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What training/educational requirements do you have for officers?

What type of training/educational requirements do you have for your officers?

Tell me about:
· Company officers (Lieutenants and Captains)
· Battalion/Division/District Chiefs (shift commanders/incident commanders)
· Other Chief officers (Deputy/Assistant) Chiefs

Do you have different requirements for staff officers vs. operational officers?

Please include the type and size of your department and the number and distribution of officers in your department.

Thanks in advance.


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Hello Art,

Hope all is well ! My Eng. company has the toughest training requirement in my dept of 5 co's with 5 Chiefs, 5 captains, 10 LT's and 15 engineers positions. My company has 1 Chief,1 Captain,2 LT's and 3 Engineers. We only will fill a position with a member who has met all the required qualifications and skill level the company requires. The Department is so fragmented that they will not even consider our requirements on a Dept. level. We have provided quality skilled and qualified officers for apparatus driver/ pump operators, fire ground operations and incident command positions. The attachment is our company requirement as a minimum standard not including all the training and advanced classes the members take. You cannot skip any position and must have the required classes before taking a position. Our Officers are also well respected from surounding communities for their skill level.

STAY SAFE !! Dennis
Hey Dennis,

Thanks for the reply and the attached requirements. My department does not require members to work through each position. In other words, I could test and promote to a company officer (Lieutenant) position without having been an Engineer. I think that there is a great benefit to learning and working in each position or at least obtaining the training to gain a more complete understanding of say the Engineer position. There is value in having officers that have a good handle on the apparatus operators duties and responsibilities.

Thanks again,

Hi Art,

Our combination department, located in an Atlanta suburb has steadily increased our certification requirements in recent years, requiring many of the NFPA standards for company and senior officer positions. Our structure has Firefighters & Firefighter / Paramedics required to have NPQ Firefighter 1 at minimum, with NPQ F/F II encouraged and almost 100% on the career side. Our company / station officers are Sergeants, and test for promotion to the position with requirements including NPQ Fire Officer 1, Instructor 1 and several other certifications. Lieutenant, also a tested position is second in command of the shift and requires Instructor II and a few additional certifications and Captain / Shift Commander requires NPQ Fire Officer II. Most recently a college degree requirement has also been added to Captain, as we already had for our Chief Officer positions.

Staff officer positions are filled from the same promotional assessments with the same requirements and certifications. Depending on the position being filled, i.e. Training Officer or Fire Marshall’s Office, additional certifications are posted for those specific openings. As example these would include NPQ Instructor III or IV for training positions, or Inspector III and Investigator III for Fire Marshall’s office

Our department runs fire and EMS transport out of four stations, staffed with a minimum of 17 career personnel. In addition to our 51 full time line personnel, we operate with 21 Part-time personnel (seven per shift) that fill in coverage, a minimum of four 24-hour shifts per month. We also have a volunteer (P.O.C.) staff of over 60 personnel, providing additional station staffing and response, and we require basically the same minimum certification requirements for volunteers. The only exception for volunteers is they don’t have the same EMS certification requirements of the full and Part-time personnel and are allowed to challenge any promotional assessments if certifications are met.

We operate with six officers on each shift with every station having a Sergeant as Station Officer, one station also having the “Shift Lieutenant” on the west side of town and the "Captain / Shift Commander" operating as Battalion out of Headquarters. Our administrative staff includes two Lieutenant’s, three Captains an Assistant Chief and Chief.

Take care,
Captain Jeff Koldoff
Hey Art,
I hope things are good out your way, As far as educational requirements for promotion, they are few. Lt. and Capt. are civil service exams followed by an interview with some of the Deputy Chiefs and a representative from the Civil Service Commision. Any firefighter who passes the lieutenant's exam becomes an "Officer Candidate" and can cover officer positions(we have officer for officer coverage for vacations and sick time). It gives prospective Lieutenants the chance to get some experience. The rank of Captain is the same process, but without the "O.C." component. There are educational requirements for Deputy Chief of college credits equal to an Associates degree, but this can be waived in some cases for experience. There are no educational requirements, as far as I know, for Chief of Department. Our department is 220 members with 6 Deputy Chiefs, 16 Captains, and 40 Lieutenants.
For the most part, all you need in my dept is "One Good Saturday". What I mean by that is that if you score in the top three on the Civil Service exam, you are eligible for promotion. Until just recently, there were no interviews, assessments or even any training requirements, other than years of service. There are now at least interviews( OK unless there is a political issue) and recommended courses (not required) that the dept will not pay for you to attend.
I am in a small Career dept (approx 50 members total, 2 Lts, 1 Capt, 1 D/C per shift, 7 FFs per shift for a 10 person minimum total/shift). As long as you have 5 yrs on the job, you are eligible for Lt, 3yrs as Lt make you eligible for Capt with NO required courses except for the State Mandated 100 hr annual in-service.

Thanks for your reply. I like the officer candidate designation. What we call "Acting" Lieutenants are the highest placed members on the current promotional list, on each shift. It seems that the Officer Candidate moniker lends a bit more importance to the position. Rather than being an “actor” a member is an officer Candidate.

Thanks again, hope you are well.


Thanks for your reply. I think it is in your (our) best interest to seek to identify and promote the best possible candidates. It is often difficult to reach agreement on educational/training requirements; however, we should strive at all times to raise the level of professionalism in the service and that includes both formal (education) and informal (training) requirements.

In Illinois, the "Promotional Act" became law a couple of years ago. This law made the promotional process negotiable. Instead of fearing the process, we made a good faith effort to work with the Union to come up with a process that was transparent, fair, consistent and actually related to the duties of a company officer. I represented the department staff during the negotiation process because at the time I was the Deputy Chief of Administration and Support Services and testing for both entrance and promotional tests fell under me.

In the end, I believe the “new” testing process was a better one due to the collaboration with the Union. I also believe the Union would echo that.

The testing process included a written test, tactical simulations (both fire and EMS), a company officer training exercise and a written report exercise. Before any testing took place, the new law forced the Fire Chiefs to award and post their points first which was a big change and had always been a controversial issue. In addition, points based on seniority were included.

Thanks again Tim
I wish New York State would come up with a standard for the state. My first promotional interview for Capt consisted of myself and the Fire Chief ( the Personnel Director was late). The interview started with the Chief saying " I've never done this before, what should we talk about?". From there, it kinda rambled on. There were no tactical questions, no qualifications checking, just some questions regarding what I thought the future of the dept was. Your system sounds like a very good system with benchmarks to determine who is truly qualified for the position.
Wow, we do have it bad. I am with a small combination dept. and our promotions consist of the chief handing you a new badge whenever he thinks you're ready. This has put us in a bad situation with most of our officers and full time personnel not having any certs (Firefighter I or II). Has anyone else ever dealt with this kind ofr situation? How do you get a civil service system started?
We have no requirements on my job. You can be a backstep firefighter on Friday and Monday you are promoted and in the front seat. it has been a peeve of mine for some time but it falls on deaf ears.
Sounds like theres too much of this going around. I've become a pariah because I've asked these "officers" how they can feel right about leading people when they are unqualified.
One thing I did do was go out and qualify myself. I have gone to multiple training courses witrh some of the nations best trainers, gotten certified to Officer II level through the Pro Board and do my best to do the right thing.

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