FEMA Independent Study Courses

We are here to demystify the processes and procedures for preparing for various tests under the umbrella of holistic education.

Introduction to FEMA 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is a division of the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS). It was established by Presidential Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1978, and two Executive Orders were issued on April 1, 1979, under President Jimmy Carter.

The agency’s primary goal is to arrange the response to any possible disaster that strikes the United States and overwhelms local and state authorities’ resources. Also, the state governor of where the disaster occurs must impose martial law and request that FEMA and the federal government respond to the tragedy in writing from the President.

Brief History of FEMA

  • The Congressional Act of 1803 gave birth to FEMA.
  • FEMA now employs over 14,000 people across the country, including those at its headquarters, ten local branches, the National Emergency Training Center, the Noble Training Center, and other locations.

FEMA’s mission has remained the same for 43 years: to lead America in disaster preparedness, prevention, response, and recovery with the vision of “A Nation Prepared.”

What are FEMA Independent Study Tests?

The Federal Emergency Management Agency offers a distance learning program that provides free training to the nation’s emergency management network as well as the general public. The Independent Study Program (ISP) is also available through the FEMA Emergency Management Institute’s (EMI) Curriculum Management Branch.

It provides an alternate means of delivering vital training to the professional and volunteer emergency management communities and an opportunity to raise public awareness and promote disaster preparedness on a national scale.

FEMA Independent Study Course List

Here is a complete list of 210 courses under the FEMA Independent Study Tests:

IS-5.a: An Introduction to Hazardous Materials
IS-8.a: Building for the Earthquakes of Tomorrow: Complying with Executive Order 12699
IS-10.a: Animals in Disasters: Awareness and Preparedness 
IS-11.a : Animals in Disasters: Community Planning
IS-15.b: Special Events Contingency Planning for Public Safety Agencies
IS-18.22: FEMA EEO Employee Course 2022
IS-19.22: FEMA EEO Supervisor Course 2022 
IS-20.22: Diversity Awareness Course 2022
IS-21.22: Civil Rights and FEMA Disaster Assistance
IS-26: Guide to Points of Distribution 
IS-27: Orientation to FEMA Logistics 
IS-29.a : Public Information Officer Awareness
IS-30.b: Mitigation eGrants System for the Subgrant Applicant
IS-31.b: Mitigation eGrants for the Grant Applicant
IS-32.a : Mitigation eGrants Internal System
IS-35.22: FEMA Safety Orientation 2022 
IS-36.a : Preparedness for Child Care Providers
IS-37.22: Managerial Safety and Health
IS-42.a : Social Media in Emergency Management
IS-45: Continuous Improvement (CI) Overview
IS-60.b: The Homeland Security Geospatial Concept-of-Operations (GeoCONOPS) for Planners and Decision Makers
IS-61.b: The Homeland Security Geospatial Concept-of-Operations (GeoCONOPS) In Depth
IS-62.b: The Homeland Security Geospatial Concept-of-Operations (GeoCONOPS) In Use
IS-63.b: Geospatial Information Infrastructure (GII)
IS-64.a: DHS Common Operating Picture Application
IS-75: Military Resources in Emergency Management
IS-100.c: Introduction to the Incident Command System, ICS 100
IS-101.c: Preparing for Federal Disaster Operations: FEMA
IS-102.c: Preparing for Federal Disaster Operations: FEMA Response Partners
IS-103: Geospatial Information Systems Specialist
IS-107.22: FEMA Travel Rules and Regulations 2022 
IS-111.a: Livestock in Disasters
IS-120.c: An Introduction to Exercises 
IS-130.a: How to be an Exercise Evaluator
IS-139.a: Exercise Design and Development
IS-144.a: TERT Basic Course
IS-156: Building Design for Homeland Security for Continuity of Operations 
IS-158: Hazard Mitigation Flood Insurance in Disaster Operations
IS-162: Hazard Mitigation Floodplain Management in Disaster Operations
IS-200.c: Basic Incident Command System for Initial Response 
IS-201: Forms Used for the Development of the Incident Action Plan
IS-212.b: Introduction to Unified Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA)
IS-215: Unified Federal Review Advisor Training: An Overview of the UFR Process
IS-216: An Overview of the Unified Federal Review Process: Training for Federal Disaster Recovery Leadership
IS-230.e: Fundamentals of Emergency Management
IS-235.c: Emergency Planning 
IS-240.b: Leadership and Influence
IS-241.c: Decision Making and Problem Solving
IS-242.b: Effective Communication
IS-244.b: Developing and Managing Volunteers
IS-245.b: Introduction to the Federal Priorities and Allocations System
IS-246.22: Implementing the Federal Priorities and Allocations System (FPAS)
IS-247.b: Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) for Alert Originators 
IS-251.a: Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) for Alerting Administrators
IS-253.a: Overview of FEMA’s Environmental and Historic Preservation Review
IS-271.a: Anticipating Hazardous Weather & Community Risk, 2nd Edition
IS-273: How to Read a Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM)
IS-274: How to Use a Flood Insurance Study (FIS)
IS-279.a: Introduction to Retrofitting Flood-Prone Residential Buildings
IS-280: Overview of: Engineering Principles and Practices for Retrofitting Flood-Prone Residential Structures, FEMA Publication 259, 3rd Edition
IS-284.a: Using the Substantial Damage Estimator 3.0 Tool
IS-285: Substantial Damage Estimation for Floodplain Administrators
IS-288.a: The Role of Voluntary Organizations in Emergency Management
IS-289: Voluntary Agency Liaison (VAL) Overview
IS-293: Mission Assignment Overview
IS-302: Modular Emergency Radiological Response Transportation Training
IS-315.a: CERT and the Incident Command System (ICS)
IS-317.a: Introduction to Community Emergency Response Team (CERTs)
IS-318: Mitigation Planning for Local and Tribal Communities
IS-319.a: Tornado Mitigation Basics for Mitigation Staff
IS-320: Wildfire Mitigation Basics for Mitigation Staff
IS-321: Hurricane Mitigation Basics for Mitigation Staff
IS-322: Flood Mitigation Basics for Mitigation Staff
IS-323: Earthquake Mitigation Basics for Mitigation Staff
IS-324.a:Community Hurricane Preparedness
IS-325: Earthquake Basics: Science, Risk, and Mitigation 
IS-326: Community Tsunami Preparedness 
IS-328: Plan Review for Local Mitigation Plans 
IS-329: State Hazard Mitigation Planning
IS-337: Posting Integrated Financial Management Information System Transactions – 
IS-350: Mitigation Planning for Tribal Communities
IS-360: Preparing for Mass Casualty Incidents: A Guide for Schools, Higher Education, and Houses of Worship
IS-362.a: Multi-Hazard Emergency Planning for Schools
IS-363: Introduction to Emergency Management for Higher Education
IS-366.a: Planning for the Needs of Children in Disasters
IS-368: Including People With Disabilities & Others With Access & Functional Needs in Disaster Operations
IS-393.b: Introduction to Hazard Mitigation
IS-394.a: Protecting Your Home or Small Business From Disaster
IS-395: FEMA Risk Assessment Database
IS-403: Introduction to Individual Assistance (IA)
IS-405: Overview of Mass Care/Emergency Assistance
IS-450: Emergency Preparedness for Federal Employees
IS-450.NC: Emergency Preparedness for Federal Employees in the National Capital Region
IS-453: Introduction to Homeland Security Planning
IS-505: Concepts of Religious Literacy for Emergency Management
IS-520: Introduction to Continuity of Operations Planning for Pandemic Influenzas
IS-545: Reconstitution Planning Course
IS-551: Devolution Planning
IS-552: The Public Works Role in Emergency Management
IS-553.a : Coordination between Water Utilities and Emergency Management Agencies
IS-554 : Emergency Planning for Public Works 
IS-556 : Damage Assessment for Public Works 
IS-558 : Public Works and Disaster Recovery 
IS-559 : Local Damage Assessment 
IS-632.a : Introduction to Debris Operations 
IS-633 : Debris Management Plan Development
IS-650.b : Building Partnerships with Tribal Governments
IS-660 : Introduction to Public-Private Partnerships
IS-662 : Improving Preparedness and Resilience through Public-Private Partnerships 
IS-700.b : An Introduction to the National Incident Management System
IS-703.b : National Incident Management System Resource Management
IS-706 : NIMS Intrastate Mutual Aid – An Introduction 
IS-727 : Floodplain Management and Protection of Wetlands
IS-772.a : Individual Assistance Preliminary Damage Assessment Orientation
IS-800.d : National Response Framework, An Introduction
IS-815: ABCs of Temporary Emergency Power
IS-822: Fundamentals of Management and Support Coordination of Federal Disaster Operations
IS-841.a: NEMIS HMGP System: Overview and Startup
IS-842.b: NEMIS HMGP System: Enter the HMGP Application
IS-843.a : NEMIS HMGP System: Project Eligibility Determination
IS-844.a : NEMIS HMGP System: Managing Project Tasks
IS-845.a : NEMIS HMGP System: Oversight and Closeout
IS-860.c : The National Infrastructure Protection Plan, An Introduction
IS-870.a : Dams Sector: Crisis Management
IS-871.a : Dams Sector: Security Awareness
IS-872.a : Dams Sector: Protective Measures
IS-874 : Introduction to Seepage and Internal Erosion and the Emergency Response to Seepage Related Dam Risks
IS-875 : Identifying, Monitoring and Addressing Seepage and Internal Erosion at dams
IS-876 : Evaluation and Analysis of Internal Erosion and Seepage Conditions at dams
IS-904 : Active Shooter Prevention: You Can Make a Difference
IS-906 : Workplace Security Awareness
IS-907 : Active Shooter: What You Can Do
IS-908 : Emergency Management for Senior Officials 
IS-909 : Community Preparedness: Implementing Simple Activities for Everyone 
IS-912 : Retail Security Awareness: Understanding the Hidden Hazards
IS-913.a : Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience: Achieving Results through Partnership and Collaboration
IS-914 : Surveillance Awareness: What You Can Do
IS-915 : Protecting Critical Infrastructure Against Insider Threats
IS-916 : Critical Infrastructure Security: Theft and Diversion – What You Can Do – 
IS-922.a : Applications of GIS for Emergency Management
IS-951 : DHS Radio Interoperability
IS-1000 : Public Assistance Program and Eligibility
IS-1001 : The Public Assistance Delivery Model Orientation
IS-1002 : FEMA Grants Portal – Transparency at Every Step
IS-1004 : The FEMA Site Inspection Process
IS-1005 : Public Assistance Alternative Procedures
IS-1006 : Documenting Disaster Damage and Developing Project Files
IS-1007 : Detailed Damage Description and Dimensions
IS-1008 : Scope of Work Development (Scoping and Costing)
I S-1009 : Conditions of the Public Assistance Grant
IS-1010 : Emergency Protective Measures
IS-1011 : Roads and Culverts
IS-1012 : Direct Administrative Costs
IS-1013 : Costing – Estimates and the Cost Estimating Format
IS-1014 : Integrating 406 Mitigation Considerations into Your Public Assistance Grant
IS-1015 : Insurance Considerations, Compliance, and Requirements
IS-1016 : Environmental and Historic Preservation (EHP) Considerations/Compliance for Public Assistance Grants
IS-1017 : Scope Change Requests, Time Extensions, Improved/Alternate Project Requests
IS-1018 : Determination Memorandums and Appeals
IS-1019 : Codes and Standards
IS-1020 : Public Assistance Donated Resources
IS-1021 : Bridge Damage Considerations
IS-1022 : Substantiating Disaster-Related Damages to Buildings, Contents, Vehicles, and Equipment
IS-1023 : Electrical Systems Considerations
IS-1024 : Water and Wastewater Treatment System Considerations
IS-1025 : Grant Administration Decisions for Tribal Governments
IS-1026 : Eligibility of Private Nonprofit Organizations
IS-1027 : Fire Management Assistance Grants (FMAG)
IS-1100.a : Increased Cost of Compliance 
IS-1101.b : Basic Agent Tutorial 
IS-1102 : Theory of Elevation Rating
IS-1103.a : Elevation Certificate for Surveyors
IS-1104 : NFIP Claims Review for Adjusters
IS-1105.a : EC Made Easy: Elevation Certificate Overview
IS-1106.a : FEMA Mapping Changes
IS-1107 : Adjuster Customer Service
IS-1108 : Insuring Condominiums
IS-1109.a : Understanding Basement Coverage
IS-1110.a : Writing Commercial Exposures
IS-1111 : Introduction to Commercial Claims
IS-1112 : Introduction to Flood Claims
IS-1113 : Coastal Barrier Resources Act
IS-1114 : Adjusting RCBAP and Condo Unit Owner Claims
IS-1115 : Claims Process for Agents
IS-1116 : Sales for Agents
IS-1117 : Severe Repetitive Loss for Agents
IS-1119 : Letters of Map Amendment (LOMAs) and Letters of Map Revision–Based on Fill (LOMR-Fs)
IS-1120 : Letters of Map Revision
IS-1150 : DHS Human Trafficking Awareness for FEMA Employees
IS-1151 : Blue Campaign Disaster Responder Training
IS-1152 : Blue Campaign First Responder Training
IS-1170 : Introduction to the Interagency Security Committee (ISC)
IS-1171 : Overview of Interagency Security Committee (ISC) Publications
IS-1172 : The Risk Management Process for Federal Facilities: Facility Security Level (FSL) Determination
IS-1173 : Levels of Protection (LOP) and Application of the Design-Basis Threat (DBT) Report
IS-1174 : Facility Security Committees
IS-1190 : The National Oil & Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan and the National Response System Independent Study Course
IS-1200 : TERT Team Leader Course
IS-1300 : Introduction to Continuity of Operations
IS-2000 : National Preparedness Goal and System Overview
IS-2001 : Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (THIRA)
IS-2002 : Introduction to FEMA Operational Planning
IS-2101 : Cooperating Technical Partners (CTP) 101 Beginner Training Course
IS-2200 : Basic Emergency Operations Center Functions
IS-2500 : National Prevention Framework, an Introduction
IS-2600 : National Protection Framework, An Introduction
IS-2700 : National Mitigation Framework, an Introduction
IS-2900.a : National Disaster Recovery Framework (NDRF) Overview
IS-2901 : Introduction to Community Lifelines
IS-2905 : Coordinating Health and Social Services Recovery

What Is The Purpose Behind FEMA Conducting Tests?

The purpose of the exercise is to ensure that public safety officials have the methods and systems in place to send out urgent alerts and warnings to the public in the event of an emergency or disaster.

Relationship Between EMI & FEMA 

The Emergency Management Institute’s (EMI) mission is to “assist the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) objectives by enhancing the skillsets of U.S. officials at all levels of government to prevent, prepare for, respond to, recoup from, and minimize potential effects of all types of hazards and emergencies on the American people”.

The National Emergency Training Center (NETC) in Emmitsburg, Maryland, is home to EMI, the emergency management community’s flagship training institution.

The National Emergency Training Center (NETC)

The NETC is the U.S government’s reliable interagency emergency management training body. To add on, NETC is home to multiple agencies such as the National Fire Academy, United States Fire Administration, and the Emergency Management Institute (EMI), which is run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Directorate of Preparedness (FEMA).

Incident Command System (ICS)

The Incident Command System (ICS) was formed by local, state, and federal emergency personnel to help them better manage emergencies. It’s a basic, all-risk system that lets any company or organization work in a cross setting. 

Any incident, from the smallest threat to the most complex natural disasters such as earthquakes, river flooding, and major manufacturing accidents, are taken care of by the ICS. Even local situations involving multiple jurisdictions, such as industrial fires and hazardous material accidents, can be managed more efficiently using ICS.

The National Incident Management System (NIMS)

The National Incident Management System (NIMS) is a set of operational systems that govern how people collaborate during an incident.

In support of the NIMS Training Program, EMI collaborates with the entire community to provide training.

Everything You Need to Know About Independent Study (IS) Courses 

Let’s deep dive right into independent study (IS) courses:

Where To Begin?

Visiting our website is the quickest way to get started taking classes. From the comfort of your own home or office, you can learn about each course, access study materials, and submit final exams.

  1. Go to https://cdp.dhs.gov/femasid to register for a FEMA student ID number.
  2. Go to https://training.fema.gov/IS/ to learn more about the Independent Study Program.
  3. On the left side of the page, click “IS Course List.”
  4. Select a course and activate it.


All applicants for EMI resident classes, including FEMA employees, must sign up and acquire a Student Identification Number (SID). This number substitutes the Social Security Number on the General Admissions Application Form.

Candidates are required to meet the eligibility criteria and prerequisites for each EMI course to enroll. Keep in mind, the same course cannot be taken more than once by a participant.

EMI courses are generally only open to U.S residents, but a small number of international participants are accepted each year.

Get College Credit

It is possible to earn transferable academic credit for Independent Study courses through regional accreditation agencies. Frederick Community College has taken over the evaluation of our Independent Study courses. Not to forget, lower-division academic credit is available for courses that meet their academic standards.

You must pass a course in order to apply for college credit. After that, you can request a personal copy of your mark sheet by filling out an application and paying a fee.

Free of charge, two official copies may be sent to other institutions.

Continuing Education Units (CEUs)

The ISP courses are assessed, and CEUs are awarded according to the International Association of Continuing Education and Training’s standards (IACET). Our website lists the number of CEUs for each course.

Military Personnel, Active, and Reserve

Some military branches may be able to use ISP courses as part of their promotion and retention programs if they complete them. Contact your personnel or education office to see if this program is appropriate for your career path. 

According to our experience, members are usually required to apply and pay for college credit before being considered for promotion or retention points based on their participation in the ISP. Members of the reserve components who are required to collect retirement and retention points can usually get credit for their efforts through the ISP.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I enroll myself in an online Independent Study course? 

Follow these steps to register in an online Independent Study course:

  • Select your course from the ISP Course List by clicking on it.
  • Choose from the options in the “Take This Course” box on the right-hand side of the page to review course materials.
  • Once you’ve successfully attempted all the answers, submit the examination online. Right after submitting your responses, you will be enrolled in the course.
  • Within 1-2 business days, you will receive an email notification addressing your confirmation for the course at the same email address you provided on your final exam submission.

How many FEMA independent courses are available?

There are almost 200 online courses accessible. Some courses are intended for the general public, while others are more specialized and targeted towards emergency management experts.

Several courses are valuable for training and educational programming for local emergency service providers, extension educators, and teachers.

Who is eligible to enroll in FEMA’s Independent Study Course? 

The Independent Study program’s primary audience consists of first responders, EMI personnel, and U.S citizens.

How long does a FEMA certification last?

Course certificates from the Independent Study Program never expire. You may retake the exam if you want to brush up on your skills. However, the system will not grade the exam anew. The original completion date will be retained on your certificate of completion.

Are FEMA courses free of cost?

FEMA provides free disaster preparedness and emergency management courses, which are held online and can be completed in a matter of hours.

Is it necessary for me to apply for a FEMA SID in order to complete IS courses?

You must use a FEMA Student Identification (SID) number starting April 1, 2015. To apply for a SID, follow these steps.

Students who have previously taken courses using their social security number should call our office at 301-447-1200 to have their records consolidated under their FEMA SID number.

We suggest that all FEMA employees take the IS course through FEKC first. If the course is not mentioned in FEKC, use your SID to sign up.

Where should I go if I have SID questions?

FEMA Student Identification (SID) Numbers are now required for Independent Study Exams. If you do not already have a SID, you can apply for one here. Please do not contact the Independent Study program office for assistance with these requests as they cannot help.


Today, EMI is achieving its goal of improving the capabilities of U.S officials and agencies of government to prevent, prep for, react to, recoup from, and minimize the impacts of disasters and emergencies.

The National Response Framework (NRF), National Incident Management System (NIMS), and an all-hazards approach are used by EMI to promote integrated emergency management principles and practices. All in all, EMI is the nation’s leading provider of emergency management training, exercises, and education.