Student Consumer Information

Sonoran Desert Institute

Please review our Student Consumer Information.

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 AGS Rate
Average Completion/Graduation Rate 39% 55%
Average Graduation Rate as reported in IPEDS* 51%* NA
Retention Rate* 61%** NA
Students Surveyed who said they achieved their learning Goals 96% 97%
Students Surveyed who would recommend SDI to a friend 96% 96%
Students Surveyed who were satisfied with their studies 95% 97%
*Information is reported per the most recent IPEDS survey.
**Calculated based on First-time/Full-time Undergrad students.

Success measures of Sonoran Desert Institute are reviewed by the SDI Board of Directors each year at its annual meeting.

Student Diversity

Men – 99%
Women – 1%

White – 79%
Hispanic/Latino – 8%
American Indian or Alaskan Native – 0%
Black/African American – 3%
Asian – 1%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander – 1%
Two or more races – 4%
Unknown – 5%

Office Hours

Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (MST)

Note that Arizona does not switch to daylight savings time. Therefore, the office hours remain Mountain Standard Time year-round.

Facilities Information

All SDI programs are delivered entirely online, therefore, the facilities are primarily designed to support employees who service the needs of students. In fall of 2018, SDI relocated from Scottsdale to a new office space centrally located in Tempe, AZ. SDI occupies just under 6200 square feet of a building in a complex called Workspace. The space provides for both administrative use and a fulfillment warehouse to handle shipments of materials to SDI students. The space allows for growth during the period of the lease and should accommodate approximately thirty employees at any given time. SDI has a combined workforce of local office employees and remote workers across the United States. This supports the commitment to service students who are also throughout the United States in multiple time zones. The local office employees also are offered flexible work schedules, which allows optimal use of space supported by employees working remotely.

The institutions systems allow for access to necessary information 24/7 from virtually any location with appropriate connectivity, minimizing dependency on physical space and equipment. This includes the student information system, the online classroom, email, and voice over internet protocol (VOIP) telephony. The building is equipped with technology to support presentations during meetings and solid connectivity for those working from the office.

Although most students communicate with SDI through phone, email and internet, the office provides meeting space for prospective students to meet with admissions representatives and current students and graduates to meet with advisors, as needed. Additionally, the school is dedicating an area to provide a military and veterans center, available to further support SDI’s military population. This area will be equipped with computers and/or other devices to support the learning and support needs of students.


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: 1555 W. University Dr., Ste. 103, Tempe, AZ 85281

Year Founded: 2000

First Accredited: 2004

Accreditation Expires: June 2023

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
1740 W. Adams, 3rd Floor
Phoenix, AZ 85007
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.

GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at


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: “To provide students with current, firearms industry-driven, higher education programs delivered through distance education technology and practical application. SDI is committed to an ongoing investment in our instructional processes and continuous improvement objectives. Our success is measured by the overall satisfaction of our students and alumni, as well as our relationships with industry partners.”
  • 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, distance learning school providing undergraduate degree and certificate programs in firearms technology.

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