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Training and Certification Program

PEMA provides public education, professional development training, and technical training to public safety volunteers from state government and local communities across the commonwealth.

It also administers a statewide emergency exercise program and oversees the Pennsylvania emergency management coordinator certification program.

Public Education

PEMA's public education includes:

  • Public safety advisories
  • Press releases
  • Seminars aimed at specific audiences, such as elected officials' conferences

Professional Development and Technical Training

Technical training provided by PEMA deals primarily with radiological defense or Nuclear-Biological-Chemical subjects.

Professional Development training is provided for all members of the public safety community and includes one-day and multi-day classes on topics that help the emergency volunteer or professional to better do his or her job. 

Pennsylvania law requires that the emergency management coordinator at each level of government earn two levels of certification. A large part of the certification involves completing training offered by PEMA or the Federal Emergency Management Institute.

To maintain the proficiency of its staff and to keep its procedures current, every emergency management agency should conduct regular exercises.

Certification Program

The purpose of the certification and training program is to prescribe the training required to develop competency in individuals serving as county and local emergency management coordinators and staff.  The content of the certification program has been reviewed by a panel of local, county, regional, and state-level emergency management personnel.  Authority for this program can be found in Title 35, subsection 7502. 

PEMA has consolidated this information plus detailed information on the various levels of certification including corresponding time-in-service requirements into a Certification Directive (PDF).

In addition to the directive, checklists for the various levels of government and levels of certification have been created to help the applicant document the required training and experience. Specific instructions on completing the checklists, time-in-service requirements, and appointment letters are contained in the Directive.  The various checklists may be viewed and downloaded:

County personnel should apply to their respective PEMA Area Office and local level emergency managers should apply to their emergency managment coordinator.

PEMA Courses

PEMA offers a wide variety of courses tailored to fit the ever-expanding role of public safety. Course offerings range from the professional development series to radiological to terrorism. There are a number of new courses including the following:  Basic Public Information, Debris Management, Scene Preservation, as well as new levels of incident command courses.

A course announcement for each course will be sent to every county emergency management office and state agency prior to the course. It will provide greater detail on the course content and the amenities provided.

Prerequisites

If a course requires a prerequisite, a copy of the certificates of the prerequisite courses must be attached to the student's course application. If registration is done on-line, please send a copy of the prerequisite certificate to the State Training Officer in advance of the class start date. Applications for courses requiring prerequisites will NOT be accepted without prerequisite proof.

No-Shows

Space in most of our classes is limited which requires waiting lists of applicants to be formed. For this reason, we have a strict "no-show" policy.  Students who have been accepted for a class and then fail to attend without notification to the State Training Officer or Program Manager will be considered last for acceptance into future classes for a period of six months.  A second infraction will bar the person from all classes for six months.  Please try to notify this office within 48 hours of the class for cancellation.

Student Equipment

All students should bring note-taking materials notebook and pen/pencil with them to class. Additional requirements for the classes will be so stated in the course announcements.

Enrollment and Tuition Charges

Enrollment in PEMA courses is open to anyone with an interest in public safety who is over the age of 18 years. There is no tuition charge for any of the courses.

The majority of our courses have online registration. If a class does not allow online registration, attendees should pre-register for each course by printing out the PEMA Course Application. Please be sure to fill out the application completely.  Please submit your completed registration form to the appropriate county emergency management office. Your confirmation will be delivered by email for most courses.

G-Series Courses

Throughout the year a great many FEMA G-Series are available here in the commonwealth.

A condensed listing and description of all G-Series courses available from PEMA is available (PDF).

PEMA Instructorship

If you are interested in becoming an instructor to present Federal Emergency Management Agency G-Series courses within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania you must be accredited by the Pennsylvania State Fire Academy (PSFA).

Those who are currently recognized as PSFA instructors need not reapply to present G-Series courses.  Please submit an upgrade request form for each course that you are requesting to add to your list of approved courses.  Each request should be accompanied by the certificate from the Train the Trainer course that has been attended.

Please review the Instructor Classification and Code of Professionalism (2001-01) before completing the instructor application.  Please download the instructor application (Adobe PDF or MS Word) and follow the instruction for submitting the application contained on the form.

Upgrade forms should be submitted to your PSFA Area Supervisor or the State Training Officer.  You may contact the Western Area Supervisor, Mark Wineland at mwineland@pa.gov, the Eastern Area Supervisor, Doug Snyder at douglassny@pa.gov or for those who are unfamiliar with their supervisor assignment, the PEMA Acting State Training Officer, Cole Hoffen at choffen@pa.gov.

For more information contact: 

Name:  PEMA Training
Email:  EMTRAINING@pa.gov
Voice: 717-651-2724