Professional Designation through the Commission on Professional Credentialing (CPC)

What is Professional Designation?
A professional designation is recognition of broad career and educational professional accomplishments. Designations offered by the CPC are internationally-recognized third-party verification of professional competence in fire and emergency services.

What designations are offered through the CPC?

  • Chief Fire Officer (CFO) – Open to chief officers serving at or above the rank of Battalion Chief.
  • Chief EMS Officer (CEMSO) – Open to chief EMS officers with a minimum of 10 years emergency medical services field or system experience as an Emergency Medical Technician, Paramedic, Registered Nurse, Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner, or Physician.
  • Chief Training Officer (CTO) – Open to administrators of training programs in fire and emergency service agencies.
  • Fire Marshal (FM) – Open to fire marshals or fire prevention officers having responsibility over a fire prevention bureau or management responsibilities over code enforcement, education, fire investigations, and engineering or other aspects of fire prevention programs.
  • Fire Officer (FO) – Open to all junior officers, company officers or those who have served in an intermittent acting status for 12 months.

What are some of the benefits of professional designation?

  • Highlights a fire/emergency service officer’s professional growth.
  • Documents strategies for personal career improvement and development.
  • Demonstrates a commitment to life-long training, skill development, education, and community service.
  • Affirms an officer’s dedication to proficiency and delivery of all-hazard services to the community.
  • Fosters a source of pride for fire and emergency service personnel.
  • Improves the hiring and promotion process by enabling authorities to identify individuals who possess superior skills, knowledge, and leadership abilities.

What is the designation process?

Conducting the personal self-assessment requires the completion of an application that has the following components:

  • Experience
  • Education
  • Professional Development
  • Professional Contributions/Recognition
  • Professional Memberships and Affiliations
  • Community Involvement
  • Technical Competence

Get started today by downloading the candidate guidelines and application from the CPSE website.

CFAI Peer Assessors Encouraged to Pursue Professional Designation

In June, the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI) approved an update to the CFAI Policy and Procedures Manual. The manual update was a recommendation stemming from the Reimagining of the accreditation process. Part of the manual rewrite addressed the qualification requirements for peer assessors.

Both the commission and recently-accredited agencies provided input regarding desired qualifications for peer assessors. A major shift is that new peer assessors must serve in a role at or above fire officer. The goal is to have peer assessors that have the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) to effectively evaluate mid- and upper- level management functions of the fire department. Should a firefighter have previously held the position of fire officer, he/she may still be eligible to serve as a peer assessor.

Another significant change is an encouragement to peer assessors to obtain a designation through the Commission on Professional Credentialing (CPC). CPC credentials substantiate that fire officers have obtained the necessary KSAs to perform in their position. Additionally, it applies the quality improvement model to the individual to ensure they maintain a level of technical competence. Lastly, serving as a peer assessor contributes to the CPC requirement for professional contributions.

Both of these changes are steps to address the concerns identified during the re-imagining of the accreditation process and will be implemented on an ongoing basis over the next year.

CPC-credentialed officers to be recognized at the CPSE Annual Banquet

At their recent meeting, the Commission on Professional Credentialing heard and approved 59 applications for new designation and 82 applications for redesignation. This brings the grand total of credentialed officers to 1832.

On August 18th, 2016, CPSE will hold its 17th and final Annual Awards Banquet. This annual event has become a time to recognize the accomplishments of Fire Officer (FO), Fire Marshal (FM), Chief EMS Officer (CEMSO), Chief Training Officer (CTO), and Chief Fire Officer (CFO) designees. This year’s program will list over 600 who achieved designation for the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, and even sixth time over the last 12 months.

If you would like to purchase tickets for the banquet, they are available on CPSE’s website.

CPSE Visits the Great Lakes Consortium

On July 6th, CFAI Program Director Karl Ristow traveled to Crystal Lake, IL for a meeting of the Great Lakes Fire Accreditation Managers. Over 20 different departments from throughout northern Illinois were in attendance. Chief Mark Puknaitis, CFO from Naperville, IL opened the quarterly meeting and asked each agency to provide an update on their accreditation efforts. Four agencies (Geneva, Rockford, Wilmette, and Westmont) all recently had site visits and shared their experiences with the other attendees. Karl provided information to the group regarding CPSE activities in the coming months. Chief Puknaitis gave an in-depth presentation on risk assessment and standard of cover. A special thanks to the Crystal Lake FD and Chief Paul DeRaedt for hosting the meeting.

Accredited agencies and credentialed professionals have found that banding together to form regional consortiums is an effective networking opportunity. CPSE staff strives to visit all consortiums in person at least once annually and has developed a toolkit to assist consortiums in planning their activities.

CPSE Presents at the WI State Fire Chiefs Association

Last month, Karl Ristow, CFAI Program Director, had the privilege of representing CPSE at the Wisconsin State Fire Chiefs Association Annual Conference in Green Bay, WI. During his presentation, Karl provided updates on CPSE activities and shared with the group how quality improvement using the CFAI self-assessment model and CPC professional development model could assist agencies and officers. CPSE would like to thank Chief Rob Ugaste, CFO, President of the Wisconsin State Fire Chiefs Association and Fire Chief of the Wauwatosa Fire Department for asking CPSE to present at their conference.

Designees in the News

Binaski, CFO, has been named the Fire Chief of Clovis, CA. Chief Binaski has more than 25 years of fire service experience with a background in fire service operations, fire prevention, training, investigations, and emergency medical services. John joined the Clovis Fire Department as a deputy chief in 2013. John holds a master’s in Emergency Services Administration and a bachelor’s in Fire Administration and Fire Prevention. He is a graduate of the Executive Fire Officer program at the National Fire Academy and has been a Chief Fire Officer (CFO) designate since 2005.

Ned Pettus, CFO, has been named the new Public Safety Director for Columbus, OH. He will take over this post effective August 1st. Director Pettus served as the Fire Chief of the Columbus Division of Fire from 2002 until his retirement in 2014. Ned holds a doctoral degree in human and organization systems; master degrees in human development and science administration and a bachelor’s in political science and public administration. Ned has been a Chief Fire Officer designate since 2008.

Congratulations to David Hodges, CFO, Deputy Chief, City of Maryville Fire Department, who was elected President of the Tennessee Fire Chiefs Association and to Brian Goss, CFO, Fire Chief of Brentwood Fire Department as their new 2nd Vice President.

The unofficial results of the IAFC election show that Gary Curmode, CFO, CEMSO, FM, CTO, Fire Chief of Copper Mountain (CO) Fire Department received the majority of the IAFC members’ votes and will become the IAFC’s second vice president in August at Fire-Rescue International 2016 in San Antonio, TX.

Ronny J. Coleman Receives Everett E. Hudiburg Memorial Award

During the general session of the International Fire Service Training Association (IFSTA) annual validation conference, Chief Ronny J. Coleman, retired California State Fire Marshal, was awarded the Everett E. Hudiburg Memorial Award for outstanding achievement in fire service training.

The Award is the highest honor IFSTA can bestow to an individual who has made significant contributions to the training of firefighters, and is named after Everett Hudiburg who was Editor from 1955 through 1975, of IFSTA publications, that were known as “The Red Books”. His contributions to the organization’s training materials are recognized through this award which bears his name.

During the award presentation Chief Coleman was recognized for the significant contributions to the training of past and future firefighters within every aspect of the fire service. Some of his accomplishments included serving as: a panel member on the re-constituted “America Burning” panel; a member of the US Fire Administrations Stakeholder Committee; and Chair of the International Accreditation Services Technical Advisory Council on the Accreditation of Fire Prevention Bureaus. He was recently elected as the first president of The National Fire Heritage Center, which is dedicated to preserving the written history of the Fire Profession in the United States.

He is a columnist for Fire Chief Magazine and Sprinkler Age Magazine. He has authored over 19 textbooks for the fire community. His latest endeavor is to co-author a text entitled “Fire Marshal” for Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

Chief Coleman continues to lead in the arena of firefighter training and education by chairing the California State Fire Marshal, State Training and Education Advisory Committee. With his leadership the committee has provided the guidance and support needed to revise and move to national accreditation for firefighter training in California.

Chief Coleman holds a Master’s of Arts Degree in Vocational Education from Cal State Long Beach, a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Political Science from Cal State Fullerton, and an Associate of Arts Degree in Fire Science from Rancho Santiago College. He has served in many elected positions in professional organizations, including President, International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), Vice President, International Committee for Prevention and Control of Fire (CTIF), and President, California League of Cities, Fire Chiefs Department. He served on the Public Safety Committee for the League of California Cities for almost 20 years. He served as Chairman of the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI) from 1984 – 2003.

It’s Back to School Time

As schools prepare to accept students returning for the fall semester, it’s time for agencies to think about ways to improve overall performance. To this end, CPSE offers several workshops specifically designed to improve both personal and agency-wide performance. CPSE classes are offered in convenient locations around the U.S. and Canada (and beyond for DoD agencies). Classes vary from one to three days, depending on the workshop content, and are very cost-effective. Here is a brief description of each:

“Quality Improvement Through Accreditation”
This workshop provides the basic concept and steps for agency accreditation. The three-day class focuses on quality improvement and explains the six building blocks of accreditation: community risk assessment, goals and objectives, standards of cover, benchmark and baseline standards, strategic planning, and self-assessment.

Peer Assessor*
This webinar consists of two live lectures, quick poll questions, homework, and a final exam. Led by an experienced assessor, this course provides the foundations of peer assessment. It familiarizes students with the logistics of a site visit and the expectations of peer assessors when they are assigned to a team.

Nurturing Fire Service Leaders Through Mentoring
Fire service leadership has a fundamental responsibility to build and refine the next generation of fire service leaders. With the massive number of retirements in recent years, succession planning and leader development is one of the greatest challenges facing the fire service today. This essential workshop teaches department leaders how to shape and mentor the future leaders of their agency.

Exceeding Customer Expectations
This workshop shows fire service professionals how to master the processes, tools, and techniques required by progressive fire service agencies today.

Data Analysis and Presentation Using Microsoft Excel
Presented in cooperation with FireStats, LLC, this workshop gives fire officers a comprehensive understanding of the popular analytic and statistical tools available to the fire and emergency service that are useful in developing standards of cover.

CPSE offers webinars throughout the year on a variety of topics relevant to the fire and emergency service. The topics and schedule are listed online.

Plan now to send your key personnel to one or more workshops being offered in your area. The entire schedule and locations for workshops are listed on the CPSE website at

If your agency is interested in hosting a CPSE workshop in 2017, contact Tom Mawson at There is no direct cost to your department, but you will receive a hosting agreement that details what your department needs to provide, and what you can expect from CPSE, into order to deliver a successful workshop.

Upcoming CPSE Workshops

CPSE has several workshops scheduled for the next few months. Register today to reserve your seat at the workshop that meets your needs. Please pass these dates and locations on to your colleagues at adjacent fire departments to help us promote attendance at all workshops.

For course details and registration, go to:

August 09, 2016
DOD ONLY: Quality Improvement Through Accreditation

August 29, 2016
DoD Only: Data Analysis & Presentation
Holloman AFB, NM

September 13, 2016
DoD Only: Quality Improvement Through Accreditation
Camp Pendleton, CA

September 19, 2016
Quality Improvement Through Accreditation
Fairfax, VA

September 19, 2016
Data Analysis & Presentation
Fort Collins, CO

September 20, 2016
Quality Improvement Through Accreditation
Edmonton, Canada

October 03, 2016
Quality Improvement Through Accreditation
Burlington, VT

October 04, 2016
Quality Improvement Through Accreditation
Des Moines, IA

October 17, 2016
Quality Improvement Through Accreditation
South Bend, IN

October 19, 2016
Quality Improvement Through Accreditaton
Sarasota, FL

October 19, 2016
CPSE Peer Assessor Webinar – October 2016

October 20, 2016
Firehouse Expo
Nashville, TN

October 24, 2016
Exceeding Customer Expectations
Santa Clara, CA