What is The FOA?

The FOA is a international non-profit educational organization that is chartered to promote professionalism in fiber optics through education, certification and standards. Founded in 1995 by a dozen prominent fiber optics trainers and industry personnel as a professional society for fiber optics and a source of independent certification, the FOA has grown to now being involved in numerous activities to educate the world about fiber optics and certify the workers who design, build and operate the world’s fiber optic networks.

The certifying body for fiber optics Setting standards for and administering technical certification programs Evaluating and approving training schools Certifying instructors

The developer of a knowledge base on fiber optics Working with a worldwide network of experts to create an extensive, noncommercial, reliable knowledge base that is shared with all those working in the field Providing technical information through our website, textbooks, Reference Guide, videos on YouTube and social media (LinkedIn and Facebook) Developing educational resources for use in educational and training curriculum Participating in industry standards activities and writing FOA standards Creating and offering free online web-based self-study programs based on the FOA knowledge base through Fiber U

The focal point for communications and discussions of fiber optic and cabling topics. Publishing email and online newsletters about relevant technology and industry news
Writing for relevant websites and magazines on topics relevant to fiber optics Participating in seminars, conferences, meetings, etc. on topics relevant to fiber optics
Promoting fiber optics applications and education through participation in various industry forums, trade associations, professional societies, etc.

The FOA is not a training organization. FOA sets standards for the approved training organizations that provide training for FOA certification. FOA assists in training and certifying the instructors who give FOA approved courses. The FOA has approved hundreds of training programs in more than 40 countries, including technical high schools and colleges, professional training organizations, major fiber optic manufacturers and companies offering employee training programs.

In recognition of their excellence, FOA certifications are recognized by the US Department of Labor and organizations in most countries around the world.
CFOT Total to date
That’s how many techs have successfully completed requirements for FOA certifications.

The FOA was started by a dozen instructors at the Fiber U training conference in 1994 who decided the industry was mature enough to support a professional society. The founders included experienced instructors from industry (3M, Siecor, Panduit, FOTEC), government (US Navy and Air Force), education (Lincoln Trail College and Wentworth Institute) and private trainers (Pearson Technologies, Conquest Communications) who were teaching fiber optics and who provided the expertise in management, technology and education needed to create a new professional society.

FOA was incorporated in July 1995 chartered to promote fiber optics through education, certifications and standards.FOA is incorporated in the US, state of California, as a non-profit educational organization – 501(c)(6).

Founded soon after the initial commercialization of the Internet, the FOA is a “virtual organization,” perhaps one of the first organizations so created. There is no FOA headquarters building – appropriately to its technology, FOA exists on the Internet. Those who run the organization live and work all over the world, using modern communications to communicate and collaborate. The network of experts working to create the FOA knowledge base and programs include our Master Instructors who average more than 20 years experience in fiber optics. Their experience ensures FOA curriculum and certifications are the most comprehensive and up to date available.

FOA creates and publishes its own technical materials for training and reference based on a worldwide network of technical advisors. Having access to the experts who work and train around the world ensures the materials are up to date, technically correct and universally applicable. These same experts provide input on the newest technologies and applications which get included in the FOA knowledge base and technical references.

Quality training requires quality reference materials. The FOA has worked since its inception to create a compilation of technical information on fiber optics and premises cabling and make it available to everyone for free on the web or inexpensive in printed form. FOA technical materials includes the FOA textbooks, the FOA Online Reference Guide – the world’s largest compilation of fiber optic information – YouTube videos and Fiber U online training – all free.

The FOA Online Reference Guide has become the largest and busiest technical website on fiber optics and premises cabling. The FOA technical reference material is also available in printed and eBook formats. FOA uses our own technical website to create free online self-study programs at Fiber U. These materials are available for those getting started in fiber optics or expanding and updating their knowledge. The FOA also has more than 100 videos on YouTube including lectures on fiber optics and premises cabling and hands-on examples of many standard practices in the industry.

The FOA recognizes the value of certification in today’s job markets, where employers evaluate potential employees by their certifications. By offering certifications that are developed by a board of industry experts and are not affiliated with any particular vendor or training organization, FOA provides an independent means to judge the qualification of contractors and employees.

FOA certifications are recognized by the US Department of Labor and in most countries around the world.

FOA certifications are developed by a group of highly experienced advisers. Many FOA advisers have been in the fiber business as long as fiber optics has been a business and are still working in the field every day, while others are professionals in the field of education. This broad base of knowledge and experience ensures FOA curriculum, reference materials and certification are the highest quality and most up to date.

The FOA has focused on helping teachers add certification programs on fiber optics and premises cabling into their current curriculum for information technology and communications programs. Fiber optics has been included in courses as diverse as A+ and Cisco computer training and electrical apprenticeships.

The FOA also allows experienced workers to become FOA certified directly if they have proper experience, credentials and pass the appropriate FOA certification exams.

The goal of the FOA is to assure employers that an FOA-certified technician is highly qualified for working in the field of fiber optics; someone you can hire with confidence. Some of the companies that use FOA certification in their own training programs include Corning, AFL, IBEW/NECA, CWA, NASA, FAA, Cisco, Daimler-Chrysler and Lockheed-Martin.

FOA certification programs conform to international standards including ANSI/ISO/IEC 17024.