Get 12 Credits of Topic-Specific, At-Your-Desk Continuing Education

The APCO Institute’s Illuminations programs are annual subscription-based services that offer continuing education online in three different tracks – General, EMD and CTO. Each track has monthly or quarterly topics that change each year. Registration for each track is priced separately. All Illuminations program courses are taught by APCO Institute adjunct instructors.

General Illuminations

General Illuminations offers monthly courses on a wide range of topics of interest to telecommunicators and other public safety communications professionals. Subscribers earn one CDE for each, for a total of 12 CDEs per subscription year. An annual subscription lasts 12 months beginning with the first monthly topic for which you register. Participants must submit copies of Illuminations certificates of completion to the Institute to receive CDEs.

General Illuminations Topics Schedule

Topics are subject to change.

Jan. 2024: Federal Agencies and How They Support Local Public Safety

The U.S. Federal Government has many federal agencies with acronyms or initialisms, such as FBI, DEA, ATF, NPS, CBP, ICE and USCG. This session defines the alphabet’s initials, explains the agencies typical duties and responsibilities, and identifies how these federal agencies commonly support local and state public safety entities.

Feb. 2024: Practicing Self Care

Learning to set healthy boundaries to reduce stress is one of your most important duties as a telecommunicator. We’ve all heard the cabin crew on a flight say, “In the event of a loss of pressure, place your mask on first, then help others.” The same principle applies to helping others in emergencies. You cannot help anybody if your stress levels are off the charts. Setting boundaries to reduce stress by saying “no” protects your time, energy, and well-being. Taking care of yourself first should be a priority.

March 2024: Sexual Predator Hunter

Sometimes also known as child exploitation vigilante groups, sexual predator hunters conduct online investigations to expose and confront individuals believed to be involved in inappropriate or illegal activities with minors. This session examines how the hunter interacts with suspected predators and the potential dangers of confrontation.

April 2024: Creating a Checklist for the Console

Just as police, fire, and EMS check their vehicles and equipment before heading out to protect the community, dispatchers must also sign on for duty and prepare their consoles. Preparing a checklist can help to start your day on a positive note.

May 2024: What is CIT?

Many law enforcement agencies have implemented Crisis Intervention Training. This session explains the purpose and use of these teams and how the PST can benefit from the strategies utilized.

June 2024: Creating Shared Understandings With the Autism Community

What does “Being on the Spectrum Mean to You?” Did you know people with an autism spectrum disorder are 7 to 12 times more likely to have contact with police? The information you gather initially can help responders to identify characteristics and guide a positive outcome.

July 2024: Boating Incidents

Summer months find many people outside on the water. Experienced and inexperienced boaters alike can fall victim to accidents. During this session, you’ll explore common types of boating incidents, including capsizing, sinking, grounding, propeller accidents, person overboard and crashes.

Aug. 2024: The Toxic Workplace

Lack of communication, empathy, and subtle or overt bullying can contribute to a toxic workplace that makes it hard for employees to succeed. Learn how to recognize and address these issues to improve your work environment.

Sept. 2024: Decision-Making Skills

Accurate and timely call handling requires active listening, crisis assessment abilities, problem-solving skills, cultural sensitivity, and effective communication. Ways to enhance these skills are identified in this session.

Oct. 2024: The PST’s Role in an Active Shooter Incident

The PST is responsible for gathering and relaying crucial and often confusing or conflicting information during an active shooter incident. In addition, the PST provides guidance, instruction, and emotional support to callers in danger while coordinating responder resources. These roles and responsibilities are examined in this session.

Nov. 2024: Fire in Multi-Residential Structure

A fire in a structure with multiple residential occupants, such as an apartment building, hotel, or assisted living facility, is challenging for firefighters. This session identifies common causes of these fires, fire suppression/extinguishing systems, and occupant evacuation strategies.

Dec. 2024: Welfare Checks

Welfare checks are typically routine safety/wellness checks conducted by law enforcement, usually requested by a family member or friend. Explore the unexpected dangers of these checks to both the occupant and law enforcement responders.

EMD Illuminations

EMD Illuminations includes monthly topics of particular interest to emergency medical dispatchers, although the track is open to anyone. Subscribers earn one CDE for each. An annual subscription lasts 12 months beginning with the first monthly topic for which you register.

EMD Topics Schedule

Topics are subject to change.

Jan. 2024: AirMed Transports

Learn about the criteria for this type of transport and the types of medical transport aircraft used. You’ll also explore safety considerations such as protocols, landing zone assessment, weather conditions and communication among units involved in the transport.

Feb. 2024: Syncope

Commonly referred to as fainting or passing out, syncope is caused by a temporary reduction of blood flow and oxygen to the brain. Review various types and causes of syncope, including vasovagal, cardiac, orthostatic hypertension and neurological.

March 2024: Accidental Suffocation

Unintentional suffocation occurs approximately 6,000 times a year in the U.S. Explore the common causes, such as unsafe sleeping, entrapment and choking.

April 2024: Agricultural Injuries

Machinery-related wounds, slips/falls, bites, kicks, trampling and crushing caused by farm animals, and exposure to chemicals are common injuries in rural and agricultural areas. Learn about the causes and symptoms of these injuries.

May 2024: Psychological Problem

According to the National Center of Mental Health, one in five adults in the U.S. experiences mental illness. Explore the signs and symptoms of depression, anxiety, PTSD, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and substance abuse disorders.

June 2024: Amputation

Explosions and blasts and industrial, occupational, motor vehicle, farming, and home accidents can result in the loss of limbs. Explore the essential EMD strategies to help minimize blood loss and the symptoms of shock caused by this kind of accident.

July 2024: Mass Casualty

A mass casualty incident (MCI) is an event in which many people are injured or killed, often challenging available public safety resources. Triage and collaboration among EMS, fire, law enforcement, and medical facilities are essential. Explore the common types of MCIs and responder responsibilities in mass casualty incidents.

Aug. 2024: Deadly Insect Bites

In some cases, bees, mosquitos, ticks, fire ants and spiders can cause severe reactions and even death. Learn about various types of insects and the signs/symptoms of bites and stings, from localized pain and swelling to severe and deadly allergic reactions.

Sept. 2024: Suicide Calls

Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. This session will examine suicide data and statistics, risk factors, warning signs and prevention strategies.

Oct. 2024: Febrile Seizures

Febrile seizures are seizures or convulsions that occur in young children, most predominantly between the ages of six months to five years of age. This session will explore the causes, the signs and symptoms, and the treatment for this type of seizure.

Nov. 2024: Kitchen Accidents

The kitchen can be the central gathering place for family and friends. It can also be the most dangerous room in the house for children and adults. Learn about the different types of fires, burns, lacerations, eye injuries, poisons, and slip-and-fall accidents that often occur in the kitchen, including pre-arrival instructions for and preventing these accidents.

Dec. 2024: Hazards of the Holidays

The holiday season is in full swing, and so are the many types of illnesses for which callers to your center need assistance. A gathering of many can also mean the gathering of germs when proper handwashing and disinfecting are not practiced. And overindulging in desserts and alcohol can result in 9-1-1 calls, as can consuming undercooked turkey.

CTO Illuminations

CTO Illuminations provides quarterly courses enabling communications training officers and others a chance to delve into specific topics that impact training and continuing education in the communications center. Subscribers earn three CDEs for each quarterly session completed. An annual subscription lasts 12 months beginning with the quarterly topic for which you register.

CTO Illuminations Topics Schedule

Quarter 1 (2024): DORs + SEGs = Reduced Training Liability

Are your Daily Observation Reports (DORs) documenting objective trainee performance that is court-defensible? This session will break down how to customize a DOR to meet agency practices, to recognize if the Standard Evaluation Guidelines (SEGs) are setting obtainable goals for the trainee, and to understand how DORs and SEGs work together in liability matters.

Quarter 2 (2024): CTO Situational Awareness

This session focuses on identifying weaknesses through role play, scenarios, and other types of training to improve trainee performance.

Quarter 3 (2024): The Liability of a CTO

No matter how good you think the trainee is, you should never leave them alone. What are some of the case studies from around the country that we hear about?

Quarter 4 (2024): Generational Training

How do trainers keep up with innovative learning techniques that reach different generations? How do you keep students engaged in these days of artificial intelligence (AI)? Generation Z are the children of Generation X and do not know a life without a computer. This session will look at the different generations in the workforce, along with training methodologies and techniques to keep up with the changing generations.

How to Purchase Illuminations

Annual Subscription
$145 non-member
$125 APCO member
$115 per person (group of 26-50 registrants)
$105 per person (group of 51+ registrants)
To purchase an Illuminations subscription
  • Go to the Illuminations registration page and click on the track you are interested in.
  • You will see a list of classes by date.
  • Select the month (or quarter, for CTO) for the version of Illuminations you want to take
  • Click Register next to that topic and month.
  • Follow the instructions to complete registration for this track.

You will be subscribed to Illuminations for 12 months starting with the month and topic you selected.