Fiber U Free Self Study Programs

Fiber Optic OJT - On The Job Training Course

Course: Fiber Optic OJT
Level: Novice

Fiber Optic OJT - On The Job Training Course


OJT is the well-known term for "on-the-job training." Workers learn on the job under the supervision of experienced co-workers. FOA has been asked many times how its resources like Fiber U can be used to help employers and their employees involved in OJT. The interest in OJT has been high so FOA decided to create an OJT program and  training aids to help employers develop qualified techs using OJT.

The FOA Fiber U OJT program combines online study at Fiber U with OJT to help new employees develop into certified technicians in only one year.  Upon completion of this program and achieving sufficient work experience, the trainee will be prepared to take the exam for the FOA CFOT, Certified Fiber Optic Technician, the most widely recognized fiber optic certification in the industry.

Level: Novice

Intended For:
Newcomers to fiber optics who are working in the field, learning from supervisors and co-workers
Companies wanting to help new employees become trained and productive quickly
Supervisors needing a more structured OJT program to help train recent hires

Objectives: From this self-study program you should learn:
What is fiber optics and how is it used in communications
How fiber optic networks work
What tools and components are used in building fiber optic cable plants
What are the processes used in fiber optic installation
The hands-on skills needed to successfully install fiber optics
The knowledge to complete the OJT program and pass the FOA CFOT exam

You will be expected to have a position at a company that involves the installation of fiber optics.
You should have completed schooling to at least the 10th grade level with good reading comprehension and math skills.
You should have the permission of you company and agreement that knowledgeable company employees will help and mentor you.
You need a laptop, tablet or smartphone and Internet access that you can use to access Fiber U lessons and FOA Guide  pages of reference materials.
Candidate should complete the Fiber U Basic Fiber Optics online course (see below) before joining the FOA Fiber U OJT program.

Program Description
The FOA “OJT-To-Cert” program is designed for fiber optic novices working at companies who want to provide organized training for employees who have limited or no experience in fiber optic installation. The program combines online lessons here on the FOA’s free web-based training site Fiber U covering the basic knowledge of fiber optic installation with a structured “on-the-job” training program to acquire the necessary skills for performing the tasks involved in fiber optic installation focusing on the scope of tasks your company specializes in.

To explain How OJT works and FOA's OJT-To-Cert program, FOA created a short 10 minute YouTube video that explains what OJT is, who uses it and how to use Fiber U to organize and enhance OJT for new employees and experienced workers too. On The Job Training For Fiber Optics Using Fiber U (video)

Requirements To Be An OJT Trainee
Trainees should have an education level of approximately 10th grade, with basic math and adequate reading level. They should have the ability to work independently, follow directions and be punctual. They must be willing to commit to the program which requires an extra level of time commitment on the job, mostly for outside online study.

Trainee will need Internet access through a PC, tablet or smartphone and Internet access at work and/or at home. The hands-on labs will require use of the company’s equipment as used on the job or purchase of inexpensive equipment purchased online.

Trainee must complete the Fiber U “Basic Fiber Optics” online course. and achieve their Fiber U Certificate of Completion after applying for the OJT-To-Cert program. The FOA OJT-To-Cert program begins after the student application is accepted by FOA.

The OJT Supervisors and Mentors
While it is preferable if one supervisor or mentor works with the trainee during the course of the program, it's likely that different job assignments will require several. The OJT supervisors and mentors must be sufficiently experienced in the type of work the trainee will be performing to judge the trainee's progress and be willing to commit working with the trainee for the program. The Supervisor provides supervision to the trainee in a safe environment with the necessary tools to perform the Fiber U Basic Skills Lab “hands-on” assignments outlined in the OJT to Cert program

Get Started
  • Make arrangements within your company to participate in the Fiber U OJT program
  • Begin with the Fiber U OJT program below
  • Download a Experience Log (below)

Download The FOA Fiber U OJT Experience Log  
Use this spreadsheet to track your training and OJT for FOA certification.

Online Courses At Fiber U
While working on the job, the candidate must complete these Fiber U online courses and OJT programs.

Part 1 - Fiber U “Basic Fiber Optics” - The Online “Classroom” Lessons

Fiber U “Basic Fiber Optics” online OJT course

 The potential OJT trainee must first complete the Fiber U “Basic Fiber Optics” online OJT course.  This course has 10 lessons aligned with the FOA reference materials. The learning objectives are outlined by the FOA’s list of KSA’s (knowledge, skills and abilities) that must be mastered to pass the FOA CFOT certification exam. There are 10 lessons in the program which will take a total of 10-20 hours of study and the trainee should be expected to complete at least one lesson each week. Most should do be able to Lessons 1 and 2 in the first week, Lessons 3 and 4 in the second week, Lessons 5 and 6 in the third week, then the rest one per week.

Lesson 1: Introduction, Overview, Standards, Safety 
Lesson 2: Fiber Optic Jargon - The Language of Fiber Optics    
Lesson 3: Fiber Optic Communications 
Lesson 4: Fiber Optic Transmission Systems and Components  
Lesson 5: Optical Fiber   
Lesson 6: Fiber Optic Cables* 
Lesson 7: Termination and Splicing* 
Lesson 8: Fiber Optic Testing* 
Lesson 9: Fiber Optic Network Design 
Lesson 10: Fiber Optic Network Installation 

The OJT supervisor should monitor the trainee's progress. It is important to make sure the trainee is reviewing and mastering the material on the agreed upon schedule so he/she will be ready for the OJT portion of the course.  We suggest you have the trainee save each completed lesson quizzes (print to PDF or paper) and submit each one to you as they are completed.  The instructor can assign additional review material to individual students as needed.

The trainee should complete the Fiber U Basic Fiber Optics online course and achieve their Fiber U Certificate of Completion before beginning the OJT program.

Part 2 – Fiber U Basics Skills Lab - Hands-On Training

Fiber U "Basics Skills Lab." online course.

 While the trainee is working on company projects, they should be exposed to basic practices of fiber optic installation and begin developing the skills they need with the supervision of an experienced installer. To help guide the training in skills, Fiber U has a program aimed at skills development, the Fiber U "Basics Skills Lab." online course.

The Fiber U Basics Skills Lab is an online guide to learning the basic hands-on skills used by fiber optic techs: cable pulling and prep, splicing, termination and testing. This online course is very comprehensive so not all hands-on lessons will apply to every trainee, The appropriate lessons can be chosen by the supervisor or trainee  as appropriate and when needed to prepare the trainee for upcoming jobs. There is no schedule on this part of the lessons; topics can be scheduled to fit the work being done by the trainee.

Lesson 1: Introduction, Safety in Working With Fiber Optics
Lesson 2: Fiber Optic Tools and Equipment    NEW: Purchase inexpensive equipment online and use it for hands-on lessons. Go here.
Lesson 3: Fiber Optic Cables
Lesson 4: Fiber Optic Splicing
Lesson 5: Fiber Optic Termination
Lesson 6: Fiber Optic Testing

In these hands-on lessons, there are FOA YouTube Videos and “Virtual Hands-On”  tutorials to give the trainee step by step instructions on how to use tools and components - prepare cables, splice, terminate and test them. For each lesson, the trainee should use company equipment and components to complete the hands-on exercises.

If preferred, or if the company wants to start the trainee with simpler tasks, the Basic Skills Lab has a DIY program based on inexpensive equipment available online that provide the basic skills before beginning to use more professional equipment.

The trainee is expected to complete all the tasks in the Basic Skills Lab during their OJT year.

After completion of the two basic Fiber U courses, while the trainee is working on the job, they may elect to take additional Fiber U courses relating to their work. All Fiber U courses are free and cover topics related to skills and applications for techs doing fiber optic installation work.

Part 3: Certification

Participants will be eligible to take the FOA CFOT Certification exam online at the completion of both parts of the program and obtaining enough field work experience.

This information is provided by The Fiber Optic Association, Inc. as a benefit to those interested in teaching, designing, manufacturing, selling, installing or using fiber optic communications systems or networks. It is intended to be used as an overview and/or basic guidelines and in no way should be considered to be complete or comprehensive. These guidelines are strictly the opinion of the FOA and the reader is expected to use them as a basis for learning, as a reference and for creating their own documentation, project specifications, etc. Those working with fiber optics in the classroom, laboratory or field should follow all safety rules carefully. The FOA assumes no liability for the use of any of this material.


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