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The Division of Personnel Standards and Education

About the Division

The Division of Personnel Standards and Education (DPSE) is responsible for promoting, encouraging and assisting local governments in improving the levels of education and training standards for local firefighters.  DPSE is responsible for the standardization and enhancement in the levels of education and training for firefighters and professionals in Illinois with the highest priorities placed on safety and career advancement.  DPSE operates under the mandate of the Illinois Fire Protection Training Act (50 ILCS 740), which provides for the promotion of standards to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public. While this program is strictly voluntary, the OSFM highly encourages local governments to adopt and take part in our firefighter certification programs.


Effective January 1, 2023, all OSFM state exams are computer-based. Our office has partnered with Pearson Vue testing centers for the past four years, and they will continue to proctor our exams now that we have migrated away from paper exams as of year-end 2022.

How fire department’s request a computer-based exam:

First, the person taking the exam must be registered for the PS&E portal before the exam is requested.  

The Request for Examination must be submitted to OSFM by the Fire Chief or Training Officer or other such authorized individual.  This step has not changed. 

  1. New - Enter a Test Period Start Date, which marks the 1st day of a 45-day window in which the test-taker can schedule and take their exam.  The earliest date that can be entered is the following day’s date.
  2. New -  No longer is there a requirement to request exams 30 days in advance. 
  3. New – Select a Publisher Reference – either IFSTA or Jones & Bartlett (Exams without a publisher will be listed as Non-Specific.).

The Request for Examination is typically processed within just 2 business days by OSFM. 

  1. New – When the Request for Examination is approved, an email is sent by Pearson Vue to the test-taker.
    • This email is confirmation of exam approval and provides instructions to the test-taker for scheduling their exam.
    • Test-takers will be able to choose the location, date and time for their exam. 
    • Web scheduling is available for candidates 24/7.
    • Email confirmations are sent to candidates when they schedule, cancel, or reschedule an exam.  Pearson Vue website address is
    • Exam results are presented to candidates immediately following the exam.
  2. When the Request for Examination is denied, an email is sent from PS&E to the fire department's FD Mail account for review. 


OSFM will pay 100% of all firefighter exam fees for a candidate’s first scheduled exam attempt at a Pearson VUE test center.  All exam scheduled retakes (due to failed exam score, a no-show, or failure to cancel the exam in accordance with Pearson Vue’s policy) at a Pearson VUE test center will be $59, payable by the candidate or fire department, as applicable. 

Two (2) forms of identification are required at the testing center.  One government issued, photo- and signature-bearing ID (passport, driver’s license, etc.) and one alternate ID (for example, a credit card).  It is important that the test-taker’s name on their identification matches exactly to the name in OSFM’s system and Pearson Vue’s system, or the test-taker will be denied access to the testing facility and will forfeit their test fee.

Individuals are provided with one exam authorization (approval). Individuals must be reauthorized by OSFM for each exam retake attempt in the event they fail or no-show for an exam.  So, the fire department must submit another request for exam for any exam retakes. Individuals may cancel or reschedule their exam no later than 48 hours before their reservation time in accordance with Pearson Vue’s policy or else they will forfeit their test fee.


Pearson VUE owned and operated sites work to their business hours with the following holidays - New Year’s Day; Memorial Day; Labor Day; Christmas Day; Martin Luther King, Jr. Day; Independence Day and Thanksgiving.

For 3rd Party sites, they have the freedom to determine their own hours and days of operation. This is particularly relevant to Colleges and Educational establishments that tend to close over the student holiday period.

 Due to such closures, test-takers should plan ahead accordingly.