Acceptance of Equivalent Training to Meet Mandatory Requirements and Training Reciprocity

231 FW 3
FWM Number
Director's Order 207, 5/7/2013
Originating Office
Division of Training (NCTC)

3.1 What is the purpose of this chapter? This chapter eliminates redundant or unnecessary training by recognizing the training U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) employees take from other Federal agencies or offices (e.g., U.S. Forest Service, Environmental Protection Agency) as long as it’s equivalent to our established requirements.

On July 26, 2019, after publication of this chapter, the Department of the Interior published Personnel Bulletin 19-05, which expanded the scope of training reciprocity to include Federal, State, or local agencies. It says, “Training reciprocity allows training provided at one location, bureau, agency (federal, state or local) or other entity to be accepted at another location, bureau or agency.” The Service is in the process of updating this chapter to reflect the Department’s 2019 policy.

3.2 What is the policy?

A. Whenever an employee successfully completes training that is offered or accepted by another Federal agency [or another entity] and that is equivalent to Service-sponsored training, the Service will accept that training and not require the employee to take Service-sponsored training.

B. If there is any question about equivalency, the employee and supervisor will work together to determine if the training adequately meets Service standards. The supervisor must document this determination and keep the documentation in the employee’s file. For some training where safety is the primary issue, the supervisor must get additional concurrence (see section 3.5).

C. The supervisor must ensure the employee enters information about the training in DOI Talent as required by 231 FW 4 and 5 so that it appears in the employee’s transcript.

3.3 What is the scope of this chapter? This chapter applies to all employees except for:

A. Special agents and wildlife inspectors in the Office of Law Enforcement,

B. Federal Wildlife Officers in the National Wildlife Refuge System, and

C. Employees who must take Service financial assistance training because they work with financial assistance awards (i.e., grants and cooperative agreements) (see 232 FW 1).

3.4 Who is responsible for this policy? See Table 3-1.

Table 3-1: Responsibilities for Acceptance of Equivalent Federal Training

These employees…

Are responsible for…

A. The Director

Approving or declining to approve proposed Servicewide policy.

B. The Director – National Conservation Training Center

(1) Ensuring this policy is up-to-date, and

(2) Answering questions from supervisors about this policy and, when appropriate, equivalency of content of other Federal training.

C. Directorate members

Assisting supervisors, when appropriate, with determining equivalency of content of other Federal training.

D. Supervisors

(1) Ensuring that any training from another Federal agency that an employee plans to take to meet Service mandatory training requirements is equivalent before allowing it as a substitute,

(2) For some training where safety is the primary issue, seeking additional concurrence as we describe in section 3.5,

(3) Documenting the determination of equivalency in the employee’s file through the use of the Training Reciprocity Application (FWS Form 3-2540), and

(4) Ensuring that any other Federal training that is determined to be equivalent is recorded in DOI Talent so that it appears in the employee’s training transcript.

3.5 What substitute training requires concurrence above the supervisor level to determine equivalency? If an employee plans to take or has already taken any of the training listed in Table 3-2 that another Federal agency offers, the employee’s supervisor must seek concurrence from the officials listed before allowing the employee to substitute the training.

Table 3-2: Additional Concurrence Required for Certain Training Courses

If any employee plans to take or has already taken the following training from another Federal agency

Employee’s supervisor must seek concurrence from the following official(s) that the training is equivalent….

Heavy equipment and off-road utility vehicle safety training

National or Servicing Heavy Equipment Coordinator (see 321 FW 1)

Watercraft safety training

Service Watercraft Safety Coordinator (see 241 FW 1)

Explosives/blasting training

Servicing Safety Manager (see 244 FW 2)

Rocket netting training

Servicing Safety Manager (see 244 FW 3)

Non-fire chain saw training

Servicing Safety Manager (see 241 FW 12)

Amended by Decision Memorandum, “Approval of Revisions to ~350 Directives to Remove Gender-Specific Pronouns,” 6/22/2022