Earning a coaching certification can be a great way to learn more about our sport and to prove that you are invested and engaged in up-to-date coaching information.
Below you will find general certifications, followed by those that are specific to college, high school, or road running.
Before beginning a coaching position, make sure to check for any required certifications. Most programs require First Aid/CPR. Many states have requirements for high school coaches. Some national-level competitions require coaches to register and pass background checks.
“The Level 1 course is the cornerstone of the USATF Coaching Education Program. It establishes a common ground amongst coaches by developing a language specific to the track and field coaching community. The program covers all events in a straightforward manner by emphasizing fundamentals, rules, safety/risk management, and instruction techniques. Certified by the National Council for Accreditation of Coaching Education (NCACE), the course prepares an individual to coach at the junior high school, high school, club, and junior age division level.”
“A rigorous and exciting course intended to take your coaching knowledge to the next level. Coaches are given an advanced, in-depth education in one event group of their choosing and are taught the science behind the sport through advanced sport science concepts and training principles. This course is guaranteed to challenge and advance your knowledge of the sport… to coach athletes at the high school through collegiate level.”
Level III (Also IAAF Level V) — Currently Under Revision
“The Level 3 program is the highest level of the USATF Coaching Education Program. It encompasses the scientific base, included in the previous levels, while providing coaches with comprehensive knowledge in a specific event group. Level 3 courses include some of the world’s best instruction, preparing an individual to coach at the national and international level.”
“The SafeSport course is an online training module put together by the U.S. Center for SafeSport. The course covers lesson areas that include, but are not limited to, sexual misconduct; emotional and physical misconduct; and mandatory reporting. The training videos in total are approximately 90 minutes long and include quizzes and final exams.
“All USATF National Staff, Board Members, Youth Committee members, registered agents, Coaches Registry members, youth club coaches and youth club administrators are required to be USATF SafeSport Compliant.”
United States Track and Field Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA):
“The Track & Field Academy is an educational and certification program designed to provide professional development opportunities for Track and Field and Cross Country coaches at all levels of the sport. The mission of the Track & Field Academy is to improve the quality of coaching, increase professional opportunities for coaches, and improve the sports of Track and Field and Cross Country by delivering to coaches educational experiences and certification opportunities covering the technical, managerial, and philosophical aspects of the profession.”
Other certifications include: Throwing; Jumping; Endurance; Sprint, Hurdle and Relay; Strength and Conditioning. See Upcoming Course Offerings
National Federation of State High School Associations
The NFHS Coach Certification Program is a national professional credential offered to individuals who are currently coaching or aspire to coach at the interscholastic level. The attainment of this national certification demonstrates the completion of a series of courses offered by the NFHS that will enhance the ability of the coach to better serve the student, the school, the community and the profession of coaching.
Level I: Accredited Interscholastic Coach
Level II: Certified Interscholastic Coach
Check with your school administration or state association to confirm your state’s requirements to coach.
Road Runner’s Club of America:
“Since 1998, the RRCA Coaching Certification Program has provided a baseline of education for individuals seeking to become an RRCA Certified Coach. The goal of the program is to create a national community of knowledgeable and ethical distance running coaches to work with runners at all ages and abilities”