In 1998, an apprentice electrician in my Fire Alarm Systems class asked me about NICET. Aside from references in NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm Code®, I knew very little about it. Out of curiosity I decided to participate in the certification process and report what I discovered back to the curious student. What I found was a nationally accepted, albeit confusing, voluntary certification program. I found the process to be so convoluted and difficult to comprehend that it took me longer than my 11-week class to gather and report useful information to the class. I took notes along the way and turned them into a Step-by-Step Guide and some Element Review Handbooks.
Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) throughout the United States recognize the value of NICET certification. Today, half of all States in the US require NICET certification of fire alarm system designers, technicians, and contractors. Many city and county municipalities require either a level III or IV certificate holder or a Professional Engineer (PE) to sign fire alarm system design drawings.
In my opinion, NICET does an exemplary job of ensuring an applicant is qualified before granting certification. One common misconception is that the applicant need only pass an exam to become certified. The examination requirement is only one of four criteria used to determine the abilities of the applicant. While it's true that you may attend an exam preparation seminar and prepare for an exam, the three other criteria; work experience, personal recommendation, and supervisor evaluation are seriously considered during the certification process.
The fact that a NICET certificate holder in Maine is given the same consideration as a certificate holder in California is the most valuable feature of this voluntary program. As State agencies continue to struggle with reciprocal licensing agreements, the NICET program allows technicians and technologists to rise above it all and pursue job opportunities nationwide.
Your initiative to find out more about NICET says a lot about you and I applaud you for that. I hope that my
Step-by-Step Guide will help you through the certification process.
Good luck and have fun!