Executive Fire Officer Program selection criteria and how to apply

Thank you for your interest in the National Fire Academy’s (NFA) Executive Fire Officer (EFO) Program. As an EFO Program student, you will enhance your professional development through a unique series of four upper-division-baccalaureate and graduate-equivalent courses taken over a four-year period. Each course is two weeks in length. You must complete an Applied Research Project (ARP) that relates to your organization within six months after the completion of each of the four courses.

For more information on selection criteria and applying, call the EFO Program Help Desk at 800-238-3358, ext. 1176, or send us an email.

The Executive Fire Officer Program experience has been one of the most rewarding of my fire service career ... the development and growth opportunity assisted me in moving through the fire department ranks. In researching fire service issues, I was able to propose best practices for our department, adopting and building upon the body of research for our future fire service.

— Fire Chief Steve Cover, City of Virginia Beach, Virginia Fire Department

Selection criteria

Selection criteria for the EFO Program is divided between two areas:

Service requirement

At the time of application, you must be in a rank/position that complies with one of the following:

If you are not in one of these positions, but serve in a supervisory level position (e.g., battalion chief, captain, lieutenant, etc.) and aspire to a more senior position of authority, we will consider you under the service requirement if you can demonstrate having previously exercised leadership within your organization. This audience category is referred to as “Key Leading Candidates.”

Firefighters, firefighter paramedics, engineers, drivers or chauffeurs are not considered as eligible.

Academic requirement

The EFO Program selection process regarding the academic pre-requisite features a two-tiered transcript-based evaluation process.

Tier 1

  1. You must have a bachelor’s degree, and a minimum of 60 college credit-hours (or quarter-hour equivalent) must come from course work not associated with “credit by examination” and/or “life experiences” (including credit for non-academic certificate courses and/or professional certifications).
  2. Include with your application package an official transcript and one of the following:

Tier 2

If you have a degree from a nationally or regionally accredited institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, but don’t meet the 30/30/60 credit-hours distribution described under Tier 1, you will  be categorized as Tier 2. Tier 2 applicants will compete for the remaining vacancies after all Tier 1 applicants have been admitted.

Other documentation and criteria considerations

NFA staff may consider additional changes in required documentation necessary to facilitate this modified selection process. For example: If details in the official transcript include the number of credits by examination and life experience, additional documents may not be required.

Other selection criteria (e.g., rank, position, responsibilities, etc.) as previously described within “Service Requirement” remain in practice. The NFA will provide a review of the selection process and relevant criteria to the NFA Board of Visitors at the end of each year.

How to apply

Qualified applicants may submit an application package at any time during the year. However, there is a cutoff date of June 15 for each fiscal year (Oct. to Sept.). Applications postmarked after June 15 will be held for consideration in the next fiscal year.

For example, applications received:

On or before June 15, 2016

Are considered for fiscal year 2017 (Oct. 1, 2016 through Sept. 30, 2017) program admission.

After June 15, 2016

Are considered for fiscal year 2018 (Oct. 1, 2017 through Sept. 30, 2018) program admission.

Application packages require the following items:

  1. A FEMA Form 119-25-1 General Admissions Application Form PDF ~300 KB. In block 9a, please enter “Executive Fire Officer Program.” A signature from the head of your sponsoring organization (e.g., chief of department, mayor, city manager, etc.) is required in block 22a.
  2. A signed letter from you requesting admission to the EFO Program. This letter should specify your qualifications (see Selection Criteria section), commitment to complete the entire program (including the ARPs), and your perceived expectation(s) of the program.
  3. A signed letter of recommendation from the head of your organization. The letter should state the organization’s commitment to support you in completing both the courses and the ARPs.
  4. Your résumé of professional and personal accomplishments.
  5. Your sponsoring organization’s organizational chart that shows your position.
  6. Your official transcript from a nationally- or regionally-accredited institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
  7. A FEMA Form 119-25-5 Executive Fire Officer Program PDF 215 KB short essay response form.
  8. Course completion certificates for:

Mail your application package to:

National Emergency Training Center
Admissions Office
16825 South Seton Avenue
Emmitsburg, MD 21727

Please allow until mid-August for NFA staff to evaluate your application package. We will notify you in writing if your are or are not accepted into the EFO Program.