The FIA Qualification Scheme is an innovative way of building a range of awards at various levels (typically levels 2 and 3) into an industry professional status that allows the individual to display letters after their name.
These routes are flexible and can incorporate awards and qualifications previously gained with other providers. Providers of specialist fibre optics and copper communictions cabling awards must be FIA approved training centres using FIA certified trainers, unless the award was gained prior to 2006.
A typical route to a high-level FIA award would be:
FIA level I – enrolment on the FIA scheme after completing a City & Guilds 3666/7 cabling unit (i.e. the units 2, 3 or 4 that have a practical cabling element). There is no special entitlement/logo with this unit.
FIA level II – Requirements of level I achieved plus either an additional City & Guilds cabling unit, or a manufacturers award, plus a safety award. The safety award could be a generic award such as the safety passport, or our OCN accredited Laser Safety qualification.
The successful FIA level II candidate can display the appropriate FIA level II award logo on their business card, or use the appropriate ‘technician’ letters of rank after their name, such as ‘CCT’ for the Certified Cabling Technician.
FIA level III – by successfully completing an appropriate qualifications, such as our ‘Advanced OTDR Testing (OCN)’ course which is FIA approved and accredited by the OCN as a level 3 qualification, the level II candidate can become, for example, a Certified Measurement Specialist (CMS) with the rights to use the FIA CMS level III logo.
FIA level IV – a level III candidate can complete further level 3 qualifications such as our ‘Advanced Chromatic Dispersion and PMD Testing’ course accredited by the OCN, in order to gain the level IV award with the rights to use the letters of rank CME and display the FIA Certified Measurement Engineer (CME) logo.
FIA level V – this is the highest level with the right to, for example, the FIA Certified Fibre Expert (CFE) logo and the ‘CFE’ letters of rank after their name. This requires the candidate to have achieved level IV, except in exceptional circumstances, and then to submit a thesis for peer review, present the thesis and submit to an oral panel examination.
The level V award will be normally be the culmination of several years of both education/training and experience within the industry. Candidates who achieve the certified expert status are effectively representing the fibre-optics industry, and so the FIA is determined that candidates should be able to present material and articulate a technical point clearly.
This is not a level that will be readily achieved by all candidates, and some very technically knowledgeable and capable engineers may require coaching in report writing or presentation technique before they could achieve this level. Such coaching is not a requirement for all candidates, however it highlights that every aspect of the candidates work will be scrutinised.
Background to the FIA Qualification Scheme
The Fibre-optic Industry Association (FIA) is a body committed to supporting and promoting the fibre optics industry. The FIA is not a licensed awarding body and does not need to become one, since the approved qualifications within the scheme are certified by licensed awarding bodies.
The FIA recognised that the wealth of training provision had resulted in some confusion within the industry over which qualifications should be sought or specified for a job, and indeed whether a certificate from a training provider actually was a qualification or not. The FIA Qualification Scheme has been designed to audit providers, their courses and training staff to help improve the quality of training provision. At the same time, the scheme ensures learners gain recognition for the depth and breadth of their learning by allowing several smaller awards to be built into a larger FIA award.
The scheme is designed to be flexible so it can adapt to a fast changing industry, and it aims to ensure that training providers are committed and well-resourced professionals so that learners know they are getting good value.