How to report FEMA contract experience

Guidelines for contract instructors on resumes, biographies, pamphlets and flyers, websites, emails, and business cards

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) conducts training with instructors drawn from many backgrounds. Instructors may be FEMA employees, FEMA reservists, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) employees, or other federal/state/local/tribal employees and contractors. FEMA does not have a standing or adjunct faculty or corps of instructors.

The representation of an instructor’s credentials, experiences, awards, degrees and honors are critical to the academic integrity of that instructor and the organizations where they instruct. FEMA and its individual educational institutions put great importance on both academic integrity and professionalism.

The following guidelines will help you to avoid conflicts when you market/present your FEMA contract experience.

Resumes, biographies, pamphlets and flyers

DoDo not
  • Use the title “Contract Instructor.”
  • Use the title “Independent Contractor.”
  • Use the title “President, CEO, Owner, Partner of your company.”
  • Provide the year, month and course number for the contracts you have completed.
  • Use: “Professor, Faculty, Instructor, Lecturer.”
  • Add: “Adjunct, Visiting, Resident or In Residence” to any of the above terms.
  • Use: “Contract Instructor to EMI, NFA, or USFA” unless you provide dates, course names or numbers.
  • Include any DHS, FEMA, U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), National Fire Academy (NFA), or Emergency Management Institute (EMI) seals, logos, word marks or icons that suggest you are affiliated with or employed by the federal government.

Recommended

Identify your work as a “Contract Instructor” and provide specific and accurate information about when and what courses you served as an instructor. You may provide the additional information for those specific courses that were delivered at the “FEMA, National Emergency Training Center (NETC), Emergency Management Institute” or “FEMA, National Emergency Training Center, National Fire Academy.”

Because there are few limitations on space, you are encouraged to provide detailed information about the courses you have taught and are qualified to instruct. Be specific about time, place, titles and course number when you taught the course and what other instructors you have worked with.

If the content you delivered was FEMA content but another party — such as state, local or tribal — hired you, you should list the:

Websites and emails

DoDo not
  • Use the title “Contract Instructor.”
  • Use the title “Independent Contractor.”
  • Use the title “President, CEO, Owner, Partner of your company.”
  • Provide the year, month and course number for the contracts you have completed.
  • You may include a link to DHS, FEMA, USFA, NFA or EMI.
  • You may use links approved by FEMA’s Office of External Affairs.
  • Use: “Professor, Faculty, Instructor, Lecturer.”
  • Add: “Adjunct, Visiting, Resident or In Residence” to any of the above terms.
  • Use: “Contract Instructor to EMI, NFA or USFA” unless you provide dates, course names or numbers.
  • Include any DHS, FEMA, USFA, NFA or EMI seals, logos, word marks or icons that suggest you are affiliated with or employed by the federal government.

Email signatures

DoDo not
  • Clarify you are not employed by the government.
  • Use the name of your company first or your own name and “Independent Contractor.”
  • You may include a link to DHS, FEMA, USFA, NFA or EMI.
  • Use federal entities followed by a title. Example: “FEMA Emergency Management Institute Tribal Curriculum Adjunct Instructor.”
  • Do not include any DHS, FEMA, USFA, NFA or EMI seals, logos, word marks or icons that suggest you are affiliated with or employed by the federal government.

Recommended

Avoid using the names of federal entities (DHS, FEMA, USFA, NFA or EMI) in the name of your website or email address.

Business cards

Business cards offer a limited amount of space and are assumed to provide information specifically identifying the person’s employer. It is important to avoid creating the impression that you represent or are employed by a federal entity such as DHS, FEMA, USFA, NFA or EMI. Take care to avoid using graphic elements that suggest you are employed directly by the federal government.

DoDo not
  • Express your “Instructor” title as:
    • Contract Instructor.
    • Independent Contract Instructor.
    • Professional Instructor.
    • Consultant and Instructor.
    • Emergency Management Instructor.
    • Fire Service Instructor.
    • Leadership / Management Instructor.
  • Include your title as President, CEO, Owner or Partner as the case may be, if you have registered your business as appropriate with your state.
  • Use: “Professor, Faculty, Instructor, Lecturer.”
  • Add: “Adjunct, Visiting, Resident or In Residence” to any of the above terms.
  • Use: “Contract Instructor to EMI, NFA, USFA.”
  • Because a business card is presumed to identify an employer do not use “DHS”, “FEMA”, “USFA”, “NFA” or “EMI” seals, logos, word marks, icons or those written words on a business card because you do not have an employment relationship with them.

Recommended

Clearly identify yourself and your business entity. Provide your contact information as well as your website information. Provide geographic information about your business entity and/or geographic limitations of your services.

On-campus and off-campus class activity

Letters of recommendation

The U.S. Fire Administration, the National Fire Academy, and the Emergency Management Institute do not provide letters of recommendation for contract instructors. Individual employees may provide personal remarks directly to potential employers, but they may not sign those remarks with their official titles or use official letterhead or stationary.

FEMA employees are entitled to ethics advice from a FEMA ethics attorney when they have received a reference request. FEMA employees may not provide a “to whom it may concern” general recommendation endorsement using their official titles, positions or official letterhead.

Communications from the U.S. Fire Administration, the National Fire Academy, and the Emergency Management Institute addressed to a contractor are not considered letters of recommendation or endorsement.