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FAQs - SDAO Academy

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What are the benefits of the SDAO Academy?
The training topics covered in the SDAO Academy will help participants better understand the regulations and risks associated with everyday operations of a special district, develop leadership and management skills, improve chances for promotion and advancement, and build confidence in skills and proficiency of job duties.
Can I receive continuing education credits for completing trainings in the program?
We are currently researching if we can offer continuing education credits for some of our trainings. However, at this time, we are not offering them.
Do SafePersonnel online training classes qualify for credit?
Some trainings offered through SafePersonnel will qualify for credit. Please review the list of eligible trainings. It is important to note that only two trainings in each category can be completed online. Four in each category will need to be completed in person.
How long do I have to complete the program?
You have three years to complete the program from the date we receive your application.
How much does it cost to complete the program?
The total cost to complete the program and receive a certificate of completion will vary for each individual. Each year, our annual conference will offer several opportunities to receive credit and the cost to attend is currently $230. Our regional trainings typically range from $50-85; however, using proceeds from the annual golf tournament, we have been able to fund about 75 training scholarships (limit one per district) per training series. Some of the courses can be completed online. So the costs can be minimal if you are able to utilize the training scholarships, but those are first come, first served. Also, elective courses will have costs associated with them that we can’t predict since we may not be the ones offering them. No more than two online trainings can but utilized to complete the requirements for each category, and there is typically no charge for those. 
Does this program qualify for insurance discounts through SDIS?
The SDAO Academy does not qualify for insurance discounts through SDIS. However, we are still offering the Best Practices Program which offers up to a 10% credit on the next year's insurance contributions for certain lines of coverage.
Is this a good program for board members?
The SDAO Academy is targeted to special district employees. However, we are developing an educational program for board members and will announce that to the membership when it is available.
I took a training in 2019 that would qualify based on the course description. Can I apply that to the SDAO Academy?
Because the Academy doesn’t officially start until January 1, 2020, we are only allowing trainings taken after that date to qualify for credit. For all eligible courses, we will include the SDAO Academy logo and the number of credits available.
An SDAO staff member came to our district to facilitate a training on one of the program topics. Does this qualify for in-person training credit?
Yes. Please have the SDAO staff member provide you with a certificate of completion for your training.