The Fiber Optics Association
- FOA is the international professional society for fiber optics. Individuals are certified fiber optic or premises cabling technicians. Anyone who wishes to join the FOA must demonstrate their knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) in training courses and/or show experience in applying this technology in their work.
The Process of Getting Certified By The FOA
If you want to become FOA-Certified in fiber optics, there are several paths available. First you should understand how FOA Certifications work. Everyone who is FOA-Certified must begin with a Certified Fiber Optics Technician or CFOT and can then work toward higher level certifications. To get your CFOT, you must show extensive knowledge of fiber optics and skills in the practices common to the field. How you do this depends on whether you are currently working in the field or are just getting started. You can start here:
FOA Fiber Optic Design and Restoration:
A Program for Managers and Designers
This self-study program is designed to introduce the designer or manager to the process of fiber optic network design and the implementation of that design in a real world project. It is intended for those interested in the process and/or studying for the FOA CFOS/D Fiber Optic Network Design Specialist Certification, either as a contractor, installer or end user.
Before any fiber optic project is started, it is necessary to know what communications systems or networks will be needed by the user and which locations the cable plant will connect. With that information, the designer can begin investigating what communications equipment will be necessary and the routing of the link, deciding what installation type and components like cable and hardware are appropriate and what processes will be used for the installation. This self-study program will cover these topics for both premises and outside plant (OSP) fiber optic installations.
While we find many people think of “design” as drawing or CAD, that is not covered in this course. Certainly it is important to create good drawings as part of the documentation for a project, but that follows what is included here: understanding the communications needs and how to design a fiber optic network to provide for those needs. Designers need to know how to create drawings as well as other project paperwork, but there is so much variation in how that part of the project is done – whether manual drawing or computer graphics – we leave that to each individual designer.
Managers have responsibility for the network overall, including the design, installation and operation. They must approve the design, oversee the paperwork that defines the network, obtain inputs from installers or contractors for design and pricing, let contracts, oversee the installation, approve the installation and operate the system. Managers must also be prepared for network restoration planning and, if necessary, the restoration itself.
- What is involved in designing a fiber optic network
- Defining communications system needs
- How to create a plan to install the project
- What paperwork and documentation will be needed for the project
- How to choose components appropriate for communications systems
- How the proposed routing of the cable plant affects component choice and installation
- Using loss budgets to ensure the communications systems will work over the fiber optic proposed cable plant
- How to determine what should be tested and documented
- How to manage the installation
24 hours total 16 hours of online training and 8 hours of classroom time
SSC Members $1250/Non-Members $1350
CPCT – Certified Premises Cabling Technician
The Certified Premises Cabling Technician or CPCT is a good stepping stone to prepare for the CFOT certification!
- The CPCT certificate is the FOA certification for designers, installers and operators of premises cabling networks. Premises cabling refers to building and campus cabling that is generally customer-owned and used for local area networks of computers (LANs), security systems (CCTV and alarms), building management systems, distributed antenna systems (DAS for cellular and WiFI) and other applications like industrial systems, electrical distribution management systems, etc.
FOA CPCT certification includes all types of infrastructure for premises cabling and communications – copper and fiber cabling and wireless systems. CPCT certification is based on KSAs (knowledge, skills and abilities) that require a knowledge of cabling and wireless technology and standards along with demonstrated skills in the installation of copper and fiber cabling system to support networks. Most CPCTs will work as contractors and installers, although the certification provides excellent training for IT or security personnel responsible for the operation of networks. CPCT courses will generally be 50% hands-on labs developing the skills necessary for working with premises cabling systems.
FOA CPCT certification is available as a first level FOA certification for those with no prior FOA certifications. Those who already have CFOTs will learn more about copper, wireless and how fiber is used in structured cabling networks.
How Does One Qualify for the FOA CPCT?
FOA CPCT certification means the person has demonstrated extensive basic knowledge of copper cabling, fiber optics and wireless as used in premises cabling systems. They have also demonstrated skills and abilities in the processes used in the industry for installation. These requirements are summarized as KSAs (knowledge, skills, abilities). Here are KSAs for the CPCT and other FOA certifications.
- Knowledge is tested in the FOA CPCT exam taken by all applicants.
- Skills can be demonstrated in hands-on lab exercises and verified by instructors giving an FOA-Approved course or for those already working in the industry, verified industry experience.
- Abilities: Techs need the ability to perform relevant tasks, evidenced by showing skills in hands-on tasks.
There are two paths to CPCT certification: 1) training at an FOA-Approved school or 2) experience in the industry and other training or self-study using the Fiber U Premises Cabling online course, as preparation for taking the FOA CPCT exam. Anyone who attends a CPCT course at an FOA-Approved school will take the exam as part of the course.
Find an FOA-Approved school
Experienced techs can apply directly for FOA Certification through FOA’s “Work to Cert” Direct Certification Program
What Are the Benefits of FOA Certification ?
Like any certification program, the benefits to the members who pass the certification tests are based on the recognition of achieving a level of competence in the fiber optics field. For the end user looking for competent fiber optic personnel, it is the knowledge that this person has demonstrated knowledge and ability in the field and, perhaps even has documented experience. For the vendor of fiber optic products, it offers a technically- qualified pool of employees as well as contractors to recommend to end user customers who need to find installers for their networks. Many companies require FOA certifications or even offer FOA certifications to their personnel through internal training classes.
What Training Is Required To Take The Exam?
Most CPCTs obtain their certification by attending an FOA Approved school. The exam is based on the FOA-written textbooks, The FOA Reference Guide to Premises Cabling or theFOA Online Reference Guide website for those who wish to study for it themselves.Studying for the exam can also be done online using the Fiber U Premises Cabling online course.
For those wanting a formal course of study, there are many FOA-approved schools that include the FOA CPCT in their programs. To see what is involved in the courses, see Detailed Curriculum Requirements For FOA-Approved Training Programs.
FOA Schools Use These CPCT Curriculum Topics:
- Introduction to Premises Cabling
- Structured Cabling Description and Standards
- Premises Wiring
- Premises Fiber Optics
- Hands-on Labs: Wiring (cable, punchdowns, jacks and plugs) and fiber optics (premises cabling, termination and testing)