FOA School Approval

training at FOA approved school

What is An FOA Approved School?

FOA has a worldwide network of schools that are "FOA Approved" which means that they meet the high standards that FOA has set for training organizations and are authorized to conduct classes which  offer FOA Certifications. What does that mean?

  • Only FOA Approved Schools may offer FOA Certifications.
  • FOA Approved Schools offer curriculum that follows the requirements of the FOA KSAs for each Certification.
  • FOA Approved Schools have facilities to teach properly including labs equipped for hands-on training specified by the FOA KSAs.
  • FOA Approved Schools have instructors that have FOA CFOS/I Instructor certifications showing they meet the highest standards for quality instruction.
  • FOA Approved Schools are evaluated annually to ensure they continue to meet the FOA requirements.
  • FOA requires all schools to be established training organizations with a substantial history of providing technical training. 

Important: Only FOA Approved Schools may offer FOA Certifications.

FOA Certification Programs For  Training Organizations

The FOA is a non-profit international professional association and recognized certifying body for fiber optic technicians. FOA was created in 1995 by a dozen trainers from the fiber optic industry to be a professional organization for the industry and help create the workforce needed to build fiber optic networks for the Internet. The FOA’s charter is still “to promote professionalism in fiber optics through education, certification and standards.

FOA develops standards for training and certification of fiber optic technicians and instructors. FOA certifications begin with basic fiber optics, the
CFOT®, and include specialist certifications in technician skills (premises cabling, outside plant installation, splicing, termination, testing and network design) and applications (fiber to the home, fiber for wireless, data centers, etc.)  FOA develops and provides training curriculum for FOA-approved schools who prefer to use ours rather than developing their own. FOA has also created the largest knowledge base on fiber optics to support the training and certification programs and be a resource for the entire industry.

FOA certifications are created and administered following international standards for certifying bodies, e.g. ISO17024. FOA certifications are recognized by the US Department of Labor. The USDoL reviews certifications and how they relate to job opportunities and training.  FOA has worked with the DoL Bureau of Labor Statistics to create a new job category, Telecommunications Technician, that includes fiber optic and wireless technicians.

CFOT total
FOA techs certified since 1995, many holding multiple specialists certifications

What are the Benefits of FOA Certification to your students?
In today’s high tech world, certification is considered proof of professional status. FOA Certifications open up job opportunities and assure employers of worker competence, whether the worker is new to the industry or looking to move up. People taking training expect industry accepted certifications like those from FOA.

What types of organizations are eligible to be an FOA Approved School?

FOA has welcomed hundreds of organizations into the FOA Approved School program. Those organizations include community colleges and technical high schools, universities, government agencies, telecommunications companies, fiber optic equipment manufacturers, trade unions, professional societies and independent professional trainers. Today, FOA has over 200 approved training programs using the FOA certification program around the world. We are adding more all the time.

To become an FOA Approved school, a training organization must meet FOA's strict criteria (see below if your organization qualifies) and be evaluated by the FOA Education Committee.

How is an Approved School applicant evaluated?

The FOA reviews the school on factors such as location, curriculum, experience of their instructors, availability of adequate facilities, etc.  We also prefer candidates to have programs to reach out to the fiber optic businesses in their area to help their graduates find jobs.

Map of FOA schools

FOA has a worldwide network of approved training organizations.

What does the FOA certification program offer schools?

Schools which are part of the FOA network of approved schools benefit from the international acceptance of FOA certifications and understanding that they meet the high standards set for FOA approved schools.

Approved schools have access to FOA course curriculum free of change, should they choose to use ours rather than develop their own. Certification exams are administered online using the FOA exam system. The schools only pay for certifications for their students.

FOA publishes its own textbooks which are used by many of our schools as their textbooks. The basic fiber optics textbook used in CFOT classes is available in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese and may be made available in other languages. FOA textbooks are very reasonable priced and may be purchased by the FOA Approved schools at a 40% discount.

All books

FOA has created the largest online technical resource in fiber optics, the FOA Guide, with almost 1,000 pages of technical information that can be used by our schools for reference materials.

FOA has a online learning site, Fiber U, used by many of our schools for blended learning in their courses. Fiber U has over two dozen online courses covering all the topics of FOA certifications and many other fiber optic and cabling topics.

Fiber U online learning

The FOA is the only certifying body that helps the school evaluate instructor candidates, offers training online to new instructors and requires them to take a special instructor exam to be qualified to teach each FOA certification they offer. 

FOA also offers guidance on setting up a classroom and hands-on fiber optic lab, including lab equipment, and contacts to vendors who can provide the best equipment.

We offer ongoing support to a new school and monitor its performance. FOA expects that each school maintains FOA standards to continue to remain in the program.

FOA schools join a worldwide community of professional educators. FOA schools are encouraged to participate in technical committees that assist in developing and updating FOA certifications, curriculum and reference materials. Sharing resources among FOA-approved schools is an important part of the "community" we have developed over our history. 

Before You Begin The Application Process To Become An FOA Approved School

To simplify the application process, please read these questions carefully before you begin:

Do you qualify to become an FOA school?
FOA generally approves schools which are:
  • Educational institutions at high school, community college or university level who offer technical or trade courses, but who may not currently have courses on telecom, fiber optics or premises cabling.
  • Workforce development, job retraining, or other similar types of organizations.
  • Government organizations training their personnel.
  • Private professional training organizations which have been offering fiber optic courses for more than two years.
  • Manufacturers who have been offering employee and customer training courses.
  • FOA does not approve newly created private organizations wishing to become schools. Those unsure if they qualify should contact FOA.

Additional requirements for applicants:
  • FOA does not approve newly created private organizations wishing to become schools. Those unsure if they qualify should contact FOA.
  • Schools must be offering courses with in-person hands-on labs. Schools offering online courses only do not qualify.
  • The organization must have a website that describes the organization, it’s training facilities and courses being offered.

Do you have properly equipped training facilities?
FOA requires a training facility
or portable lab for onsite courses with fully equipped hands-on labs for the number of students you expect to have in classes. If not yet, are you prepared to invest in creating it? FOA can assist in creating training labs if you require assistance..

Do you have experienced instructors available?
Ideal candidates have experience in both fiber optic technician work and teaching, but fiber techs can learn to teach and teachers can learn fiber skills, usually by attending a class conducted by an FOA certified instructor. Instructor candidates must submit resumes to FOA and those approved will be given access to FOA train-the-trainer online courses.

If approved, you will be required to sign an agreement with FOA.
FOA is a certifying body following the ISO 17024 standard which applies to all FOA approved schools. FOA approved schools are granted a site license to use FOA intellectual property in the offering of classes and certification testing. Schools must agree to use the materials properly, protect the FOA intellectual property and adhere to the rules for certification testing and reporting. Schools must disclose other certifications that they are currently offering as part of the application process. 

The application process takes time, so you must be patient while FOA reviews your application.

How to apply:

Apply online using the New School Application Form.

For more information:

Contact The FOA



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