You will find some of the major steps and actions on how to get accredited below. After reading them, if you still have questions, please Contact Us or give us a call at 703-691-4620. We look forward to working with your agency as you move through the accreditation process.

Become familiar with accreditation by attending a training

  • Your agency personnel can participate in accreditation training at any time.
  • The Quality Improvement Through Accreditation workshop is a great place to start and is offered about 20 times a year throughout North America.
  • CPSE’s annual Excellence Conference is home to the Accreditation Bootcamp, a three-day series of workshops that will teach you how to build your accreditation team and accreditation documents.
  • Your agency will need to gather a lot of data and documents to get accredited. The CFAI Information Technology Specifications documents identifies the spatial and numerical data, records, and policies referenced in the CFAI accreditation model.

Become a Registered Agency

  • Complete this form and email it to us at (be sure to check “Registered” at the top of the form)
  • Pay the $580 fee online
  • Registered Agency status is valid for three years and can be renewed as many times as you need
  • Registered agencies receive copies of both accreditation publications, gain access to an online platform, and may participate in frequent web-based trainings.
  • You will be asked to assign an accreditation manager at this stage. We recommend your accreditation manager complete the required trainings (Quality Improvement Through Accreditation and Peer Assessment) early on.
  • We highly recommend you start gathering the data and documents before moving to applicant agency status.

Become an Applicant Agency

  • Complete the forms listed below and email them to us at
  • We will invoice you for the applicable fee (see the fee schedule below) after we receive your forms
  • Applicant Agency status is valid for 18 months (24 months if you are a volunteer agency) and may be extended 12 months a maximum of three times
  • Applicant agencies receive their own online site and are assigned a volunteer mentor to provide guidance.
  • During applicant status, agencies will complete their:
    • Community Risk Assessment – Standards of Cover document
    • Community-driven Strategic Plan
    • Self-Assessment Manual

Become a Candidate Agency

  • Once your three accreditation documents are complete, you can declare candidacy for accreditation.
  • We will assign a peer team to review your documents, conduct an onsite assessment, and prepare an accreditation report.
  • The accreditation report will be presented during a CFAI public hearing in spring or summer. Your agency head, accreditation manager, and team leader will appear before CFAI as they render a vote on granting accredited status

Become and remain an Accredited Agency

  • After CFAI votes to grant your agency accredited status, celebrate (for a bit). Accreditation is valid for a five year period.
  • Every year you will submit an annual compliance report and submit a fee.
  • At the end of the five year period, you will repeat the steps in the Candidate Agency process.

Accreditation Fees

All fees are nonrefundable and payable in US Dollars. Department of Defense fire and emergency service agencies fees and costs are paid via a contract. Costs for accreditation trainings are not included below. If you have questions about the fees or payment options, please call us at 703-691-4620.

Registered Agency Fee – $580 for three years of registered agency status. If your agency becomes an applicant agency within one year of becoming a registered agency, we will apply the $580 towards your applicant agency fee. You can renew your registered agency status as many times as you need. Download the CFAI Agency Application and Information Form, submit to CPSE and click here to pay the Agency Fee online.

Applicant Agency Fee – Based on population served, see the table below. Your fee covers 18 months of applicant agency status (24 months for volunteer agencies). You can extend your applicant agency status for 12 months a maximum of three times. Download, complete these forms and submit to CPSE. (CFAI Agency Application and Information Form and the Letter of Understanding for Applicant/Candidate Agencies). CPSE will invoice your agency the applicable fee (see below).

Candidate Agency Fee – There is no specific fee for Candidate Agency status, however, your agency is responsible for the travel costs of the peer assessors that conduct your onsite assessment as well as the travel costs for the peer team leader to present your agency’s accreditation report during a CFAI public hearing.  We recommend agencies budget approximately $6,000 for the on-site assessment and $1,500 for the team leader’s travel to the CFAI hearing. You should also budget travel expenses for members of your agency to participate in the CFAI hearing.

Accredited Agency Fee – Once accredited, you will be invoiced an annual fee that is 1/5th of the current Applicant Agency fee (see the table below) for the population you serve.

Population Served Fee
0-9,999 $5,050
10,000-49,999 $6,350
50,000-99,999 $7,400
100,000-199,999 $8,750
200,000-499,999 $9,750
500,000-999,999 $12,650
Over 1 million $14,100