You’ve done the research. You’ve selected the right program for you. All that’s left now is to finish the enrollment agreement. SDI offers convenient monthly start dates for new students, so right now is always the best time to enroll.

Step 1: Submit your SDI Enrollment Agreement

Step 2: Submit a front and back copy of your valid government ID

Step 3: Submit official copies of all previously attended college and military transcripts

Step 4: Work with SDI’s Financial Services for a smooth funding process

Admissions Requirements

SDI does not require industry-specific coursework or training prior to enrollment. Each program is specifically designed for people who want to know more and are willing to put forth a reasonable effort toward their own education and self-improvement. You need no previous experience in the field because your program of study begins with the basics and builds on that foundation with each new lesson.

Applicants seeking admission must meet the following admission requirements prior to the start of the first course at SDI:

  • Must have earned a high school diploma, a GED or recognized equivalent*
  • Must be at least 18 years of age at the time of admission.
  • Must have access to a computer with internet connection for the web-based programs and meet the minimum technology, hardware, and software requirements outlined in the SDI catalog.
  • Must have the ability to study in English.
  • Must meet the eligibility requirements for the selected program of study as detailed in the program specific admission requirements sections.
  • Must have the physical and mental ability needed to successfully complete the program.
    For SDI Firearms programs and courses, the following requirements are in place:

    • Applicants must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
    • Applicants must be a minimum of 18 years of age (21 years of age for the Certificate in Firearms Technology – Handgun Specialist) as of the program start date.
    • Applicants may be subject to a background check prior to and/or during their program of study.
    • Students will need to have access to a firearm to complete assignments in some of the coursework.
    • Must be eligible to obtain a Federal Firearms License.

    Due to the nature of the coursework offered, SDI reserves the right to deny enrollment to any individual who is unable to answer “No” to all of the below questions. Additionally, enrollment may be denied if SDI has reasonable cause to believe that an individual’s answer(s) to a question below should be “Yes.”

    • Are you under indictment or information in any court for a felony, or any other crime for which the judge could imprison you for more than one year, or are you a current member of the military who has been charged with violation(s) of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and whose charge(s) have been referred to a general court-martial?
    • Have you ever been convicted in any court, including a military court, of a felony, or any other crime for which the judge could have imprisoned you for more than one year, even if you received a shorter sentence including probation?
    • Are you a fugitive from justice?
    • Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance? Warning: The use or possession of marijuana remains unlawful under Federal law regardless of whether it has been legalized or decriminalized for medicinal or recreational purposes in the state where you reside.
    • Have you ever been adjudicated as a mental defective OR have you ever been committed to a mental institution?
    • Have you ever been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions?
    • Are you subject to a court order, including a Military Protection Order issued by a military judge or magistrate, restraining you from harassing, stalking, or threatening your child or an intimate partner or child of such partner?
    • Have you ever been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, or are you or have you ever been a member of the military and been convicted of a crime that included, as an element, the use of force against a person as identified in the instructions?
    • Have you ever renounced your United States citizenship?
    • Are you an alien illegally or unlawfully in the United States?

*Equivalents include completion of secondary school through homeschooling as defined by state law, or having earned an equivalent to a U.S. high school diploma at an international high school according to approved foreign evaluation services. An approved foreign evaluation service is any agency that is a current member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) or Association of International Credential Evaluators (AICE).

Required Documentation

Applicants must submit the following prior to admission:

  • Application for admission, including student signature on the Enrollment Agreement
  • Attestation of earning high school diploma, GED, or recognized equivalent**
  • Copy of front and back of a valid government-issued photo identification (i.e. driver’s license or passport)
  • Official college transcripts from all prior institutions attended must be received or proof of request for each is to be submitted prior to start date

If the student’s native language is not English, proof of English proficiency is required. Options to provide such evidence include:

  • A high school diploma completed at an accredited/recognized high school where the medium of instruction is English.
  • A minimum score of 61 on the Internet Based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL iBT), a 6.0 on the International English Language Test (IELTS), or 44 on the Pearson Test of English Academic Score Report.

**SDI may also require, at its discretion, that an applicant or student provide a high school transcript, high school diploma, and/or evidence of passing the GED or state certificate awarded.

In recognition of the importance of ethical practices in the admissions process, Sonoran Desert Institute subscribes to the Statement of Principles of Good Practice in College Admission and Recruitment, which has been approved by the American Council on Education (ACE) and the American Association of College Registrars and Admissions Counselors (AACRAO).

Background Checks

Prior to admission into SDI, all applicants must submit authorization for a background check. Applicants are subject to a background check prior to and/or during their program of study. Applicants who have been identified as prohibited persons under The Gun Control Act (GCA), codified at 18 U.S.C § 922(g) will immediately be deemed ineligible for admission. Applicants whose background check indicates other charges will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. SDI will permit or deny admission based on the charges listed according to the SDI Right to Deny Policy.

SDI may consider an appeal from an applicant who has been denied for charge(s) not violating the Identify Prohibited Persons list. Consideration of the appeal shall be based on:

  1. likelihood of the student’s ability to successfully complete the program,
  2. timeframe of charge(s) listed, and
  3. nature of the charge(s) listed

Appeals must be submitted in writing to the Dean, School of Firearms Technology, including any reason(s) why circumstances have changed surrounding the charge(s) resulting in denial and/or any documentation showing suspension of charges, restoration of civil rights, etc. Applicants whose appeals are approved may continue through the admissions process. Denied appeals are final, and the applicant will be barred from enrollment at Sonoran Desert Institute indefinitely.

Courses Requiring a Firearms Transfer

Certain courses require Sonoran Desert Institute to provide learning materials that fall within the federal definition of a firearm. Upon selecting a course that features a firearms, students must designate an FFL at which to pick up their receiver/ other protected parts. At time of pick up, students will be required to pass a NICS background check, administered by the designated FFL, prior to obtaining the receiver/other protected parts. Students who do not pass the NICS background check at their designated FFL will be required to appeal the background check and/or be withdrawn from the course. Students who do not pass the NICS background check at their designated FFL will not be subject to refunds outside of SDI’s school refund policy. Failure of a NICS background check will negatively affect the ability to be employed in the firearms industry.

Right To Deny

Sonoran Desert Institute does not discriminate in offering access to its educational programs and courses on the basis of age, gender, race, color, national origin, religion, creed, disability, veteran’s status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or disability as outlined in the Disability Services section of the SDI catalog. SDI reserves the right to refuse admission to any applicant if the Institute, in its sole discretion, determines that the applicant does not have the ability to benefit from the Institute’s instruction or that it is in the best interest of the Institute or the applicant to do so.

Students Stationed Abroad

Active duty personnel stationed abroad may be subject to delays in receiving shipments and restrictions in materials received. SDI will work with military students to provide reasonable alternatives to achieve learning objectives despite these limitations. Some programs may have additional restrictions. Please see the program specific admissions requirements for additional information.

Admittance Notification

Upon confirmation that all admissions criteria are met, the Registrar sends applicants an email notifying them of acceptance or denial of admission.

State Laws and Restrictions

SDI provides students with tools and equipment that are related to the firearms industry. The Institute strives to ensure tools and equipment are issued in accordance with federal, state, and local firearm laws. SDI will work with individual students based on the state they reside in when assigning courses. However, it is ultimately the responsibility of the student to comply with the individual state(s) and federal law regarding firearms. Students are accountable under the exact wording and current interpretations of all applicable laws and regulations within each state.

International Students

Due to the nature of the programs, international students are not currently eligible for admission.

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