Student Consumer Information

Sonoran Desert Institute

Our students say that the Sonoran Desert Institute has the best online gunsmithing school.

SDI Success Indicators:

Success measures for the Institute are evidence of student learning which quantify and monitor the instructional experience of SDI students. The academic assessment process provides the means for governing and monitoring the educational experience of our students, and gathering evidence of student learning.
Success Indicator ASFT Rate Certificate Rate
Average Completion/Graduation Rate 55% no data
Students Surveyed who said they achieved their learning Goals 96% 95%
Students Surveyed who would recommend SDI to a friend 95% 96%
Students Surveyed who were satisfied with their studies 95% 95%
Information reported is for the calendar year 2015 as reported to DEAC for the annual report.

Office Hours

Sonoran Desert Institute is open throughout the year to serve current, prospective and prior students. Monday – Thursday 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. (MST) Friday 8:00 a.m. – noon (MST) Note that Arizona does not switch to daylight savings time. Therefore, the office hours remain Mountain Standard Time year-round.


Sonoran Desert Institute honors the following holidays. The administrative office will therefore be closed on these dates. When the holidays fall on the weekend, SDI will typically align with the Federal observance, usually the Friday prior or the Monday following such holiday. Current students will be informed of specific office closures by email and/or website updates.
  • New Year’s Day
  • Martin Luther King Day
  • President’s Day (Washington’s Birthday)
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Columbus Day
  • Veterans’ Day
  • Thanksgiving
  • Thanksgiving Friday
  • Christmas Eve
  • Christmas Day

Academic Calendar

Please visit the Academic Calendar page of our website for the most current calendar information.

General Information:

Name of Institution: Sonoran Desert Institute

Address: 8767 East Via de Ventura, Ste. 126, Scottsdale, AZ 85258

Year Founded: 2000

First Accredited: 2004

Accreditation Expires: June 2018

President: Traci Lee

Accreditation(s) and Agency E-mail Contact Information:

Distance Education Accrediting Commission

1601 18th Street, N.W., Suite 2

Washington, D.C. 20009-2505

Phone: (202) 234-5100

Fax: (202) 332-1386


State Approval and E-mail Contact Information:

Sonoran Desert Institute is licensed and regulated by the Arizona State Board for Private Postsecondary Education.

Arizona State Board for Private Postsecondary Education

1400 W. Washington Street, Room 260

Phoenix, AZ 85007-2939

Phone: (602) 542-5709

Fax: (602) 542-1253


For online students residing in other states please see the following for a list of state regulatory agencies Consumer Protection Agencies.

Participation in Funding Programs: GI Bill, DANTES, Workforce Investment Act (WIA), Company reimbursement programs, payment plans.


Students of Sonoran Desert Institute will develop advanced job skills empowering them to be outstanding employees and responsible workplace leaders. These graduates will make decisions based on sound judgment, technical competency, and an awareness of the connections of their academic discipline, the workplace, and their community. Each graduate will be committed to improving their workplace knowledge and skills. Sonoran Desert Institute will accomplish these outcomes by continually improving its curricula, instructional delivery, and customer service, while successfully building partnerships with the students, the community, and the industries it serves.

Mission & Description:

Institution Mission Statement: “Sonoran Desert Institute is committed to adding value to our students’ lives by providing innovative, relevant and applicable workplace driven education through distance delivered instruction. Through our professional practices and academic integrity, students will develop skills that will ensure each graduate has a labor market advantage.”

  • Ensure that each student displays a mastery of the knowledge and skills required of his/her selected discipline
  • Demonstrate professional ethics and practice academic integrity
  • Ensure access for students through open enrollment, multiple entry points, and year-round instruction
  • Provide innovative instructional practices that address diverse learning styles
  • Use technology to create effective instruction and increase the learning resources available to each student in order to improve student learning
  • Use regular assessments to validate student learning and to continually improve the curricula, services, and all other aspects of the institution
  • Foster a spirit of innovation and teamwork that produces academic quality, superior service, and convenience for all students
  • Generate the necessary financial resources to support the Institute’s mission
  Vision, mission, and purposes of Sonoran Desert Institute are reviewed, appended if necessary, and approved by the SDI Board of Trustees each year at its annual meeting.

Description of Institution: The Sonoran Desert Institute, or SDI to our students and faculty, is an accredited online and distance learning school providing undergraduate degree, diploma and certificate programs in firearms technology, gunsmithing, and a wide array of construction services.

Courses/Programs/Degrees: Associate of Science in Firearms Technology degree; Advanced Gunsmithing Certificate; Ballistics & Reloading Certificate.