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AFTE Recertification Policies and Procedures

To maintain AFTE Certification, certificants must recertify every (5) five years and maintain their AFTE membership in good standing.  Recertification is achieved through continuous training, contributions to the field of firearm and toolmark examination, and the demonstration of proficiency in the subject matter areas in which the certificant is certified. In addition to documenting the certificant’s continuing education and sustained proficiency in the certified subject area(s), the recertification process also aims to encourage participation in a broad variety of activities that are beneficial to the field of firearm and toolmark examination.

To become recertified, an application for recertification must be submitted and all qualifications described herein, including annual proficiency testing, must be met. The application should be submitted to the Certification Committee 60 days prior to certification expiration, as described in Section III, below. Any certificant who is unable to meet the requirements for recertification will lose their certification unless they request a voluntary leave (see “Voluntary Leave from Certification” under Section VI, below). If a member loses their certification as a result of not meeting the recertification requirements, they may be allowed to recertify by repeating the original certification procedure, including submitting the appropriate applications, re-taking and passing the written and practical examinations for the applicable subject area(s), and paying the applicable fees. One notable exception to this policy applies to all previous and current members of the AFTE Certification Committee, who are required to be certified in all offered subject areas prior to becoming a member of the Committee and who will not be allowed to recertify by retaking the examinations should their certification(s) be voluntarily or involuntarily terminated at any time following their assignment to (or resignation from) the Committee. The only exception to this policy will be if the former certificant wishes to recertify after their term of service on the Committee has been completed and entirely new AFTE written and practical certification examinations have been developed and implemented by the Committee in the time interval since the completion of their service. This exception would also apply to original members of the Certification Committee, who were instrumental in the development and implementation of the original examinations, and members of the Angoff Committee, all of whom were originally not allowed to apply for AFTE certification due to their roles in the development of those examinations.

Members seeking recertification must be working in the forensic sciences. Work is defined under Section II, “Definitions”, below.

Falsifying any portion of an applicant’s recertification documentation is a violation of the AFTE Code of Ethics and may result in the permanent loss of AFTE membership and certification. Each applicant is responsible for the accuracy of the documentation submitted for recertification.

The following definitions are specific to this document:

“Active” status: This means that the certificant is currently AFTE certified in the indicated subject area(s). This status applies to certificants who are in good standing and are actively participating in the recertification process.

“Administratively Inactive” status: This status applies to certificants who are past due for recertification and/or have not yet successfully met the requirements for recertification.  “Inactive” means that the certificant is not considered by the Association to be currently certified; therefore, while their certification(s) remain in this status, the certificant may not testify in any legal proceeding or claim in any documentary record (e.g. C.V. or résumé) that they are currently AFTE certified in the applicable subject areas. The maximum length of time a certificant may remain administratively inactive before the certification lapses is ninety (90) days. The administratively inactive certificant’s name will be removed from the list of certified members on the AFTE website during the inactive period.

Certificant: An AFTE member who holds a current and valid AFTE certificate of competence in one or more of the offered subject areas.

Continuing Education Units (CEUs): Points given toward AFTE recertification that are earned through participation in approved professional activities. A minimum of 150 CEUs, as prescribed in the Recertification Point Schedule (Section VII), must be earned to be eligible for recertification.

Lapse: To allow one’s certification(s) to become administratively inactive and/or expire due to a failure to recertify according to the recertification policy. Also refers to an interruption (break) in a certificant’s certification history.

Proficiency Test: A test administered by an analyst’s employer or outside vendor to evaluate the capability and performance of the analyst. For AFTE recertification purposes, the certificant must complete an annual external or internal proficiency test for each subject area in which they are certified (i.e. firearm identification, toolmark identification (not footwear or tire track impression/print identification), and gunshot residue examination/distance determination).

Reactivation Date: The date on which a certificant chooses to reactivate their certification after taking a voluntary leave.

Recertification: The process whereby an AFTE certificant renews their certification after the prescribed time period.

Recertification Date: The date by which the recertification packet must be received by the Certification Committee in order for a certificant to remain in good standing. This date is usually five years from the original certification date or last recertification date, unless a voluntary leave has been taken by the applicant.

Recertification Packet: The collection of documents that must be submitted for recertification. This includes the Recertification Application, the Video Training Summary Form (if applicable), and all supporting documentation for the professional activities being claimed for CEU credit on the application. Also the name of the Microsoft Excel-based workbook that contains both the Recertification Application and the Video Training Summary Form for documenting professional activities for CEU credit (downloadable from this website).

Relinquish: To voluntarily terminate one’s certification(s).

Revocation: To have one’s certification(s) rescinded by AFTE as a punitive action.

Suspension: A period during which a certificant is not considered by the Association to be certified due to noncompliance with the annual proficiency testing requirements or application filing deadlines specified in the AFTE recertification policy. If the areas of noncompliance are successfully resolved by the certificant in the prescribed manner, the suspension will be temporary. If not, the suspension may lead to revocation.

Termination: To have one’s certification(s) ended by AFTE, either voluntarily or involuntarily.

“Voluntarily Inactive” status: This status applies to certificants who are on voluntary leave from their certification(s). “Inactive” means that the certificant is not considered by the Association to be currently certified; therefore, while their certification(s) remain in this status, the certificant may not testify in any legal proceeding or claim in any documentary record (e.g. C.V. or résumé) that they are currently AFTE certified in the applicable subject areas. There is no time limit for the period in which a certificant may remain voluntarily inactive.

Voluntary Leave from Certification: A period during which a certificant may choose to place their certification(s) on hold without relinquishing it if they are not actively working in the field of firearm and toolmark identification and therefore cannot meet the ongoing requirements for recertification. While a certificant is on voluntary leave, they may not testify in any legal proceeding or claim in any documentary record that they are currently AFTE certified in the applicable subject areas. There is no time limit for the period of voluntary leave.

Work (as it pertains to the forensic sciences): Having job duties that include performing and reporting examinations, supervising those that perform/report examinations, conducting research, developing methods, or training others in the subject matter areas.

Certified AFTE members must submit to the AFTE Certification Committee Chairperson, or his/her designee, the following:

  1. A completed recertification application and relevant documentation showing proof that the applicant has met the following requirements during the five-year period since their last certification or recertification date:
     
    1. Accumulation of at least 150 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) earned through training received, training that was provided to others, and/or other contributions to the profession of firearm and toolmark examination, as prescribed in the Recertification Point Schedule (Section VII, below);

      and
       
    2. Successful completion of a proficiency test in the certified subject matter area(s) for each year of the five-year period since the applicant’s last certification or recertification date.

      Note: For firearms and toolmarks, commercial proficiency tests are readily available; however, at the current time there very few commercially available GSR (distance determination) proficiency tests. Therefore, in-house (internal) GSR proficiency tests are acceptable, as are external proficiency tests prepared by an outside provider (e.g., an outside laboratory or contractor). For those who do not use Collaborative Testing Services (CTS) or another commercial testing service, proof of the successful completion of in-house or externally-prepared proficiency tests for firearms and/or toolmarks will be accepted to satisfy this requirement.  Proficiency testing must be documented annually using the Proficiency Test Status Report form provided on this website.
       
  2. Payment or proof of payment of the recertification fee in the amount of $25 (USD) for each subject matter area. Fees can be paid either by PayPal, personal check, or agency purchase order. Cash is not accepted. PayPal is the method of payment preferred by the Committee. Checks must be made payable to AFTE.

Continuing Education Units (CEUs) may be earned by participating in the recognized activities specified in Section VII, below. For purposes of earning CEUs, the recertification period begins immediately following the effective date of the original certification or last recertification in a subject matter area. CEUs earned over the five-year time period may be applied to more than one subject matter area; certificants who attain certification or recertification in more than one subject matter area on the same approximate date may apply the same CEUs for all subject matter areas. All CEUs for which an applicant is eligible should be claimed on the recertification application; however, CEUs accumulated by an applicant over and above the minimum required to recertify during one five-year recertification cycle cannot be applied to the next recertification cycle.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to maintain and submit appropriate documentation (letters, training certificates, etc.) as evidence of CEUs earned. This documentation is required.  See applicable categories of recognized activities in Section VII for acceptable forms of documentation. All recertification applicants are strongly encouraged to submit their application and supporting documentation electronically, if possible.

Application packets should be submitted 60 days prior to the five-year anniversary of the certificant’s original certification date or previous recertification date. A recertification application can be submitted to the Certification Committee Chairperson for an informal review prior to the final application for recertification. However, the Certification Committee is not responsible for ensuring that an applicant has sufficient CEUs for recertification. In the event that a certificant’s recertification application packet is submitted less than 60 days prior to the expiration of their last certification document, every effort shall be made by the Committee to process the application prior to the recertification date. If the Committee is unable to complete its review of a certificant’s recertification application packet prior to the recertification date, the status of the certificant’s recertification will be pending until such time this review is successfully completed (no late fees or other penalties will be imposed). If the recertification packet is not received by the Certification Committee by the recertification date, the certificant’s certification(s) will be temporarily deactivated and subject to termination if the required documents are not received within ninety (90) days (see Section IV, “Late Filing” below). It is not the responsibility of AFTE or the Certification Committee to remind certificants of their pending recertification dates.

Upon review of an applicant’s recertification packet, the Certification Committee may adjust (increase or decrease) the number of CEUs accepted for recertification, depending on the relevancy of the activities being claimed to the recertification point schedule. If adequate documentation of claimed activities is not provided with the recertification application, the claimed CEUs may be denied by the Certification Committee. The applicant will be notified if their CEU point total is adjusted and if additional points are needed, should the adjustment cause their CEU point total to fall below the minimum required for recertification. Therefore, it is in the best interest of the applicant to claim and provide documentation for ALL qualifying activities (over and above the minimum requirement of 150 CEUs) they have participated in during the 5-year recertification cycle.

If the recertification packet is not received by the Certification Committee by the recertification date, the certificant’s certification(s) will lapse and the certificant will be placed in an “administratively inactive” status. This means that while their certification(s) remain administratively inactive, the certificant may not testify in any legal proceeding or claim in any documentary record (e.g. C.V. or résumé) that they are currently AFTE certified in the applicable subject area(s). If a certificant’s recertification application packet is not received within ninety (90) days after the recertification date, their certification(s) will expire. The administratively inactive certificant’s name will be removed from the list of certified members on the AFTE website during the inactive period. The certificant will be notified of any changes to their certification status that have been imposed by the Certification Committee.

Once a certificant has been placed in administratively inactive status, they may choose to do one of the following:

  1. Renew their certification(s) by submitting their recertification packet and payment within ninety (90) days after the deadline. If submitted after thirty (30) days, a recertification late fee of $25.00 per certified subject area will be due. The certificant will be restored to “active” status once the application packet is approved by the Certification Committee Chair and all necessary fees have been paid.
  2. Request a voluntary leave from certification (see below) within ninety (90) days. If the certificant meets the requirements for voluntary leave, their status will be changed from “administratively inactive” to “voluntarily inactive” and their name will be restored to the AFTE website. A certificant who is voluntarily inactive also cannot claim to be currently AFTE certified. No late fee will apply.
  3. Voluntarily relinquish their certification(s) in writing within ninety (90) days.
  4. Allow their certification(s) to expire. If no action is taken, the administratively inactive certification(s) will expire after ninety (90) days. After this point, if the former certificant wishes to recertify, they must repeat the initial certification process in its entirety.

Reporting Requirement

The only annual requirement for recertification is proficiency testing (Section III.1.b., above). Since AFTE certification is a reflection of a certificant’s continued competency in the relevant subject area(s) during each five-year recertification cycle, it is reasonable to expect that AFTE will monitor a certificant’s proficiency testing to ensure annual compliance. Therefore, beginning 2015, all certificants will be required to annually report the status of their proficiency testing in the subject area(s) in which they are certified.

Reporting will be made using the single-page Proficiency Test Status Reporting form, which will be due annually by June 30th for proficiency tests taken the previous year. The first round of forms from all AFTE certificants will be accepted by the Certification Committee between January 1 and June 30, 2015 for the 2014 calendar year. All relevant proficiency tests will be reported on a single form: one form per certificant, per year. All of the relevant proficiency tests taken over the five-year certification cycle will also be summarized on the Recertification Application submitted prior to the applicant’s recertification date.

If an applicant’s Recertification Application is due prior to June 30th of a given year, no Proficiency Test Status Reporting form needs to be submitted for this 5th (final) year, as long as the previous year’s (the final year of the recertification cycle) proficiency tests are documented on the application. The Proficiency Test Status Reporting forms will be reviewed by a member of the Certification Committee designated by the Committee Chairperson. No additional fees are required when the Proficiency Test Status Reporting form is submitted. Failure to submit the Proficiency Test Status Reporting form by the June 30th deadline may result in the suspension of certification until the form is received. Only those proficiency tests that are relevant to the applicable areas of certification (e.g. firearm identification, toolmark identification, and/or distance determination) should be reported. For example, proficiency tests in serial number restoration or footwear/tire impression/print identification are not directly related to the toolmark identification discipline and should not be reported in lieu of, or in addition to, a conventional toolmark proficiency test.

Counting of Proficiency Tests for Recertification

Proficiency tests for a relevant subject area taken the same year that the certificant became certified in that area do not need to be reported; however, it is important to remember that a total of five proficiency tests must be completed prior to the recertification deadline. This may mean that proficiency tests taken during the calendar year that certification was first awarded will need to be included, depending on when the certificant’s recertification deadline falls in the calendar year.

For example, if an applicant became certified in Firearm Evidence Examination and Identification in October 2014 and they did not take a firearm identification proficiency test in 2014 (because, for instance, their laboratory counted their certification examination as their external proficiency test for that year), they could start counting their five annual proficiency tests beginning in 2015 as long as the fifth test was completed in 2019 prior to October (their five-year recertification deadline). Conversely, if the applicant became certified in May 2014 and successfully passed a proficiency test in 2014, either prior to or after attaining certification, they could count this as their first test for recertification in order to avoid having to rush to complete their fifth proficiency test in 2019 before May. This discretion in choosing when to start counting applicable proficiency tests applies only to the first recertification cycle; counting of proficiency tests for all subsequent recertification cycles will begin with the next applicable proficiency test taken after the last one counted for the previous cycle.

Timeliness of Proficiency Testing

The Certification Committee recognizes that occasionally, due to circumstances beyond the control of the applicant, a particular proficiency test may not be completed in the same year in which it was assigned or for which it was intended by the applicant or the applicant’s laboratory. Such situations will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the Committee, but in general, these “late” proficiency tests will be accepted as long as they are completed by the end of the calendar year following the year for which they were intended and the applicant has a reasonable explanation as why the delay could not be avoided (procrastination is not a justifiable explanation). Even if an extension is granted, the applicant must still complete at least five proficiency tests per certified subject area for the five-year recertification period.

Failure of Relevant Proficiency Tests

If a certificant learns they have failed a proficiency test (i.e. reported any result subsequently deemed to be unacceptable by either the test provider or reviewing body) in any of the relevant subject areas in which they are certified, they must report it to the Certification Committee within thirty (30) days using the Proficiency Test Status Reporting Form. The specific point in time at which a certificant “learns” of an unsatisfactory result for one of their proficiency tests may vary depending on the circumstances and their employer’s specific policies and procedures on the matter, but generally this time frame will be considered to be at or near the conclusion of any internal or external (e.g. ASCLD/LAB Proficiency Review Committee) review process.

Upon notification of an unacceptable proficiency test result, the certificant's certification in the affected subject area will be placed in suspension by the Committee until the member submits documentation showing they have successfully remediated the failed proficiency test, including a brief description of the remediation process and details regarding the required proficiency or competency test. In such cases, the certificant will have a maximum of six months from the time they learn of the failed result to successfully remediate the test (take and pass a new competency or proficiency test, internal or external, as prescribed or allowed by their laboratory’s policies and procedures) and to notify the Committee of the remediation results.  Extensions to this deadline may be granted under unusual circumstances, but, as stated above, procrastination is not a valid excuse.

If successfully remediated, the remediated test result may be used to satisfy the recertification proficiency testing requirement in place of the failed test for the year it was originally intendedin order for it to count toward recertification for the year it was originally intended. For example, if a member certified in Firearm Evidence Examination and Identification discovers in late 2014 that they received an unacceptable result on their 2014 firearm identification proficiency test and they successfully remediate a new test in early 2015 (within six months), the remediated test result may be used as their required proficiency test for 2014 when they apply for recertification at the end of their five-year cycle. An additional proficiency test in this subject area would still be required for 2015. If a failed proficiency test is successfully remediated, the failed test does not need to be included in the summary on the certificant’s recertification application that is submitted to the Committee at the end of the 5-year recertification cycle. The period of suspension and remediation will not extend the recertification deadline for the affected 5-year cycle.

Suspension of certification will only apply to the area(s) of certification related to the unsatisfactory proficiency test result(s).  If the suspended certificant is only certified in the affected area, their name will be removed from the list of certified members on the AFTE website during the period of suspension. If certified in multiple subject areas, any signifiers arter the certificat's name indicating they are certified in the affected area(s) will be removed.  The certificant’s relevant information will be restored to the list of certified members on the AFTE website if and when the suspension is lifted by the Committee. If a member’s certification is currently in suspension, this information will not be publicly released; however, AFTE may be compelled to release the details of a member’s certification status to an attorney if the Association is served with a valid subpoena or court order, as described in AFTE Policy Letter #14 (“Release of Member Information”). During the period of suspension, the suspended member must avoid giving the impression (expressed or implied) that they are currently AFTE certified in the affected subject area(s) on any documentary record (e.g., résumé, C.V., biographical summary, etc.) or during court testimony.

Failure to successfully remediate a failed proficiency test within the prescribed time period or having one or more unacceptably “late” proficiency tests during the five-year recertification cycle may result in the revocation of certification in the affected subject area(s). If the failed proficiency test is successfully remediated in the prescribed time period, all records relating to the failed test and suspension of certification will be purged by the Committee upon notification. A record of a failed proficiency test will only be retained if the test is not successfully remediated and leads to the revocation of certification.

A certificant may voluntarily relinquish their certification(s) for any reason (e.g. change in work assignment, retirement, etc.) by notifying the Chairperson of the Certification Committee in writing. If a certificant cannot meet the annual proficiency testing obligation for any relevant subject area(s), it is the duty of the certificant to immediately tender their resignation from certified status in the affected area(s) to the Certification Committee or request a voluntary leave (see below) from their certification(s) until such time that they are able to comply.  If a certificant fails to meet the annual proficiency testing obligation, does not promptly communicate this information to the Committee, and thereafter continues to claim certified status, their certification(s) will be immediately revoked by the Committee.

If a certificant is faced with a situation in which they will not be actively engaged in the field of firearm and toolmark examination and therefore will not be able to meet the obligations required to recertify, yet do not want to relinquish their certification(s) entirely, they may choose to take a voluntary leave from their certification(s) indefinitely. Examples of such situations may include: transitioning from salaried employment to retirement, military deployment, change in employment status, leaves of absence, or reassignment or promotion to a different (non-firearm and/or toolmark related) laboratory discipline or job function. A voluntary leave will have the effect of placing the certificant’s certification(s) on hold, and will not be considered punitive in nature.

A certificant who is in good standing and is actively participating in the recertification process is considered by the Association to be “active”.  Certificants who are on voluntary leave from their certification(s) will be considered “voluntarily inactive”. A certificant’s current status will be indicated in the list of certified members on the AFTE website.

In order to take a voluntary leave from their certified status, certificants must make a formal request in writing to the Certification Committee Chairperson.  The leave period shall take effect on the date of receipt of the request, or another date specified by the certificant.  Requests to begin a period of leave retroactively will be considered only under unusual circumstances (e.g. the certificant has suffered a debilitating injury or illness and is unable to communicate their request for deferment for an extended period of time), but should generally involve an extended period of documented time away from work. Furthermore, certificants must agree to comply with the following conditions during the period of leave:

  1. They must not be actively working in the field of firearm and toolmark identification. “Work” is defined in Section II, above.
  2. They must not state or imply that they are currently certified on any documentary record (e.g., résumé, C.V., biographical summary dated after the beginning of the voluntary suspension period, etc.) or during testimony in any legal proceeding. They may, however, indicate they were (past tense) certified during a specified time period in which their certification was active.    

Certificants on voluntarily leave from their certification(s) who do not comply with the above conditions may have their certification(s) permanently revoked by the Committee.      

If a certificant voluntarily resigns their AFTE membership or allows it to lapse during a period in which they are on voluntary leave from their certification(s), they must reactivate their AFTE membership and be a member in good standing before they may request to have their certification(s) reinstated. When certification is reactivated, the certificant must fulfill the time remaining from the five-year recertification cycle they were in when they became inactive. For example, if a certificant was three years, two months, and five days into their recertification cycle when their certification officially became voluntarily inactive, and their certification was reactivated exactly five years later, their new recertification date would be calculated as being one year, nine months, and 25 days from their reactivation date (five years total of “active” time). Therefore, in this case, the certificant would be responsible for submitting a recertification packet by the new recertification deadline that documented sufficient qualifying activities that took place both before and after the leave period. If the certificant chooses to participate in qualifying activities during the leave period, these activities will also be counted toward recertification if they are documented in the certificant’s recertification packet. However, even if the certificant participates in qualifying activities during their leave period, they must still remember to comply with conditions 1. and 2. above.

The schedule for proficiency testing will potentially be reset depending on the certificant’s reactivation date. In order to meet the proficiency testing requirement, certificants who do not complete an annual proficiency test for the partial 12-month period leading up to the beginning date of their voluntary leave will have until the end of the time remaining in the interrupted 12-month period that immediately follows their reactivation date to complete a proficiency test that will count for that 12-month period.

For example, a certificant’s last recertification date was 10/26/13 (i.e. their next recertification date would normally be 10/26/18) and in 2015 they choose to take a leave from their certifications in all three areas due to retirement. The voluntary leave period goes into effect on 4/12/15. Over two years later, the certificant decides to reactivate their certifications. The reactivation becomes effective on 7/5/17. Therefore, the certificant was 1 year, six months, and 17 days into their 5-year recertification cycle before their leave, and has 3 years, 5 months, and 13 days remaining upon reactivation. Their new recertification date will be 12/18/20. The certificant took qualifying proficiency tests in 2013 and 2014, but did not take any in 2015. They would therefore have 8 months and 18 days (the remainder of a year following 4/12, the date the leave period began in 2015) from their reactivation date to complete the necessary proficiency tests for that fragmented year. In this hypothetical case, this new proficiency testing deadline following the certificant’s reactivation would be 3/21/18 and then annually by 3/21 henceforth.

The Voluntary Leave from Certification policy will take effect on January 1, 2015.  Requests for voluntary leave prior to this date will not be considered.

(Effective 7/17/2014. This point schedule may be applied to in-progress recertification cycles that began prior to this date.)

In order to qualify for recertification, the certificant must accumulate, by the end of the five-year recertification period, a minimum of 150 CEUs from participation in any of the activities listed under categories A. and/or B., below.

Supporting documentation must be provided by the applicant for all activities being claimed for CEU credit. Types of documentation listed under “Acceptable documentation” in the categories below are given as guidelines; however, other forms of documentation will be accepted as long as they give sufficient details to support the specific activity being claimed. The CEU maximums listed below refer to the maximum number of points allowed for each five-year recertification period.

A. Training Received

  1. General Training:

    Attendance at AFTE, Regional AFTE, NIBIN, Study Groups, or other meetings dedicated to the field of firearm and toolmark examination (actual hours of attendance for presented material only, exclusive of snack/meal breaks, etc.); or relevant professional development courses, workshops, seminars, and webinars (e.g. Daubert & Frye, courtroom demeanor, ethics, industry tours, etc.) = 1 CEU/hour of training (no maximum). Does not include SHOT Show®, armorer courses, or gunsmithing programs (see 2. & 3. below). Acceptable documentation: Certificates of attendance, course outlines and announcements, meeting agendas, registration receipts, or other evidence of attendance.
     
    1. Viewing video recordings of annual AFTE training seminars = 0.5 CEUs/per recorded presentation, 24 CEUs max./recertification period. Credit cannot be claimed for viewing recordings of an AFTE seminar which the applicant attended in person and claims credit for under A.1. above. Required documentation: Completed and signed Video Training Summary form, which must include a minimum 250-word synopsis of each presentation viewed.
       
  2. Attendance at the Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade ShowSM (SHOT Show®):

    The AFTE Certification Committee recognizes that there is a significant value in SHOT Show® attendance, including personal contact with manufacturer representatives, question and answer opportunities, product literature received, the hands-on opportunity to learn about new products, and the opportunity to develop personal contacts as future sources of assistance. As a result, the Certification Committee has determined that recertification credit for SHOT Show® exhibit hall attendance will be accepted at a rate of one CEU per day of attendance, up to a maximum of three CEUs for the five-year recertification period. Acceptable documentation: Copy of registration receipt or attendee badge.
     
  3. Armorer Courses and Gunsmithing Programs:

    Attendance and completion of armorer courses = 2 CEUs/course, 4 CEUs max.; Completion of an armorer school or gunsmithing program (a formalized series of courses/lessons) = 10 CEUs/program, 10 CEUs max. Acceptable documentation: Certificate(s) of completion.
     

B. Training Provided and Professional Contributions

  1. Instruction and Training Provided (Except for c., includes actual instruction time, not supervision or administrative time)
     
    1. Teaching a relevant workshop or class

      1 CEU/hour, 20 CEUs/year max., 40 max./recertification period

      [Acceptable documentation: Copy of certificate of participation or workshop agenda/lesson plan]
       
    2. Providing training to new examiner(s) as primary trainer (≥50% of time spent in this role) or providing training in specialized topics (e.g. providing supplemental training/instruction to laboratory trainees, either internal or external to the applicant’s laboratory; providing a block of instruction at the National Firearms Examiner Academy or similar training program, etc.)

      Primary trainer = 24 CEUs/year, 48 max.

      [Acceptable documentation: Letter or other documentation from employing agency describing the scope of training and dates provided]

      Specialized topic instructor = 1 CEU/hour, 20 CEUs/year max., 40 max./topic/recertification period

      [Acceptable documentation: Letter or other documentation from venue agency or institution giving a brief description of the training, including dates provided, topic(s) covered, and duration]
       
    3. Coordinating or planning a seminar or workshop in relevant subject matter areas (e.g. AFTE training seminar host committee, hosting a study group meeting, etc.)

      8 CEUs/day, 24 max.

      [Acceptable documentation: Copy of workshop announcement or agenda/lesson plan]
       
  2. Presentations and Publications

    1. Presentation of research paper/article at AFTE or other scientific association meeting*

      Presentation (audio/visual) = 16 CEUs/topic, 32 max.; Poster presentation = 8 CEUs/topic, 16 max.

      *If the same presentation or poster topic is given at more than one meeting, including those types indicated under VII.B.2.b. (below), CEU credit can only be claimed once. Credit cannot be claimed for presenting a published article if applicant is seeking CEU credit under VII.B.2.d. (below). Affected applicants may choose to seek credit under VII.B.2.a. or VII.B.2.d. (but not both) in the same recertification period.

      [Acceptable documentation: Copy of meeting agenda with presentation listed or speaker certificate of appreciation]

    2. Presentations at regional meetings (e.g. study groups, Regional AFTE meetings, etc.) related to subject matter areas*

      5 CEUs/presentation, 10 CEUs max.

      *If the same presentation is given at more than one meeting, including those types indicated under VII.B.2.a. (above), CEU credit can only be claimed once. Credit cannot be claimed for presenting a published article if applicant is seeking CEU credit under VII.B.2.d. (below). Affected applicants may choose to seek credit under VII.B.2.a. or VII.B.2.b. or VII.B.2.d. for the same presented material in a single recertification period.

      [Acceptable documentation: Copy of meeting agenda with presentation listed]

    3. Presentations to schools, civic service groups, and governmental organizations or committees (including citizen’s academies) related to subject matter areas*

      2 CEUs/presentation, 10 CEUs max.

      *Multiple (repeating) presentations of the same content given in the same day at the same venue count as one presentation.

      [Acceptable documentation: Copy of correspondence (email or otherwise)  with presentation organizer confirming participation or presentation announcement]

    4. Authorship or co-authorship of article published in AFTE Journal or other peer-reviewed journal*

      Published article = 16 CEUs/topic, 32 max.; Published case report or technical report = 8 CEUs/topic, 16 max.

      *CEU credit cannot be claimed for a published article if applicant is seeking CEU credit under VII.B.2.a. (above). Affected applicants may choose to seek credit under VII.B.2.a. or VII.B.2.d. (but not both) in the same recertification period.

      [Acceptable documentation: Copy of table of contents page from journal with article listed]

    5. Authorship or co-authorship of a new relevant book chapter or book

      Chapter = 20 CEUs/chapter, 40 max.

      [Acceptable documentation: Copies of title page, copyright page showing date of publication, first page of chapter, and/or first page of the section authored by the applicant, if different from first pages of chapter]

      Book = 40 CEUs/book, 40 max.

      [Acceptable documentation: Copy of title page from book including author's/applicant's name and copyright page showing date of publication]

    6. Update or revision of an existing relevant book chapter or book

      Chapter = 5 CEUs/chapter, 10 max.

      [Acceptable documentation: Copies of title page, copyright page showing date of publication, first page of chapter, and/or first page of the section authored by the applicant, if different from first pages of chapter]

      Book = 10 CEUs/book, 20 max.

      [Acceptable documentation: Copy of title page from book including author's/applicant's name and copyright page showing date of publication]

    7. Editing a technical article* or book in subject matter areas for publication

      Article = 5 CEUs/article, 20 max.

      *CEU credit cannot be claimed for editing articles for the AFTE Journal if applicant is seeking CEU credit under VII.B.3.a. (below) as a member of the AFTE Editorial Committee. Affected applicants may choose to seek credit under VII.B.2.g. or VII.B.3.a. (but not both) in the same recertification period. This rule does not apply to Editorial Committee members when they edit articles for publications other than the AFTE Journal.

      [Acceptable documentation: Copy of assignment notification (email correspondence or otherwise) from editor of publication or copy of completed AFTE manuscript review form]

      Book = 10 CEUs/book, 20 max.

      [Acceptable documentation: Copy of email or other correspondence from editor or publisher of book indicating work performed]

  3. AFTE Service and Related Contributions

    1. Serving as a member or chairperson of an AFTE committee (Standing or ad hoc)* or as a member of the AFTE Board of Directors

      Committee member: 5 CEUs/committee/ year, 10 CEUs max. per committee

      Committee chairperson: 10 CEUs/committee/year, 20 CEUs max. per committee

      Board of Directors member: 10 CEUs/year, 20 CEUs max.

      If involved in multiple AFTE committees, a maximum of 30 CEUs total may be claimed per recertification period.

      *CEU credit cannot be claimed for being a member of the AFTE Editorial Committee if applicant is seeking CEU credit under VII.B.2.g. (above) for editing AFTE Journal articles. Affected applicants may choose to seek credit under VII.B.2.g. or VII.B.3.a. (but not both) in a single recertification period. This rule does not apply to Editorial Committee members when they edit articles for publications other than the AFTE Journal.

      [Acceptable documentation: Copy of relevant pages of AFTE News showing notice of appointment or printed page from AFTE website showing name associated with committee or Board position]

    2. Serving as a member or chairperson of a state or federal organization that is related either directly [e.g. Scientific Working Group for Firearms and Toolmarks (SWGGUN), Firearm and Toolmarks Subcommittee of the Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC)] or indirectly [e.g. Forensic Science Standards Board (FSSB), OSAC], to the discipline of firearm and toolmark examination and identification.

      Member: 5 CEUs/committee/ year, 10 CEUs max.

      Chairperson: 10 CEUs/committee/year, 20 CEUs max.

      [Acceptable documentation: Copy of email or other correspondence from oversight agency or organization indicating appointment and length of term]

    3. Helping to collect and disseminate legal documents relating to challenges to the admissibility of courtroom testimony regarding firearm and/or toolmark identification, such as motions to dismiss, affidavits, declarations, rebuttals, etc.

      5 CEUs/case, 10 CEUs max.

      [Acceptable documentation: Copies of emails chronicling the distribution of these documents]

    4. Appearing as an expert witness and providing court testimony in defense of the field of firearm and/or toolmark identification during admissibility hearings, such as Daubert/Frye hearings, 402 hearings, etc., and/or providing courtroom assistance (other than testimony arising from routine firearm and toolmark examinations) to legal counsel defending the field of firearm and/or toolmark identification in such a hearing.

      Courtroom testimony = 10 CEUs/case, 20 CEUs max.

      [Acceptable documentation: Copies of subpoenas, Notices to Appear, and/or first few pages of transcripts of testimony]

      Courtroom assistance to counsel = 5 CEUs/case, 10 CEUs max.

      [Acceptable documentation: Letter or copies of correspondence from attorney indicating scope of assistance]

    5. Contributions to the AFTE Glossary, either in the form of a new term/definition or the modification of an existing term/definition, which have been adopted by the Glossary Sub-Committee. The term and/or definition may be adopted either in its submitted form or in modified form, as determined by the Glossary Sub-Committee.*

      2 CEUs/glossary term, 4 max.

      * CEU credit cannot be claimed if applicant is a member of the AFTE Glossary Sub-Committee.

      [Acceptable documentation: Copy of email correspondence from Chair of Glossary Sub-Committee acknowledging acceptance of submission]

  4. Research Participant or Advisor

    1. Serving as a participant in a validation or empirical research study that has been published and/or presented at a scientific association meeting

      5 CEUs/study, 15 max.

      [Acceptable documentation: Correspondence (email or otherwise) from primary researcher indicating applicant’s participation in study]

    2. Serving in a support or advisory capacity to a validation or empirical research study that has been published and/or presented at a scientific association meeting

      5 CEUs/study, 15 max.

      [Acceptable documentation: Correspondence (email or otherwise) from primary researcher describing applicant’s role in study]

    3. Providing guidance to graduate-level college students on research studies designed to provide relevant information to the profession

      5 CEUs/study, 15 max.

      [Acceptable documentation: Copy of completed report, student progress report, or correspondence from college or university acknowledging applicant’s participation]

  5. Participation in an Accreditation Process

    1. Serving as an assessor, specifically in the area of firearm and/or toolmark examination/identification, in a formal external audit of a laboratory for accreditation purposes

      1 CEU/day, 5 CEUs/audit, 20 max.

      [Acceptable documentation: Copy of email correspondence from lead assessor confirming participation]

Note: Additional relevant activities not listed above may be considered for CEU credit by the Certification Committee. However, any such request must be submitted in writing to the Chairperson six months prior to the recertification date of the applicant’s current certification. If an applicant has any question to as to whether or not a specific activity qualifies for credit under any of the above activity categories, they may contact the Certification Committee Chairperson for guidance.

Exceptions to the above policy may be made under special (i.e. unusual) circumstances, to be considered on a case-by-case basis. The extent and conditions of any such exceptions will be determined by, and at the discretion of, the Chairperson of the Certification Committee with the concurrence of a majority of the Committee members. A record of any such exceptions will be maintained to ensure continuity and fairness.

The below fees are required at the time of application; applications will not be acted upon before payment is received. If the applicant is in doubt that they will meet the requirements for recertification, they may submit their application to the Certification Committee Chairperson for an informal review prior to the submission of their final application. However, the Certification Committee is not responsible for ensuring that an applicant has sufficient CEUs for recertification. The fees are as follows (U.S. Dollars):

  • Recertification: $25.00 per subject area per five-year recertification cycle
    • (Once the application is approved, this fee is good for up to five years, pending successful annual completion and reporting of the required proficiency tests)
  • Late fee*: $25.00 per subject area

Fees can be paid either by PayPal, personal check, or agency purchase order. Cash is not accepted. PayPal is the method of payment preferred by the Committee. Checks must be made payable to AFTE. Purchase orders requiring an invoice from AFTE should be addressed to the AFTE Treasurer.

PayPal payments can be processed by going to the AFTE Online Store.

Once the application has been submitted and the applicant has been determined to be eligible for recertification, these fees are not refundable. If the applicant is determined to have not met the requirements for recertification, all fees will be refunded minus a $25.00 processing fee.

*Fee applies to applications submitted more than 30 days after the due date but no more than 90 days late. See Section IV, “Late Filing” above.

Please document all relevant training and activities for the period from your last certification/recertification date to the present using the forms below. These forms are available in two different formats: an MS Excel worksheet version and an Adobe PDF fillable form version. The Excel version has more automated (macro) features but also a few more idiosyncrasies; so, if you are comfortable with working with Excel and have access to the program, use the Excel version. If not, you may prefer to use the PDF version. The PDF version has a basic auto sum feature, but other than that all calculations must be done by the user. The PDF form can also be printed out and filled in by hand for the technology adverse.

Excel version:

Excel Recertification Application Packet
(Microsoft Excel 2010 workbook)
[Includes Instructions, Recertification Application, and Video Training Summary Form]

PDF versions:

Recertification Form Instructions

Recertification Application
(PDF fillable form; Adobe Reader XI or higher recommended)

PDF Video Training Summary Form
(PDF fillable form; Adobe Reader XI or higher recommended)
[Optional; for documenting activities related to Section VII.A.1.a. only]

Note: If you are approaching your next recertification date and have prepared your application based on the original recertification point schedule and application (prior to the revision date of this policy), you may apply the original point schedule to any qualifying activities that are completed through December 31, 2014, even if your next recertification application is not due until sometime after 2014. If doing so, please note this on the application. The original recertification application will not be accepted after December 31, 2018.

Original Recertification Requirements

Proficiency Testing Status Reporting Form

Please use this form to report the results of proficiency tests relevant to your areas of certification. Forms are due annually by June 30th for documenting proficiency tests taken the previous year. 

Proficiency Testing Status Reporting Form
(PDF fillable form; Adobe Reader XI or higher recommended)