- The fire service has evolved from an organization whose single responsibility was fire suppression to an emergency services organization that provides fire inspection, fire prevention, fire code enforcement, fire investigations, emergency medical services (basic through advance life support), hazardous materials mitigation, and specialized rescue operations. With these increased responsibilities come some of the greatest response challenges in our history. Professionalism is the key to our present and to our future (Strickland, R. J. 1995).;Today, the fire service is changing rapidly from a purely hands on, skill-building career to one of a sophisticated public service that deals with hazardous materials, deadly structural and wild-land fires, and emergency medical situations. This study has analyzed the fire service accreditation process of the paid professional departments in the western region of the United States.;The Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI) is the first fire service accreditation agency of which its sole purpose is to evaluate fire departments in a specialized, vocational educational setting. Also, the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET) is an agency that evaluates academic programs on the institutional level such as colleges, universities and other types of post-secondary schools. Both agencies were examined in their evaluations of the accreditation process and its criteria in three specific areas: (1) finance, (2) curriculum, and (3) instructional staff.;The effects of these criteria were reviewed through questionnaires completed by two main groups: (1) city-county managers who supervise fire departments and, (2) various levels of fire chiefs in paid, not volunteer departments, as the other important group. Data were gathered from fire departments within the western states of Nevada, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Idaho, Alaska, Montana, Oregon, and Washington.;The results of the critical analysis of CFAI and ACCET codes and those of related agencies were evaluated to determine if accreditation standards address the potential effects on the curriculum development, finance, and the instructional staff of a fire department. The results of the survey of city-county managers and fire chiefs were used to develop a profile of expert opinions regarding the adequacy and efficacy of these standards. The benefits of accreditation thus identified were used to recommend a model accreditation condition for heightened academic improvements; upgrading a fire department's status; providing local, state, and national recognition; as well as boosting morale within the fire department's administration and staff.