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Level 1 Program

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.
Course Structure

The cost for a Level 1 school is $175.00 for early-registration or $225.00 after the early-registration deadline. Schools are typically two-and-a-half-day courses where 21.5 hours are spent on track & field and related sport science. The course consists of classroom instruction as well as hands-on training. In order to receive credit for Level 1 and access to the exam you must attend all classroom sessions.  
After the school, participants have 90 days* and one attempt to complete the online exam which covers event-related and sport science subjects. Upon passing the exam participants will be able to download a Level 1 Certificate.

*Coaches who attended the course prior to January 1, 2014 have one year to complete the Level 1 exam.

To attend a Level 1 School a coach must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Have a current USATF membership


  1. Become a USATF Member
  2. Locate a school
  3. Complete the online registration process (visit the Coaching Education Calendar and select "Registration Information" for the school you want to attend)

  • Recognition as a USATF Level 1 Coach
  • Curriculum book covering sport science and individual events
  • Skills and knowledge to coach athletes at all levels
  • Access to instructors and mentors with extensive experience
  • Eligibility to attend a Level 2 School (Must have completed Level 1 no later than April 30th of the year prior to the Level 2 School for which you are applying)

USATF Coaching Education Level 1 Recertification Guidelines

Due to IT issues the recertification link has not opened. Please note the deadline for recertification is NOT until December 31, 2016. 

Recertification for Level 1 coaches is being implemented January 1, 2015. The accredited course will consist of a 4 year recertification period. The current recertification period will certify coaches for Level 1 through Dec. 31, 2020. The 2015 Level 1 course provides an updated and improved curriculum with a second edition textbook and inclusion of two modules provided by USADA on PEDs. The recertification assures a Level 1 coach of available cutting edge information at the end of each Olympiad to keep his/her certification current. The Coaching Education Committee will be offering a variety of CEUs courses for recertification each 4 year cycle.  Coaches who had obtained their Level 2 certification are not required to recertify a Level 1 certification.

Level 1 coaches who have been certified prior to January 1, 2013, must choose one of the following two options to complete and have their Level 1 certification extended through December 31, 2020. Students will have access to a new Level 1 Certificate as they recertify.

  • Option 1: Repeat a twenty-one hour LEVEL 1 course which will include the new, second edition textbook, and revised curriculum delivered by qualified instructors. The new curriculum will be implemented into all 2015 LEVEL 1 schools.  Level 1 recertification for repeating the course will be good through Dec.31, 2020. In addition to the new curriculum presentations which are aligned with the second edition textbook, the student gains new material from two online USADA modules when they take the revised online exam. The USADA modules and online exam must be passed with an 80% grade to receive a certification through December 31, 2020.

  • Option 2:  Current certified Level 1 coaches prior to January 1, 2013 may also recertify through December 31, 2016 with the following instructions:

  • With a current USATF membership, make payment of the $55 recertification fee and fill out the coach profile with date of current Level 1 certification.
  • Within 10 days of verification of certification access will be granted via email to the online exam and USADA modules for a period of 90 days.
  • With completion of modules and 80% grade on the online exam, your new Level 1 certificate will be available to print. New certification will be good through December 31, 2020.
  • The Level 1 textbook may be purchased at the USATF store utilizing the membership discount. We anticipate that many coaches may have purchased the textbook prior to signing up for the recertification. The second edition Level 1 textbook is required to prepare and pass the online exam. 

Policies for Recertification:
Any LEVEL 1 coach who received their certification PRIOR to Dec. 31, 2012, will be required to recertify before Dec. 31, midnight, 2016. Level 1 Coaches who have not recertified by December 31, midnight, 2016 will be removed from the certification database. Any Level 1 coach is entitled to seek a permanent LEVEL 2 certification prior to Dec. 31, midnight, 2016 to continue as a USATF certified Coach. Level 2 schools will be available in July of 2015 and 2016.

Level 1 coaches who fail to recertify will be removed from the USATF Coaching Education database of certified coaches as of December 31, 2016 and will not be eligible for participation in the Level 2 event specific course until a new Level 1 course is completed. 

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