Position Task Book Design and Use
Position task books are designed primarily for the evaluation of individual performance or as a checklist for recertification, but they may also be used as a basis for on-the-job training.
Position Task Book Initiation
A Trainee must be qualified in any prerequisite position before the next level PTB can be initiated. A Trainee cannot be assigned to an incident unless they are designated as a Trainee on their Incident Qualification Card or other agency proof of certification.
Position Task Book Completion Timeframes
As of the publication date, the standards established in this edition of PMS 310-1 will be met by all participating agencies. Individuals who have begun the process of qualifying for a position under previous editions can continue to use those standards as long as they complete the process before the expiration deadlines as noted below.
Any individual who has begun the evaluation process need not take any newly required course(s) for that position. Additionally, personnel who are qualified in a position before the implementation of this revision may retain certification at the discretion of their agency. To qualify in any other position, the individual must meet the standards identified herein.
Position task books have a limited time in which they can be completed:
- A PTB is valid for 3 years from the day it is initiated. Upon documentation of the first task in the PTB, the 3-year time limit is reset from that new date.
- If the PTB is not completed in 3 years from the date of the PTB initiation (or first task being evaluated), the PTB will expire. A new PTB may be initiated. Prior experience documented in the expired PTB may be taken into account in completion of the new PTB at the discretion of the Certifying Official. All current qualification standards identified in this document must be applied at the time of the new PTB initiation
Position Task Book Sections
Accurate completion of PTBs is important to the qualification process. The introductory information in each PTB provides a brief description of how the PTB is to be used.
The front cover page includes the title of the position(s) and, if applicable, states that a wildfire or prescribed fire assignment is required before certification.
The cover also contains a block that includes information about the Trainee, the person initiating the PTB, and the date it was initiated. The home unit/agency or Incident Training Specialist (TNSP)—with approval from the home unit/agency—will enter this information.
The verification/certification page provides a record of the Final Evaluator’s recommendation and agency certification. The Final Evaluator will complete the verification section recommending certification and the Certifying Official at the home unit/agency, when appropriate, will complete the certification.
The left column contains a list of tasks that must be performed. If a specific standard (quality or quantity) is required, it will be specified in the task. Tasks within the PTB are numbered sequentially; however, the numbering does not indicate the order in which the tasks need to be performed or evaluated.
The bullets under each numbered task are examples or indicators of items or actions related to the task. The purpose of the bullets is to assist the Evaluator in evaluating the Trainee; the bullets are not all inclusive. Evaluate and initial only the tasks. Do not evaluate and initial each individual bullet.
The column labeled CODE contains a code that specifies the type of situation in which the task must be completed.
- Tasks labeled with an O can be completed in any situation (classroom, simulation, daily job, incident, prescribed fire, etc.) Assignment to an incident is not required.
- For example, an administrative officer, as a part of their regular job, may perform many of the tasks associated with a finance/administrative position for which they have been identified as a Trainee. In this case, an Evaluator may observe and document performance of the O task in the regular job setting.
- Tasks labeled with an I (incident) must be performed on an incident that is managed under the ICS. Types of incidents include wildland fire, structural fire, search and rescue, hazardous material, oil spill, or an emergency or nonemergency (planned or unplanned) event.
- Tasks labeled W (wildfire) must be performed on a wildfire incident.
- Tasks labeled RX (prescribed fire) must be performed on a prescribed fire incident.
- Tasks labeled W/RX (wildfire/prescribed fire) must be performed on a wildfire or prescribed fire incident.
- Tasks labeled R (rare event) such as accidents, injuries, or vehicle or aircraft crashes occur infrequently, and opportunities to evaluate performance in a real setting are limited. The Evaluator should determine, through interview, if the Trainee would be able to perform the task in a real situation.
The column labeled Evaluation Record # refers to the numbered evaluation records at the end of the PTB. Each Evaluator will complete an Evaluation Record and enter the number of that record to reference completed tasks.
The column on the right labeled Evaluator provides space for the Evaluator to initial and date when the task is completed. All tasks must be completed, initialed, and dated before the Trainee can be recommended for certification in the position.
The Evaluation Record (two pages at the end of the PTB) is for recording information about the type and complexity of the incident on which the evaluation was made and the recommendations of the Evaluator. Additional copies of the Evaluation Record can be downloaded at https://www.nwcg.gov/publications/position-taskbooks.
Position Task Book Responsibilities
Documentation of training, experience, and the qualification process is the responsibility of the home unit/agency. Documentation of training, experience, and the qualification process for contractors and their employees is the responsibility of the contractor, except where formal agreements are in place.
The home unit/agency is the designated agency that employs the individual. This could be at the local, state, regional, or national level. The Certifying Official from the home unit/agency has administrative authorization to manage the qualification system for that home unit/agency (see Certifying Official).
It is the responsibility of the home unit/agency to:
- Select Trainees, based upon the needs of the home unit/agency and agreements with cooperators.
- Ensure individuals selected as Trainees are qualified in any prerequisite position.
- Initiate and explain the purpose and proper use of the PTB, and the training, qualification, and certification process. Position task books can only be initiated by either the home unit/agency or a Training Specialist on an incident (with approval from the home unit/agency).
- Ensure the Trainee has the opportunity to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to perform the position. This includes completion of required training courses and on-the-job training assignments.
- Provide opportunities for nonincident (O) task evaluation.
- Track the progress of the Trainee.
- Ensure that the Trainee successfully completes any required training before being certified by the Certifying Official.
- Issue proof of certification as required by PMS 310-1. This proof is normally an incident qualification card.
The Trainee is the individual, approved by their agency, who is preparing to qualify for a position. The Trainee is eligible for formal, on-the-job training.
It is the responsibility of the Trainee to:
- Review and understand the instructions in the PTB.
- Meet with the Evaluator and/or Coach and identify desired goals and objectives for an assignment.
- Ensure readiness to perform the tasks of the position before undertaking a position performance assignment. This includes acquiring the knowledge and skills needed to perform the job tasks. On-the-job training assignments may assist in acquiring knowledge and skills.
- Provide background information (training and experience) to the Evaluator and/or Coach.
- Complete the PTB within the 3-year time limit. If the PTB is not completed in 3 years from the date of the PTB initiation (or first task being evaluated), the PTB will no longer be valid. A new PTB may be initiated, but all current qualification standards will then apply.
- Ensure an Evaluator completes the Evaluation Record, initials completed tasks, and enters a number in the Evaluation Record # column.
- Provide a copy of the completed PTB to the home unit/agency.
- Retain the original PTB. This is extremely important, as the PTB is the only record of task performance. A lost or destroyed PTB may require additional position performance assignments.
- Successfully complete any required training before being recommended for certification by a Final Evaluator.
- Provide proof of qualifications on an incident.
The Coach provides instruction to a Trainee. This may be in the classroom, on-the-job, or on an incident. While many of the requirements of the Coach are similar to those of an Evaluator, the roles of coaching and evaluating must remain separate:
- For example, a Coach may instruct a Trainee in pump operation tasks. When the Trainee appears to have mastered the tasks, the Coach can become the Evaluator and observe and record performance of the task. It is similar to instructing in the classroom and administering a test. The two functions are separate. They can be performed in sequence, but not at the same time.
It is the responsibility of the Coach to:
- Be qualified in the position or supervise the Trainee.
- Meet with the Trainee and determine their past experience and training, current qualifications, desired goals, and objectives of the assignment.
- Note: If a Coach determines that the Trainee does not meet the prerequisite required experience or does not have the knowledge and skills to perform the tasks of the position, then the position performance assignment must not continue. The Coach can provide on-the-job training and then recommend a position performance assignment at a later time during the same incident.
- Review the tasks in the PTB with the Trainee and explain the procedures that will be used in the training assignment and the objectives that should be met during the assignment. Reach agreement with the Trainee on the specific tasks that can be performed during the assignment.
- Document training assignment according to home unit/agency procedures..
The Training Specialist can be an individual from the home unit/agency who is responsible for training and qualifications, or an NWCG qualified Incident Training Specialist (TNSP) on an incident/event.
It is the responsibility of the Training Specialist to:
- Meet with the Trainee and determine the type of assignment necessary (position performance assignment or on-the-job training). Consider the Trainee’s past experience and training, current qualifications, desired goals, and objectives of the assignment.
- Note: If the Trainee does not meet the prerequisite required experience for the position or does not have the knowledge and skills to perform the tasks of the position, then the position performance assignment must not continue. If the individual meets the prerequisites but does not have the necessary knowledge and skills, it may be possible to provide on-the-job training and reinstate the performance assignment at a later time during the same incident.
- Identify opportunities for on-the-job training and position performance assignments that meet the Trainee’s needs and objectives.
- Work with the home unit/agency or appropriate personnel on the incident to identify and assign qualified Evaluators.
- Initiate a PTB only after obtaining approval from the Trainee’s home unit/agency.
- Document all on-the-job training and position performance assignments.
- Conduct periodic progress reviews to ensure assignments are proceeding as planned.
- Conduct a closeout interview with the Trainee and Evaluator to ensure that the PTB has been properly completed.
- Provide the NWCG Training Branch with feedback regarding training and qualifications issues related to Trainees, such as lack of basic knowledge of the job/position as a result of the NWCG training course they recently participated in as a prerequisite for their Trainee position. Provide this feedback by filling out an Evaluation form at https://www.nwcg.gov/course-evaluation-feedback.
The Evaluator is the person who actually observes the task(s) being performed and documents successful performance in the PTB. The Evaluator and the Coach may be the same person; however, the functions of coaching and evaluating must remain separate (see Coach).
It is the responsibility of the Evaluator to:
- Be qualified in the position being evaluated or supervise the Trainee. If the Evaluator supervises the Trainee, but is not qualified in the position, the Evaluator can sign off on tasks, but cannot function as the Final Evaluator.
- Meet with the Trainee and determine past experience and training, current qualifications, desired goals and objectives of the assignment.
- Note: If an Evaluator determines the Trainee does not meet the prerequisite required experience or does not have the knowledge and skills to perform the tasks of the position, then the position performance assignment must not continue. At the discretion of the Evaluator, and if the individual meets the prerequisite required experience, it may be possible to provide on-the-job training and reinstate the Trainee into the position performance assignment at a later time during the same incident.
- Review the tasks in the PTB with the Trainee and explain the procedures that will be used in the evaluation and the objectives that should be met during the assignment.
- Reach agreement with the Trainee on the specific tasks that can be performed and evaluated during the assignment.
- Accurately evaluate and record the demonstrated performance of tasks. This is the Evaluator’s most important responsibility; it provides for the integrity of the performance-based qualification system.
- Complete the appropriate Evaluation Record in the back of the PTB. If more than one position performance assignment is necessary, the Evaluator will complete an Evaluation Record for each assignment.
Although Evaluators must be either qualified (meaning qualified with currency) in the position being evaluated or supervise the Trainee, a Final Evaluator must be qualified in the Trainee position they are evaluating.
Only the Evaluator on the final position performance assignment (the assignment in which all remaining tasks have been evaluated and initialed) will complete the Final Evaluator’s Verification statement inside the front cover of the PTB recommending certification.
The Certifying Official from the home unit/agency must review and confirm the completion of the PTB and make a determination of agency certification. This determination should be based on the Trainee’s demonstration of position competencies and behaviors, as well as the completed PTB—which includes a Final Evaluator’s Verification. Only the Certifying Official from the home unit/agency has the authority to certify an individual’s qualifications.