OTE FAQs (Policy for EM Classes only)
VDEM Office of Training and Exercises Policy FAQs
Who is eligible to take OTE courses?
All courses are free and open to the public unless otherwise specified in the training announcement. If prerequisites are required, the student must follow instructions in the course description to certify eligibility. Students who do not submit prerequisite certificates within the timelines specified in the course description are subject to disenrollment.
How are courses scheduled?
Courses are scheduled based on needs identified during regional Improvement Planning Workshops conducted in the fall of each year, and the State Training and Exercise Planning Workshop conducted during the early spring of each year. A secondary consideration is the Advanced Professional Series. Each Advanced Professional Series course taught by the state of Virginia is scheduled in each of VDEM’s seven regions at least once every three years.
How do I find out what courses are available?
Students are encouraged to sign up for the VDEM’s EM Update, an e-newsletter that promulgates all training for the upcoming quarter every two weeks. The link to sign up for the EM Update can be found at http://www.vaemergency.gov/news/em-update. Other options to find available courses include browsing the VDEM training calendar and/or the Commonwealth of Virginia Knowledge Center for VDEM courses.
My locality needs a course not on the training calendar. What do I do?
Localities who have identified a training need and wish to host a specific course not already on the calendar should submit their request in writing to email@example.com. Sixty days advance notice is required. These requests should include desired course, reason for requesting the course, several sets of possible dates, requested location and a statement that confirms the locality’s commitment to provide an ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accessible facility and at least fifteen students. Localities requesting courses must permit open advertisement of the course.
How do I enroll in courses?
Enrollment for all regular EM courses is via the Commonwealth of Virginia Knowledge Center. Participants who have an existing account with any state agency should follow this link for enrollment instructions. Participants who do not have an existing account should follow this link for instructions to create an account and enroll in the course. Participants who are uncertain whether they have an account or who need additional assistance should contact the Help Desk at 804-897-9995 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you email, please be sure to include a contact number and a time range that is best to call. Enrollment is open until one week prior to course start.
Some courses allow me to enroll directly while others only have a “Request Access” link. What’s the difference?
Courses that are in a request access format have mandatory prerequisites associated with them. In order to enroll, you must submit the prerequisite certificates in accordance with procedures contained within the course description. You will then be approved and enrolled in the course automatically.
If more students want to take a course than there are seats, how is priority determined?
Priority enrollment is given to local governments, state agencies, non-governmental organizations, volunteer organizations active in disasters and private partners. Specific target audiences may be identified in the course Training Announcement. Reservists enrolled in the Advanced Professional Series certification program will receive priority enrollment. Federal employees, students from states other than Virginia and unaffiliated individuals may receive training on a space available basis.
Why do some courses get cancelled?
Due to budgetary constraints, at least fifteen students must be enrolled to justify conducting a course. However, each of these decisions is made on a case-by-case basis. The final decision of whether to proceed with a class will be made by the division director at the application deadline: one week prior to class start
What if a prior commitment makes me miss a portion of the course?
OTE’s attendance policy is in accordance with Department of Homeland Security guidelines. A student can miss no more than 10% of the course and still receive full credit. Students are STRONGLY encouraged to attend the first day of multi-day courses in their entirety.
Why doesn’t VDEM allow me to keep my training manual at the end of course?
Unfortunately, VDEM’s training budget has been subject to significant cuts in recent years. In order to maintain the same quality of instruction and answer increased demand for localized training, OTE has been forced to cut some peripheral support. Instead of a hard copy manual, students are now given access to the student manual electronically, which they may then download or print at their discretion.
Are VDEM courses eligible for Continuing Education credit?
Almost all VDEM courses are eligible for category two CE credit through both DCJS and Virginia EMS. Students will receive instructions and necessary forms at the beginning of their respective courses.
How do I get my completion certificate?
Completion certificates will be available via the Knowledge Center, usually 2-3 business days after course completion. Detailed instructions for access will be sent out at that time. The first time the certificate is accessed, participants must first complete a short course survey. They may then download and print or save the certificate, which becomes a permanent part of the individual's transcript. A course survey is not required for subsequent certificate access.
Who do I call for help?
If you have questions about EM or ICS training programs or problems accessing the Knowledge Center, contact the Help Desk at 804-897-9995 or via email at LMShelp@vdem.virginia.gov.