NDTC Staff Training Programs

Which Campaign Staff Training Program is Right for You?

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You: You are a passionate progressive leader who wants to launch or grow your career in politics but aren’t quite sure where to start. What kind of campaign staff training do you need?

Us: We are where you start. 

Last year NDTC debuted our Staff Academy program with a group of 60 leaders who reflect the Democratic Party – women, people of color, trans and non-binary people. This strong and inclusive community of passionate future campaign staffers committed to learning the skills they needed to be placed on campaigns in 2019.

Graduates of that program are now working on campaigns across the country. 

This year we are offering this one-of-a-kind, free program again for leaders who wish to work on 2020 Democratic campaigns. Applications to join our 2020 Staff Academy Cohort are open now until November 17th, 2019 NOTE: APPLICATIONS HAVE BEEN EXTENDED FOR DIGITAL AND FUNDRAISING TRACKS ONLY UNTIL 11:59pm ET ON NOVEMBER 24TH.

More Information on NDTC's 2020 Staff Academy

Additionally, this year we are launching our on-demand campaign staff training courses. Just like our candidate training courses, these courses are available 24/7 online and free to everyone. 

With two ways to get the training and skills you need to start or grow a career working on Democratic campaigns, we are excited to be able to offer a learning program for everyone who wants to build a career in politics. 

So which campaign staff training program is right for you? 

Let’s take a look at both. 

On-Demand Campaign Staff Training Course

Like candidate courses in NDTC’s Online Academy, on-demand courses for staff are interactive and available online 24/7. Unlike participating in the Staff Academy cohort, there is no application or interview process to access the courses. You can take as many or as few as you’d like on your own schedule.

You can choose an area of career concentration with a suggested course progression and syllabus for each. These primarily include fundraising, digital, field, and communications. If you’re a campaign manager, many of our courses will be helpful to you, too. 

Take this quiz and for a personalize recommended course order. 

We also offer courses to help you get started and figure out if a career in politics is right for you as well as several to help you improve your management and leadership skills. 

See courses currently available HERE

You can take courses just in your preferred area of concentration or you can explore the entire course catalog to fill in knowledge gaps and gain a better understanding of the workings of a campaign.

Already Working on a Campaign?

Great! Our on-demand training is perfect for you. 

If you already have a campaign job and want to sharpen or expand your skill sets, pick and choose which courses are right for you!

Seeking a Campaign Job, but Can’t Commit to the Staff Academy Program? 

 On-demand campaign staff training is the answer. Here you can get the tools and training you need to pursue a career in politics, but do it on your own time schedule.

Not Sure if Politics is Right for You?

If you are unsure if politics is right for you, but want to learn more and build your skills while doing that, on-demand campaign staff training is the best place to start.

Register for On-Demand Courses (available 10/28)

Staff Academy 

The NDTC Staff Academy is a free program designed to recruit, train, and connect new staff to paid career opportunities in Democratic politics across the country. When inviting applicants to join our program, we prioritize leaders who are women, people of color, and trans/transgender and non-binary people. These communities drive the Democratic party but are historically underrepresented on Democratic campaigns relative to their vote share. We want to ensure we, as a party, are representative of our voters. 

Staff Academy is an intensive, 10-week program that includes both an online and live training portion.

What are the Requirements of Staff Academy?

During the online training part of our program from January 13 to March 26, 2020, you must be able to spend at least 10 hours each week to complete courses, weekly webinars, core skills assessments, and homework. 

You also must be able to attend weekly webinars on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings at 7pm CT/8 pm ET. Your exact schedule will be determined by the area of career concentration you choose.

campaign staff training

You must attend the entire duration of the live training in DC from March 27 to March 30, 2020. Cohort members will be traveling on March 26 to arrive ahead of the training, and will most likely be traveling on March 30 to leave the training. 

You must also be willing and able to relocate to begin a full-time position on a Democratic campaign as early as April 2020. The goal of this program is to develop leaders who want to work on Democratic campaigns. NDTC will support program graduates in finding campaign jobs by facilitating introductions and interviews with our partners. Most often, people will relocate temporarily to work on a campaign. It is possible, but unlikely, that you will find a campaign job in your own community.

The Staff Academy Community

Cohort members also benefit from a strong collaborative and inclusive community of peers, sharing their knowledge and experiences to help each other succeed in the program and in their careers beyond.

Don’t Worry, It’s Free!

The program is completely free for trainees. NDTC also pays for travel to and from Washington, D.C for the in-person training. This includes lodging at the event and meals during the in-person training

More Information on NDTC's 2020 Staff Academy

Do You Want a Full-time Position on a 2020 Democratic Campaign?

From a logistical and time commitment standpoint, if either program works for you, here is what your deciding factor should be based around: Your professional goals.

If you are interested in learning more about what it is like to work on a campaign or enhance your knowledge of a particular topic, then the on-demand campaign staff training courses are right for you.

If you want a paid position on a campaign in 2020 and are committed to completing all program requirements between January and March 2020, then you are strongly encouraged to apply to NDTC’s Staff Academy!

You cannot participate in both Staff Academy and take on-demand staff courses at the same time. If you apply to Staff Academy please do not take any on-demand staff courses until after you’ve been notified about the status of your application. Should you not be accepted to the 2020 Staff Academy Cohort then we will be thrilled to have you join us in the on-demand campaign staff training courses.

Still Not Sure Which Campaign Staff Training Program is Right for You?

These charts can help you determine which campaign staff training program is best for you.

On-Demand Courses

Staff Academy Cohort

Application required?

No. Any Democrat can sign up for the Online Academy at any time.
Yes. The application includes submitting a resume and answering short answer questions about your experiences and motivation to work in Democratic politics. The application process may also include an interview with a member of the NDTC team.

When can you start?

Anytime. There is no application and no cut off period for when you can start taking courses in the online academy (but the sooner the better so you can get out there and make a difference in your community).
Staff Academy only happens once a year. Applications are open October 28th- Nov 17th, 2019 for the 2020 cohort. Online training will start on Jan 13th, 2020. Please see our FAQ for a full timeline.

Who can apply?

Any Democrat. Our on-demand courses are open to any Democrat.
Any Democrat committed to pursuing a paid career in Democratic politics on 2020 campaigns. When inviting applicants to join our program, we prioritize leaders who are women, people of color, and trans/transgender and non-binary people.

Course dates

Flexible. Take on-demand courses at your own pace with no start or stop dates.
Set. You must complete the program requirements along with the rest of the 2020 cohort during the training period of Jan 13 to March 30, 2020.

Live component

No. All training is done completely online. We offer monthly “virtual” office hours to ask questions of our team and there are online discussion forums within most courses to learn from other trainees.
Yes. Each week, Staff Academy cohort members come together for a live webinar. The program also includes live weekly office hours and 1-1 support from NDTC Staff. You also must attend the live training in DC from March 27 to March 30, 2020.

Career concentration areas

Yes. Courses are categorized and syllabi available for six areas of concentration, including: fundraising, digital, field, communications, data, and campaign management, but online learners are free to take any of the available courses.
Yes. Cohort members choose to apply to one of three areas of concentration: digital, fundraising, or communications. All members are trained on leadership and management skills.

Time commitment

Go at your own pace. You can take on-demand courses anytime and on a schedule that works for you.
Time intensive program. Acceptance into the Staff Academy program requires a commitment to the 10-week intensive training program including online training and a four-day in-person training.

Set schedule

No. Take as many courses as you want, whenever you want.
Yes. There are weekly required webinars on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday evenings at 7:00 PM CT/8:00 PM ET. Your exact schedule will be determined by the area of career concentration you choose.

Travel Requirement

No. All courses are accessible online, 24/7 and require no travel to complete.
Yes. By accepting a position in the Staff Academy Cohort, applicants agree to travel to Washington D.C. on March 26 – 30, 2020 to participate in a four-day in-person training following the completion of the online training. Travel costs are paid for by NDTC.


Free. Access to all courses is completely free to any Democrat who wants to create change in their community
Free. The program is completely free for trainees. NDTC also pays for travel to and from Washington D.C for the in-person training.

After Completion

Online learners will be ready to seek out paid jobs or be volunteer leaders on Democratic campaigns. If you are seeking a paid position, check out our Progressive Job Search and Presidential Job Search resources!
Graduates of the Staff Academy Program will receive support to find a paid career in Democratic politics in 2020. NDTC provides helpful job resources like coaching and access to an invaluable political network.


Whichever campaign staff training program is right for you, we can’t wait to support you with the tools and training you need to launch (or continue) the career in Democratic politics you’ve dreamed of. 

Still have questions? Email us at [email protected]

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