Changes Coming to NARA RM Training Program

One of the major topics covered during our last BRIDG meeting was the continual evolution of the Records Management Training Program. Dr. Gary Rauchfuss, the director of our training program, presented upcoming changes and answered questions. You can view his presentation below.

Gary discussed both the curriculum updates and the long-term evolution of the training program and how we anticipate changing the way we deliver training. The curriculum updates are being designed for different audiences — based on the roles people perform in an office. We are focusing on three roles: records custodians, records liaisons, and records officers. The pilot of the first course for records custodians was delivered in March and we anticipate having the remaining pilots for records custodians completed by the end of this fiscal year. The pilot courses for records liaisons are scheduled to begin in October 2018. The course for records officers is also being developed. The goal is to be ready with the new curriculum by the end of fiscal year 2019.

In addition, Gary presented several major changes to the training program coming in the future. First, we will make the training free and deliver it online (instead of face-to-face). Second, we will only track training and offer certificates for those people specifically identified as the Agency Records Officer. Finally, we will work to share our materials with agencies as a resource for developing agency-specific training materials for their own programs. Most of these changes are still in the initial phase and we will be relying on input from our stakeholders to implement these changes. But this is the direction we are moving towards.

We will start this transition in fiscal year 2019. All courses will be free, but there will only be a limited number of the existing Knowledge Area course cycles available. We are planning a eighteen cycles, six in the DC area, six offered at NARA facilities around the country and six to be reserved for agencies wanting us to deliver courses at their locations. We will also continue piloting and implementing new courses and begin populating our online training materials catalog.

We anticipate fully implementing these changes in fiscal year 2020. By then, we will fully transition to the new curriculum and offer the training courses online. Also by then, we will only track and formally deliver training for agency records officers. These changes will give us the opportunity to increase the reach of our training program and remove the existing constraints on the way we currently deliver our records management training.

More information will be forthcoming. If you have any questions about these changes, please leave a comment below or feel free to reach out Gary Rauchfuss at

5 thoughts on “Changes Coming to NARA RM Training Program

  1. Records custodians, records liaisons, and records officers is just another way of making an unworkable ;hierarchy of wage grades. I can’t put my name and address at the risk of my position. I already have to email out my labels, wait for the records officer to sign them, then, email them back and then email them out again to dispose of them when he or she hasn’t even looked at them. Why this redundancy? It is bureaucracy and some of us have had enough.

  2. Many take the training with the goal to qualify for a position as Records Officer. What is the reason for denying the certificate to those who are not already in the position but need the certificate to qualify for the job?

    1. Thanks for your feedback. Part of our review at NARA was examining what training is required by policy. The Managing Government Records Directive (M-12-18) requires designated Agency Records Officers to obtain the certificate within one year of appointment. Because there is no NARA policy requirement for anyone else to obtain the certificate, there is no requirement for NARA to offer the certificate to others.
      We recognize that agencies’ internal policies may require the certificate and some agencies include having the certificate as a consideration in hiring or contracting. Over the coming months we will continue to listen to feedback and consider alternatives to address these concerns.

  3. I am concerned about the possible limitation to agency records officers only. As an agency records manager, I’ve had my certificate since 2006. While I would understand a requirement for a refresher course to renew the certification, I am concerned that no renewal option would be available to me in the future. Since this is a valuable resource for furthering my career, I consider the suggested changes as potentially rendering my certificate worthless.
    Perhaps consideration could be made for existing certificate holders or lower the signing authority from the Archivist to the director of the NARA training program.

    1. Thanks for your feedback. Over the coming months we will continue to listen to feedback and consider alternatives to address this concern.

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