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Be a SANS Mentor

Are You Interested in Being A SANS Instructor?

If so, the SANS Mentor Program is your first step in joining the SANS Instructor ranks. Below are some highlights about the Mentor Program. If you have any questions, please email us at mentor@sans.org.

What is the Mentor format?


The Mentor program is a guided self-study format and you, as the Mentor, help students understand the material and work through labs. Students study on their own and then in class you address questions about course content and relate it to stories and experiences you've had in your career. You also help students work through the labs and understand the tools and why/how they are used.

Watch Eric Conrad's video on How to be a SANS Instructor

Eric Conrad shares his journey of becoming a SANS instructor, starting as a Mentor and progressing to a Senior Instructor. Eric's very candid presentation will help you understand how the Mentor program helps you grow, not only as an instructor, but also in your career field.

What qualifications do I need?

  • A desire to give back to the information security community and help others learn.
  • Hold a current GIAC certification of an 85% or better for the class you wish to teach. If you do not have a GIAC Certification that meets this requirement, but hold a CISSP, you can lead our Management 414, CISSP Prep class.
  • Have taken the class with a live instructor either in person or online via our vLive! platform.
  • The ability to spread the word about your course to the local community and help get students into your course.
  • Patience and a good sense of humor.

What is the Mentor process?

  • Submit the Mentor application by clicking on Apply Now.
  • Talk with a Mentor team member and ask as many questions as you like.
  • When you are accepted into the Mentor program, our team will work with you to schedule a course and location.
  • Spread the word about your course to your community and contacts. SANS posts all Mentor courses on our website and sends out emails to people in your local area. We can provide you with the information to include in the emails.
  • Approximately six weeks before your course starts, you will attend a Mentor training call. This is a mandatory call and must be completed before your course begins.

Am I ready for this?

  • You don't have to be a rock star, yet! It takes time to hone your skills as an instructor and the Mentor program gives you the opportunity to develop these skills through a multi-week course format. Think of it as on the job training. You learn as you go and grow.
  • Your experience and stories are valuable learning tools. Yes, that's right, your experiences will help others learn and relate course content to real life. As a practitioner, you have stories to share, both good and bad.
  • Can you commit the time? In addition to the two hours a week for class, you will need to spend time preparing for the next class and communicating with students about the next course. It's safe to plan on a total of six hours a week for preparation and class.

Preparing to be a Mentor

Build your network
  • If you are not already a member of an information security association, such as ISSA, ISACA or HTCIA or a local user group, attend a local chapter meeting in you area and get to know the members. You'll learn a lot about what's happening in the industry and in your area.
  • Make sure your LinkedIn profile is current. If you don't have a LinkedIn profile, create one. LinkedIn is the first place people go to learn more about you so keep it updated and post information about your course, talks or other community involvement on your page. LinkedIn also has a number of information security related groups you can join.
  • Participate in the GIAC Advisory Board or information security related blogs.
  • Take on a speaking engagement with an association, user's group or community event where your skills are a good match. Cyber security is a topic people are very interested in and want to learn more.
  • Join Twitter and follow SANS and other Mentors and instructors. It's very interesting to see what these guys are up to.
Polish up your speaking skills

You don't have to be a professional speaker to be a Mentor, but you will need to be comfortable talking to people and sharing your stories and experiences related to the course you are Mentoring. If public speaking is not part of your role, here are a few things you can do to boost your confidence level:

  • Join a local Toastmaster's Club.
  • Seek opportunities in the community where you can do a short talk or presentation such as Chamber of Commerce meetings, PTA and school related functions or clubs such as Rotary or Elks Lodge.
  • Prepare a presentation and ask your colleagues/friends to listen and give you constructive feedback.


Please contact us at mentor@sans.org with any questions about the Mentor program. We look forward to hearing from soon.