Certification of Skating Instructors
In the US, all skating coaches coaching at any US Figure Skating related events are required to be registered with US Figure Skating. This includes coaching in any of the following situations:
- Qualifying and nonqualifying competitions (including Basic Skills competitions)
- Test sessions
- All performances including ice shows, exhibitions, recitals and carnivals
- Any other sanctioned club activities (includes club ice)
The registration process and system is explained in detail on the US Figure Skating website. The system strives to ensure that your skater is safe when in the company of their coach (the registration process includes background screening), and that the coach is technically competent to train your skater (the process has a Continuing Education requirement)
It is important to understand that even if your club does not actively enforce the US Figure Skating coaching requirements at home (it IS supposed to), your coach WILL NOT BE PERMITTED to coach your skater at any US Figure Skating sanctioned event (including test sessions or any competition - qualifying, non-qualifying, or Basic Skills) unless their registration can be confirmed by the organizers of the event
Note that US Figure Skating publishes a list which is updated periodically and lists ALL coaches who have met the registration requirements and shows the levels to which each coach is certified. All competitions are required to confirm that each skater's coach is on this list before allowing them access to the venue. Coaches are also issued registration cards to confirm their registration, and they should always take these to competitions in case there is any question. This is especially important if they have only recently registered or if they are known by multiple names (ie married name vs birth name).
Note that there are different levels of certification required for different types of activities. For some activities like teaching on home ice, only basic registration (which includes the Background Check, Liability Insurance, and US Figure Skating membership) is required; for more advanced activities such as coaching at Test Sessions or Competitions the requirements expand to include technical training. Training is performed and documented by the Professional Skater's Association (PSA). Coaches receive Level A, B, or C recognition upon completion of training activities, with C being the lowest level, and A being the highest. The details of what is required for each type of activity are outlined on a chart available from US Figure Skating website.
While the details are confusing, the important thing for you as a parent to know and support is that there is a registration process and that it is designed to protect your skater. If your coach is not registered, THEY CANNOT BE WITH YOUR SKATER at a US Figure Skating event.