and students. 

  • Since 2013:
    • Fifty-one recertification courses were scheduled; twenty were cancelled, thirty-one made.
    • Twenty-one courses only had one student. Most of these courses were delivered by the employing department.
    • There have been eighty-one students who have successfully completed the Recertification course during the past seven years.

  • We receive requests for recertification on a periodic basis. Most of the time these requests emanate from an Alabama fire department for one individual. Of course, the departments are seeking the most expeditious path to get their recently hired employee to the field. To accommodate their request, we often allow that department to conduct the recertification training for their employee as they have a vested interest in ensuring their employee is competent and capable. Because their department has invested the time and effort to conduct the training, we typically waive the tuition charge ($540). 
    • Even though we waive the tuition charge, AFC still incurs expenses because our Certification Unit must prepare and process the test instruments, and our proctors must conduct final academic and JPR testing, which typically takes a full day. 

  • Proposed modifications:
    • Reduce the number of hours from 100 to 80. Experience shows that because these firefighters were previously certified, they understand the job requirements in Alabama. Additionally, because the student course count per class is low it does not take 100 hours to “retrain” one firefighter. 
      • Fifty-six hours of online, department-facilitated study to reacquaint the student with the NFPA 1001 essential functions of a firefighter
      • Sixteen hours to retrain on the fourteen mandatory JPR skills required for Firefighter I. These skills, along with the fifty-six hours of online training, will be presented in a Task Book which will be verified by the department’s Fire Chief, training officer, or designated official.
      • Once the Task Book has been completed by the host department, the student will be eligible for Recertification testing. The eight hours of academic and practical skills testing will complete the eighty-hour course. 
    • If the training and testing occurs at the local department, there will be no fee for training or testing. 

  • For self-sponsored students who are not affiliated with a department, AFC will conduct and facilitate the training at AFC. 
    • Normal tuition ($540) will apply.
    • This course will be scheduled on a quarterly basis.
    • We will make every attempt to facilitate and coordinate this training with local departments and RTC’s so as not to protract delivery or delay this training, particularly if there are multiple self-sponsored students who need this course

Fire Fighter Reciprocity

This mechanism was designed to provide a pathway to become a firefighter in Alabama for those who received their initial training elsewhere and who have not been separated from service for greater than five years. Fire Fighter Reciprocity is intended to evaluate a candidate’s training hours and subject matter content to ensure they have achieved the competency necessary to perform as a firefighter in Alabama as prescribed by the Personnel Standards and Education Commission (PSEC).  

The AFC currently does not charge for processing reciprocity requests. Going forward, a $200 processing fee for career firefighters seeking reciprocity will be assessed. This fee should be paid by the candidate seeking reciprocity.  There will be no charge for volunteer firefighters seeking reciprocity. For those candidates who are seeking employment in Alabama and need additional hours to fulfill the requirements as prescribed by the PSEC to become certified, normal tuition rates should be paid for whichever course is applied.   

The rationale for the processing fee is that the reciprocity evaluation process takes an exorbitant amount of time for Certification staff even though approximately 25% of those who request reciprocity never seek employment in Alabama. This is a laborious but futile process, as staff efforts often do not result in a firefighter becoming a productive member of Alabama’s fire service.  

  • The reciprocity process entails that:
    • A Chief officer from the department considering employment will forward the candidates application for reciprocity to the Certification Unit.
    • The least intrusive remedy to meet the hourly and subject matter requirements will be applied
      • Career candidates requesting a reciprocity evaluation will pay a $200 processing fee
      • Volunteers will not pay a fee to have their transcript evaluated for Reciprocity.
      • If the candidate meets all certification requirements and only needs to challenge the State of Alabama certification exam for Fire Fighter I, the candidate will be given access to AFC Online and other materials to study for the certification exam. 
    • Firefighter Reciprocity course training
      • 100-hour course
        • Seventy-six hours of online training and department facilitated study to acquaint the student with the NFPA 1001 essential functions of a firefighter
          • To verify the student has acquired the requisite knowledge, the student must take the end of subject exams in the presence of the training officer
        • Sixteen hours of training on the fourteen mandatory JPR skills required for Firefighter I.          
        • These skills, along with the seventy-six hours of online training, will be presented in a Task Book which will be verified by the departments Fire Chief, training officer, or designated official.
        • Once the Task Book has been completed by the host department, the student will be eligible for Reciprocity testing. The eight hours of academic and practical skills testing will complete the 100-hour course. 
  • The $200 processing fee allows access for out of state students to curriculum and programs that have been developed using state tax dollars. 
    • This fee will provide motivation to staff knowing that their efforts have not been in vain after spending valuable time processing an application for an out of state firefighter even if he/she withdraws from the reciprocity process.