Online Training Help

Why online training?
The new online training courses were created in response to an increased demand for land use training that resulted from the passage of a State Law requiring members of planning boards and zoning boards of appeals to receive a minimum of four hours of training.  These courses are offered as a free service to local government officials. 

What types of courses are available?
Currently the NYS Department of State Land Use Training Unit is offering four courses:  “Planning Board Overview”, “Zoning Board of Appeals Overview”, "Conducting Meetings and Hearings”, and “Making a Good Record”.  We also offer two video courses. We anticipate that additional courses will be developed and encourage you to check this site in the near future for new online courses.

What should I expect?
At the beginning of each course there is a short pre-test.  Some courses may also include some knowledge checks in the body of the course as well.  At the end of the course the student is given the option to take a final quiz and  print out a personalized “certificate of completion.” The student may opt to skip the final quiz and advance to the end of the course, but in that scenario a certificate of completion will not be available.

How much time will it take to complete each course?
The courses range from between one and two hours long.  Links to reference materials, such as New York State statutes, and Department of State land use publications and legal memoranda are offered throughout each of the courses.  The linked materials supplement what is discussed in the course.

To access these links, you will need to turn off your browser’s pop-up blocker. You may also access these links or download documents from the webpage for each course. Students are encouraged to view these materials to get a better understanding of the subject matter.  In depth review and study of the materials may add additional time for course completion.

Will I receive a certificate of completion for each course I take?
For each course you have the option of completing a final quiz.  At the end of the quiz, you may enter your name as directed and print off a certificate of completion. The certificate will indicate the percentage of the questions you answered correctly.  Each municipality may determine what percentage would constitute a passing score, and whether a certificate of completion is even necessary. A certificate of completion is not available if you do not take the final quiz.

What types of “training credit” do these courses offer?

The courses may satisfy a portion of a planning board or zoning board of appeals member’s annual training requirement as set forth by the municipality.  If deemed locally as an acceptable form of training, we suggest that students present to their municipalities a printed copy of their certificate of completion showing their test results upon completion of each course. Unlike much of the live training offered by the Training Unit, these courses do not offer in-service credit for code enforcement officers or continuing legal education credit for attorneys.  Additionally, neither live nor online training offered by the Training Unit satisfies certification maintenance credit for members of the American Institute of Certified Planners.

How do I register for the courses?
We do not require that you register for our online courses.  You may simply go to the course homepage and open up the course. They are available 24 hours a day, unless the website is down for maintenance. If you need to exit a course without completing it, you should be able to resume the course where you left off when using the same computer.

How may I contact the Training Unit?

Email us at or call (800) 367-8488 and ask to speak to a member of the staff of the Local Government Training Unit.