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Information for Building and Code Officials
Information About NFI Exam Development

The National Fireplace Institute® (NFI) certification exams were developed through a process based on national testing standards that include job analysis, exam blueprint, exam validation, and scoring methodology. NFI was assisted by Personnel Decisions Research Institutes (PDRI), a nationally recognized testing consultant agency.

Job Analysis Study
The role of a hearth planner/installer in residential hearth product installations was carefully analyzed by Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) and hearth industry professionals who identified specific job tasks and areas of required knowledge necessary for safe and correct installations. Following the identification of job tasks and knowledges by SMEs, validation surveys based on the study were created and sent to over 5,000 hearth practitioners. The survey provided data that prioritized knowledge areas based on their relative importance to hearth products installation.

Development of an Exam
The results of the industry survey provided a guide for determining exam content and appropriate percentages of questions in specific categories of job knowledge. An exam blueprint was developed for each category of hearth products, based on the fuel for the products: Gas, Woodburning, and Pellet.

Content and Exam Production
Specific questions relating to areas of performance, outlined in the job analysis study, were developed and written by industry practitioners who were trained by a consultant in exam question writing. Questions were then reviewed by the testing consultant for clarity and format and also by industry experts for technical accuracy. Pilot exams with extra, non-scored questions were administered. These overlength exams allowed a final opportunity for review, for developing a question bank, and for determining the passing score.

Passing Score
Passing scores were determined through the Angoff Procedure, a nationally recognized method to set the score that distinguishes performance that indicates possession or lack of knowledge needed for minimum competence. The process involves surveying a committee about the relative difficulty of each question, reviewing performance statistics from the pilot overlength exam and statistical calculation of the passing score.

A CEU Committee receives applications and awards credits for education sessions and training programs.

Credentialing and Recognition
Each certified hearth professional passing their respective NFI exam is acknowledged by a certificate, a photo I.D., and a listing on the NFI website, The NFI website is used by consumers, builders, and building officials to identify certified hearth installers nationwide.