On May 23, 1978, the Wisconsin Board of Vocational, Technical, and Adult Education (WBVTAE) approved the provision of certification to the Wisconsin fire service. The WBVTAE at the same time adopted the National Professional Qualifications for the Fire Service, National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1000 Series Standards and any future standards of the series as those which shall be used for identifying criteria and process for the certification of Wisconsin fire service personnel.
The WTCS Fire Service Education Office provides third party IFSAC accredited certification according to the most recent, applicable NFPA standard in 5 categories at 10 different levels. Certification entails, after satisfying certain prerequisites, passing the certification process for a given category and level. Certification is not necessarily a means of determining who may participate in the vocation or avocation of fire fighting, but is rather a symbol of dedication and commitment by the certified individual. Certification also provides documentation that the individual has demonstrated a high level of proficiency established through national consensus.
Fire Service certification in the state of Wisconsin is not mandated by any state agency. Certification, rather, is an endeavor to be undertaken voluntarily by individuals or collective members of fire departments, and is an exclusive service provided by the WTCS.