The International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC) is a not-for-profit, peer-driven, self-governing system of both fire service certifying entities and higher education fire-related degree programs. IFSAC`s mission is to plan and administer a high-quality, uniformly delivered accreditation system with an international scope. IFSAC was founded in 1990 to establish a new national accreditation system for fire service certification programs. In 1992, the development of an accreditation system for fire-related degree programs began.
The member entities of IFSAC are represented in a congress that deals with the general business of IFSAC and is overseen by an elected Council of Governors. The membership is then separated into two assemblies which specialize in the issues unique to degree-granting institutions and certifying entities. Each assembly has a board of governors, elected from the membership, which acts upon all accreditation applications; ensures accreditation is performed on a valid, credible, nondiscriminatory, and timely basis; suggests guidelines and policies; and clarifies adopted policies. IFSAC’s administrative office handles the daily operations of the organization and is an outreach department within the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology at Oklahoma State University.
The IFSAC Certificate Assembly provides accreditation to entities that certify the competency of and issue certificates to individuals who pass examinations based on National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) fire service professional qualifications and other standards approved by the Assembly. The accreditation is made at the state, provincial, federal government, or territorial level for fire fighter certification programs.
The IFSAC Degree Assembly accredits fire science or related academic programs at colleges and universities. Accreditation includes both two-year associate degrees and four-year bachelor’s degrees. An IFSAC accredited program indicates that course offerings, institutional support, and qualified faculty are working together in completing their educational mission. The IFSAC Degree Assembly is recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) as a programmatic accreditor of fire and emergency related degree programs.
In both assemblies, accreditation is granted only after an integral self-study is conducted by the entity or institution seeking accreditation, followed by an on-site review by a panel consisting of peer representatives from other member entities or institutions.
To increase the level of professionalism of the fire service through the accreditation of those entities who work with assemblies within the Congress for the accreditation of public fire service certification programs and/or fire-related postsecondary educational programs by increasing the coordination of efforts between the assemblies of the Congress, and serve as a mechanism of arbitration on issues of debate between assemblies.
The history on the establishment and growth of the Fire Service Accreditation Congress, now known as the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress, can be read in a full document prepared by Mr. Tim Bradley and approved by the Historical Committee of IFSAC.
To view and read the document, click on the following title:
A HISTORY OF THE INTERNATIONAL FIRE SERVICE ACCREDITATION CONGRESS