Professional Development & Training
The environmental review process is a dynamic field. As such, transportation decisionmakers must stay abreast of recent policy and changing practice. Taking advantage of professional development opportunities is crucial to maintaining and developing the knowledge, skills, and abilities to ensure that transit projects are environmentally responsible and successful. Here you will find current opportunities for training, tutorials, conferences, and online resources to keep you informed of current issues in the environmental field.
Training Opportunities Through the U.S. DOT
National Transit Institute (NTI) - The National Transit Institute, at Rutgers, was established under the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 to develop, promote, and deliver training and education programs for the public transit industry. NTI offers two online courses of Environmental Impact Assessment intended for transportation professionals from transit agencies, metropolitan planning organizations, and departments of transportation working with the environmental process relative to project development.
NTI Environmental Courses:
- Introduction to Transportation Conformity
- Transit Noise and Vibration Impact Assessment
- Seminar on Managing the Environmental Review Process
- Environmental Impact Assessment (Part A) (Part B)
National Highway Institute (NHI) - As one of the major training institutions of FHWA, NHI offers NEPA-related courses on a regular basis at locations across the country. NHI environmental courses include:
- NEPA and Transportation Decisionmaking
- Fundamentals of Title VI/Environmental Justice
- Implications of Air Quality Planning for Transportation
- The Functional Assessment of Wetlands
- Public Involvement in the Transportation Decision-Making Process
- Applying Spatial Technologies to Transportation (not specific to the environmental review process)
Training Opportunities through Other Federal Agencies
EPA’s National Enforcement Training Institute (NETI) - NETI provides a comprehensive and integrated approach to training and its courses, all of which are free of charge, have a focus on broad environmental issues, such as water quality assessments and environmental justice. NETI offers computer-based training courses (from CDs), some with web components available to Federal, State, local and tribal environmental enforcement personnel, including attorneys, inspectors, technical staff and investigators. NETI Online, the training center’s website, also contains links to an online library and a “student union” where registered users can chat, post bulletins, and join groups. These online resources are still under development. Users must register to enter the site.
EPA also manages the Air Pollution Training Institute (APTI) - APTI offers a variety of training opportunities for air pollution professionals in classroom, web-based, tele-course, and self-instructional course formats. APTI also supports State, local and Tribal programs through special course and workshop offerings and through the development of internal training programs.
USGS’s National Wetlands Research Center (NWRC) - NWRC strives to develop and disseminate scientific information needed for understanding the ecology and values of our nation's wetlands and for managing and restoring wetland habitats and associated plant and animal communities. The Introduction to Wetland Remote Sensing and Mapping course may be of particular interest to transportation decisionmakers.
BLM’s National Training Center (NTC) - NTC's mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands through education and training and offers a course titled, The NEPA Screening Process.
FWS’s National Conservation Training Center (NCTC) - NCTC offers courses related to GIS technologies and conservation planning, such as GIS Overview for Natural Resource Conservation and GIS Use for Wildlife Habitat Management.
USACE’s Professional Development Support Center (PDSC) - PDSC offers workshops on the Clean Air Act and Environmental Impact Assessments.
The Arthur Carhart National Wilderness Training Center (jointly managed by BLM, NPS, FWS and USFS) - The Arthur Carhart National Wilderness Training Center offers coursework on wilderness stewardship, such as site restoration and natural resource monitoring.
Non-profit Training Centers
The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) - ACHP offers an introductory course on the Section 106 process.
The American Law Institute/American Bar Association (ALI-ABA) - ALI-ABA offers several courses that range from a general course covering the present state of the law on NEPA, the “Little NEPAs” and the EIS process to courses that cover specific resource areas such as Historic Preservation Law or Wetlands Law and Regulation. All of these courses are oriented towards professionals seeking instruction on the legal issues surrounding these areas.
The National Preservation Institute (NPI) - NPI offers “specialized information, continuing education, and professional training for the management, development, and preservation of historic, cultural, and environmental resources.” NPI offers a course on compliance with Section 4(f) of the DOT Act of 1966 for transportation projects.
The American Society of Civil Engineers' (ASCE) Continuing Education Program - ASCE offers several courses of relevance to transportation decisionmakers who manage the wetlands permitting and storm water management aspects of project development. For instance, they offer Wetlands and 404 Permitting and another course entitled GIS Application in Water, Wastewater and Stormwater Systems.
The Academy of Board Certified Environmental Professionals - Formally transferred from the National Association of Environmental Professionals (NAEP) in 1993, CEP provides environmental professionals the opportunity to be judged by a board of peers. Certification is offered in five functional areas: Environmental Assessments; Environmental Documentation; Environmental Operations; Environmental Planning; Environmental Research and Education. A minimum set of qualifications education and experience are required for all applicants. Additionally, applicants must perform a written examination, and undergo an evaluation administered by a diverse Certification Review Board (i.e., from consulting firms, academia, private industry, and government).
Environmental Concern, Inc. (EC) - EC is a public non-profit organization dedicated to “promoting public understanding and stewardship of wetlands through experiential learning, native species horticulture, and restoration and creation initiatives.” EC has both a Construction Department, which has completed over 600 wetlands restoration projects, as well as an Education Department, which seeks to promote a greater understanding of the ecological importance of wetlands preservation. EC offers courses in wetland mitigation assessment and design as well as wetland law and policy.
Training Centers through Academic Institutions
North Carolina State University Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE) - CTE currently provides training in Context-Sensitive Solutions to staff of the North Carolina Department of Transportation. CTE also produces 4-6 national teleconference broadcasts a year. Expert panels address various issues that are pertinent to the current “hot topics” of environment and transportation. The live broadcasts from North Carolina State University’s campus last approximately 3 hours, with audience members representing transportation and environmental agencies as well as other governmental, university, non-profit, and private sector organizations.
Duke’s Environmental Leadership Program - DEL offers “executive courses” ranging from two to five days and covering topics that include Environmental Justice, cumulative effects, preparing NEPA documents, background on the legalistic aspects of NEPA, and remote sensing. DEL is also creating a NEPA certificate program for planning professionals and graduate students. To qualify for a certificate, students will be required to complete three to five courses in specific focal areas. Proposed focal areas include conservation biology, water quality assessment, natural resource economics, and geospatial technologies.
The NEPA Certification Program at Utah State University (USU) (PDF) - In conjunction with Shipley Environmental Inc., USU offers courses in various locations across the US in order “to make the program more accessible to natural resource professionals working for various federal and state agencies and private firms.” However, courses are also offered regularly at the USU campus. All courses are two or three consecutive eight-hour days (depending on the course) to enable the participation of Environmental/transportation professionals.