NFHS Rolls Out New Credentialing Process for Coaches


The National Federation of State High School Associations has unveiled a new professional development pathway for high school coaches through the NFHS Learning Center that will mirror the NFHS School Honor Roll program.

The three-level NFHS National Coach Credential, which is designed to keep high school coaches engaged in professional development throughout the year, has the same required online courses as the School Honor Roll program.

Coaches can become a NFHS Level 1 Coach by completing “Fundamentals of Coaching” along with three free courses on the Learning Center: â€śConcussion in Sports,” “Sudden Cardiac Arrest” and “Protecting Students from Abuse.” When 90 percent of a school’s coaches complete these courses, the school can earn Level 1 status through the School Honor Roll program. 

To become an NFHS Level 2 Coach, individuals must navigate the courses that pertain specifically to their sports, as well as “First Aid, Health and Safety,” “Heat Illness Prevention” and “Student Mental Health and Suicide Prevention.” Finally, NFHS Level 3 status requires coaches to complete the following Learning Center courses: “Sportsmanship,” “Strength and Conditioning,” “Teaching and Modeling Behavior,” “Engaging Effectively with Parents” and “Bullying, Hazing, and Inappropriate Behaviors.”

The new NFHS National Coach Credential (Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3) replaces the previous model – Accredited Interscholastic Coach (AIC) and Certified Interscholastic Coach (CIC) – that was established in 2009. Since the implementation of the AIC and CIC program in 2009, 44,590 coaches earned AIC status and 8,578 earned CIC status. 

“The goal of the new NFHS National Coach Credential is to provide ongoing education and professional development opportunities for the interscholastic coach community and beyond,” said Dan Schuster, NFHS director of educational services. “The more coaches who get involved in the student-centered curriculum at the NFHS Learning Center, which is a nationally accredited institution, the better equipped and prepared they will be to provide students the best experiences in our programs.”  

Since the implementation of the School Honor Roll program in 2019, 120 schools in 17 states have taken advantage of this professional development opportunity for their coaches, including 96 schools earning Level 1 status, 16 with Level 2 and eight schools earning Level 3 status. Participating institutions that earn Level 1, 2 or 3 distinctions receive a large display banner commemorating their accomplishments and their dedication to professional development and education-based athletics.

Coaches in these schools that have completed courses through the School Honor Roll program have received notification of their coaching credentials. A total of 12,250 coaches have earned NFHS Level 1 Coach status, while 1,676 have earned Level 2 Coach credentials and 944 are Level 3 coaches. These individuals will receive a certificate as confirmation of their coaching certification.

The NFHS Learning Center, which has delivered more than 15 million courses since its inception in 2007, recently earned national accreditation from Cognia, which recognizes schools and other education service providers that meet rigorous standards that focus on productive learning environments, equitable resource allocation that meet the needs of learners, and effective leadership. The Learning Center currently offers about 90 online courses,  including more than 60 that are free, for students, coaches, athletic directors, school administrators, parents, officials, performing arts educators, music adjudicators and others involved in high school sports and performing arts programs.   

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