Volunteer Incentive Program

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Prerequisites for On-Campus Students

All National Fire Academy on-campus students must complete ICS 100 level and ICS 200 level training before arriving at the National Emergency Training Center. Read More


The Volunteer Incentive Program (VIP) is an intensive six-day educational opportunity designed specifically for volunteer and combination department emergency services personnel.

Since 1980, the National Fire Academy (NFA) has offered two-week courses year round on its Emmitsburg, Maryland, campus; these courses are considered the best available anywhere. The problem was that most volunteers couldn't take two weeks off to attend these courses.

With VIP, that has all changed!

The NFA has compressed course work into six days, or has devised new courses and tailored them to the special needs of volunteers, still maintaining content, quality, and integrity. VIP courses, offered during a "VIP Week" four times per fiscal year, also have recommended college accreditation through the American Council on Education (ACE).

Students have the opportunity to meet and exchange ideas and information with colleagues from across the country in an informal setting outside the classroom. This program, along with the other resources of the National Fire Academy, ensures a successful learning experience while keeping the time commitment to a minimum.

VIP Program Eligibility - Please Read before Applying!

Are you a volunteer in a volunteer or combination department?

If so, you are eligible to apply for the VIP program. Please review the student selection criteria for the course selected.

Are you a paid person in a predominantly volunteer combination department (more volunteers than career personnel)?

If so, you MAY be eligible to apply for the VIP program. In addition to your application, you will also need to:

  1. Provide a letter from the chief verifying predominantly volunteer combination department; and
  2. Provide a letter from the chief identifying how you will use the training requested to help the volunteers with whom you work.

Are you a paid person in a fully career department?

If so, you are NOT eligible to apply for the VIP program.

NOTE: Special consideration will be given to qualified volunteer chief officers who are accompanied by elected officials, i.e., city managers, elected board members, town/borough council members, village selectmen, township supervisors, or other allied professionals who are not fire service members. The elected official also must submit an application for the same course/same class session as the volunteer chief officer.


Each student receives a stipend to cover the cost of round-trip coach airfare or actual mileage not to exceed airfare from point of departure; whichever is less. Lodging, student materials, books, and ground transportation from/to airports in Washington, D.C., are provided by the National Fire Academy. Students staying on campus must purchase a meal ticket. The cost is $20 per day at our cafeteria (cost subject to change). You also may want to bring extra money for a class shirt, class picture, or other incidentals.


The Volunteer Incentive Program begins on Sunday morning with a student orientation at 8:00 a.m. Classes begin at 9:00 a.m. following orientation and continue through the following Friday at 4:00 p.m. Accepted students must travel to the NFA on the day before class begins (Saturday). Transportation arrangements should not be made until you receive an acceptance packet from the National Emergency Training Center Office of Admissions.

VIP Application Process

Complete FEMA Form 119-25-1, General Admissions Application (formerly FEMA Form 75-5) (May 2010 or later version).

VIP applications require the signature of the local chief, but no longer require the signature of the State Fire Training Director.

The VIP curriculum consists of the following courses:

Select a course link above for offering dates.

For information regarding course content, please refer to the individual course descriptions on this website. For information concerning VIP, please contact the NFA VIP Program Manager at (800) 238-3358, ext. 1333, or (301) 447-1333.