TCFP Certification Upgrades

Many fire departments provide incentives to entice firefighters to upgrade their certifications. In the state of Texas there are four certification levels for a Texas Commission on Fire Protection (TCFP) certified structural firefighter. The levels are Basic, Intermediate, Advanced, and Master Structural Firefighter. Many departments offer financial incentives for getting these certification upgrades. Many of the incentives are monthly payments that can be as much as $150 per month. Couple the financial incentive with the desire to be a better and safer firefighter and getting these upgrades makes sense.
The Basic Structural Firefighter certification is granted when an applicant meets the TCFP requirements for state certification and passes both written and skills tests.
To receive higher certifications a firefighter has to satisfy two requirements: education and time-in-service.
The education requirements for the Intermediate Structural Firefighter certification are:
- Two college level fire related courses (for information about the firefighter tuition exemption click here)
- One college or A list course and four B list courses
The education requirements for the Advanced Structural Firefighter certification are:
- Two college level fire related courses
- One college or A list course and four B list courses
It is important to remember that courses cannot be reused to receive certification upgrades from Basic to Advanced.
For the Master Structural Firefighter certification the firefighter must have 60 college hours, 18 of which has to be fire related. For information about the firefighter tuition exemption click here.
The time-in-service requirements for each upgrade are:
Basic to Intermediate - four years
Intermediate to Advanced - eight years
Advanced to Master - 12 years
Many of the TCFP B list courses are available for free from the National Fire Academy in an online format through NFA Online and the Emergency Management Institute (EMI) Independent Study program. The courses can be completed while on duty if time permits and a computer with an Internet connection is available. The course numbers on the B list that begin with the letter Q followed by numerals are offered by NFA Online and the NIMS courses are available at EMI. NFA Online and EMI offer enough courses to satisfy the TCFP requirement of 16 courses for the two upgrades.
Many departments require that firefighters have completed several NIMS or ICS courses. These course are on the B list and can be counted toward the certification upgrades, the firefighter only needs to provide a copy of the completion certificates to TCFP with the upgrade application.
Upon satisfying both requirements for an upgrade the firefighter will complete an application to TCFP. There is no limit to the number of upgrades that can be applied for as long as the requirements have been met. Conversely there is no expiration date on courses taken to complete the education requirement which means a firefighter can complete the education and wait to meet the time in service requirement.
After TCFP has awarded the upgrade(s) the firefighter will send the information to the training division or other point of contact within their department for placement in their file and to start receiving the incentives.
For more information about TCFP certification upgrades visit the TCFP website by clicking here.