Understanding Certificates of Fitness

What is a COF?

The Fire Department of New York (FDNY) issues Certificates of Fitness(COF) for various types of dangerous occupations. We provide tests to individual applicants to ensure they know how to safely use, store and handle dangerous
materials in the workplace.

We assist applicants like you by providing study materials and other guidance to ensure compliance and safety.

Under the New York City Fire Code, a COF is needed to:

  • Manufacture, store, handle, use, maintain, inspect, test, or transport,certain materials
  •  Conduct certain operations
  •  Operate certain facilities.

The COF could be for general supervision or personal supervision of the material, operation, or facility.

Most COFs are valid for 3 years. You can read more about COFs in Section
FC 113 of the Fire Code.

• See a complete list of COFs and requirements for obtaining or renewing them here.

Common Questions:

How do I get a COF?

1.  For most Certificates of Fitness, obtain a dated and signed letter of recommendation from your employer that states what type of
dangerous work you perform.

If you do not have a recommendation letter, you can still take the test and you will receive an FDNY temporary letter stating that you passed your exam.

2.  Complete an application, have a government issued ID, and pay with cash, check, money order, debit card, or credit card.  COF application forms are available online. We will accept a driver’s license, passport, or an IDNYC. Most exams cost $25 (for credit card payments, we charge a 2% convenience
fee). You can take up to 2 exams per day.

3. Take and pass a computer-based exam at our headquarters in Brooklyn. (No appointment necessary for taking a test Monday through Friday, 8
a.m. until 2:30 p.m.). Exams are in English only.

Our office is closed on holidays. Click here for calendar of holidays.  If you can’t make walk-in hours, you may schedule an appointment by calling 718-999-2000.

Test results are given immediately following your exam, along with your COF card, if you pass the exam.


How do I know if I need a COF?
Call 311 or ask your employer. You may also be told by an inspector or firefighter that one is needed
for the work you perform.

What if I need a COF prior to obtaining employment?
Take and pass the exam and you will be provided a letter from us that can be presented to your prospective employers.

How should I prepare for the exam?
We offer free study materials on our website here.

Does FDNY offer prep classes?
No. And we do not approve any prep courses.

Are the exams completed with paper and pencil?
No. The exams are computer
based and utilize touch-screen technology.

If I am not comfortable with the English language can I bring a dictionary?
Yes. Paper-based dictionaries are the only resource that can be used to take the test. No other materials, including papers, books, or electronic
devices may be used during the test.

How many questions are on the exam and how long will it take?
Most exams have 20-25 questions. Plan to spend at least 2 hours going through the entire process.

How much does it cost to take an exam?
Most cost $25. To see a full list of exam fees click here.

Passed your exam and received your COF?
Congratulations! Now make sure to renew your COF on-time.

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