Community Forum

Forum Home  /  Ask Firecareers!  /  california cert

california cert

I am in the military and I live here in San Diego, Ca. I work with Miramar's ARFF department. I went to the fire academy in San Angelo, TX. Now I want to get hired on with a California department and I found out that California does not accept the FF I/II certs that I have from my academy. The reason California does not take them is cause they are Deparment of Defence certs. Does any one know how to change them over to California certs? I get out on the military in 2 years and would like to get this done before then. Thanks for any help I get.


Nate: Bottom line: You don't "change" your DOD certs to California State Fire Marshal certs (CSFM). It doesn't work that way. However, there is hope still!

First, go through your chain-of-command up to and including my associate Fire Chief Jerry Sack. Chief Jerry has worked in and out of California for many years and knows the process.

Understand that for the most part in California, the training standard (course content and hours) are higher. By no means is this a knock on DOD and the quality of the training offered for there are excellent courses and training to be had.
If you completed a 40 hour DOD course and earned a cert titled XYZ, and I completed a 240 hours CSFM course and earned a cert titled XYZ, why should the CSFM automatically sign off and give you a CSFM cert?

So, this is what you can for "in-house training certs:

If you want a CSFM Firefighter 1, Firefighter II cert, your department can sign you off/check you off on the reqired training and skills as you complete them. Your training officer may accept your prior DOD training and sign you off without having to do the required training again. This is a local decision.

If you want a Driver/Operator Cert, you would have to attend a few classes given locally and have your training officer/Fire Chief sign the application to the CSFM.

If you want a Fire Officer Cert, you will need to attend and complete about a dozen fire command/fire management classes and a few ICS classes as well and then get an signature from the training officer/Fire Chief for the application to the CSFM.

No matter what DOD cert you do have, it is up to the local department, on a case-by-case and check off sheet line item basis. to accept what you have already completed as meeting the CSFM training requirements. Just be aware that some DOD certs are not going to meet CSFM training standards. For those DOD certs that do not meet CSFM standards, they are excellent "base-starter" classes for the CSFM classes.

Best wishes

Thank you for the info. Since you know Chief Sack's, do you work for Miramar? Once again thanks for the info ill talk to my trainging officer tommorow.


I do not work for the Fed's at Mira Mar MCAS.

Yep, TDZ pretty well covered this.

When I worked for DoD we had several firefighters "convert" their DoD FF1 & 2 certs to CA FF1 & 2 certs. If you go to the CSFM site you can print out FF1 & 2 check off sheets, here are the links

With FF1 & 2 its not so much CA includes more, its where the skills are required, you will find some of the CA FF1 stuff in DoD FF2 and CA FF2 stuff in DoD FF1. Once you start dealing with Fire officer certs you will find CA requires much more (8 40 hour classes IIRC vs 1 or 2 40 hour classes in DoD).

It should just be a matter of taking your training documents from DoD FF1 & 2 then comparing to the check off sheets from CSFM. Once the sheets are filled out you just send them in with a letter from your chief stating you have met the training requirements.

I'm pretty sure this won't be the first time the department has dealt with this but if you run into any issues San Diego Federal fire and camp Pendleton are close by and I'm sure someone there can help your training officer sort this out.


AFed and TDZ are correct. I work for San Diego Federal and how we work is that we get the required check off sheet from the state, we then get a bubble form to fill out which then has to be signed by a designated Chief in the dept. For us its our Deputy Chief, no ther signatures will work. I dont know if she was sanctioned by the state to do that or what but thats how it works for us at least.

TDZ is correct on Chief Sack, while i have never met Chief Sack(yet) i hear nothing but good things about him. I DO know he really takes care of his poeple there and gets nothing but the best in equipment and training for his dept. I would make a bet that if you wandered over to the structure houses at Miramar and told them your story they would be able to get you set up in the right direction.

One question, why dont you try to work for Miramar? I know San Diego Federal would pretty much take you in, you have all the certs we need. We hire guys that have there certs at the GS-7 level, which, at the current 2006 pay scale comes out to 57,000 something a year, not including OT. Think about it my friend, your time in the Marines will count towards retirement as well.

Stay safe and best of luck to you!

Thanks for that info. Can you tell me where I can get information about Fed Fire?

Your more then welcome to come by any one of our 11 stations. 2 at North Island, 1 at Coronado(seal base), 1 at Balboa Hospital, 1 at MCRD, 2 at 32nd street, 2 down at Imperial Beach, and 2 in Point Loma(0ne on top of the hill and one at the bottom on the sub base). I would say your best bet is gonna be station 1 on North Island, its a crash and structure house as well as Battalion 1 HQ. Most of our new guys go there so they would be the best bet to help you out and get you pointed in the right direction. Both shifts there have new guys that would be more then willing to help you out.
Since you have 2 years left now is the time to start meeting the right people, alot of times its who ya know that can make a difference.
Hope to see you soon over there!