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Level 3 Program

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.

USATF currently offers two pathways to becoming a Level 3 Coach, the USATF / IAAF Academy and Level 3 Seminars*.

*The seminar pathway is currently under revision. Candidates meeting minimum requirements will not be eligible to begin an approved individual project until curriculum review is complete. The USATF/IAAF Academy will be the only pathway to earn Level 3 certification during this time. 

USATF / IAAF Academy

Course Structure

The USATF / IAAF Academy is a high level seminar held in conjunction with the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF). The Academy is the highest recognized achievement awarded through both organizations and recognizes a coach throughout the world as having the knowledge to coach at the highest international levels of the track & field profession.

The Academy has traditionally been held the first week of January at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California. The curriculum is focused on one event area (Jumps, Sprints/Hurdles, Throws, Endurance, etc.) and includes 6.5 days of intense academic work. Coaches are required to complete four individual assignments and implement a project in the six months following the course. Coaches who complete the Academy requirements are awarded a USATF Level 3 certificate and a Level V certificate from the IAAF.

*Any coach who has successfully completed a (Level 3) certification course from USATF is welcome to state that said coach is Level 3 certified by USATF. However, USATF does not provide those coaches with any logos or other USATF intellectual property for marketing purposes.


  • Coaches living in the United States must have successfully completed the USATF Level 2 Course for the specified event group.
  • International coaches must have successfully completed the IAAF Coaches Education and Certification System (CECS) Level IV course.
  • Minimum 5 years of coaching experience.
  • All coaches must be actively coaching track & field.

Canadian Coaches

  • Certified at Level 3 or Competition Development certified (CC# required)
  • Three to five year’s experience working with athletes competing at the national level
  • Branch endorsement (Athletics Canada will contact your provincial branch upon receipt of your application)
  • Statement of coaching philosophy and explanation of how concepts presented at this seminar will be shared with others upon your return to your club/school/province
  • A coaching resume outlining coaching assignments, athletes they are currently coaching or have coached and their performances, etc.


View 2017 Event Information and Application - Enrollment capacity reached; applications closed

Level 3 Seminars

Course Structure

Throughout the year various courses are designated by USATF Coaching Education as Level 3 Seminars. This designation allows a coach to attend the course for Level 3 credit. Courses are held at different locations and times by various course directors causing them to vary in length and price.
Coaches are required to attend at least three Level 3 seminars and document their attendance through the Level 3 credit form available at each seminar. After attending three seminars coaches are partnered with a mentor who will assist them in producing an original technical article that is written specifically for the purpose of meeting the Level 3 requirements. The article topic must be pre-approved by the Level 3 Oversight Committee. Upon final approval, the article will be offered to Track Coach for publication. If accepted, the publication date will be determined by the publisher of Track Coach.

Candidates should demonstrate the following minimum requirements:

  • Current USA Track & Field Member
  • Successful completion of a USATF Level 2 - Event Specific course in desired discipline
  • Minimum of 5 years of coaching experience demonstrating competency within the candidates coaching environment
  • Current member of the Coaches Registry
  • Completion of 3 approved level 3 symposiums
    • Must total 36 hours of instruction in a minimum of three seminars
    • Two of the seminars must be in the candidates event discipline
    • Must submit a Level 3 Credit form, post-symposium assessment (provided by symposium Director) and $25 fee within 30 days of symposium completion.
  • Completion of an approved, individual project under the direction of the level 3 oversight committee
    • Must be within six years of attendance at the first Level 3 symposium and no earlier than three years after completing Level 2 certification


All Level 3 offerings are listed on the Coaching Education Calendar.


If you have questions regarding the program or have attended three Level 3 seminars and are ready for the next step you can contact USATF Director of Coaching, Terry Crawford.

Terry Crawford
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