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 should 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 submit an application package at any time during the year, but not later than July 15 for consideration in the next available session.

To apply, submit the following:

  1. FEMA Form 119-25-1 General Admissions Application Form PDF 337 KB. In Block 9a, please specify “Managing Officer Program.”
  2. The Managing Officer Program checklist PDF 48 KB and the documentation it lists, including (but not limited to):
    • Your letter requesting admission to the program.
    • A letter from your chief supporting your admission.
    • A copy of your transcript from an accredited degree-granting college or university.
    • A list of your professional certifications.
    • A list of management and leadership courses completed.

Send your application package to:

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

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)Contemporary Training Concepts for Fire and EMS (R0386)Leadership I for Fire and EMS: Strategies for Company Success, November 2011 version or later (F0803 or W0803) 4
ICS-100, Introduction to ICS for Operational First Responders (Q0462)Transitional Safety Leadership (R0384)Analytical Tools for Decision-Making (R0387)Leadership II for Fire and EMS: Strategies for Personal Success, November 2011 version or later (F0804 or W0804) 4
ICS-200, Basic NIMS ICS for Operational First Responders (Q0463)  Leadership III for Fire and EMS: Strategies for Supervisory Success, November 2011 version or later (F0805 or W0805) 4
IS-700.a, National Incident Management System (NIMS) An Introduction  Shaping the Future (F0602 or W0602)
IS-800.b, National Response Framework, An Introduction   
  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. Leadership I, II and III will not be offered after Sept. 30, 2017. Effective April 2017, the three new two-day leadership courses are:

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, its scope and its 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 a letter from your chief indicating the title of the project, projected outcomes, how it will be evaluated or measured, and approval for the project to go forward. When the project is completed, your chief must submit a letter indicating that it was completed successfully.

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