New National Guideline Standards for AFSA Apprenticeship

The American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA) has new standards that have been approved by the Office of Apprenticeship (OA). The National Guideline Standards of Apprenticeship are programs that are recognized by OA on a national basis and that consist of occupational standards which: (1) are developed and sponsored by an employer, national trade or industry organization, labor organization, educational institution, or consortium; (2) are demonstrably national or multi-State in their design, suitability, and scope based on consideration of the National Program Standards criteria; and (3) comply with the regulatory requirements contained in 29 CFR Part 29 and 29 CFR Part 30.

“Having AFSA’s Sprinkler Fitting Apprenticeship Training Series registered as National Guideline Standards (NGS) with the DOL will help AFSA members expedite the process of registering their own apprenticeship program,” states AFSA Director of Education Services Leslie Clounts. “By implementing AFSA’s NGS as part of their own apprenticeship program, it will get them to the DOL ‘finish line’ and result in a registered apprenticeship program much faster.”


AFSA’s new Virtual Instruction Program (VIP) offers newly updated training materials for 2023. Contract agreements were continued with the National Center for Construction Education & Research (NCCER) to produce the updated versions. Pearson is the partner for the publication of the documents. The newly updated curriculum includes Core—Introduction to Basic Construction Skills, Sixth Edition, and Sprinkler Fitting—Levels 1-4, Fourth Edition. The sprinkler fitting books are correlated with the 2019 and 2022 editions of  NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems.

The testing that accompanies the material has been updated for the new texts and incorporated into AFSA’s LMS (Canvas). This is a new platform for existing users of the curriculum. In addition, virtual proctoring is implemented for monitoring the tests. This is an upgrade to the previous method and will provide a better experience for the apprentices. Efforts are being made to coordinate information into software for employers to monitor the progress of the apprentices throughout the education period. Passing for all tests will remain at 70 percent. Honor Roll will remain at 95 percent for all tests.

AFSA’s Virtual Instruction Program (VIP) is accompanied by On-the-Job Learning (OJL) and was launched in February 2023. Each level of instruction involves 20 lessons provided over 10 months. As information is sequential, entry points will be specified throughout the year to best accommodate the demand. VIP education incorporates live webinar sessions, videos, performance tasks, written assignments, self-study, and tests. The guided instruction gives apprentices access to industry experts in the webinar sessions.

Each starting point has a two-month grace period during which apprentices can continue to join the class and catch up on lessons through recorded sessions. There is a fee schedule created for the administration of the virtual instruction. This includes items such as: replacing books, retesting, replacing an apprentice in the program, and/or delays of completing a level. It is permissible for apprentices to enter the virtual instruction at Level 2, Level 3, or Level 4. The requirements for doing so will be set by the ATP Committee, which was formed in March 2022. In general, the applicant must show that they have met the educational requirements of the previous levels.

Upon completion of each level’s material (for both ATP and VIP), a certificate will be issued that will indicate the requirements have been successfully finished for the administered level.

Additionally, AFSA is planning to add elective or optional education areas that can readily be adopted by contractors working in jurisdictions that require additional OJT and accompanying education.

A second Level 1 VIP class starts September 19, 2023. Early-bird discounts are offered to registrations made before August 4, 2023. For more details or to register, visit www.firesprinkler.org/sprinkler-apprentice-training or email training@firesprinkler.org.

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