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IAFF/IAFC Fire Service Joint Labor Management

Wellness/Fitness Initiative's

IAFF/IAFC/ACE Peer Fitness Training Certification Program

PFT Candidate Information Guide

Program Name

The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF)/International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC)/American Council on Exercise (ACE) Peer Fitness Trainer (PFT) Certification Program, which is a part of the IAFF/IAFC Fire Service Joint Labor Management Wellness-Fitness Initiative.

Program Purpose

The purpose of the IAFF/IAFC/ACE PFT certification program is to provide a fitness trainer standard consistent with the health and fitness needs of the Fire Service throughout the United States and Canada.  Those successfully passing the certification examination will have demonstrated they possess the knowledge and skills required to design and implement fitness programs, improve the wellness and fitness of the uniformed members in their departments, assist in the physical training of recruits, and assist the broader community in achieving wellness and fitness.

PFT Certification Process

A five-day, Monday - Friday PFT workshop, delivered through a network of host sites, is available to assist the candidate in preparing for the PFT examination.

All candidates should register at least three months prior to the workshop and/or examination administration to allow sufficient time to review the ACE Manual and PFT Reference Manual.

The American Council on Exercise (ACE) awards the IAFF/IAFC/ACE Peer Fitness Trainer Certificate to candidates successfully passing the specialty certification examination.

Eligibility Requirements

In order to be eligible to take the PFT examination you must be a fire fighter, EMS provider, or employed by a fire department and involved in a fitness program.

Examination candidates must possess a valid CPR certification by the day of the examination. Upon request, candidates may be required to submit proof of CPR certification prior to issuance of the PFT certification credentials.

Host Site Requirements

Contact the IAFF and inform them of your desire to become a host PFT workshop and examination site.  Workshop and examination administration sites affiliated with the IAFF will be given preferential treatment as host sites.

            The dates requested will be honored based on instructor availability.  However, a workshop date will only be established three months after the minimum of 25 candidates is met to enable all candidates to prepare for the workshop and examination.  The host site will be consulted on all details before the date is finalized.

            Your site must have facilities with at least 3,000 square feet of open space to accommodate both the classroom and hands-on/experiential learning portions of the class.

            Your site must have the classroom area with desks/tables to seat a minimum of 25 people. The room must be free of distractions and at a comfortable temperature for the candidates. For the examination, the room must allow for a minimum distance of 48 inches between adjacent seats. 

            Your site should also have the following instructional and examination administration facilities and resources: LCD Projector, Computer, Printer, Copy Machine, and five (5) Dry Erase Boards or flip charts. 

Host Site Costs

A fire department, fire academy, college/university, or other organization may be a host site for the minimum of 25 candidates at a fixed fee of $25,000  This will enable you to immediately establish a workshop/examination date.  We will allow up to 30 candidates, but the cost for each candidate over 25 will remain $1,000. Payment must be received prior to the start of the workshop.  If payment is not received prior to the start of the workshop candidates will not be authorized to attend.

If you do not have a minimum of 25 candidates, you may also consider:        

            Conducting the workshop with a smaller class size for the $25,000 fixed fee.  While such an option will cost you more per candidate, it will give each PFT candidate more individual time with the two IAFF/IAFC/ACE certified instructors.  Additionally, it will enable you to immediately establish a workshop date.

            Contacting your neighboring IAFF affliates and departments and if additional outside participants attend,  the fee is $1,000 per candidate from those departments, which can assist in offsetting your $25,000 cost.

        ●   Depending on circumstances, the IAFF may be able to work with departments if there is a potential for less than 25 participants and the $25,000 payment cannot be made up-front. Based  on IAFF discretion and if this option is offered to a host fire department, if 25 participants do not register by the beginning of the course, the host department must cover the slots not filled, which equates to $1,000 per slot. For eg... If the course has 21 participants, the host location must pay for the remaining 4 slots not filled, totaling $4,000    

All registered candidates, as part of the fee, will receive the PFT study manuals, including the IAFF/IAFC/ACE Peer Fitness Trainer Reference Manual, PFT class workbook, access to the PFT online learning modules, a complete PFT curriculum, course materials, course handouts; examination administration, maintenance of certification and PFT credentials.  Study manuals will be sent after registering with a valid credit card or department check. If a credit card payment is declined, the individual or department will be notified and their slots will be removed and study guides will not be sent until a valid payment is received by the IAFF.

Payment must be received prior to the start of the workshop.  If payment is not received prior to the start of the workshop the candidate(s) will not be authorized to attend.

The host site fee provides for two IAFF/IAFC/ACE certified instructors, who will also serve as examination proctors.

PFT Workshop Cancellation Policy

Once a workshop date is scheduled, the class cannot be postponed due to a lack of registrants and the only cancellation exception would be due to an "Act of God."  If a workshop is postponed the host site can reschedule a future date. All payments will be refunded if these occurrences take place but if there are flight arrangements involved, the IAFF will not be responsible for refunding airline or train tickets associated to the fire department, IAFF Local affiliate, or individual.

PFT Workshop & Examination Locations/Date

The dates and locations of workshops will be posted on the IAFF web site, PFT_schedule.htm.   For additional information you may contact the IAFF at (202) 824-9313. 

Payment of Fees and Purchases

PFT Workshop Host Site Fee - $25,000 - This is the minimum payment due up-front to be able to acquire class dates on the schedule and host a class of 25 candidates ($1,000/ea).

PSI Exams computer-based examination only - $150 - This option only used for individuals that need to take the PFT exam again.

IAFF/ACE study materials - $175 per set:

All workshop and/or examination fees and purchase costs are in US funds.

We accept checks, money orders and credit cards (VISA or MasterCard only).

Checks or money orders, in US funds, shall be made payable to: IAFF - Health and Safety Department/PFT Program


There will be no refunds of the workshop, examination fees, or study materials.  Emergency medical situations prior to or during a workshop may be reviewed by the IAFF but it will be up to the discretion of the IAFF to determine if a refund is warranted. All medical emergency reporting must include valid documentation or paperwork, otherwise possible consideration of a refund will not be granted.

Retaking the PFT Exam

Examination retakes via PSI Exams Computer Testing, initially must be coordinated through the IAFF Health and Safety Department at jatkin@iaff.org.  Candidates may retake the examination by computer at one of 250 PSI Exams sites in the continental USA or Canada.  Upon contacting the IAFF to submit payment, the IAFF will forward individual names to PSI Exams testing. Twenty-Four to Forty-Eight hours after official IAFF registration, please contact PSI Exams Customer Service at (800) 211-2754 or visit www.PSIExams.com to locate a testing center near you and/or schedule an examination.

The IAFF does not schedule individual PSI Exams examinations times for you.

PFT exam re-takes via PSI Exams Computer-Based Testing is available for $150 and does not include new copies of the study materials.

Candidates may retake the examination up to three times in a 12-month period without having to attend the five-day PFT workshop again.

Candidate PSI Exams computer-based examination no-shows will result in a $55 charge back to the individual/department and the candidate cannot reschedule another exam until the no-show fee is paid to the IAFF.  PSI Exams testing bills the IAFF a $55 fee if no-shows do occur, thus the expense is then passed on to the individual/department.

Purchase of PFT Study Materials

Interested individuals may purchase all of the PFT materials for $175/set. Contact the IAFF Health and Safety Department at jatkin@iaff.org to purchase materials via a credit card only (Mastercard and Visa only).  Purchase order numbers are not accepted for PFT materials.  Such individuals will be fully credited for this amount and able to select an examination site and date at a later time. Arrival time for study materials is 3 - 7 business days, barring any issues ACE may have with their personnel office for vacation or on work travel.

Content of Workshop

The workshop will focus on applicable scientific foundations and practical applications and will include anatomy, kinesiology, biomechanics, exercise science, exercise testing, exercise programming, exercise techniques, instructional/spotting techniques, nutrition, fire service wellness/fitness, motivation, and communication techniques. 

Workshops will be taught by IAFF/IAFC/ACE Certified PFT Instructors.

The workshop will begin at 8:00 am and end at 5:00 pm on most days provided that all of the learning objectives for that day are covered. One hour will be given for lunch.

Workshops will be taught using small group learning methods, which encourages student participation.

Students will spend part of the time in a classroom setting and the rest of the time in an exercise setting.

The examination will be administered in the afternoon of the fifth day.

Five-Day Workshop and Examination Schedule

Days 1 – 4

              8:00 – 12:00          Workshop Sessions

              12:00 – 1:00          Lunch

              1:00 – 5:00            Workshop Sessions

Day 5

              8:00 – 12:00          Workshop Sessions/Review

                   12:00 – 1:00          Lunch

              1:00 – 5:00            Review/Examination Administration

Examination Day

What to bring to the examination site

The candidate must provide personal identification, including a photo ID.

Examination Day Rules

Report to the examination site at established time.

Candidates re-taking the examination via computer must report to the chosen PSI Exams Test Center at the scheduled time.

Only the individual named on the registration form will be admitted to the examination.

Candidates taking the exam must verify and confirm the correct spelling of their name and mailing address upon completion of the exam.

No visitors are allowed at the examination center.

A standard calculator will be provided at the Host Site or an electronic computer calculator will be provided at the PSI Exams Test Center.  Personal calculators, programmable calculators, cell phones, pagers or personal digital assistants such as Palm Pilots are not allowed to be used during the examination.

You must perform all work alone.  Sharing information or disturbing others is cause for dismissal with no refund.

Impersonating another candidate, giving or receiving help on the examination, or removing examination materials or notes from the examination site are also causes for dismissal with no refund.

No dictionaries, paper or other supplies are allowed during the examination.

No food or drinks are allowed during the examination.

Examination Content

A certified IAFF/IAFC/ACE Peer Fitness Trainer requires a basic understanding of applicable scientific foundations and practical applications.  Accordingly, the candidate will be tested on knowledge of physical demands and capacity, acute and chronic injuries, biomechanics, exercise science, fitness evaluation, exercise programming, learning styles, coaching and motivation techniques, biomechanical exercise techniques, IAFF/IAFC Wellness Fitness Initiative (WFI), and professional responsibility.  It also examines the candidate's motivational and communication skills.  The examination has 100 multiple choice questions. The content of the examination includes:

           Assessment                    20%
                Program Design                          30%
               Program Implementation              42%
               Program Administration                 08%

Percentages on the above categories indicate how much of the examination is devoted to each area.

Examination Score Information

Passing Score and Equating Process

The candidate's examination will be scored according to procedures accepted by the American Psychological Association, the American Educational Research Association and the National Council on Measurement in Education.  The score is derived from the number of questions answered correctly and will be reported as a pass/fail score.   Candidates are not penalized for guessing and are encouraged to answer all questions to the best of their ability.

Scoring and Diagnostic Reports

Upon written email request to the IAFF Health & Safety Department, a candidate that fails the examination will be given information about what PFT content areas need improvement. However, if the candidate failed the examination and felt there was an error in the score, the candidate can request that the examination be re-scored. Your request:

             Must be made within six months of your examination date.

             Must be in writing to the Wasdyke Associates and must be accompanied by a $25.00 fee, payable to Wasdyke Associates, LLC.  They will inform you of your re-scored results within four weeks.  They can be contacted at:

Wasdyke Associates, LLC

606A North Talbot Street

Suite 101

St. Michaels, Maryland 21663


Receiving Your Examination Results

Examination results will be mailed directly to the candidate approximately 3 to 4 weeks after the examination day.

Examination scores are confidential, therefore will not be provided by phone, fax or email.

If you pass the examination, you will receive a PFT certification packet approximately 4 to 6 weeks after receiving your examination results.

Illegible or incorrect mailing information will delay the certification process.

You should contact the IAFF Health & Safety Department if you do not receive either your examination results or PFT certification packet within the time frames stated above.

 Examination score records will be maintained for the duration of your certification.

Policies and Procedures


You may be disqualified from taking or continuing in the examination process, or from receiving examination results, if ACE and the IAFF determines through either examiner observation or statistical analysis that you were engaged in collaborative, disruptive or other unacceptable behavior before, during or following the administration of the IAFF/IAFC/ACE examination.  No refund will be given.

Special Examination Accommodations

If you have a special testing need, we will try our best to accommodate you.  Special requests regarding any of the following must be received by the IAFF at least 60 days prior to the examination date.

         Religious Obligations.  If the certification examination is held on a day that conflicts with your religious obligations, the IAFF will try to arrange a special examination day for you.  Please include a letter from your clergy to the IAFF with your registration indicating your need for a special examination day.

         Limited English Proficiency.  At this time, the IAFF/IAFC/ACE certification examinations are offered only in English.  If English is not your first language and you wish to have additional time to take the examination, submit a copy of your birth certificate or passport to the IAFF with your registration and a letter from your supervisor indicating that you are otherwise qualified but need additional time.

         Visual, sensory, physical or other disability that prevents you from taking the examination under standard conditions.  According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a professional qualified to diagnose the disability must make documentation of the disability.  Written requests and completed registration information from disabled candidates must include a description of the accommodation requested.  The IAFF and/or ACE reserves the right to determine the reasonableness of the accommodation requested.  This special request must be postmarked 30 days prior to the examination date.

If your special need is not listed, please call or write to the IAFF.

Code of Ethics

IAFF/IAFC/ACE-certified Professionals are guided by the American Council on Exercise's principles of professional conduct whether they are working with peers, the public or other health and fitness professionals.  As a condition of certification, these individuals promise to:

         Provide safe and effective instruction.

         Provide equal and fair treatment to all clients.

         Stay up-to-date on the latest health and physical activity research and understand its practical application.

         Maintain current CPR certification and knowledge of first-aid services.

         Comply with all applicable business, employment and copyright laws.

         Protect and enhance the public's image of the health and fitness industry.

         Maintain the confidentiality of all client information.

         Refer clients to more qualified fitness, medical or health professionals when appropriate.

         Establish and maintain clear professional boundaries.


Professional Practices and Disciplinary Procedures

The ACE Professional Practices and Disciplinary Procedures are intended to assist and inform certified individuals, candidates for certification, and the public about the IAFF/IAFC/ACE application and certification standards relative to professional conduct and disciplinary procedures. The IAFF and/or ACE may revoke or otherwise take action with regard to the application or certification of an individual in the case of:

         Ineligibility for certification.

         Irregularity in connection with any certification examination.

        Unauthorized possession, use, access, or distribution of certification examinations, score reports, trademarks, logos, written materials, answer sheets, certificates, certificant or applicant files, or other confidential or proprietary ACE documents or materials (copyrighted or otherwise).

         Material misrepresentation or fraud in any statement to ACE or to the public, including but not limited to statements made to assist the applicant, certificant, or another to apply for, obtain, or retain certification.

         Any physical, mental, or emotional condition of either temporary or permanent nature, including, but not limited to, substance abuse, which impairs or has the potential to impair competent and objective professional performance.

         Negligent and/or intentional misconduct in professional work, including, but not limited to, physical or emotional abuse, disregard for safety, or the unauthorized release of confidential information.

         The timely conviction, plea of guilty, or plea of "nolo contendere" in connection with a felony or misdemeanor, which is directly related to public health and/or fitness instruction or education, which impairs competent and objective professional performance.  These include, but are not limited to, rape, sexual abuse of a client, actual or threatened use of a weapon of violence, the prohibited sale, distribution, or possession with intent to distribute, of a controlled substance.

         Failure to meet the requirements for certification or re-certification.

         The IAFF/IAFC/ACE PFT Certification Program has adopted ACE’s established three-tiered disciplinary process of review, hearing and appeals to ensure fair and unbiased examination of alleged violation(s) of IAFF/IAFC/ACE PFT Application and Certification Standards in order to (1) determine the merit of allegations; and (2) impose appropriate sanctions as necessary to protect the public and the integrity of the certification process.


PFT Certification Renewal

Your IAFF/IAFC/ACE PFT certification will be valid for two years from the examination date.  Maintaining your certification after this two-year period requires that you earn 1.2 continuing education credits (12 contact hours) through IAFF and ACE-approved continuing education courses or other accepted professional resources and publications. For additional information about continuing education requirements click here.

You may only represent yourself as IAFF/IAFC/ACE certified PFT during the two years that your certification is current.  If you do not renew your certification by earning the necessary continuing education credits and paying the appropriate renewal fees, or by retaking and passing the IAFF/IAFC/ACE certified PFT examination, you may not claim to be certified.  False certification claims may prohibit your ability to renew your certification or retake the PFT certification examination.

Becoming a Certified IAFF/IAFC/ACE PFT Instructor

The IAFF currently has 25 IAFF/IAFC/ACE certified PFT Instructors.  Prospective instructors for the five-day PFT workshop, including the one-day review / examination administration sessions, must meet the following qualifications.  If you are unsure if you meet the following criteria, please describe any / all fire service, peer training, and instruction-based experiences in two or three detailed paragraphs.

         Employed by a fire department.

         If there is an IAFF affiliate associated with the department, authorization from the IAFF Local President.

          At least three years teaching/training experience (personal training or coaching experience accepted)..

         Attending an IAFF/IAFC/ACE PFT class, successfully passing the certification exam, and meeting all PFT eligibility requirements.

          The requirements of NFPA Instructor I level or the equivalent (able to teach from prepared materials).


Interested individuals who meet the above criteria must provide the IAFF with the following:

         A written request, including their name, home address, e-mail and home and work telephone numbers.

         A brief (1-page) resume or other description of their background and qualifications.

         A minimum 15-minute instructional video showing both a classroom/lecture setting AND a practical/hands-on exercise setting.

          A letter of recommendation from their local Union President and Fire Department Official.  The letter should reflect the individual's potential as an instructor.

          This information must be sent to the IAFF.


PFT Certification Program Contact Information

International Association of Fire Fighters
Attn.: Health and Safety Department
1750 New York Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20006-5395
Phone: (202) 824-9313
Fax: (202) 737-8418
Web Address: www.iaff.org
PFT E-mail: Jason Atkin - jatkin@iaff.org

International Association of Fire Chiefs
4025 Fair Ridge Drive
Fairfax, Virginia 22033-2868
Phone: (703) 273-0911
Fax: (703) 273-9363
Web Address: www.iafc.org

American Council on Exercise
4851 Paramount Drive
San Diego, CA 92123
Phone: (858) 279 8227
Fax: (858) 279 8064
Web Address: www.acefitness.org
PFT E-mail:

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