Apply Now! A Comprehensive List of FREE Homeland Security Training and College Education — for everyone from applicants to executives and well prepared citizens

Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA

This list is useful and shareable for any aspiring police officer, firefighter, EMS worker, public health official, school administrator, emergency manager or homeland security professional — from students or potential applicants, to current professionals who need a boost, and even citizens who want to be more prepared. Never before has there been one comprehensive, cross-discipline, list like this one that includes helpful hints from the authors who have real world experience with each of these opportunities.

We will start with Postgraduate Studies, then work through some online and in-resident certification and training programs, and finish with citizen preparedness courses. Please scroll through the list and find an opportunity that sparks an idea that is right for you.

Postgraduate Studies

The Center for Homeland Defense and Security (CHDS) is located at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA. Since 2003, CHDS has conducted a wide range of programs focused on assisting current and emerging leaders in Homeland Defense and Security to develop the policies, strategies, programs and organizational elements needed to defeat terrorism and prepare for and respond to natural disasters and public safety threats across the United States. The programs are developed in partnership with and are sponsored by the National Preparedness Directorate, FEMA. CHDS Programs include (all expenses paid):

  • Master’s Degree Program — The Master’s Degree Program is provided at no cost to state (including members of the National Guard under Title 32), local municipality, tribal, territorial and U.S. Department of Homeland Security government employees (including the U.S. Coast Guard) accepted into the program. HINT: Pay close attention to the application deadlines and the required essays. Also, be prepared to have the full support of your agency and family because of the time required to be successful. This is one of the best opportunities in the country.
  • Executive Leaders Program (ELP) — four one-week sessions over a nine-month period. Participants must commit to attending all four sessions. Participants consist of approximately thirty senior local, state, tribal, territorial and federal government, and military and private sector officials with homeland security responsibilities.
  • Other CHDS programs include the Fusion Center Leaders Program (FCLP), Pacific Executive Leaders Program (PELP), and Radiological Emergency Preparedness (REP) Executive Education Program which are accessible to local, tribal, state and federal U.S. government officials; members of the U.S. military; corporate homeland security managers or contractors; homeland security researchers or educators; and students currently enrolled in homeland security degree programs.
  • Another lesser known but very powerful offering from CHDS are the Self-study Courses. The fascinating aspect of these courses is that much of the same material from the degree programs is used for these courses. Topics include: Introduction to Social Network Analysis, The Global Jihadi Threat, Critical Infrastructure Protection, Research Methods, Intelligence for Homeland Security, and Technology for Homeland Security.

FEMA Training Consortiums

FEMA training is broad and extensive. First, make sure you have a FEMA student ID. Next, pay close attention to the Federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial employment requirements for some of these opportunities but many of these sources are also open to state and local public health concerns, non-governmental agencies and citizens as well. If you are a government employee, get approval from your agency before you register or anyone else who coordinates training for your area (county emergency manager or state training office for example).

Center for Domestic Preparedness
  • In June 1998, the Center for Domestic Preparedness opened its doors as a training center for the nation’s emergency responders. The CDP’s interdisciplinary resident and nonresident training courses promote Emergency Management, Emergency Medical Services, Fire Service, Governmental Administrative, Hazardous Materials, Healthcare, Law Enforcement, Public Health, Public Safety Communications, and Public Works.
  • The National Training and Education Division (NTED) serves the nation’s first responder community by offering more than 100 courses that help build the skills responders need to effectively function in mass consequence events.
  • One of the most comprehensive sources for training for both responders and citizens in the Emergency Management Institute (EMI). Through its in-resident courses and integrated programs, EMI serves as the national focal point for the development and delivery of emergency management training. Particular emphasis is placed on governing doctrine such as the National Response Framework, National Incident Management System, and the National Preparedness Guidelines.
EMI Campus
  • As an extension of EMI, the long list of Independent Study courses offer something for every person who has a professional or citizen preparedness interest in emergency management or response. One of the most useful is the citizen’s course Active Shooter: What Can You Do? (IS-907). Agencies all of the country get requests for active shooter training from the private sector and this is a source where the business or organization can provide free training to all of its members, complete with a Certificate of Training at the end. One standardized source of training for everyone in the community, without tying up resources or exposing first responder agencies to the potential liability of training in the private sector. These independent study courses are also great resume builders.
  • A closer look at EMI Independent Study Courses will reveal curriculum specific lists or a search for “education” professionals will reveal a list that can make one a community and higher education preparedness expert without spending a dime:
S-100.HE Introduction to the Incident Command System for Higher Education
IS-100.SCa Introduction to the Incident Command System for Schools
IS-212.b Introduction to Unified Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA)
IS-271.a Anticipating Hazardous Weather & Community Risk, 2nd Edition
IS-317 Introduction to Community Emergency Response Teams
IS-324.a Community Hurricane Preparedness IS-326 Community Tsunami Preparedness
IS-360 Preparing for Mass Casualty Incidents: A Guide for Schools, Higher Education, and Houses of Worship

** Hint: Browse the entire course list and focus on a series of certifications that form a common theme and relate to your profession of choice

But wait, there’s more…

For public health professionals, the CDC Learning Connection is your source for information about public health training developed by CDC, CDC partners, and other federal agencies. Through website features, social media, and an e-newsletter, the CDC Learning Connection keeps you informed about training opportunities, including many that offer free continuing education (CE).

CyberSecurity courses via the Federal Virtual Training Environment (FedVTE) are offered at no cost to government personnel, including contractors, and to U.S. veterans. If Information Technology (IT) is of interest to you, there are even a number of organizations, including freeCodeCamp, that teach coding for free online.

In addition to training federal law enforcement students, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) also has a robust mission to provide training to our nation’s state, local and tribal law enforcement officers. Some of FLETC’s primary mission to train federal law enforcement officers at the largest campus in Glynco, GA is well known but FLETC offers a long list of opportunities at other campuses and several online resources.

The National Criminal Intelligence Resource Center (NCIRC) under the U.S. Department of Justice-Bureau of Justice Assistance provides links to a number of online training programs and resources, including the Center for Task Force Leadership and Integrity (CTFLI), the Nationwide SAR Initiative (NSI), and the State and Local Anti-terrorism Training (SLATT) program.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and the National Criminal Justice Training Center (NCJTC) offer a great catalog of family and child safety education along with expansive resources for law enforcement training.

The Department of Homeland Security provides links to additional law enforcement training and a catalog of materials and other resources that can be ordered directly from a variety of federal agencies. DHS also offers specialized training on the subject of Human Trafficking, Chemical Sector Specific training and Improvised Explosive Device (IED) awareness, and a full First Responder Guide (FRG) that provides links to training for everything from public health to suicide prevention.

National Fire Academy 9/11 Memorial

The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) and the National Fire Academy (NFA) provide a vast library of courses to advance professional status and expand the knowledge and skills of fire and emergency services personnel. The offer free training and education programs to support fire departments and emergency services organizations in preparing for, preventing and responding to fires and other hazards. They also offer an extensive library of free online training for citizen response and fire prevention as well

The Multijurisdictional Counterdrug Task Force Training (MCTFT) program offers unique, tuition-free counterdrug and counter transnational organized crime training both online and in a traditional classroom environment. The MCTFT also offers a number of videos on counterdrug topics.

Also, keep in mind that other governmental organizations such as the Small Business Administration offer helpful online courses to help build a business and the Department of Labor offers skills training to keep America working. From agriculture to transportation, nearly every Federal agency will offer training and resources through the appropriate .gov website. If you are aspiring to a particular topic, always check .gov resources before you pay for third party vendor classes.

And one final word, do not forget about opportunities at the state level. The Center for Domestic Preparedness offers a great interactive map for a training point of contact in every U.S. State.

If we have missed something or you have a specific question about one of the opportunities listed or something you are searching for, please leave a comment below and we will do our level best to help!

The mission of Homeland Enlightened is to spark ideas about the purpose and future of Homeland Security. What better way to spark ideas than to provide the best training and education to America’s most involved citizens and first responders. Please share this list with anyone who is seeking to start or advance a career in public service. Thank you.