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How to Become NFI Certified

NFI Examinations

The National Fireplace Institute offers certifications for Gas, Pellet and Woodburning Specialists. To become NFI Certified, you will need to study from the current NFI Reference manuals and pass the NFI exam. The NFI Exam is normally 100 multiple choice questions. You are allowed 2½ hours to complete the exam. It is a closed-book exam. Years of field experience, taking classes and attending the NFI Exam Review Class all help, however, nothing replaces the need to read and study the Reference Manual. These manuals were specifically written to contain information that will be on the exam. NFI has found that those who are most successful have taken time to review the manual regardless of their years of industry experience.

Each NFI Reference Manual and exam is updated every three years. Make sure you are studying from the current version of the manual. Each year one fuel type goes through the review process. The new edition of the manual comes out in early January and the new exam based on the manual is written.  The first few times the new exam is offered, there are 130-140 questions (you are allowed 4 hours to complete it). After the initial group takes the exams they are scored and sent back to the exam writing committee. The committee, along with a professional psychometrician, reviews each question and throws out questions that didn’t perform well.  The remaining 100 questions will make up the exam for the next 3 years.  Those initial exams are sent back to be re-scored based on the final 100 questions and examinees are notified of the results after that second scoring takes place.

Certification Categories
There are three different certification categories, based upon fuel type:

 

NFI Certified Gas Specialist
Proven knowledge of gas fireplaces, log sets and stoves as well as their venting systems

NFI Certified Woodburning Specialist
Proven knowledge of factory-built fireplaces, fireplace inserts, woodstoves, and chimneys

NFI Certified Pellet Specialist
Proven knowledge of freestanding stoves, fireplace inserts, built-in appliances, and venting systems

 


NFI Specialists who have earned all three Certifications are recognized as Master Hearth Professionals (MHP). This accomplishment is acknowledged with the MHP logo displayed on their company website and on their NFI identification card.

The NFI Review Course
You may want to take advantage of the NFI Exam Review Course which is often offered by many Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA) Affiliates, HPBA manufacturers, various sponsoring companies, and our partners in the chimney sweep industry. Review courses are taught by experienced industry trainers. They cover the important points in the manual and provide you with the opportunity to ask for clarification on a particular topic. The review course should not be the only method you choose to prepare for the exam. You need to read and study the manual.  NFI Exam Review Courses are usually 6-hours or longer. Attending a Review Course should:

  • Provide an overview of the reference manual content highlights
  • Confirm knowledge of manual contents from previous self-study
  • Get last minute questions answered
  • Provide confidence that an important concept has not been missed from the study materials
  • Enable a higher probability of passing the exam

NFI Examination Testing Options

There are four ways to take the NFI Exam.

  • HPBExpo: Each year the NFI Exam is offered at HPBExpo, the Hearth Patio & Barbecue Association’s annual trade show. NFI Exam Review Classes are presented by leading industry professionals.  The exams are offered Wednesday and Thursday evening or Friday morning. For pricing information, a current schedule or complete details go to http://www.hpbexpo.com. To purchase and take an exam at HPBExpo, please use the Expo registration form or do so onsite at the convention center.

  • NFI Partner Events: Many HPBA Affiliates, manufacturers, various sponsoring companies, and our partners in the chimney sweep industry offer the NFI Exam at various times throughout the year. These NFI Partner events often also include the NFI Exam Review Course. For a list of currently scheduled NFI Partner events click on the “Find an NFI Exam” link on the menu down the left side of this web page. To see what exams are scheduled in your area, select a sponsor from the drop-down box or click on your location on the map to see the entire list. For pricing, registration or complete details, contact the sponsor listed for the event you wish to attend.

  • PSI/Lasergrade:  NFI exams are also offered at any of the 600 PSI/Lasergrade computerized testing sites. Simply purchase the exam from the NFI Price List link on the left side of this web page. If you also purchase a manual, it will be shipped right away. You will also receive exam information once we have pre-registered you with PSI/Lasergrade. To find a test site near you, visit http://cert.psiexams.com/locateall.html, Use the pull down menu "Please select a sponsor" and select "National Fireplace Institute" (NFI) as the sponsor. Then enter your address and click on "Find a Testing Center." The exam registration is valid for six months. When you are ready to take the exam, simply call PSI/Lasergrade to set up an appointment. If you need more than six months to study, be sure to call the NFI office prior to the exam expiration date at 703-524-8030. Once you make an appointment you must show up to take the exam or call PSI/Lasergrade and speak with a person (no voice mail messages) at least 24 hours prior to your appointment or a $65.00 “No Show” fee will be charged.

  • Online Exams:   There is now a new option. You can choose to take the exam from your home and/or office, or any computer that has web access and a web cam. We have contracted with a company called ProctorU. They will proctor the exam remotely using your web cam. The cost of the exam will be the same as our current packages but there will be a $40.00 surcharge for the remote proctoring.

Understanding the NFI Pricelist for PSI/LaserGrade Exams

There are several price options for NFI Exams and printed materials.

HPBA Member?
A significant discount is given to members of the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association. This is the trade association that ties the entire industry together. Retail and service companies join their local HPBA Affiliate and automatically also become members of the national organization. To find the local affiliate for your area go to: http://www.hpba.org/members/hpba-affiliates. Membership dues vary by each affiliate. Each affiliate establishes their own education programs and affinity programs. Manufacturers join the national organization.

Choose a Specialty (drop-down menu)
You will be asked to identify the fuel type in which you want to be certified in. Simply select Gas, Pellet or Woodburning from the drop-down box.  If you wish to purchase an exam and/or manual for more than one fuel type, you must complete the registration process separately for each.

Packages and Options
You can purchase just the exam, just the manual or a manual and exam package. There is also discount if you are already certified and want to renew or if you have taken the exam and failed it within the past 12 months. The is also a package that includes a 12-month subscription to HE@RTH Online Training. This program contains over 180 different classes that will help you learn more about all facets of the industry. Once you are certified, HE@RTH Online Training also provides Continuing Education Units (CEUs) that can be used toward your certification renewal. You can take as many classes as you want in that 12-month period. Finally, there is also a NFI Practice Exam available in either a PDF or printed format. The Practice Exams explains how and why we write the exam questions; there are 10 sample questions for each fuel type and the correct answers.  There is also an explanation of why that is the correct answer.

For more details or if you have any other questions, please contact NFI at 703-524-8030 or info@nficertified.org.