The Board of Directors for the SCIAAI recognizes the importance of professional credentialing as a way to demonstrate professional competence in fire investigation. While becoming credentialed is not necessary for an investigator to be qualified and competent in the profession, it demonstrates a commitment to training, education, and experience a fire investigator should strive to attain. Further, the achievement of a professional credential is not required to conduct fire investigations, but it does help ensure credentialed members are seeking to meet the job requirements of NFPA 1033, Standard for Professional Qualifications for Fire Investigators.
The Board encourages all members to maintain records of their experience as a fire investigator, to include total fires worked, structure fires, vehicle fires, and their causes (to include undetermined). Further, the Board encourages all members to develop and maintain a current curriculum vitae (CV) for presentation during legal proceedings. The CV will also allow members to maintain their training records, education, and experience in one place as they prepare to challenge professional credentialing and certification tests.
The Certified Fire Investigator (CFI) credential is widely recognized in the profession as the highest level of fire investigation certification. The CFI application and examination process includes a thorough assessment of the candidate as a whole. It encourages applicants to examine their education, training, and experience as a measurement of achievement in the profession. The re-certification process helps ensure members are staying current in the latest methods and theories of fire investigation. CFI is the standard to which fire investigators should strive to achieve.
The Board recognizes that members may not be employed in a full-time capacity as fire investigators. In this instance, attainment of the CFI certification may be difficult. However, certifications such as Fire Investigation Technician (FIT), Evidence Collection Technician (ECT), Certified Instructor (CI), and the Motor Vehicle Fire Credential Endorsement Program are excellent ways to demonstrate commitment to the profession while earning valuable experience and training. Members are encouraged to seek out training programs that will allow them to attain these certifications.
Finally, the Board recognizes that members need assistance in obtaining professional credentials. The Board offers our support to members needing guidance with obtaining certification, completing applications, or finding training. We will seek to bring training to the organization that will improve knowledge of the 16 topics that a fire investigator shall maintain as up-to-date basic knowledge beyond the high school level as required by NFPA 1033. The Board has established an IAAI Professional Certification Program Liaison that will assist members seeking to obtain any credential and certification offered by the IAAI.
The IAAI Fire Investigation Technician Program verifies an applicant’s fundamental knowledge as measured against core job performance requirements of the established professional qualification standards for fire investigators defined in NFPA 1021, NFPA 1033 and NFPA 1037. The IAAI-FIT® program encourages educational and professional development through recognition of an individual’s accomplishments in developing core abilities and competencies related to fire investigation.
The IAAI-FIT® designation must be renewed every three years.
Designation as an IAAI-FIT® has many advantages, including:
- Acknowledgement by an independent body that the individual has demonstrated competence on the applicable professional qualification standards.
- Recognition by an independent body that the individual possesses fundamental knowledge required by the applicable professional qualification standards.
- Demonstration, through the recertification process, that the individual is keeping current with their training and professional knowledge development.
- Measurement of these achievements using a standardized mechanism, as set by the IAAI-FIT® Committee.
In 1986, the IAAI addressed a national concern by developing the Certified Fire Investigator (IAAI-CFI®) program. The IAAI-CFI® qualification is a standardized evaluation of a fire investigator’s training and expertise. Investigators applying for IAAI-CFI® certification must complete an extensive application requiring documentation, earn sufficient points for their achievements in education, training, and experience, and pass a comprehensive examination. To become an IAAI-CFI®, the applicant must:
- Attain at least 150 points on the IAAI-CFI® application through documented achievements in education, training, and experience. Every point claimed on the application must be documented by certificate, diploma, reference letter, transcript, or other acceptable method.
- Earn a 70% passing grade on a comprehensive, “closed book,” proctored examination that is based on every job performance requirement in NFPA 1033: Standard for Professional Qualifications for Fire Investigator. The application must be approved prior to sitting for the examination.
The Evidence Collection Technician Program verifies an applicant’s fundamental knowledge as measured against core job performance requirements of established professional qualifications standards and standard industry practices related to evidence collection on fire scenes. This measurement is not all inclusive of the incorporated professional standards cited, but lays the foundation for measuring the holder’s fundamental ability to perform specific evidence collection tasks related to fire scene investigation at an acceptable level as measured against published acceptable practices.
The applicant must provide documentation of meeting minimum requirements including experience, training, and education. After the application is approved, the applicant must then successfully pass a practical examination.
The IAAI-ECT designation must be renewed every three years.
The International Association of Arson Investigators Certified Instructor program (IAAI-CI) verifies an applicant’s level of fundamental knowledge as measured against various core job performance requirements of established professional qualifications standards related to Fire Service Instructors.
The following professional qualifications standards core JPRs were considered when developing this professional designation:
- NFPA 1041, Standard for Fire Service Instructor Professional Qualifications, 2012 Edition
- Chapter 1 – Administration
- Chapter 2 – Referenced Publications
- Chapter 3 – Definitions
- Chapter 4 – Instructor I
The IAAI-CI certification must be renewed every three years.
The Motor Vehicle Fire Credential Endorsement program encompasses the sub category of passenger motor vehicle fire investigation. The credential attaches to the highest level IAAI Certification of the applicant. All applicants must possess either the IAAI Fire Investigation Technician designation (IAAI-FIT®) or the IAAI Certified Fire Investigator designation (IAAI-CFI®). The IAAI-FIT and IAAI-CFI are administered by the IAAI and are designed to verify an applicant’s level of fundamental knowledge as measured against various core job performance requirement (JPR) of NFPA 1033 Standard for Professional Qualifications for Fire Investigator and other guidelines related to fire investigation. This standard lays the foundation for measuring the holder’s fundamental understanding of how to perform specific tasks related to fire scene investigation at an acceptable level and their ability to properly perform specific tasks related to the specialized motor vehicle fire investigation category.
- The applicant for the Motor Vehicle Fire Credential Endorsement must currently possess the IAAI-FIT or IAAI-CFI credential or apply at the same time as applying for IAAI-FIT(V) or IAAI-CFI(V) credentials.
- The applicant must have a minimum of three (3) years of specific experience of fire investigation which shall be directly involved with the investigation, and documentation of motor vehicle fire events.
- The applicant must have participated in the investigation and documentation of a minimum of fifteen (15) motor vehicle fire investigations with no less than three (3) investigations per year in the three (3) years preceding application for the Motor Vehicle Fire Credential Endorsement; or completed a minimum of forty (40) motor vehicle fire investigations in the ten (10) years preceding application for the Motor Vehicle Fire Credential Endorsement.
Training and Education:
CFITrainer.net – Investigation of Motor Vehicle Fires (4 hours)
IAAI Knowledge 1 – Motor Vehicle Fires (8 hours) US$60 for IAAI Members and US$200 for Non-members
22 hours of tested training specifically related to the investigation of motor vehicle fires
Training specifically related to the investigation of motor vehicle fires which has been submitted as part of the master certification application or recertification process can be used to support the completion of this requirement.
To apply for the Motor Vehicle Fire Credential Endorsement, complete the application and return it to IAAI as directed, with the application fee and all supporting documentation required. The application fee for IAAI members is US$90. For non-members, the fee is US$325. Please note that individuals who are members of a local chapter only do not qualify for the IAAI member rate.
To obtain the member discount rate, a non-member may choose to join IAAI prior to filing the application. If the application is not approved, you will be advised of the appeals process. For detailed information on the full process of the program, please read the International Association of Arson Investigators Motor Vehicle Fire Credential Endorsement Program Manual.