Water-Based Systems Layout

The Water-Based Systems Layout exam is delivered on a computer at Pearson Vue Testing Centers. Computer-based testing (CBT) allows NICET to extend several benefits to our customers: more flexible exam dates and appointment times; immediate scheduling and confirmation; and quicker exam scoring. For more information about taking the Standard Model exam, please click here.

This certification program is for engineering technicians engaged in the layout and detailing of water-based fire protection systems that must meet code and statutory requirements. Areas covered include plan and submittal preparation, applications of various types of water-based systems, equipment selection and application, and technical management of layout projects. Technical areas covered include types of water-based systems and their components; water supply requirements; hydraulics; building features, hazards, and occupancy considerations; system installation, inspection, and maintenance requirements; applicable codes and standards; and contract administration.

Water-Based Systems Layout comprises four levels of certification. Level I is designed for trainees and entry-level technicians who perform limited job tasks under frequent supervision. Level II is for technicians who perform routine tasks under general daily supervision. Level III is for technicians who can work independently with standards, plans, and specifications to produce complete plans for typical/standard systems for approval. Level IV is for senior-level technicians whose work includes complex or specialized systems and supervision of others. Certification requirements for each Level build on those of lower Levels: Certification at Levels II, III, or IV does not require prior certification at the lower level, but it does require that the certification requirements of the lower levels have been met.

Application Information

Application Package (apply for testing and certification)

   Individual Sections of the Application

Certification Requirements Chart
Application Procedures
Rescheduling Form

Take a Practice Test

Content Outlines
The major responsibilities, tasks, knowledge, and skills associated with each level of certification and serves as the outline of exam content.

*Starting October 1, 2018, the exam content for Levels I, II and III will be updated to the following references: NFPA 13 2016, NFPA 13D 2016, NFPA 13R 2016, NFPA 14 2016, NFPA 20 2016, NFPA 25 2014, and NFPA 291 2016. The Level IV exams will be updated before the end of the year.

Until October 1, 2018 Starting October 1, 2018
Level I Level I
Level II Level II
Level III General Plans Preperations Level III
Level III Hydraulics and Water Supply Planning  
Level IV - Will remain the same until further notice Level IV - Coming Soon!


Reference Materials
Listing of references allowed in testing centers and some books that might be useful in preparing for an exam.

Until October 1, 2018 Starting October 1, 2018
Level I Level I
Level II Level II
Level III General Plans Preparation Level III General Plans Preparation
Level III Hydraulics and Water Supply Planning Level III Hydraulics and Water Supply Planning
Level IV - Will remain the same until further notice Level IV - Coming Soon!


Water-Based Systems Layout Standard Model/CBT Application  
Level I $225
Level II $290
Level III  
General Plan Preparation $285
Hydraulics and Water Supply $285
Level IV $400
Rescheduling more than 24 hours before your exam date is complimentary in the same testing window. Please contact PearsonVUE.

Within 24 hours, after your scheduled date or for a new testing window there is an additional fee equal to one half of the original testing fee.



What is the Test Like?

Water-Based Systems Layout Exams
Level I Exam
(92 questions, 125 min.)
Level II Exam
(108 questions, 185 min.)
Level III: General Plan Preparation Exam
(58 questions, 170 min.)
Level III: Hydraulics and Water Supply Planning Exam
(50 questions, 230 min.)
Level IV Exam
(70 questions, 290 min. including a 20-minute break)

The exam will be administered on a computer at a proctored test center managed by a test administration company. These exams are normally closed book; any exception to this policy will be stated in the test information for that program. The content outline for the program will serve as the guide to what will be covered on the test.

Each test session begins with a tutorial allowing you to get used to the process. During the test, you will see one question at a time, but can move forward or backwards to view or review other questions. There may be a graphic or text box to be viewed by clicking a button. Correct answers will usually be selected by clicking the boxes next to the answers. In a few questions, you may be presented a picture and asked to click on the part of the picture that correctly answers the question. Questions may have more than one correct answer, but in those cases, you will be told how many answers to choose. You will receive your score at the conclusion of your test session.

To apply, click here.


A calculator is built into the exam. Please see the CBT Calculator Preview for information about the onscreen calculator. Candidates may not bring any additional calculators into the testing room.

Special Testing Accommodations

Applicants with a disability as defined in Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act who may be placed at a disadvantage when taking a NICET certification examination may request a testing accommodation by contacting test@nicet.org prior to scheduling testing.  Each request will be evaluated individually and every effort will be made to offer reasonable accommodations to qualifying applicants. There will be no additional charges to qualifying applicants for these accommodations. NICET will contact the applicant to arrange a mutually suitable accommodation.

Archived Work Element Format