Certified Public-Safety Executive (CPE) Program

The Best Leaders Never Stop Learning

Download the APCO Leadership Programs brochure.


APCO’s Certified Public-Safety Executive (CPE) Program is designed to elevate professionalism, enhance individual performance and recognize excellence in the public safety communications industry. Participants may be managers, supervisors, agency executives or others whose work and life experiences have motivated them to learn the necessary skills to successfully lead organizations within the complex and ever-changing environment in which public safety agencies operate.

Drawing on resources from renowned leadership professionals and distinguished academic sources, the program allows participants to explore topics that include management versus leadership, models/theories of leadership, leadership styles, public safety leadership issues, and executing and managing change. Program instructors include master’s and doctoral level professionals in the field of organizational development and leadership who bring a wealth of academic and practical experience to the program.

APCO Congratulates CPE Graduates of Class 03
APCO Congratulates Second Class of CPE Graduates
Congratulations to APCO’s First Certified Public-Safety Executives

Session Dates

Program Structure

The program consists of two 12-week online courses and one nine-day capstone course at APCO headquarters in Daytona Beach, Florida. 

Graduates of the program earn the professional designation of Certified Public-Safety Executive (CPE) and will be recognized at APCO's Annual Conference & Expo, beginning at APCO 2017.


An applicant must:

The Commitment

The CPE program is a rigorous, demanding endeavor that requires considerable commitment by each participant. Students should be prepared to devote a considerable amount of time to coursework, including individual and group assignments and discussions. The program is fast-paced and reading-intensive, and demands that students keep pace with the workload and participate fully in both the online and capstone courses.

A lack of commitment will not only negatively impact the success of the individual student but of the entire class. For these reasons, applicants are encouraged to carefully consider their commitment to the program before applying.


Cost for the CPE Program is $3,500 per person and includes all course materials and distance learning fees. The cost does not include travel and accommodations for the two-week capstone course at APCO headquarters in Daytona Beach, Florida.

A fee of $250 must be paid at the time of application.

Program participants may apply for tuition assistance through APCO’s scholarship program, which is open for applications beginning January 1 each year. Scholarship funds may be used for tuition only and may not be used for expenses related to travel, food or lodging.

Application Process

The application process is designed to identify individuals whose professional goals align closely with the goals of the CPE Program. APCO is committed to selecting only those applicants who are fully committed to the successful completion of the program.

As part of the process, applicants are asked to reflect on personal and professional experiences that have influenced their careers and to articulate their interests, career goals, as well as obstacles and solutions to those goals. For this reason, applications must be submitted by the individual interested in attending the program.

An application fee of $250 must accompany the completed application form and associated documents. The fee will be deducted from tuition for successful applicants. Those not accepted to the program will receive a full refund.

Applications for the program are accepted year-round. Dates for future classes will be announced at a later date

Get the application form.

It is critical that no one should submit an application until the applicant can positively affirm that:

  • His/her agency head has approved the applicant’s attendance
  • Full funding has been approved, and that payment of the tuition balance will follow within 45 days after the applicant’s acceptance.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many applicants will be accepted?
Enrollment for the CPE Program is capped at 20.

How is the CPE Program different than the Registered Public-Safety Leader (RPL) Program?
The RPL Program focuses on the skills needed to manage people and small teams. The CPE Program is focused on the skills and attributes necessary to lead organizations. For further clarification, see this comparison of curriculum topics between the two programs.

Additionally, RPL graduates must be recertified every four years. There are no recertification requirements for graduates of the CPE program.

Is there an application fee?
Yes, there is a $250 application fee. The fee will be deducted from tuition for successful applicants. Those not accepted to the program will receive a full refund.

Are there costs for textbooks or other course materials?
Tuition for the CPE Program is $3500/person, which includes all course materials. The only additional expenses for the program are for travel, food and lodging for the capstone course, CPE 303.

What about travel, lodging and food for the capstone course?
APCO International reserves blocks of rooms at select hotels at negotiated reduced rates, typically ranging from $96 to $115 (plus tax). We book at locations within five minute’s drive to our headquarters. Information on the block reservation goes out three months before the capstone seminar and rooms are held up to roughly three weeks prior to the seminar. The recommended per diem for meals and incidental is $60/day. Roundtrip airfare is estimated at $500/person.

Several airports serve the greater Daytona area:

What is the total estimated cost for the program, all inclusive?




Airfare (estimated, round trip)




$1,200 - $1,400 
(includes tax)

11 nights; rates vary seasonally



11 days @ $30/day



11 days @ $30/day

Total (estimated)



If I apply and am not accepted, can I apply again in the future?
Yes. Unsuccessful applicants who meet the admission criteria may apply in the future.

Is there a waiting list for the program?
Yes. Wait-listed students will be considered first for the next iteration of the program.