Academy FAQ


Why do we need the Virginia Fire Officer Academy?

Many departments across the Commonwealth have experienced budget cuts and are being asked to do more with less. This has caused many departments to reduce available training for new company level officers and officer candidates. Additionally, due to promotions, retirements, and transfers, the fire service has lost much of our “corporate knowledge” and practical fire and rescue leadership experience. As a solution to this vexing problem, the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association developed the Virginia Fire Officer Academy. The Virginia Fire Chiefs Association has a strong belief that leadership and safety are processes, not simply positions, titles, and actions. In addition, leadership skills and safe practices are learned and should be taught and developed. These principles serve as the foundation for the Virginia Fire Officer Academy mission, goals, objectives and curriculum.

What is the Virginia Fire Officer Academy?

The Virginia Fire Officer Academy is an inter- active, highly challenging, educational initiative of the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association. The academy provides modern, ethical leadership values while promoting best practices in fire and emergency services health and safety by providing fire and emergency service professionals a comprehensive certificate program designed to provide the key skills and techniques of exemplary leadership necessary to enhance firefighter safety and to advance a culture of leadership through ownership and safety in today’s ever-changing fire and emergency services.

Who should attend the Virginia Fire Officer Academy?

The Virginia Fire Officer Academy is designed for those fire service professionals who are new to the officer corps and those poised to get there. This academy will help you prepare, improve, or expand your leadership skills and help you gain the professional credentials needed to reach your career goals by providing an opportunity to interact with the finest scholars, public officials, and leading practitioners who have demonstrated an expertise or exceptional achievement in the fire service.

What is the Mission of the Virginia Fire Officer Academy?

The Virginia Fire Officer Academy exists to prepare fire and emergency services professionals for the transition from the tactical view of personnel and operations to a strategic, safety-oriented view of the fire service, its operations, personnel safety, and administration; by providing a foundation of general leadership skills that compliment and promote fire and emergency services best practices in health and safety through ethical leadership, personal accountability, and organizational ownership.

What is the Goal of the Virginia Fire Officer Academy?

The goal of the Virginia Fire Officer Academy is to develop the future leaders of Virginia’s Fire and Emergency Services by providing them with fundamental ethical leadership skills through an approach that focuses on personal accountability, ownership, education, and safe practices in Virginia’s fire and emergency services organizations.

What are the objectives of the Virginia Fire Officer Academy?

The objectives of the Virginia Fire Officer Academy is to assist fire and emergency services professionals to move from a tactical view to a comprehensive strategic view of fire and emergency services, operations, personnel safety, and administration. Participants will enhance their professional development through a unique four and one-half day hands-on, interactive learning experience designed to provide a better understanding of the relationship between leadership, ownership and safety:

the need to transform fire and emergency services organizations from reactive to proactive; with an emphasis on leadership development, organizational ownership, accident prevention, and risk-reduction; the keys to understanding the principles of ethical leadership and the development of a personal set of leadership values; employee coaching techniques to correct performance problems; approaching employees demonstrating unsafe behavior/practices; the attitude of leadership and the impact it has on safety; the keys to assisting personnel with stress, conflict resolution and “burnout”; transforming the attitude of fire-ground complacency and freelancing; the advantages of developing team building skills; personal accountability and organizational ownership; the value of research and its application to the fire service; and the value of lifelong learning.

Where is the Virginia Fire Officer Academy conducted?

The Virginia Fire Officer Academy is conducted on the campus of the University of Richmond in Richmond, Virginia in June of each year. The Virginia Fire Officer Academy is a resident course offering. Selected participants will be provided meals, lodging accommodations, and course materials. Participants are responsible for their own travel to and from the University of Richmond. Participants will be required to pay a small registration fee of $395.00 to offset expenses of this unique learning opportunity.

How can I apply to attend the Virginia Fire Officer Academy?

Applications for admission must be completed in their entirety and include a current resume and include an original letter of support from the Fire Chief and/or Department Head. Application periods will be posted on the VFCA website each year.  Applications can be found at

What is the Virginia Fire Officer Academy Selection Criteria?

The Virginia Fire Chiefs Association will select eighty (80) applicants to participate through a competitive selection process. Variables considered in the selection process will include: the applicant’s rank and tenure, as well as the strength of the recommendation from the fire chief or department head. In addition, the applicant’s geographic location will be considered as we seek to ensure that this academy is representative of the entire Commonwealth of Virginia.
To request additional information please email us at [email protected]