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Executive Fire Officer Program Requirements and How to Apply

Prospective Executive Fire Officer (EFO) Program candidates must participate within a structured, equitable and competitive selection/application process. The EFO Program target audience includes current and emerging executive leaders in fire and emergency service organizations as described below.

EFO Program application update


The EFO Program application period has closed – 500 applications have been received.

If you are accepted into the program, you will be required to attend one of the R5201 course offering dates scheduled below – please refer to EFO Handbook PDF.

  • July 8-19, 2024
  • July 22-Aug 2, 2024
  • July 29-Aug 9, 2024
  • Aug. 12-23, 2024
  • Aug. 19-30, 2024
  • Sept. 16-27, 2024

If you have any questions about applying, please contact admissions at or 301-447-1524.

As a reminder, only the 6 required documents should be submitted with your EFO application.

The EFO Program ideal candidate


The ideal candidate should be a newly appointed department chief-level officer, or a senior/executive-level officer, selected by their department or organization. The candidate will have demonstrated progressive leadership roles and experience in various operational and administrative aspects of emergency services.


All applicants must exhibit strong leadership qualities, including the ability to inspire and motivate others, make informed decisions, and effectively manage personnel and resources. The ideal candidate should possess excellent communication and interpersonal skills to interact with diverse stakeholders and collaborate in a team-oriented environment.

Education and professional development:

All applicants must possess a baccalaureate degree from a nationally or regionally accredited institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. The ideal candidate has or is planning to further their formal education and can demonstrate a commitment to ongoing professional development and lifelong learning.

Community engagement:

The ideal candidate is an active member of a nationally recognized fire and emergency medical services (EMS) organization. They should demonstrate engagement with local community organizations, as well as a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in fire and EMS.

Professional ethics and integrity:

All applicants shall model and uphold high ethical standards and demonstrate integrity, professionalism and a commitment to ethical conduct.

Application window

Applicants must submit a complete application to the National Emergency Training Center Online Admissions Application from Jan. 1, 2024 to Feb. 29, 2024. Only complete applications received by Feb. 29, 2024, will be processed for acceptance or nonacceptance into the EFO Program.

Applications will be capped at 500; therefore, applicants are encouraged to apply early.

A complete EFO Program application must contain all the items listed below. Applicants should use the checklist to assemble their package prior to beginning their online application.

Important note: The online application will time out at approximately 14 minutes and will not save; therefore, applicants are encouraged to have all materials prepared and ready for upload at the time they begin their application. Attachments should be uploaded as PDFs, and the maximum size for each PDF is 1 megabyte.

Questions regarding the online application should be directed to the admissions assistant, Crystal Arnold, at

Application package 6-item checklist

  1. A signed EFO Program participation contract PDF indicating that the applicant has reviewed the program handbook and understands the demands of the program.
  2. A letter of recommendation from the head of the sponsoring organization (chief of department, mayor, city manager, etc.) discussing how the candidate fits the ideals described above. The letter of recommendation will be used in the rating process and must refer to the ideal candidate description. Attach a PDF letter to the application.
  3. A resume of the applicant. The resume will be used in the rating process, so please review the ideal candidate description above. Attach a PDF resume to the application.
  4. A copy of the applicant's organizational chart, specifically identifying the position on the chart that the applicant holds. The organizational chart should indicate that the applicant is a chief-level or a senior/executive-level officer, relative to the size of the organization. Attach a PDF organizational chart to the application.
  5. A photocopy of the applicant's baccalaureate degree from a nationally or regionally accredited institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Attach a PDF copy of degree to the application.
  6. An essay that meets the requirements below must be attached to the application. Applicants are strongly encouraged to review the ideal candidate description very carefully and incorporate discussion of as many attributes as possible into the essay, since this may be the only place to demonstrate some of the ideal characteristics.

It is important that the essay instructions are followed as it will impact the overall applicant rating. Applicants may use grammar software or identify proofreading or writing support; however, plagiarism software will be used to detect plagiarism and the use of AI-generated content. Essays that contain blatant plagiarism and/or AI-generated content will not be considered for acceptance to the EFO Program. Attach a PDF essay to the application.

Carefully craft an essay that demonstrates how you are an ideal candidate for the EFO Program based on the description above and following the below requirements:

  • Limit the essay to 1,000 words or less.
  • Make sure it is free from grammatical or spelling errors.
  • Use clear, succinct and professional language.
  • Avoid using repetitive language and clichés.
  • Use transitional thoughts and sentences to tie ideas together.
  • Use Times New Roman font with 12-point size.
  • Format 1-inch margins on all sides of the document.
  • Ensure the essay is double-spaced throughout.