How to Obtain a Certificate of Fitness

Jobs that are unsafe to do without proper knowledge and experience require a Certificate of Fitness (COF) to perform. There are dozens of kinds of certificates, ranging from sprinkler systems to places of assembly.

The full list of all available exams can be found here.  It is important to check the requirements online to make sure you are qualified to take a specific test.

To double check if someone in your building needs to take a Certificate of Fitness test, you can seek advisement from an Inspector, a Firefighter, or by calling 718-999-1988.

Studying for Exam

Official classes are not provided for these exams. After clicking on a specific exam, you will then see the relevant study material.

The amount of time it takes to study varies based on your comfort with intaking new material, and prior familiarity with the material via your job.

Taking the Exam

To be able to take the exam, you will need:

  • A referral from your employer, dated and signed. This letter of recommendation must be on the company’s official letterhead – if this is not available, the document needs to be notarized. It must state your name, experience, and work address. This can be used as a template reference.
  • A completed A20 Form (Certificate of Fitness Application)

The test is only administered in English. However, you may bring in a translation dictionary with you if it would help.

Minimum age requirements vary per test category. The exam costs $25 to take and can be paid in cash, by credit card (with a 2.49% convenience fee added), or by debit, check, or money order (to the New York City Fire Department).

To enter the building, you’ll need to have a government-issued photo ID, such as a Driver’s License, Non-Driver’s ID, Passport, or IDNYC Municipal ID Card. Some tests might require an additional form of identification that need not have your photograph.

You can take a test Monday-Friday 8 AM-2:30 PM. To take an afternoon test, you must schedule in advance here. Appointments usually get filled up weeks in advance, so if you need to make one, schedule it as soon as you can.

Reservations are only required for:

  • Groups of 10 or more people who wish to take the test simultaneously
  • The F85, F89, F80, Q01, P13, S11, S12, S13, S14, S56, and S98 COFs

You can’t take more than two exams in a day. If you wish to take more, you’ll have to come back on another day.


The testing site is located in Downtown Brooklyn, at 9 Metrotech Center Brooklyn, NY 11201, which is the FDNY headquarters.

Screen Shot 2018-04-30 at 10.14.12 AM

Especially in the morning hours, arrive early. There can be a long wait to go through security. If you arrive late, you may not be allowed to take the test.

During the test, turn your phone off. If you are found with it on, you may be disqualified. Additionally, earplugs are available in the testing room, free of charge, as it can get noisy in the testing area.


As soon as you complete the test, you’ll know if you passed or failed.

If You Don’t Pass

You’ll need to apply and pay the $25 fee again in order to retake it.

If You Pass

Your certification is valid for three years. Before leaving, you’ll be given a Certificate of Fitness photo ID card before leaving. You must ensure that you abide by the regulations that have been laid out by the certificate.

After three years have passed, you can pay a $15 fee to renew your certification. You can renew

  • Online
  • By mail to 9 MetroTech Center, Brooklyn, NY 11201 (Attention: Cashier’s Unit)
  • In-person, at the same address.

It costs $5 to get a replacement card if you lose your original. This fee also applies if:

  • Your mailing address has changed
  • Your work address has changed

If you still have specific questions about any part of the COF process, the FDNY can be contacted at or 718-999-1988

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