National Wildfire Coordinating Group

NWCG Standards for Course Delivery, PMS 901-1

The NWCG Standards for Course Delivery establishes standards for all aspects of NWCG training course management and delivery. These standards should be used in conjunction with the NWCG Standards for Wildland Fire Position Qualifications, PMS 310-1, and the course-specific guidance stated in the NWCG Training Catalog. These standards:

  • Promote consistent, professional, and standardized training in support of national interagency wildland fire management objectives.
  • Define course management and delivery procedures for agencies, instructors, and Course Coordinators.
  • Describe the course organization system.
  • Provide direction that enables users to augment course content based on local needs.
  • Provide direction on establishing agency-specific course equivalency.
  • Establish minimum requirements for course completion certification.

Member agencies have agreed to meet or exceed the standards stated in this publication for all NWCG training course deliveries that will result in agency personnel receiving NWCG training course certifications of completion.

Non-member agencies or entities (e.g., educational institutions, contractor associations) may deliver NWCG training courses when the standards established in this publication are met. Non-member agencies or entities are encouraged to establish formal agreements with local or geographic area member agencies when delivering NWCG training. Such cooperative efforts are beneficial to the cooperators and to all students.  For course completion certification, see Issuing the NWCG Training Course Completion Certificate.

The NWCG Standards for Course Delivery is developed and maintained by the Training Delivery Committee (TDC), an entity of the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG). 

Previously, these standards were in either the Field Manager's Course Guide (FMCG), PMS 901-1, or the Course Coordinator's Guide, PMS 907.  The two publications were combined in May 2020. While previous versions may contain current or useful information, the FMCG and Course Coordinator's Guide are obsolete. The user of this information is responsible for confirming that they have the most up-to-date version. NWCG is the sole source for the publication.

Comments, questions, and recommendations shall be submitted to the appropriate agency program manager assigned to the TDC. View the complete roster.

Training Development

NWCG training development is an integral part of the Incident Position Performance Cycle. Performance support needs analyses, instructional design processes, and course development, alignment, and maintenance are conducted in a cooperative effort between the NWCG committees and NWCG training specialists. Process guidance components reside in NWCG committee and staff mission statements and related support materials.

Training Course Components and Delivery Methods

  • Pre-selection Assessment – An assessment that must be passed before admittance into the course.
  • Pre-course Work – Course work that is accomplished before beginning the course.
  • Instructor-Led Training (ILT) – Training that is delivered by an instructor in a classroom or field setting. Classroom instructor-led training may be delivered in person in a physical classroom or virtually using a video- or audio-conferencing platform. 
  • Field Training – Instructor-led training that is conducted in field environment.
  • On-the-Job Training – Training that is conducted in actual work environments. This is accomplished under the guidance of a trainer/coach who uses the Position Task Book to document performance.
  • Self-Directed (Online) training – Training (usually online) that is self-directed by the student.
  • Blended Training – Training that includes instructor-led and self-directed components.

Course Numbering System

Each course is assigned a subject area designator, as follows:

  • D:  Dispatch
  • FI:  Fire Investigation
  • G:  Gap Courses
  • L:  Leadership
  • M:  Management
  • P:  Prevention
  • RT:  Refresher Training
  • RX:  Prescribed Fire
  • S:  Skills
  • X:  Miscellaneous

Each course is assigned a three-digit number which establishes complexity level, and recommends delivery level (national, geographic area, or local). Delivery level information is more accurately stated in the course-specific information located in the NWCG Training Catalog. 

  • 100 – 200:  entry-level skills development; local delivery
  • 300 – 400:  mid-level management skills; regional, state, or geographic area delivery
  • 500 – 600:  advanced – level management skills, national delivery

Fidelity to Course Design, Structure, and Materials

Instructors and coordinators must ensure fidelity to course design, structure, and materials of the base course. NWCG courses are aligned with established practices and position requirements; deviation from course materials will weaken this connection. Instructors are encouraged to enhance course materials to reflect the conditions, resources, and policies of the local unit and area, but the base course elements must be adhered to.

Fidelity to base course elements must be maintained in these areas:


  • Use the most current certified version of the course.
  • Previous versions may be used no more than six months after a new release.


  • Adhere to recommended course and unit instructional hours.

Course Objectives:

  • Achieve the established course and unit objectives.
  • Do not alter or omit established objectives.

In-Course Exams/Quizzes/Evaluations:

  • Exam/quiz/evaluation elements from the base course may not be deleted.
  • Exam/quiz/evaluation elements that reflect the conditions, resources, and policies of the local unit or area may be added but cannot be used to determine successful course completion.
  • Should exam/quiz/evaluation elements become invalid due to evolving practices subsequent to the course, full credit should be given.

Final Course Evaluation:

  • Standard passing score for an NWCG courses is 70 percent. Evaluation criteria for each course is defined within the course materials. The passing score is based on the final exam unless otherwise stated. Some courses may use course components (pre-course tests, unit tests, class participation, or final exams) to aggregate the passing score.

Prerequisite Training and/or Position Qualification

Prerequisite position qualification and/or training requirements are stated in the course-specific pages of the NWCG Training Catalog. These requirements ensure a common standard of knowledge and experience for all students. Agencies may request exceptions to prerequisite requirements for their employees. This process may be established by each agency or by regional or geographic areas.

Establishing Agency-Specific Course Equivalency

Agencies may establish agency-specific course equivalency when they have determined another course to be equivalent to an NWCG course. This may enable agencies to reduce training costs and/or increase trained-personnel capacity. When course equivalency is established, the agency may use the equivalent course as an alternative to the corresponding NWCG course. Course equivalency must be re-evaluated when the corresponding NWCG course is revised.

Equivalency evaluation should be national or state level, meet pertinent agency-specific guidance, and be conducted by individuals the agency deems qualified. The equivalency evaluation should ensure that the candidate course achieves the following:

  • Meets or exceeds all learning and performance objectives of the NWCG course.
  • Meets or exceeds the instructor qualification requirements of the NWCG course.
  • Meets or exceeds student prerequisite position qualification or training requirements of the NWCG course.
  • Does not conflict or contradict established NWCG guidelines or standards.
  • Is not numbered using the NWCG course numbering system.

Issuing the NWCG Training Course Completion Certificate

Course Coordinators or instructors may issue successful students the NWCG Training Course Completion Certificate, PMS 921-1 for NWCG courses sponsored by an NWCG member agency.

Educational institutions, contractor associations, and non-member agencies may issue successful students the NWCG Training Course Completion Certificate, PMS 921-1 for NWCG courses if one of the following conditions is met:

  • The Lead Instructor is an authorized representative of an NWCG member agency.
  • The entity sponsoring the NWCG course has a formal agreement established with an NWCG member agency.

Certificates issued with logos or insignia other than the NWCG logo may not be accepted by NWCG member agencies.

Completion of classroom training does not necessarily qualify an individual for a position.

Training Records Retention

  • NWCG training records retention is an agency-specific prerogative and responsibility.
  • Agencies sponsoring students should provide direction on training records retention.
  • Students should be encouraged to retain personal training records permanently.
  • NWCG does not retain or have access to training records.

Providing Course Feedback

Students, Instructors, and Course Coordinators can submit course feedback using the online feedback form.

Instructor Qualification

  • NWCG Instructor qualification standards are established in this publication and in the course-specific pages in the NWCG Course Catalog.
  • Instructor qualification is implicitly granted when the instructor’s home unit/agency supervisor and the Course Coordinator agree that established qualification requirements have been met. Written certification is not required.
  • Qualified instructors may be placed on Active Instructor Lists in Incident Qualifications System (IQS) and Incident Qualification Certification System (IQCS), but this is not required.
  • When position qualification is used to meet the instructor qualification requirements, the annual Work Capacity Test (WCT) and RT-130, Wildland Fire Safety Training Annual Refresher (WFSTAR) currency requirements are waived.
  • NWCG Instructors are categorized as Lead, Unit, and Adjunct Instructors.

Lead Instructor Responsibilities

  • Coordinate course planning efforts with the Course Coordinator.
  • Provide leadership to the instructor cadre.
  • Oversee the entire presentation of the course.
  • Provide students an organized and professional training experience.
  • Ensure the course objectives are achieved.
Qualifications Requirements Course Content Knowledge/Experience Requirements

100 – 200 Level Courses

One of the following:

  • Meet or exceed by one position level the course-specific instructor qualifications requirements stated on the NWCG course page.
  • Obtain written approval by Course Coordinator to instruct a specific unit or technical portions of one or more units.

300-600 Level Courses

One of the following:

  • Meet or exceed by one position level the course-specific instructor qualifications requirements stated on the NWCG course page.
  • Currently qualified in a Type 1 or Type 2 Command and General Staff position in the same functional area as the course being presented.
  • Meet the NIMS Training Program instructor criteria for the specific course (supplemented by the NIMS ICS All-Hazards Position Specific Training Program: Administrative Guidelines).
  • Obtain written approval from NWCG member agency geographic or national level fire director excepting the above requirements.

AND one of the following:

  • Formal instructional certification or training (e.g. State fire training certificate, college teacher’s credential, college education courses, NWCG M-410 Facilitative Instructor course), and 40 hours of successful fire service instruction.
  • 80 hours of successful fire service instruction.

All Courses

Sufficient experience in presenting all course units in order to substitute for unit instructors (Technical complexity of some courses may preclude this).

300 – 600 Level Courses

One of the following:

  • Successful completion or audit of course being taught.
  • Successfully assisted in instructing the course.
  • Successfully completed Train-the-Trainer course (if applicable) and successfully taught the course in the past 5 years as determined by the Course Coordinator.

Unit Instructor Responsibilities

  • Assist the Lead Instructor and fellow instructor cadre members.
  • Provide students organized and professional training experience.
  • Ensure the course objectives are achieved.
Qualifications Requirements Course Content Knowledge/Experience Requirements

100 – 200 Level Courses

One of the following:

  • Meet or exceed by one position level the course-specific instructor qualifications requirements stated on the NWCG course page.
  • Obtain written approval by Course Coordinator to instruct a specific unit or technical portions of one or more units .

300-600 Level Courses

One of the following:

  • Meet or exceed by one position level the course-specific instructor qualifications requirements stated on the NWCG course page.
  • Currently qualified in a Type 1 or Type 2 Command and General Staff position in the same functional area as the course being presented.
  • Meet the NIMS Training Program instructor criteria for the specific course (supplemented by the NIMS ICS All-Hazards Position Specific Training Program: Administrative Guidelines).
  • Obtain written approval from NWCG member agency geographic or national level fire director excepting the above requirements.

AND one of the following:

  • Formal instructional certification or training (e.g. State fire training certificate, college teacher’s credential, college education courses, NWCG M-410 Facilitative Instructor course).
  • 40 hours of successful fire service instruction.

All Courses

Experienced in the lesson content they are presenting.

300 – 600 Level Courses

One of the following:

  • Successful completion or audit of course being taught.
  • Successfully assisted in instructing the course.
  • Successfully completed Train-the-Trainer course (if applicable) and successfully taught the course in the past 5 years as determined by the Course Coordinator.

Adjunct Instructor Responsibilities

  • Provide limited instruction in specialized knowledge and skills at the discretion of the Lead Instructor.
Qualifications Requirements Course Content Knowledge/Experience Requirements

All Courses

One of the following:

  • Subject matter expert on course related materials.
  • Demonstrated course related technical expertise.
  • Published subject related article or paper in previous 5 years.

All Courses

Known or demonstrated expertise on one or more subjects associated with the course.

Instructor Evaluation

  • Instructor evaluation is embedded into the training course delivery process.
  • Instructor evaluations are obtained by the Course Coordinator and routed to the pertinent instructor and the home unit/agency supervisor.
  • The home/unit agency is responsible for addressing unsatisfactory evaluations, including taking necessary corrective action prior to qualifying the instructor to for future courses.

The Course Coordination Standards provide the necessary administrative information and tools for Course Coordinators, Lead Instructors, training specialists, and other managers to successfully coordinate an NWCG course at any level (local, regional, or national). The content found herein will guide coordinators through the process of preparing for course delivery, completing needed activities before the start of the course, ensuring successful course delivery, and completing needed activities after the course is complete. For more information click on the accordions below.

Developing a Course Timeline Checklist

Course Coordinators should develop a Course Timeline Checklist to organize tasks, identify a sequence, identify additional personnel, and ensure all tasks related to the course are completed on time ahead of delivery. Some of these tasks, such as contracts, or facility reservations, may take months to accomplish. The tendency is to not allow enough time for everything that must be done. This is especially true for a course that must be developed or adapted for a specific geographical setting.

Identify the Course

Once management has identified a need for skills development that can be provided by a course, the next step is to describe what the course will be and identify who will be attending. Review the course objectives, target audience, prerequisites, and other attendance criteria. The education, experience, and organizational levels of students are important and will affect the date, location, facilities, and formality of the training delivery.

Secure Location and Equipment

Logistics should be a principal factor when considering where to conduct a course. Select a location that will support the training goal and is compatible with the methods used during the course. Check regularly with the hotel or facility for any issues that may arise.

Items that need to be considered when determining a location include but are not limited to:

  • Quality and cost-efficiency of facilities.
  • Proximity of restaurants and hotels.
  • Transportation needs.
  • Number of students, instructors, observers, and role players.
  • Number of classrooms and additional rooms, if necessary.
    • Consult with instructors to determine the need for additional rooms.
  • Arrangement of the classroom(s) and the size and number of tables and chairs.
    • Desks or tables should be arranged to allow students to work in small groups or as individuals, depending on the course needs.
  • Instructional media equipment, electrical cords, and outlets in the room.
  • Availability of technical equipment and support:  copiers, printers, computers, phones, network and/or internet access, etc.
  • Comfort of training environment:  heating, cooling, lighting control, and ventilation.
  • Use of walls for hanging posters, or number of available whiteboards.
  • Acoustics and need for a sound system (room should be quiet and not susceptible to outside interruptions).
  • Exclusive room availability:  Check on other meetings being held in the facility at the same time.
  • Security requirements.
  • Proximity to restrooms and smoking area.
  • Proximity to staff ride or other field locations.

Instructional equipment to be obtained or reserved may include:

  • Easel and flip charts
  • Projection screen
  • Projector
  • Lectern
  • Whiteboard
  • Computers
  • Connectivity accessories
  • DVD player
  • Sand table

Field exercises are incorporated into some courses. These require an outdoor site and potentially require extra planning regarding transportation, permission to use the site, tools, subject matter experts, job hazard analysis, medical evacuation plan, and medical personnel.

Alternative delivery methods involve additional logistical considerations and support.  See Virtual Instructor-Led Delivery for more information.

Train-the-Trainer Process

A Train-the-Trainer course includes an explanation of the instructional design and describes supplemental content material required for presenting the course. The intent of Train-the-Trainer is to guide attendees step-by-step through the course content and instructional design and to give them the necessary information to successfully coordinate and/or instruct the course.

The Train-the-Trainer Process is as follows:

Determining the need for a Formal Train-the-Trainer Course

  1. It is up to the local or geographic area to identify whether a course is complex enough in detail or technical content to require a formal handoff.
  2. The criteria used may include any of the following:
    1. More than 50% of the course content is conceptually complex (theoretical rather than practical).
    2. The instructional design is complex due to variations in selected presentation methods (e.g., exercises and simulations).
    3. Complex emerging technology needs to be transferred to the field.
    4. More than 50% of the course content will need to be adapted by the geographic areas.


At the completion of the course, attendees will:

  1. Have acquired knowledge of all content areas and idiosyncrasies of the course through presentations and discussions.
  2. Be able to describe the process used to customize lessons for course presentation.
  3. Be able to explain the process used to evaluate (measure) student performance.

Training Announcement for Train-the-Trainer

The desired target audience for a Train-the-Trainer course is potential lead instructors and course coordinators. The course will be announced, and nominations solicited for attendance, in coordination with the Geographic Area Training Representatives and/or Delivery Group.

Training announcements should contain the same information as standard courses with special emphasis within the Description and the Target Group directed towards the specific intent of training instructors and coordinators.

Identify Necessary Organizational Structure

After identifying the course, decide what positions are necessary to provide support for the course (logistics coordinator, fiscal coordinator, lead/unit/adjunct instructors, etc.). Several factors, including course complexity, influence the number and kind of positions needed to coordinate, instruct, and support successful course delivery. Similar to the Incident Command System (ICS), this structure is intended to expand or collapse to meet the course needs. Some courses may not require support positions in addition to lead/unit instructors; in these circumstances, the Course Coordinator is responsible for filling the other support functions.

Dividing the work up among several people makes it easier for everyone involved and helps accomplish all activities on time. The groups and positions in the organizational structure may include:

Steering Committee – See NWCG Organizational Types for more information on the roles and authorities of course steering committees.

Instructors – Identify a Lead Instructor and work together to identify additional instructors, guest speakers, or personnel necessary to meet the needs of the course. Reference specific course content to determine the cadre’s needs. Determine if contracts, funding, travel authority, or other approvals need to be completed.

Reference Instructor Qualification Standards for NWCG instructor criteria.

Logistics Coordinators and Fiscal Coordinators – Logistics Coordinators and Fiscal Coordinators should be skilled in managing courses and conferences. Logistics Coordinators can help with transportation, lodging, meals, printing, computers, audio/visual equipment, etc. Fiscal Coordinators can help with funding, contracts, travel, payments, purchasing, etc.

Miscellaneous support staff – Higher complexity courses may require more support staff. Consider the need for on-site information technology (IT) support, clerical support, coaches, role players, and drivers. Have a medical plan in place and be familiar with facility emergency response plans. Particularly for field-based activities, ensure adequate medical supplies and availability of personnel to respond to emergencies.

Issue Course Announcement

A well-written course announcement will assist in getting the right target audience for the course. Course announcements come out in various forms (such as pamphlets, brochures, training catalogs, training schedules, and websites). Whatever the format, the course announcement should contain certain information, such as:

  • Purpose of the course,
  • Objectives,
  • Target audience and student prerequisites,
  • Nomination process and deadlines,
  • Course Coordinator, phone number, and email address,
  • Course dates,
  • Costs, and
  • Location.

Courses should be listed on the Wildland Fire Learning Portal (WFLP) and can be searched for by geographic area or under the National Training Centers. Contact information is listed on each geographic area and zone page.

The nomination process will be described within each course listing.

A student nomination form may be included with the course announcement for the nominee to fill out and return. This serves as a screening device to ensure that nominees meet course prerequisites and assists in prioritizing nominees for selection. If additional information is needed to aid in selection, request that nominees enter it in the Remarks block of the nomination form.

Review Course Package

The Course Coordinator and Lead Instructor need to be familiar with existing materials well in advance of the course presentation. A rough agenda should be developed based on timeframes suggested in the course package.

Select Date for Initial Cadre Call

Cadre calls or meetings are essential for successful training sessions and may include several meetings (before, during, and at the end of the course). All instructors, coordinators, and support personnel should be invited to the initial meeting. See the Cadre Meetings Checklist (docx or pdf) for sample topics.

Obtain Course Materials

NWCG course materials may include electronic presentations, videos, posters, instructor guides, student workbooks, handouts, forms, and publications. Find the required and suggested materials for each course in the NWCG Training Catalog. Many course materials are available to download from the Training Catalog. Materials available through the Great Basin Cache can be ordered through the NWCG NFES Catalog – Part 2:  Publications, PMS 449-2. Any additional materials must be developed by the cadre.

The Course Coordinator or Lead Instructor must procure general supplies, such as flipcharts, markers, or notebooks, as necessary. Special items are occasionally needed, particularly for simulations, or exercises. Provide ample time for ordering, printing, or creating materials for a course.

Receive Nominations and Select Students

If the course is sponsored by a federal agency, the Course Coordinator should ensure the course is created in Incident Qualification Certification System (IQCS) and consider using the nomination workflow within the system. Any entity that does not have access to IQCS should submit the standard NWCG Nomination Form.

The process for selecting students to attend courses can vary considerably. For some courses, students will be selected by the local agency. For other courses, the geographic area training committee, Course Coordinator, cadre, or steering committee may determine the selections. Expect some nominees to drop out before the course or not complete required pre-course or online components. Be prepared to backfill with students on the waitlist, if possible. A minimum number of students should be established to ensure the cost-effectiveness of the course. Once the students have been identified, notify selected nominees.

After nominations are received:

  • Verify prioritization – Ensure sending units prioritize nominees; not every nominee may be selected.
  • Create and distribute pre-selection letter – A pre-selection letter to nominees may be necessary if the course requires students to complete a pre-selection assessment and pass with a score of at least 70 percent before being considered for selection into the course. Mail or email the pre-selection letter, which should include:
    • Pre-selection assessment and instructions for completion and submission. Some assessments will require the submission of a proctoring statement.
    • Assessment completion deadline.

Notify Students of Selection

Once students have been selected, the Course Coordinator will notify students and provide the necessary course information. A Sample Selection Letter is available for modification. Information to include in all selection notifications:

  • Course dates and times.
  • Location of the training facility.
  • Special instructions, especially for alternative delivery options.
  • Student roster.
  • Directions to confirm attendance/registration as necessary.
  • Course tuition, if applicable.
  • Cancellation instructions and deadline.
  • List of any materials students must bring with them.
  • Appropriate attire and personal protective equipment (PPE) if field trips or exercises are scheduled.
  • Student profiles, if applicable.
  • Lodging options, if applicable.
  • Facility logistics (e.g., parking, security).
  • Course Coordinator contact information.
  • Inform students that if they have special needs that require an accommodation to contact the Course Coordinator (e.g., proximity to the front of the room, requests for oral delivery of exam, etc.).
  • Additional information to include in the selection notification if pre-course work is required:
  • Provide instructions to students on how to obtain materials:
    • Mailing or emailing,
    • Uploading and providing the link, or
    • Other external means.
  • Provide instructions and deadlines for completing and/or submitting assigned material.

Additional information to include in the selection notification if the course has an online component:

  • Link for students to access online component, and
  • Deadline and instructions for completing the online component.

Attendance in the instructor-led component is contingent upon completion of the online component. Allow adequate time for student completion

Conduct Initial Cadre Meeting or Conference Call

The initial cadre call provides an opportunity for instructors to meet, review material, discuss concerns, and strategize with the Course Coordinator and/or Lead Instructor. This can be held via conference call, virtual meeting, or in person (see the Cadre Meetings Checklist docx or pdf).

Objectives of the initial cadre call include:

  • Coordinate course materials and presentations – Each instructor is assigned a unit or units to instruct. Any special items must be identified and obtained or developed by the instructor or coordinator. The use of adjunct instructors may be appropriate for part of a unit; this should be discussed and agreed upon by the Lead Instructor and cadre. General ground rules should be addressed, including instructor participation, duty hours, attire, and other relevant information. Timeframes and responsibilities need to be established for lesson material production such as handouts, visuals, and reference materials.
  • Finalize logistical support requirements – The cadre should be given a tour or explanation of the facilities and a demonstration of the equipment so they can best prepare for presentations. This can be done at the initial cadre meeting if it is in person or at some other time before the start of the course.
  • Finalize time schedules and course agenda – Things to consider:
    • Course length – Times are listed in the Training Catalog.
    • Breaks – Allow approximately 10 minutes each hour, if possible.
    • Special events or social activities – Field trips, tours, and social activities need to be planned and coordinated, as appropriate.
  • Review student profiles – If student profiles were collected, the Course Coordinator should summarize them and share them with the cadre.
  • Obtain instructor biographies and contact information – A brief biography of each instructor may be needed for distribution to students during the course presentation (see Sample Instructor Biography).
  • Review experiential learning sessions – Review any sessions that need extra time and effort to coordinate or additional materials or people to conduct. This may include a dry run through a sand table exercise, preparing for a staff ride, gathering, or preparing simulation materials, identifying role players, scheduling the site for field training, and/or obtaining radio frequencies.

Assess Pre-Course Work or Grade Exam

If the course contains pre-course work or an exam that is required to be returned before the course begins, the instructors or Course Coordinator will need to assess the pre-course work or grade the exam before the course start date.

Prepare Course Materials

The Course Coordinator and Lead Instructor are responsible for reviewing all subject content and adhering to standards. All visual aids, student materials, name tags, notebooks, and other documents need to be assembled and reviewed for accuracy and professional quality. Provide enough for all students and instructors; make extras available if possible.

Student Materials – Determine what handouts, workbooks, and other materials need to be ordered, assembled, or printed for students. Several courses have Student Workbooks or NWCG publications that should be ordered ahead of time (see Obtain Course Materials).

Agenda – Prepare the final agenda. Adjust times as needed and add instructor names. A Sample Agenda is available as a template.

Roster – Student rosters may include name, agency, email address, physical address, and/or phone number. Rosters are used for statistical records, student status (i.e., enrolled, substituted, or cancelled), sign-in sheets, preparing name tags, certificates of completion, financial obligations, and post-course mailing.

Course completion certificates – Lead Instructors must sign the certificates, preferably in blue ink to indicate an original document. Certificates may be printed before the course and adjusted based on final enrollment and exam scores.

Set Up the Classroom

It is the responsibility of the Course Coordinator to ensure the classroom meets the needs of the course. The room arrangement has a direct bearing on the classroom atmosphere and thus the potential for learning. Keep in mind that there is more than one way to arrange the room.

See the Course Timeline Checklist (docx or pdf) for a list of considerations when setting up the classroom.

Conduct Pre-Course Cadre Meeting and Rehearsal

The pre-course cadre meeting and rehearsal should occur the day before or the morning of the start of the course. This meeting provides an opportunity for instructors to determine the course presentation tempo; test drive the electronic presentations, videos, and links; and discuss concerns (see Cadre Meetings Checklist docx or pdf).

The Course Coordinator is responsible for all activities during the course; however, authority for managing the course can be delegated to the Lead Instructor.

Start Course

The course should start on time. Start by covering introductions, logistics, ground rules (e.g., cell phone policy, restrooms, emergency exits, coffee, food, and smoking), and any details unique to the facility. Course Coordinators should provide an after-hours phone number in case of emergency. Consider conducting an icebreaker.

Utilize the NWCG Welcome/Administration Presentation or modify it to include local information.

Conduct Course

The Course Coordinator’s duties during the course presentation in support of the Lead Instructor, instructors, and students include:

Maintain availability – Situations may occur that will halt instruction (e.g., the computer hibernates unexpectedly, or internet connectivity is lost). Monitor the course to reduce these situations and facilitate course continuity.

Evaluate – Continuous evaluation is critical to the success of the course. Items to consider include:

  • Responding to any needs or changes as soon as possible and tell students how you plan to resolve them.
  • Conducting daily cadre meetings to identify any issues related to course material or delivery and to develop solutions. These meetings can be conducted as informal sessions. Selected students may be asked to attend the daily cadre meetings. They can provide a summary of the unit or daily evaluations or their personalized feedback to assist the cadre in making adjustments for the next day.
  • Addressing any issues as soon as they arise, rather than waiting until the end of the day.
  • Assessing student comprehension and monitoring student progress throughout the course. If a student is falling behind, the cadre should explore avenues or policies for tutoring and counseling as soon as possible. A daily review of student activities at the cadre meeting and/or test results will provide a chance to give assistance or remedial training as needed. Students must be informed that they are not passing the course. A plan to assist the student in meeting course objectives must be made that is agreeable to both the student and instructor. Do not allow a problem to go uncommunicated and then after the course, inform the student they have failed.
  • Following evaluation criteria for each course. Some courses may use various course components such as pre-course tests, unit quizzes, class participation or exercises, and final exams to calculate the final score. The score will be based on the final exam unless otherwise stated. Ensure the standard of obtaining a passing score of at least 70% for NWCG courses is followed.
    • Students should be notified before leaving class if they will not receive a completion certificate.
  • Ensuring all students complete course evaluations, including daily, unit, and/or final evaluations. This may be done using the NWCG Course Evaluation Feedback Form, the WFLP, locally developed forms, or other means. Course Coordinators should consolidate feedback after the conclusion of the course and submit to NWCG (see Post-Course Activities). Locally developed versions should request an evaluation of the following:
    • Unit and course objectives and materials,
    • Time allotted,
    • Level of instruction,
    • Instructor presentations,
    • Facilities,
    • Correspondence, guidance, and communications, and
    • Recommendations for improvement.

End Course

At the end of the course, answer any questions the students have. Return final exams to students for review and collect the exams before students leave the course. Distribute course completion certificates and payment receipts, if applicable. If the certificates will be mailed, let the students know when to anticipate receiving them. Thank the students for their time and participation.

Conduct course closeout cadre meeting to review final evaluations and document recommendations for future course modifications (see Cadre Meetings Checklist docx or pdf). Instructor materials to be retained for future courses should be gathered, organized, returned, and stored.

These tasks should be completed within two weeks of the course conclusion.

Prepare Record of Course Completion and Non-Completion

Notification of completion

Course completion certificates should be given to students at the end of the course. The Course Coordinator should ensure the certificates are typed and signed by the Lead Instructor. For NWCG courses, the NWCG Training Course Completion Certificate, PMS 921-1, should be used (see Issuing the NWCG Training Course Completion Certificate).

For federal students, the Course Coordinator should use IQCS to create the course, award student completions, award instructor competency, and print certificates. Non-federal course coordinators should coordinate with federal partners to accomplish this.

Notification of non-completion

Formal notifications of non-completion should be sent through proper organizational channels, which vary by agency and geographic area. Reasons for non-completion of a course include not participating, not completing assignments, failing quizzes, not attending the entire session, or failure to meet the minimum passing score required for the course.

Prepare and Send Thank You Letters

Send thank you letters through appropriate organizational channels to all the individuals (and/or their supervisors) who participated in presenting the course.

Complete and Submit Course Evaluations

Lead Instructors should review the following items after course completion:  course content, pre-course work, visual aids, delivery methods, course prerequisites, testing procedures, and student feedback (see Evaluate). The Lead Instructor and/or Course Coordinator should document problems or recommendations regarding the content of the NWCG course on the NWCG Course Evaluation Feedback Form.

Complete and File Course Package

The Course Coordinator should complete and file a course package containing the instructor list, student completion roster, and course agenda. These items will be necessary documents if legal proceedings arise. Additional information may be included, such as testing results, record of non-completion, summarized student evaluations, sign-in sheet, Course Coordinator notes and recommendations for the next session, and instructor biographies. This package can assist with planning future courses.

The National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) provides national leadership to enable interoperable wildland fire operations among federal, state, tribal, territorial, and local partners. NWCG operations standards are interagency by design; they are developed with the intent of universal adoption by the member agencies. However, the decision to adopt and utilize them is made independently by the individual member agencies and communicated through their respective directives systems.




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