As of 2015, all courses the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Emergency Management Institute offers through its Independent Study program are free of charge. There are roughly 200 courses in this program, covering topics such as emergency-related policy issues, security issues, how to build structures to withstand disasters, disaster-response training, and insurance and claims writing. Many courses focus on dealing with the public. FEMA intends these courses for first responders, people who work in emergency medicine and the general public.
The Department of Homeland Security requires people who want to participate in the Independent Study program to register for a FEMA SID, or student identification number. For all of FEMA's agencies, this number takes the place of a person's Social Security number for identification purposes.
FEMA gives exams for these courses on a pass-or-fail basis and does not award grades. Passing an exam means giving correct answers to at least 75 percent of the exam's questions, but students do not learn their actual scores or which questions they answer incorrectly.
Some of these courses grant the student academic credit at Frederick Community College, states EM-Study.com. The student pays the college a fee per semester hour for these credits. The college uses the student's FEMA SID for identification.