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FOA Certifications

Note: As of 2023, all new and renewal FOA Certifications will receive online certification credentials. Details here.

List of all FOA Certifications  

Getting started with FOA Certification    


CFOS Specialist Certifications 

KSAs for CFOT and all Fiber Optics

Understanding FOA Certification Technical Requirements.

How To Become FOA Certified

The Process of Getting Certified By The FOA

FOA Approved Training Programs
FOA Direct Certification Program  

OJT for Novices

FOA Certification Renewal

FOA Renewal Policy  

You can now renew with Credit Cards or PayPal
payment options

Renewal Application For Mail-In Renewal Only (pdf)

Online Study Guides and References
Free online self-study programs on many fiber optics and cabling topics applicable to FOA certifications are available free at Fiber U, FOA's online web-based learning website.

FOA Reference Books (Available Printed or eBooks) The fiber book is available in Spanish and French as well as English.

FOA Reference Guide to Fiber Optics book  FOA Reference Guide to Premises Cablng book  FOA Reference Guide to OSP Fiber Optics book
  FOA Reference Guide to Fiber Optics book

FOA Reference Guide to Fiber Optic Network Design book FOA Book on Fiber Optic Testing FOA Outside Plant Fiber Optics Construction Guide  FOA                        Reference Guide to Fiber Optic OSP Construction                        book

Lennie printed
Printed copies of Lennie Lightwave's Guide at

Lennie Lightwave's Guide To Fiber Optics   Uncle Ted's Guide to Premises Cablling
Click on any of the books to learn more.


It's now CFOT®  The FOA CFOT® (Certified Fiber Optic Technician) is now a registered trademark. With so many fiber optic techs holding CFOTs and the CFOT being recognized worldwide as the foremost certification in fiber optics, the FOA realized the value of the CFOT required trademark protection.


FOA Certification

The FOA is a international non-profit educational association that is chartered to promote professionalism in fiber optics through education, certification and standards. FOA is also an internationally recognized certifying body for fiber optic technicians.

Founded in 1995 by a dozen prominent fiber optics trainers and industry personnel as a professional association for fiber optics and a source of independent certification, the FOA has grown to now being involved in numerous activities to educate the world about fiber optics and certify the workers who design, build and operate the world's fiber optic networks.

FOA certified technicians must demonstrate their knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) in training courses and/or show experience in applying this technology in their work. FOA certifications are based on the KSAs and reference materials for the knowledge requirements are provided in the FOA textbooks and free on the FOA Guide online and on Fiber U.

The FOA CFOT® is the certification for most fiber optic technicians. It is based on the knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) deemed necessary for all technicians involved in the design, installation, testing and operation of fiber optic networks and is recommended for anyone involved with fiber optic communications systems. The FOA also offers certification in premises cabling (CPCT,) which also includes copper wiring and wireless.

Note: Techs doing fiber installation for any particular application should have a CFOT to be qualified for doing fiber optic installation work and may also have a specialist certification in that application. The CFOT is the basic certification required for all installation personnel.

FOA also offers specialist certifications in three categories:
  • Skills-based certifications are for CFOTs and are available in splicing, connectors, testing, OSP installation and fiber characterization.
  • Applications-based certifications (FTTH, OLANs, Wireless, FTTA, DAS, Data Centers) focus on the design and installation issues of each particular application and are aimed at a wider audience - users and managers overseeing these networks, designers and project managers, supervisors, as well as CFOTs involved in the installation. CFOTs are not a prerequisite for applications based certifications so a review of basic fiber optics needed for the course is available online or as an introduction to the course.
  • Fiber optic network design - This is a specialist application certification covering fiber optic network design intended for network owners, IT personnel, facilities managers, network designers, estimators or technicians involved in the design or installation of fiber networks. This course is especially recommended for network owners and planners who may not be familiar with the process of fiber optic network design as it can make their jobs easier and their projects better.

FOA certifications can be achieved by one of two methods:
  • Training at FOA Approved Schools: The FOA certifications are available through FOA-approved schools that offer training that meets FOA standards and provide certifications to the students. The FOA programs are developed and delivered by experts in the fiber optic business, most of whom have over 20 years of experience as technicians, installers, manufacturers and teachers of fiber optics.
  • Work to Cert - direct certification based on industry experience: FOA also recognizes industry experience and has many persons who qualified for direct certification based on their experience in the field. Reference materials for studying for these certifications are available with the FOA textbooks or online free with the FOA Guide or Fiber U.

Those applying for FOA certification or those already FOA certified must agree to the conditions of certification.

Beginning in 2023, all new and renewal certifications will receive online certification credentials.

What Is Certification?
In today's high tech world, certification is considered proof of professional status and is often required for jobs. The FOA was chartered as a professional association to promote professionalism in fiber optics through education, certification and standards.  FOA certifications are recognized by the US Department of Labor and many other organizations worldwide.

The FOA is a member of ANSI (the American National Standards Institute). FOA certifications generally follow to the international standard for certification bodies,  ANSI/ISO/IEC 17024 Conformity assessment — General requirements for bodies operating certification of persons. 

Certification means you have achieved certain performance criteria set by the certifying organization, usually knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs), either through training or experience. Certifications attest to your KSAs, and their value is the recognition of those KSAs to customers, coworkers and employers.

Certification is not a substitute for experience. A FOA certifications ensure the person has an industry-accepted level of knowledge, skills and abilities as measured by the certification, but the certificant is expected to improve those skills with on-the-job training. Those hiring fiber optic technicians should include other criteria as well as certifications when evaluating personnel, including references, experience and other related training and experience.

Certification is not a license, which is a official approval of an individual to do business in the jurisdiction issuing the license, such as a state in the USA. Many states in the USA now require licensing for contractors installing communications cabling. Check your local area to determine the requirements for licensing of fiber optic and low voltage contractors.

What Is The Value Of Industry-Based Certifications (IBCs) Like The FOA CFOT?
Quoted from a Georgetown University study on career and technical education:

As alternative models in higher education—such as do-it-yourself (DIY) education, competency-based education, and e-learning a.k.a. online education—are becoming more prevalent, the need for a reliable credentialing system has risen in tandem. This need arises because of the difficulty in evaluating the reliability of the credentials established by these alternative systems to ensure that workers have the knowledge and skills necessary to perform proficiently on the job.

Industry-based certifications (IBCs) are one model that is being embraced by educators, employers, and policymakers. Market forces, not the educational system, drove the creation of IBCs. They differ greatly from other kinds of postsecondary credentials and awards in that they are exam-based, administered and accredited by third parties, and developed by the private sector with little to no involvement from public institutions. They are not tied to particular programs of study, but can serve as both alternatives and supplements to traditional postsecondary awards, such as college degrees and certificates.

Industry-based certifications address several problems that postsecondary credentials currently face: relevance, accountability, consistency, and portability. Because industry-based certifications are more flexible than traditional degrees, they better reflect current industry standards and competencies, which are in constant flux."

Value of certification

Download the full Georgetown University report here.

Understanding FOA Certifications

FOA certifications are based on the  knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) expected of a technician working in fiber optics and premises cabling. Here is a description of each of the FOA certifications.


FOA Certifications




Primary Certifications



These certifications are designed for techs without prior fiber optic experience who want to learn how to use fiber optics. Each course involves both knowledge and skills training. See FOA KSAs (knowledge, skills and abilities) for each certification.





Fiber Optics



Basic fiber optic course for all techs and all applications

Fiber Optic Network Design

Basic fiber optic course focused on designing fiber optic networks and managing their installation.

Premises Cabling


Premises cabling for LANs, DAS, security, building management systems, etc. covering copper, fiber and wireless





Skills For Techs/Installers


These courses are designed to train techs in the skills needed for fiber optic installation and provide sufficient practice to develop those skills

Fiber Optics For OSP
Course focused on OSP (outside plant) construction and installation

How to splice fibers using fusion and mechanical splices


Overview of termination techniques and extensive labs to develop skills appropriate for  factory manufacturing operations for pigtails and cables.



Comprehensive training on fiber optic testing techniques

Fiber Characterization

Advanced fiber optic testing including dispersion testing for long haul fibers





Applications For Planners, Designers, Techs, Contractors and Project Managers


These applications courses are open to anyone interested in learning how fiber is used in various applications. An introduction to fiber provides background for understanding the course. Those not interested in certification are welcome to take the course for a Certificate of Completion.

Fiber To The Home



Comprehensive training on fiber to the home applications including standards, network architecture, design, installation and test

Optical LANs



Overview of fiber optic LAN designs using structured cabling and passive optical network architectures

Data Centers



Design and implementation of data centers from small to mega- focused in larger data centers and upgrades to higher speeds

Fiber For Wireless



How fiber optics is used to implement cellular, small cell, WiFi and other wireless networks

DAS – Distributed Antenna Systems

Included in Fiber For Wireless

How fiber optics is used in various DAS (cellular distributed antenna system) implementations

FTTA - Fiber To The Antenna

Included in Fiber For Wireless

How fiber optics is used in cellular fiber to the antenna applications.

Note: Installation techs are always expected to have a CFOT and CPCT and applicable specialist certifications to indicate their skills appropriate for installation work.

What Are the Benefits of FOA Certification ?
Like any certification program, the benefits to those 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. And, of course, surveys show that certifications generally lead to higher pay and faster career advancement.

Verification Of Certification
You may be asked to verify your certification by employers or customers. Have them contact the FOA. If the FOA is contacted regarding the status of your certification, we will confirm your certification(s) and the expiration date. If you have expired, we will say you were certified at the date of your first certification and are now inactive. FOA respects your privacy and will not divulge any other information. See
Confidentiality and Release of Information below.

How Does the FOA Program Relate to Other Associations?
We are often asked how we relate to other organizations like contractor associations, professional societies and other organizations involved in fiber optic communications and related areas. FOA is a technology-based professional association, focused on the technology which is used in many diverse applications represented by many other organizations. We feel we complement each other quite nicely. In fact many organizations recognize and use our certifications and we work with others to help develop theirs with respect to our specialties. 


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 usually begin with a 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.

Training - Attending FOA Certification Training
At An FOA-Approved School
If you are just getting started in fiber optics and have no practical experience, you should get training and become certified through a proper training training organization such as one of the FOA-Approved Schools. They offer courses based on the FOA KSAs that provide classroom training which will provide the knowledge you need for the CFOT exam and hands-on labs to develop the basic skills in fiber optic cable preparation, termination, splicing and testing.

Direct  - For Experienced Technicians Currently Working in Fiber Optics
If you are currently working in fiber optics and have been active for the last two years or more, you may apply directly to the FOA for certification. You must document your experience and pass the FOA certification exam.  Learn more.

OJT - On-The-Job-Training- if you are a novice, you can get FOA certified using OJT, with a combination of studying on FIber U and everyday work on the job. After completing  your OJT program you can apply for the FOA Direct certification program. Learn More 

Specialist Certifications
Once you are FOA certified, you can work toward specialist certifications. FOA offers CFOS Specialist Certifications in both skills and applications. To qualify for these certifications, you can apply based on field experience or take a specialist course from one of the FOA-Approved Schools. You should keep a record of your experience in the field to qualify for specialist certifications. When you are ready, you can apply for the CFOS exam in any of the specialties.

The Application Process

Qualifying for the FOA Certifications
Depending on the certification, qualified applicants may be students who have recently completed a training course that covers the FOA KSAs and includes hands-on training in skills appropriate for fiber optic installation processes. FOA approved training courses meet these criteria. Candidates who have been trained at other courses may submit for evaluation by FOA evidence that the course meets FOA KSAs and skills training criteria. Currently active technicians in the fiber optic industry may apply for direct certification based on their experience working in the industry. More on getting started with FOA Certification.

The minimum age to become FOA Certified is the "age of majority”.  This is when a child becomes an adult in the eyes of the law. When a person reaches the age of majority, they can gain major legal responsibilities, like the right to vote, join the military, or sign a contract.  The age of majority is 18 in most places, except three states. Alabama and Nebraska set the age of majority to 19 and Mississippi sets it at 21.

Applying For FOA Certification
For the FOA certifications, there is a formal application, documenting the applicant meeting the requirements and when approved challenging a certification exam. FOA Approved Schools generally offer the CFOT exam at the end of their training classes. For individuals, arrangements can be made for taking the exam online or on paper with a local proctor. The proctor may be a supervisor, instructor, teacher or other professional, but may not be a co-worker or relative. Credit for hands-on training at non-FOA Approved schools will be by presentation of a certificate or written confirmation from the instructor(s) that the training meets FOA KSAs, contains acceptable hands-on skills training and the applicant has succesfully completed the course requirements. Credit for industry experience can be documented by resume and references. Advanced certification may require documented experience, so those who have passed the CFOT wishing higher level certification should keep records or a logbook of their experience.

Preparing For FOA Certification Exams
The FOA certification exams are based on the certification's KSAs. The reference material for all exams is the appropriate FOA textbook (see below) and/or section of the online FOA Guide. Other available textbooks or websites may have relevant material for study but the FOA cannot verify their appropriateness or technical veracity. The basic knowledge required (see the KSAs) may be gained from formal training classes, for example in FOA approved schools, picked up from experience in the field and/or self-study. for example using FOA's free web-based training site Fiber U. Certificates of Completion of appropriate Fiber U courses may be submitted along with other training and work experience for consideration when applying for certification.

For those wanting a formal training class and wish to know what is included in such a class, here are the FOA's requirements for training classes. For those wanting a formal course of study, there are many FOA-approved schools that include the FOA CFOT in their programs.

For those with industry experience who want to study for themselves and apply for the FOA exams, the exams are based on the FOA's own reference materials, the printed FOA textbooks (see below) such as the FOA Reference Guide To Fiber Optics,or the FOA Online Reference Guide (available free online) particularly the section Fiber Optics, the Basics, FOA's extensive selection of YouTube videos, and the FOA Installation Tech Bulletin. For those who wish to use online materials to study for it themselves, they may use the study guides available in the FOA's free web-based training site Fiber U.

More Information On FOA Exams

FOA Reference Materials For Certification Exams
FOA certifications are all based on FOA published reference books shown below, the FOA Online Reference Guide (available in English, Spanish and French), YouTube Videos, and the FOA's web-based training site Fiber U. Books are published by Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing but may be purchased from most booksellers. There is no requirement to purchase FOA textbooks; the same material is available free online from the FOA Guide.

FOA Textbooks
FOA Reference Guide to Fiber Optics book  FOA Reference Guide to Premises Cablng book  FOA Reference Guide to OSP Fiber Optics book  FOA Reference Guide to Fiber Optics book  FOA Reference Guide to Fiber Optics book FOA Reference Guide to Fiber Optic Network Design book FOA Book on Fiber Optic Testing FOA Outside Plant Fiber Optics Construction Guide  Lennie printed FOA Guide To Fiber Broadband
(Available Printed or eBooks - some books are available in Spanish, Portuguese and French)
Click on any of the books to learn more.

How Are Applicant's Skills Evaluated?
Students in training classes for FOA Certification will be trained in basic hands-on skills appropriate for the certification and the FOA Certified Instructor will evaluate the student's abilities to learn these skills. Those applying directly with field experience will submit documentation of their experience and other training plus references which will be evaluated by the FOA staff.

Studying For FOA Certification Exams
If you are preparing for a FOA exam, either taking a course from an FOA-approved school or directly from the FOA, you can study for the exam using the FOA references listed above. Reference materials for studying for these certification exams are available with the FOA textbooks or online free with the FOA Guide or as self-study programs at Fiber U.

Fiber U

Note: All applicants for FOA certification must agree to the Required Conditions for FOA Certification.

Guidelines For Direct FOA Certification

With the increasing requirement for fiber optic techs to be certified and the widespread acceptance of FOA certifications, many experienced field technicians find themselves being required to have a CFOT® certification for employment, bidding on and/or working on a project. These are generally not people who would need to take a traditional CFOT course.

For experienced fiber techs FOA offers Direct FOA CFOT® certification.

Many students have been trained and certified by FOA-approved schools. But in addition, thousands of industry professionals have applied to the FOA directly for certification without the need for classroom training, based on their knowledge and skills developed working the field. Included in that group are most of the current FOA certified instructors teaching in FOA approved schools.

FOA has always had a policy of allowing experienced people to join the FOA directly and become certified, starting with the founders and including almost all of our current instructors. The requirements for direct certification have been clear, they are simply an extension of our KSAs for students trained at our schools. We require current or recent experience in the field and passing our first level exam.

FOA’s Direct Certification Program makes it easier for experienced fiber techs with at
least two years of recent relevant experience in the fiber optic industry to qualify for the FOA certification.

Notes on taking the exam: The exam is taken online with an automated testing system. It may not be available on some company networks or VPNs. Taking the Fiber U Certificate of Completion Exam requires making payment for the exam online using a credit card or PayPal. The payment system is not available everywhere in the world, so it may not be available in your country. If so, the exam is not available to you.

More information on the FOA Direct Certification program, applications forms and step-by-step instructions.

FOA’s Fiber U OJT Self-Study Program

OJT is the well-known term for "on-the-job training." Workers learn on the job under the supervision of experienced co-workers. FOA has been asked many times how its resources like Fiber U can be used to help employers and their employee trainees involved in OJT. The interest in OJT has been so high that FOA has created a recommended OJT program and create training aids to help employers develop qualified techs using OJT.

FOA Fiber U OJT self-study programs  include both fiber optics and premises cabling (copper, fiber & wireless), so it covers techs working in both outside plant and premises jobs.

The FOA Fiber U OJT program combines online study at Fiber U with OJT to help new employees develop into FOA-certified technicians.  Upon completion of the Fiber U OJT program and gaining adequate field experience, the trainee will be qualified by having field experience and prepared to apply for the FOA Direct Certification program described above.

More Information on the FOA Fiber U OJT Program for Trainees

Required Conditions for Certification

Applicants for FOA certifications must provide proof of identity and personal data which will allow FOA to identify them positively. Data must include mailing address, phone and email to allow communicating with them on FOA business. Professional data may also be required to show the applicant meets the requirements of the certification. FOA will not use the material except for FOA purposes. See the FOA Privacy Policy for details. 

Applicants challenging FOA exams must sign an application that includes a confidentiality agreement acknowledging the copyright restrictions on FOA materials and exams and an agreement to not discuss the exams or disclose the contents of any FOA examinations or other materials to any person or to post any details or comments on the materials online. Failure to abide by these restrictions will result in denial of certification or revocation of all the person's FOA certifications.

All FOA Certification Holders must agree to the following:

  • Provide accurate and truthful information regarding education, experience, qualifications, and the performance of services. 

  • Keep confidential all FOA examination information; including preventing unauthorized disclosures of exam information.
  • Properly use FOA credential - Do not use your FOA certifications in a misleading manner.
  • Do not use FOA certifications in a manner as to bring the FOA into disrepute and do not make any statements regarding FOA certifications which the FOA considers misleading or unauthorized.

  • Disclose any conflicts of interest or potential conflicts of interest and avoid conduct that could cause a conflict of interest. 

  • Agree to inform the FOA of any matters that will affect my capability to fulfill my certification requirements.
  • Failure to abide by these guidelines shall constitute grounds for denial or revocation of certification.

About The FOA Certification Exams

The KSAs, references and certification tests have been vetted by a number of FOA advisors who are industry experts and experienced trainers from the FOA international community. All exams are based on the references noted above which are recommended study materials for the exams..

About FOA Certification Exams:

  • Before taking the exam, the applicant must fill in an application, verify their identity and sign the agreement regarding terms of certification and confidentiality regarding the FOA materials including the exam.
  • All FOA certification exams are closed book exams.
  • There is a time limit for exams; most exams are 1.5-2 hours.
  • Calculators are permitted for some specialist exams.
  • Each group of applicants will be given a random selection of different tests from the test bank.
  • Questions have been determined to be relevant to the knowledge expected of someone who would challenge for the certification exam, as determined by the appropriate FOA advisors.
  • Every question has been tested to determine if it is understandable by everyone who reads it as part of the development and vetting processes. FOA materials have been estimated to be at the equivalent to a 10th grade reading level.
  • Language has been chosen to allow those whose native language is not English but have technical English skills to understand the question. Tests have been translated to several languages; check with FOA for availability in other languages.
  • Every question has a reference to some industry standard (ISO/IEC/ITU/TIA), the FOA knowledge base or curriculum materials that verifies the answer. References may be FOA textbooks, the FOA Online Guide, Fiber U self-study programs and should be covered in any training program based on FOA KSAs used for preparation for the exam.
  • Questions and answers are unambiguous.
  • Questions will be True/False, Multiple Choice, Multiple Answer or Matching.
  • Multiple choice and multiple answer questions will indicate if more than one answer is required.
  • Questions are not specific for one country or region, manufacturer or organization.
  • To see the types of questions asked on the exams, see the Quizzes at the end of Lesson Plans on Fiber U self-study programs on similar topics.
  • Total number of questions have been chosen to be adequate for evaluating the taker’s knowledge of the subject.


  • Following the exam the applicant will be given a receipt indicating that they have completed the exam, which will be forwarded to the FOA along with their application. The applicant will generally learn the results in less than 4 weeks.
  • Applicants taking the exam online will have their exams graded automatically and results forwarded to FOA for review.
  • Those passing the exam will have their application verified by the FOA and will be notified regarding their certification.
  • Those approved for FOA certification will be sent a link to their online certificatiion credential that includes details of their certifications and expiration dates.
  • Those failing the exam will have  additional opportunities to take the exam on the same application without additional cost. Retakes may be arranged with the original examiner or directly with the FOA.Retakes will require verification of identity. If the applicant fails the retesting, they must wait 3 months before reapplying and show some additional education relevant to the subject of the certification.
  • Applicants will be notified by FOA if information is insufficient or incomplete on the Application or in any of the supporting documents. The Application is reviewed again when incomplete or missing documentation is received.

Statement of Impartiality
All decisions related to certification are fair and applied consistently across all applicants, candidates, and certified persons to assure that certification is awarded solely on the individuals’ ability to meet and maintain certification requirements, and nothing else.

Statement of Non-Discrimination

The FOA does not discriminate among applicants, candidates or credential holders on the basis on age, sex, race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, or marital status.

Special Accommodations for Disabled Applicants
The FOA shall provide Reasonable Accommodation to disabled applicants within the meaning of the Fair Employment and Housing Act (Government Code § 12940) and Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (42 U.S.C. § 12101, et seq.). To ensure that Reasonable Accommodation is made, whenever possible, the FOA will engage in good-faith processes with applicants who, because of a disability, need special arrangements to enable them to take an FOA exam. All applicants for an examination, or a reexamination, who desire special testing accommodations because of a disability, must complete the section on the application indicating special accommodations are required. Go here for more details and the application.

Information For Those Holding FOA Certifications

Certificants should contact the FOA directly for questions regarding certification status, including length of certification validity, use of the certification mark and logos, replacement certificates, code of ethics and misconduct, discipline (including suspension and withdrawal of certification), recertification requirements or other issues not covered below. Communications by email at the FOA contact address, <info @> are preferred.

Use Of The FOA Logo
Persons holding current FOA certifications may display the appropriate FOA logos, for example on business cards, stationery, signs, websites, clothing, vehicles, etc. promoting that they are certified by the FOA.  The FOA makes these logos available for use by certified technicians only as a sign of their individual affiliation with the FOA. The FOA logo may not be used to represent a business or company as being affiliated with the FOA. Companies interested in being affiliated with the FOA may apply to the FOA corporate program.

Proper use of the logos is the responsibility of the member. The FOA assumes no liability for the use of these logos or the actions of those displaying them. The FOA reserves the right to revoke permission to use the FOA logo at its discretion.


FOA Renewal Policy And Certification Renewal Procedures

Why is it important to renew your certification?

In today's high tech world, certification is considered proof of professional status and is often required for jobs. Employers often contact the FOA to confirm the status of a job applicant. Certification requires actively working in the field.  If the person’s certification is not current, we confirm when they got their certification, when it expired, and that if expired, we consider them inactive.

Cost to renew: $100US for 3 years

Renewal procedures:

Renewal Notice
The FOA emails each certified individual a renewal notice one month before their renewal date.  Note: be sure to inform the FOA if you change your email.  You will not receive a renewal notice if we do not have a valid email for you.

Certification holders should also check the expiration date their credential.  If you have lost your credential, you can contact the FOA –we will verify your status – whether your certification is currently valid or if you need to renew.  If you need to renew, you will receive directions on what steps you need to take to renew.

How renewal date is determined
The renewal date is always the 3-year anniversary date of your first certification (this is the date on your certification credential).  If you earn additional certifications, the renewal date remains the 3-year anniversary of your first certification and your renewal covers all your certifications.  When your renewal process is completed, all your certifications are updated and you will be emailed confirmation of your renewal and a link to your FOA online credential, listing all your certifications.

What Happens If Your Certification Expires?
If your certification expires, you have a three year grace period when you may renew without retesting or retraining. After the grace period, you will be required to retest if you are still actively working in the field or take another training course if you are not actively working in the field. If the FOA is contacted regarding the status of your certification, we will confirm your certification(s) and the expiration date. If you have expired, we will say you were certified at the date of your first certification and are now inactive. 

Submitting your renewal application
When you are ready to renew, you go to the FOA homepage:  Look for the "Renewal" link on the left-hand column with the pictures of credit cards.
Note: You must know your FOA Certification Number and Expiration Date to renew online. If you need assistance, email the FOA at

You have two options to renew:
FOA online store where you can renew with a credit card or a PayPal account.

Print a renewal form and send or email it to the FOA.  Directions are on the form.

Renew online or print a renewal form

Renewal requirements
As part of the renewal application process, you must remain active in the fiber optic/cabling profession, review a requirement for continuing education, and review key policies and procedures on the FOA website.

These are the requirements:

1. Remain active in the field
The applicant must verify that they are active in the fiber optic or cabling profession by either 1) working in the field recently or 2) are searching for work in the field and have taken training to keep their skills up to date. Contact FOA for options for renewal.
2. Review FOA Certification Holders Agreement
You must review the
FOA Certification Holders Agreement and agree to abide by the provisions outlined here.

3. Verify your status for renewal.
Finally you must verify that you meet these requirements for renewal with your signature (sign the printed application  or answer the question on the page for online payment). Individuals who do not provide or falsify e-signatures/signatures may have their certification cancelled.

Applications will be reviewed by the FOA credential staff. Applicants will be notified if information submitted with the application is insufficient or incomplete.

If your application is approved, the applicant should expect to receive their new online certification credential in approximately 3-4 weeks. 

How to re-establish expired FOA certifications

If you are currently working in the field:
After your certification expiration date, you have a three year grace period when you may renew without retesting. After the grace period, you will be required to retest.

If you are not currently working in the field:
After your certification expiration date, you have a three year grace period when you may renew without retraining. After the grace period, you will be required to take an appropriate course from a school approved by the FOA. Contact the FOA at for further instructions.

If you do not recertify you are considered “inactive”.  Your records will remain in the FOA database with the expired date for record-keeping purposes.

Revocation of Certifications

Persons who violate the terms of certification agreed to when making application may have their certification revoked. They will be notified of the intent to revoke their certification and may appeal the decision. If the certification is suspended, the person may not claim FOA certification.

Denial of Eligibility
Any applicant who does not meet the eligibility requirements will be notified that their credential application has been denied.  The reasons for the denial shall be indicated.

Complaint Handling Process
Complaints about certifications, processes, FOA Approved Schools, persons who are FOA Certified, etc. should be addressed to the FOA. Contact the FOA by email or postal mail. Please indicate the subject of your complaint.
•    Complaints will be reviewed by a designated board member assigned by the president. The complaint reviewer shall not be part of the staff involved in the initial assessment.
•    Complaint reviewer should consider the complainant’s explanation and provide a written response, which includes a clear explanation, or a repeated explanation of the assessment decision following a re-evaluation of the evidence.
•    The reviewer of the complaint should reply within 30 working days after receiving a complaint. A progress report may be required if the full 30 days is required to respond.

•    All Complaints will be handled on a confidential basis by FOA persons who have signed confidentiality agreements.

Appeal process
Where the Complainant disagrees with the reply received from the complaint reviewer, then he or she may proceed to file an appeal explaining the reasons for disapproval. 
Contact the FOA by email or postal mail. Please indicate the subject of your appeal.  
Steps to be followed by the appellant:
•    The Appeal shall be submitted soon after receiving the complaint decision and no later than 90 days (three months) after receiving the decision.
•    The Appeal shall be submitted in writing by e-mail.
•    The Appeal, besides the personal information (full name, address and other contact details) of the Appellant, and why the Appellant is not satisfied with the review done after the initial complaint.

Steps to be followed by the FOA:
•    Appeals will be reviewed by a different board member assigned by the president. The reviewer shall not be part of the staff involved in the initial assessment not the original person handling of the complaint.
•    This structure enables the participation of all parties significantly concerned in the development of policies and principles regarding the content and functioning of the FOA services, without any particular interest is predominating.
•    Appeal reviewer will respond to an appellant in writing (via email) within 60 days after receiving the appeal. The reviewer will provide the appellant with a progress report as required if the appeal process takes the full 60 days.
•    It should be noted that this decision is absolute and final.
•    Submission, investigation and decision on Appeals shall not result in any discriminatory actions against the Appellant.
•    If necessary, the FOA will take appropriate correction and corrective actions.
•    All Appeals, including actions taken, will be tracked and recorded by the FOA.

•    All Appeals will be handled on a confidential basis by FOA persons who have signed confidentiality agreements.

FOA Communications Regarding FOA Certifications

How to Contact the FOA
All questions about the renewal process or any other questions or complaints  about the FOA and its program should be addressed to or you can call the FOA at 760-451-3655.  You will normally receive a reply acknowledging the receipt of your inquiry within 24 hours.  If the question/comment requires consulting with a member of the technical staff or if a specific action by the FOA is required, we will then give you an approximate time frame when we will be able to respond back with the information you are requesting.

Confidentiality and Release of Information
If the FOA receives a written request from a source such as a potential employer, regulatory agency or company doing background checks, we will release only the following information about your certifications:
  • If your certifications are current, the name of the certification(s) you have achieved and the renewal date.
  • If your certifications have expired, FOA credential staff will respond that your certification status is currently "inactive".
  • No further information is given.
FOA credential staff will not release any other information regarding a candidate’s application or certificate holder's status unless it has obtained written permission from the candidate or credential holder in question.

Use Of FOA Trademarks And Logos

Trademarks and Copyrights
CFOT® and Fiber U® are registered trademarks of the FOA. All FOA curriculum and reference materials are copyrighted and the property of the FOA. The intellectual property rights and copyright of the original material remain the property of The Fiber Optic Association, Inc.

The FOA is pleased to have those holding current FOA certifications display the appropriate FOA logos. FOA members are free to use them on personal business cards, stationery, signs, websites, vehicles, etc. promoting that they are a member of the FOA.

The FOA makes these logos available for use by its members and certified technicians only as a sign of their "personal" affiliation with the FOA. The FOA logo may not be used to represent a business or company as being affiliated with the FOA. If you represent a company that is interested in supporting the FOA, here is a link to our corporate program:

Proper use of the logos is the responsibility of the member. The FOA assumes no liability for the use of these logos or the actions of those displaying them. The FOA reserves the right to revoke permission to use the FOA logo at its discretion.

For further information on the FOA Usage Policy for FOA Copyrighted Technical Materials, link here:

FOA Certifications Are Recognized By The US Department of Labor
DoL logo
FOA Certifications have been recognized by the US Department of Labor. The DoL reviews certifications and how they relate to job opportunities and training. The DoL Career OneStop website helps individuals explore career opportunities to make informed employment and education choices. The Web site features user-friendly occupation and industry information, salary data, career videos, education resources, self-assessment tools, career exploration assistance, and other resources that support talent development in today's fast-paced global marketplace.

Go to
FOA Certifications Listing By US Department of Labor - Career OneStop and search for "Fiber Optic Association" to see all the FOA certifications listed.

See also The DoL Occupational Outlook Handbook which has a page covering fiber optic technicians under "Line Installers and Repairers" and links to FOA certifications.

FOA is listed in  the section "How to Become a Line Installer or Repairer."

BLS recognizes FOA

This website lists all sorts of interesting information, including what these workers do in their jobs, how they get trained and certified (where the FOA is referenced) and something everybody is interested in - sections on "Pay" and "Job Outlook" - see the red arrow above.


The FOA reserves the right to make changes to the certification programs without notice.


(C) 2023, The Fiber Optic Association, Inc.