Become a a Figure Skating Coach

The Professional Skaters Association has established a well-defined process

Female figure skater with coach practicing routine in skating rink.
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So, you've decided you want to coach figure skating. In the United States, the process of becoming a coach is regulated by U.S. Figure Skating, which has worked together with an affiliated group, the Professional Skaters Association, to create a program to certify coaches. Many ice arenas will only hire coaches who hold a PSA rating. Read on to learn about meeting the requirements that will allow you to become a figure skating coach.

General Requirements

U.S. Figure Skating, the national governing body for figure skating in the United States, has established five requirements for becoming (and remaining) a figure skating coach, as follows:

  1. U.S. Figure Skating full membership (either through a member club or as an individual)
  2. Successfully pass an annual background screening
  3. Verification of current coach liability insurance
  4. Completion of continuing education requirement courses
  5. PSA membership if you are coaching in qualifying competitions

The Professional Skaters Association is the largest figure skating coaches association in the world. The PSA has developed a certification program that — once you pass it — allows you to coach figure skating in the U.S. 

Required Courses

The PSA offers a series of courses you'll need to take to gain and maintain coaching certification. These are called continuing education requirement — or CER — courses. The courses you'll need to completely depend on what kind coaching you plan to do. Coaching categories are:

  • A: professional coaches (or choreographers) of qualifying levels of competition skaters 
  • B: professional coaches (or choreographers) of skaters participating in specific U.S. Figure Skating-sanctioned events
  • C: group skating instructors

There are specific classes you need to take depending on the category of coaching you want to achieve:

  1. Category A: professional ethics, U.S. Figure Skating rules and sports safety, and international judging system
  2. Category B: professional ethics, U.S. Figure Skating rules, and sport safety
  3. Category C: class organization and management, basic skating skills, teaching techniques and evaluation, and growth and retention of members (As of July 2017, the courses in this category are recommended but not required.)

What This Means to You

When you've passed the required courses, the PSA gives you a "rating." Ratings are "for coaches who want to validate their skating skills and teaching experience," the PSA notes, adding that "ratings are an assurance to clubs, rinks, skaters, parents, and the general public that the coach they hire is technically qualified to instruct at the level in which they are rated regardless of background and skating achievement."

Technically, you don't have to earn PSA ratings to coach — but many rinks, individuals, and skating groups won't hire you as a coach unless you can possess at least one category of PSA rating. "Anyone who wants to teach and can find a skating school director that will hire them can call themselves a skating coach," notes San Diego Figure Skating. But, being employable as a coach requires you to earn a PSA rating, the group adds.

So, if you want to coach, get ready to study. To get a head start, check out these answers to FAQs provided by the PSA.