Managing Officer Program

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Managing Officer Program

The National Fire Academy’s (NFA’s) Managing Officer Program is a multiyear curriculum that introduces emerging emergency services leaders to personal and professional skills in change management, risk reduction and adaptive leadership. Acceptance into the program is the first step in your professional development as a career or volunteer fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) manager, and includes all four elements of professional development: education, training, experience and continuing education.

How the Managing Officer Program benefits you

The Managing Officer Program can help you, as a first- or mid-level officer/supervisor, jump-start professional development early on in your career or volunteer service. You will build on foundational management and technical competencies, learning to address issues of interpersonal and cultural sensitivity, professional ethics, and outcome-based performance. On completion of the program, you will:

The Managing Officer Program consists of:

A certificate of completion for the Managing Officer Program is awarded after the successful completion of all courses and the capstone project.

Selection criteria for the Managing Officer Program

The selection criteria for the Managing Officer Program are based on service and academic requirements.

Service Requirement

At the time of application, you must be in a rank/position that meets either the Training or Experience requirements below. Your chief (or equivalent in nonfire organizations) verifies this training and experience through his or her signature on the application.

1. Training

You should have a strong course completion background and have received training that has exposed you to more than just local requirements, such as regional and state training with responders from other jurisdictions.

This training can be demonstrated in one of many forms, which may include, but not be limited to, the following:

  • Certification at the Fire Officer I level (based on National Fire Protection Association 1021, Standard for Fire Officer Professional Qualifications).
  • Credentialed at the Fire Officer designation through the Center for Public Safety Excellence.
  • Training at the fire or EMS leadership, management and supervisory level.
  • State/Regional symposiums, conferences and workshops supporting leadership, management and supervision.
  • Other training that supports the competencies identified for the Managing Officer in the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) Officer Development Handbook, Second Edition.

2. Experience

You must have experience as a supervising officer (such as fire operations, prevention, technical rescue, administration or EMS), which could include equivalent time as an “acting officer.” Your chief's signature on the application attests that you have supervised others.

Academic Requirement

To be considered for the Managing Officer Program, you must have:

Earned an associate degree from an accredited institution of higher education.


Earned a minimum of 60 college credit hours (or equivalent quarter-hours) toward the completion of a bachelor’s degree at an accredited institution of higher education.

In addition, you need to pass these courses before applying (available both locally and online through the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the NFA):

How to apply to the Managing Officer Program

You may apply online at any time during the year, but not later than April 15 for consideration in the next available session. We will review and consider applications received after April 15 for the following year.

A Student Identification Number (SID) is required to apply for NFA training. How to get a SID.

Attach the following documentation to your online application.

Files must be in Portable Document Format (PDF). The maximum size for each PDF is 1 MB. Tips to reduce PDF file size.

  1. Your letter requesting admission to the program.
  2. A letter from your chief supporting your admission.
  3. A copy of your transcript from an accredited degree-granting college or university.
  4. A list of your professional certifications.
  5. A list of management and leadership courses completed.

Ready to apply to the Managing Officer Program?

Choose the course R0385: Applications of Community Risk Reduction from the drop-down menu on the NETC Admissions Application website to apply for the Managing Officer Program. This is the first course at the NFA that you will need to take.

Yes, I'm ready to apply.

We recommend that you apply using a laptop or a desktop computer.

Curriculum for the Managing Officer Program

Prerequisites 1First-year on-campus courses2Second-year on-campus courses2State/local courses3
Introduction to Emergency Response to Terrorism (Q0890)Applications of Community Risk Reduction (R0385)Training and Professional Development Challenges for Fire and Emergency Services Leaders (R0389)Leadership I for Fire and EMS: Strategies for Company Success, November 2011 – April 2018 (F0803 or W0803 or O0803) 4
ICS-100, Introduction to ICS for Operational First Responders (Q0462)Applications of Leadership in the Culture of Safety (R0388)Analytical Tools for Decision-Making (R0387)Leadership II for Fire and EMS: Strategies for Personal Success, November 2011 – April 2018 (F0804 or W0804 or O0804) 4
ICS-200, Basic NIMS ICS for Operational First Responders (Q0463)  Leadership III for Fire and EMS: Strategies for Supervisory Success, November 2011 – April 2018 (F0805 or W0805 or O0805) 4
IS-700.a, National Incident Management System (NIMS) An Introduction  Shaping the Future (F0602 or W0602 or O0602) OR Introduction to Fire and EMS Supervision and Management (Q0426)
IS-800.c, National Response Framework, An Introduction  
  • Leadership in Supervision: Creating Environments for Professional Growth (F/W/O 0646)
  • Leadership in Supervision: Perspectives in Thinking (F/W/O 0647)
  • Leadership in Supervision: Frameworks to Success (F/W/O 0648)
  • The six-day course, Leadership in Supervision (R0645), satisfies the requirement for all three two-day leadership courses.
  1. You must complete these courses prior to admission to the Managing Officer Program. Substitutes are not allowed.
  2. These courses, offered twice a year, must be completed back-to-back; they can’t be split. You are eligible for stipend reimbursement on one trip per year to the NFA.
  3. Prior to Oct. 1, 2020, these courses can be taken before, during or after the first and second years of the NFA on-campus program. If you complete the on-campus program but not these four courses, you won’t receive your Managing Officer Program certificate until you complete them.
  4. We will accept Leadership I, II and III courses if taken between November 2011 and April 2018. These new two-day courses are available now and replace Leadership I, II and III:
  5. The six-day course, Leadership in Supervision (R0645), satisfies the requirement for all three two-day leadership courses.

Managing Officer Program Capstone Project

The Managing Officer Program Capstone Project allows you to apply concepts learned in the program toward the solution of a problem in your home district.

You and the chief of your department (or equivalent in nonfire organizations) must meet to identify a problem and its scope and limitations. The scope of the project should be appropriate to your responsibilities and duties in the organization, and it should be appropriate to the Managing Officer Program. Possible subjects include:

Before initiating the project, you must submit the Managing Officer Program Capstone Project Proposal form to the Managing Officer Program Manager. This form indicates the title of the project, projected outcomes, and how it will be evaluated or measured. This form must be approved by the Program Manager for your project to go forward.

When the project is completed, your chief must sign the Certification Statement form and complete the Capstone Evaluation form. Keep this documentation until you have completed all of the components of the Managing Officer Program. After completion, put this documentation and a copy of your final Capstone project with your Managing Officer course completion and graduation paperwork.

How to obtain your graduate certificate

We will mail your certificate to the supervisor you specify for official presentation by your fire department when you complete the Managing Officer Program. To do this, we need the following information:

Please email this information, along with your Managing Officer Program course completion checklist (download below), to the NFA’s Managing Officer Program manager.

Resources for Managing Officer Program students