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NIOSH - National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

Office of Extramural Programs


Training Programs

Education and Research Centers (ERC)

Through university-based Education and Research Centers (ERCs), NIOSH supports academic degree programs and research training opportunities in the core areas of industrial hygiene, occupational health nursing, occupational medicine, and occupational safety, plus specialized areas relevant to the occupational safety and health field. In addition to the academic training programs, NIOSH supports ERC short-term continuing education (CE) programs for occupational safety and health professionals, and others with worker safety and health responsibilities. A current CE course schedule for all NIOSH Education and Research Centers can be accessed at the NIOSH ERC Web site

NIOSH Education and Research Center Directors

ERC Continuing Education Opportunities

The ERCs provide a variety of continuing education opportunities for occupational safety and health professionals. The core areas of programming are industrial hygiene, occupational health nursing, occupational medicine, and occupational safety. Programs are delivered in face to face settings and in blended formats. Additionally, many ERCs have academic and continuing educational opportunities available online. You can view and search over 70 topics on the ERC site.

On this site you can access lists of the courses, seminars, and workshops offered at ERCs across the country. Search by topic, by center, by course title (using the search tool on the left side of your screen), (using the search tool on the left side of your screen), or download the overall program brochure.

NIOSH ERC Continuing Education Directors

Training Project Grants (TPG)

Training Projects Grants are supported by NIOSH at academic institutions that primarily provide single-discipline graduate training in the industrial hygiene, occupational health nursing, occupational medicine, occupational safety, and closely related occupational safety and health fields.

NIOSH Training Project Grant Directors

ERC Hazardous Substance Training Programs


In 1988, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) entered into an Interagency Agreement with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) to conduct a continuing education program in hazardous substance training. The authority for this program is established in Section 311 (a)(1)(B) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) of 1980 as amended by Section 209 of the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) of 1986. In 1993, the program was expanded to include graduate academic training to further meet the needs of professional personnel. This program is being conducted through supplemental training grants to the NIOSH Education and Research Centers (ERCs). The NIEHS Superfund Basic Research Program ( provides financial support for this program.

Target Audience

As specified in SARA, the target audience is as follows:

  1. State and local health and environmental agency personnel, and,
  2. Other professionals engaged in the management of hazardous substances.

The training is intended to prepare professional personnel to properly carry out their responsibilities in the hazardous substance response and site remediation activities authorized by SARA. This workforce is in continuing need of training through continuing education courses as well as more intensive academic coursework with specialization in the occupational and environmental health and safety field.

Hazardous Substance Continuing Education Program (HST)

This program is a component of the continuing education program within the ERCs and includes the following elements:

  • Coordination of training activities with Agencies responsible for cleanup, enforcement, and training of personnel under CERCLA/SARA and other relevant groups;

  • A specific plan to develop and implement a program of instruction over the approved project period;

  • A Project Director with demonstrated capacity for providing leadership in conducting training in the handling, managing, or evaluation of hazardous substances, and with education and/or experience in the hazardous substance field;

  • A project staff with demonstrated experience and technical expertise to develop the curricula and provide quality training;

  • The implementation of short courses and continuing education programs for State, and local health and environmental professionals and other professionals involved in evaluating, managing and handling hazardous substances; and

  • Evaluation of the program that shall include a determination of whether the regional needs for training professionals are being met.

Hazardous Substance Academic Training Program (HSAT)

The purpose of this program is to offer a series of academic courses to prepare occupational safety and health professionals for practice, with a specialization in hazardous substances. The intent is to provide a concentration in the hazardous substance field within the academic curriculum. A 3-year developmental period was provided to include a needs assessment, curriculum development, and program implementation. The program is intended to be a specialty area within the existing ERC Industrial Hygiene core programs.

The program components include:

  • A needs assessment directed to the overall contribution of the training program toward meeting the job market for qualified state, local and other professional personnel;

  • A training plan to satisfy the regional needs for training;

  • A formalized curriculum which includes minimum coursework toward achievement of a degree, training objectives, course descriptions, course content, and didactic and field experiences;

  • A competent and experienced Program Director and staff; and

  • A plan to evaluate the overall effectiveness of the training.

Listing of HST/HSAT Program Directors

Emergency Responder Training Program

The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) is conducting a comprehensive nationwide Hazardous Substance Training Program for fire fighters, paramedics and other emergency responders employed in 30,400 fire departments across the United States. (National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), U.S. Fire Department Profile through 2004, September 2005).

In 2004, 75,840 firefighter injuries occurred in the line of duty, a decrease of 3.7% from the year before. Fire fighter injuries constituted 36,880 or 48.6% of all injuries during fire-ground operations. An estimated 14,250 occurred during other on duty activities, while 13,150 occurred at non-fire emergency incidents (NFPA, U.S. Firefighter Injuries of 2004). In the course of their work, thousands more emergency responders are exposed to toxic materials that potentially increase their long-term risk for certain types of cancer, heart-lung damage, leukemia, and other diseases.

The International Association of Fire Fighters, headquartered in Washington, DC, represents more than 288,000 fire fighters and emergency medical personnel, who protect 85 percent of the nation's population. The IAFF includes more than 3,000 locals in more than 3,500 communities in the United States and Canada. Our training curricula are current, focused and ready to be delivered. This is a state-of-the-art program with a focused safety and health message provided by experienced, committed instructors.

This project is supported by NIOSH through a Training Project Grant which was renewed for five years in FY2008. The objectives of the program include:

  • Conduct operation-level training events for the purpose of ensuring a safe and effective response to hazardous materials/weapons of mass destruction incidents by emergency response personnel.
  • Conduct a continuing education conference to provide training for new instructors, updates for current instructors, and detailed education and exercise in recent program delivery developments.
  • Ensure that the IAFF First Responder Operations program continues to meet or exceed applicable professional standards and incorporate lessons learned and best practices.
  • Continue local customized training program delivery to meet the needs of emergency responders including fire and rescue departments, state fire training agencies, and offices of emergency management.
  • Incorporate a comprehensive health and safety program for emergency responders using online resources to continue the learning process after formal training.
  • Continue to employ marketing and outreach efforts to meet the needs of emergency responders in underserved populations.
  • Maintain high program quality and efficiency through the implementation of an updated, fully integrated Quality Assurance effort.
  • Using a range of program evaluation methods and analytical techniques identify, describe and disseminate information regarding the positive impacts-both short and long-term-of health and safety emergency responder training.

The IAFF training program strongly emphasizes our comprehensive project for fire fighters with a proven staff of professionals and nationally-acclaimed fire service instructors. The IAFF training project provides for at least 137 first responder courses every year the project is funded. As an integral part of these training deliveries, the IAFF's Recruit Training Initiative addresses basic health and safety training during recruit training in an effort to create a culture that prioritizes safety and prevent the development of unsafe practices. This training activity is supported by curricula development, continuing education for field instructors, ongoing development of digital and web-based learning methodologies and a comprehensive evaluation plan to track student, course, and institutional changes.

Contact Information:

Patrick J. Morrison, Principal Investigator
International Association of Firefighters
1750 New York Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20006
IAFF web site:

Elizabeth M. Harman, Director
1750 New York Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20006
IAFF web site:

Page last updated: October 6, 2008
Page last reviewed: October 6, 2008
Content Source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Education and Information Division