July 21, 2024

National Fire Academy and Columbia Southern University Join Forces for Executive Fire Officer Capstone Advancement

The National Fire Academy (NFA) Executive Fire Officer (EFO) Program “Applications in the Exercise of Leadership: Capstone I” (M5104) course is now being offered through Columbia Southern University (CSU) and will cover 6 months, taking participants through the entirety of their capstone research and paper.

“It is exciting to join forces with CSU to add this new dimension to the flagship program of the National Fire Academy, and by doing so add important benefits to executive officers in their pursuit of leadership excellence,” said Ed Kensler, EFO Program Training Specialist.

The NFA/CSU partnership offers a variety of benefits to EFO students, including:

  • Extending the course to provide faculty advisement for the entire program. Prior to working with CSU’s experienced faculty, the course timeline was a 3-month course plus an additional 3 months for participants to complete a capstone research paper on their own. Now, participants will be working with CSU faculty for the entire 6 months of the course, including throughout the research project (chapters 1 through 5).
  • Streamlining the capstone research requirement. Faculty advisement will be offered throughout the research project to set participants up for success.
  • Offering access to university infrastructure that is not available through NFA, such as writing support, expanded access to university-level research infrastructure, and if appropriate, institutional review board approval. The National Emergency Training Center (NETC) library will continue to be available to EFO students at any time throughout the program.

This upgrade to the structure and delivery of the EFO Program will add to its tradition of offering unparalleled preparation for executive officers to be leaders with the tools to strengthen their organizations and help make their communities safer and more resilient. The EFO Program will continue to deliver the outstanding training it has provided 4,659 graduates since its inception in 1987.

“Our partnership with the National Fire Academy provides CSU with another avenue to work with firefighters who are growing as leaders, benefiting their departments and the profession as a whole. It’s an honor to partner with the NFA and provide an added layer of academic support to the fire and EMS leaders they serve,” Misti Kill, Ph.D., vice provost for Academic Affairs and dean of CSU’s College of Safety and Emergency Services.

Applicants for the EFO Program must participate within a structured, equitable and competitive selection/application process. For more information, including program requirements, the application window and the NETC Online Admissions Application, visit the U.S. Fire Administration’s EFO Requirements/Application information page.

Schedule: (applications capped at 500)

  • 15-20, 2023 – “Exercise of Executive Leadership: Community” (R5203)
  • 29-Nov. 3, 2023 – “Applications in the Exercise of Leadership: Capstone II” (R5204)
  • 30-Nov. 10, 2023 – “Exercise of Executive Leadership: Self” (R5201) (last offering)
  • 3-8, 2023 – “Applications in the Exercise of Leadership: Capstone II” (R5204)
  • May 12-18, 2024 – “Exercise of Executive Leadership: Organization” (R5202) (last offering)
  • September-October 2024 – “Exercise of Executive Leadership: Community” (R5203) (last offering)

Disclaimer: These testimonials may not reflect the experience of all CSU students.
Multiple factors, including prior experience, geography, and degree field, affect career outcomes.
CSU does not guarantee a job, promotion, salary increase, eligibility for a position, or other career growth.



  1. Yuhanna A. Muhammad

    Could I have a additional information regarding the NFA fire and EMS leadership classes?