ALL links you find in this article are to legit items. These are not advertisements. All advertisements are above the article, below the article and on the right hand side ONLY. I used every link you see posted here. (well, I wrote some of the articles but you’ll know the difference).
First, do you know the difference between NICET Certification and a state fire alarm license? Click that link if you need to be sure which will benefit you the most.
I refused to take any NICET test without a minimum of 3 months of hard core studying through NICET I and NICET II and my state license.
NICET III I spent 6 months day in day out studying as soon as I got home, and double checking references while at work.
As a person who really enjoys learning, I have enjoyed every minute of NICET training I have come into.
And, I have tried the two Goliaths of NICET training, NTC and FireTech. Both methods of training are excellent and very helpful.
NTC teaches you by bombarding you with questions then explaining the correct answers, then following up with short quizzes. Plus, NTC gives you access to a major mock test. This mock test is done in the same fashion as the NICET test. They teach you how to pass the test.
Firetech explains in great detail every little bit of the industry at that level. If you took their course from NICET I on up, they will teach you as if you were someone who knows nothing about the industry and finish with you possibly being able to run a company at a NICET III experience level.
If I had to pick one or the other, I would walk away and thank them both. I seriously believe that every person in the fire alarm industry needs training from both of them. What one lacks, the other covers. They would do great to do a project together. It would, in a sense, produce some knowledgeable fire alarm technicians that would exceed the abilities of every technician you know.
So now I will try and help here without stepping on either company’s toes. I appreciate everything I learned from both.
I trashed my NFPA 72 my flipping through it so much. I actually had pages just falling out.
So I had to buy another and didn’t want to buy anyones “Quicker than lightning” tabs. Though they work and are in great sections. What I did was buy my own tabs and print them out myself. I put a tab at the end of the smoke detector section. On the one side the tab said “Smokes” and since heat detectors were on the other side I wrote “Heats” I did the same for audio/visual notification.
and again for inspection and testing. And the annex A sections for each. It cut my tabs down. allowed me to add more tabs without TAB OVERLOAD. Eventually I just got to where I saw smokes I already knew heats were next chapter So I didn’t need the backsides, but the text was there just in case I freeze up.
Things to help in your Nicet III training.
Get to know your NFPA 101. It is similar to IBC, but distinctly different. Do not seek out the similarities until you’re done. That will botch your testing.
NFPA 101 has an NFPA feel as opposed to an ICC feel. Though they cover the same topics, IBC is “Groups”, NFPA 101 is “Types”.
IBC will break Group A into multiple categories while NFPA 101 will just give you Assembly as a whole.
NFPA 101 has a section for new and a section for existing for each occupancy type.
For most new occupancy types, you can navigate to section xx.3.4 to find the fire alarm material. Once you verify the location of the fire alarm related material, make sure you don’t forget where that is. I tabbed that page and highlighted the xx.3.4.
Now go one chapter after (for most occupancy types) the one you just found the new occupancy in, and you will find the existing in the same spot.
XX.3.5 is sprinkler. I read that section in detail on each occupancy type and highlighted the start and key elements that the fire alarm section for that occupancy referenced.
In your NFPA 72, be prepared to prove you understand how to perform an inspection. Proper procedures for weird systems and inspection frequencies for all items that do not show they need inspection. What that means is when that part is in a system that is rare, and that system needs an inspection frequency of say 4 times a year, then that part will be inspected too regardless if NFPA 72 says it only needs initial inspections; however, there are some devices that do not. Knowing the differences is just simply understanding the “Methods” section in the testing and inspections chapter of NFPA 72.
Really the test felt like a lot of the questions were riddles rather than questions. You have to distinguish when it is a riddle and when it is not, which is something neither of the courses I took taught me. But, both courses said NICET is looking for the “most right answer”. That is what will help you on the riddle questions.
Do not be scared to flag and move on. I admittedly will tell you, I flagged 50 questions easy. I got frustrated with one riddle question and commented (there is an option to comment) the code reference and the exact correct answer and that answer was not one of the options. I do not recommend wasting time commenting, but that test wasn’t cheap and I was frustrated. Flagging your questions and giving the best guess or most right answer will allow you to spend your 1 minute 20 seconds (give or take) per question so you can at least get all questions answered then go back and review. Try and not spend an entire minute on any questions really if you want review time.
You need management skills and understanding.
I read so many PDF’s from a website that is full of free management books.
I linked just the project management section to get you heading in the right direction. There is plenty to read there. Just the free stuff is what I used.
You’ve got to know the legalities of firing people in specific situations, and how to handle a project that is over due. Be it that you have bad employees, you ordered from a slow vendor, whatever. Either one is your responsibility to fix.
You need to know the legal titles of anything that can be binding on your company.
Why you won or lost a bid.
I went to every website for every vendor I could think of to get certificates for their devices (whether i would ever use them or not ) just to get an understanding of components that you do not get taught in field.
Yes, I took every single one of their trainings and yes, it was monotonous. But, I did it and it took a long time. Yes, I did it every day before taking any of the courses I paid for. Yes, I failed some because I lost focus. Yes, I am certified for a lot of parts that I will likely never use. Yes, those certificates are probably useless in 99% of my career. But, there are things I did pick up that I have never been taught. Considering I will be eligible for my NICET IV in just a few months, saying I learned anything from that lets you know that hands on training doesn’t help much when it comes to proving yourself on record.
This exam will test your knowledge of the legalities of the industry. NICET II was your project manager skills, NICET III is much deeper. NICET III is rules and laws, and bid situations and a whole lot of the things people try and avoid understanding in the installation department. But, it should be a requirement because it is the root of life safety. We are life safety technicians really. If we aren’t installing 100% to code then we are putting people’s lives at risk because their “No think” safety devices are not correctly installed or maintained. This test proves you are competent and knowledgeable of fire alarm systems and lots of things that depend on fire alarm systems and lots of things that the fire alarm system depends on. Not just running wiring and hooking up 2-4 wires.
This test will push you.
Here’s a good place to practice. Try looking the answers up for Fire Alarm Level I. and another for Fire Alarm Level II. Even if you know the answers, locate the answers in your reference material for practice. Looking the answers, gets you familiar with sections. Getting familiar with what code is a lot of the test.
And there is the option of using Fire Alarms Online. Look in top right of the page to get to the practice test. The cost is nice and low. (I Think I’ve bought their book but not taken their computer based test).