Coach License Program

Here you will find all the information you need about the different Coach License Levels and information/links on the requirements.

The purpose of this program is to ensure that all Head Coaches, Assistant Coaches and Ride Leaders are sufficiently knowledgeable so as to be a positive influence on all NICA riders. NICA licenses also protect volunteers and coaches with comprehensive insurance, as well as protect our youth with background checks.  Obtaining a NICA coaching license includes benefits beyond the knowledge that comes with the training and the insurance program. Thanks to our generous NICA sponsors, licensed coaches enjoy a number of discounts and other perks. These benefits vary by license level and also by League, click here for more information.

Coach License Levels and Requirements

Type of License First Aid Requirements Professional Development Units Field Work Coach Exams Background Check Concussion Certification* Annual Waiver* $25 Fee*
Head Coach WFA, CPR 9 units, including MTB 101 and Risk Management 80 Hrs Head Coach Exam Yes Yes Yes Yes
Assistant Coach WFA, CPR 6 units, including MTB 101 and Risk Management 40 Hrs Assistant Coach Exam Yes Yes Yes Yes
Ride Leader First Aid, CPR 3 units, Risk Management 20 Hrs Yes Yes Yes Yes
General Volunteer Yes Yes Yes Yes
How to Submit information  Upload certification to your coach license in NICA Pit Zone Self-report PDU/CEU to your coach license in the NICA Pit Zone. Self-report hours to your coach license in the NICA Pit Zone. Upload test scores to your coach license in the NICA Pit Zone. Background check integrated in Pit Zone. Upload completion certificate to your coach license in NICA Pit Zone Signed electronically in the NICA Pit Zone during registration. Pay through Pit   Zone.

*- Connotes that this component of registration is an ANNUAL REQUIREMENT.

Click here for a PDF summary of Coach License Levels and Requirements.


Information on NICA Coach License Requirements

Basic First Aid

Mountain biking is a sport of inherent risks and injuries can happen away from rapid emergency response. Our license program has high standards for first aid training to ensure NICA student athletes (and fellow coaches) receive well trained care and response when emergencies occur. Various amounts of first aid training are required for a RL, AC and HC licenses.

Learn more

Wilderness First Aid (only required for Assistant and Head Coach Licenses’)

WFA is the provision of first aid under conditions where the arrival of emergency responders or the evacuation of an injured person may be delayed due to constraints of terrain, weather, and available equipment. Classes may be offered by your local League, or are available through a number of third parties. Contact your local League Director for details and scheduling. Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certification also meets this requirement.

Professional Development Units (PDUs)

NICA offers a variety of ways to earn the required PDUs.  Leaders Summit (click here for more information) are the first place a coach should look to earn these credits.  The Risk Management and MTB 101 that are required for some of the license levels are offered during these summits.  Summits are held by the leagues annually (check with your local League Director for more details on scheduling). Topics range from Leadership and Management of a High School Team to Working Successfully with Teenagers to Managing Risk and Maximizing Safety to Creating Appropriate Training Programs, as well as MTB 101: Learn the Skills to Teach the Skills. A Saturday/Sunday Leaders’ Summit is worth 9 units (6 units for seminars, 3 units for MTB 101).

Additional opportunities to earn PDUs come from NICA’s Free Webinars, and other online courses with organizations NICA has partnered up with to provide additional coaching education.

Learn more.

Continuing Education Units (CEU’s)

In order to maintain a current NICA Coach License, an individual must keep her/his WFA/WFR and CPR certification current and engage in 9 hours of Continuing Education hours every three years.

NICA offers several options for Continuing Education outside of Leaders Summit with the following partnerships:

  • Positive Coaching Alliance  offers a discounted online “webinar” on PCA’s “Double-Goal Coaching” principals (1.5 Units). 
  • IMBA and NICA have teamed up to provide NICA Coach License PDU”s (3 Units) for attending IMBA’s Trail Building School.
  • USADA and TrueSport provide coaching education that is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Coaching Education (NCACE).   (1 unit per module)

Learn more.

Field Work

Actual hours spent in contact with high school students while engaged in a high school mountain bike program. Various hours of NICA approved field work are required for RL, AC, and HC licenses.

Learn more

Coach Exam

The Coach Exam is a requirement for NICA Assistant Coach and Head Coach Licenses.  Coaches must complete professional development before taking the exam, generally taken at Leaders Summits.  Below are the links to the exam.  Once you have completed the exam you will be emailed regarding whether you have passed or not.  Only take one exam.  If you are working toward a NICA Head Coach License, take the Head Coach Exam.  If you are working toward a NICA Assistant Coach License or NICA Ride Leader License, you may take either exam.  The Head Coach exam is longer and more difficult. Once complete, upload a screen shot of your coach exam results to your coach license in the NICA Pit Zone.

Head Coach Exam

Assistant Coach Exam

Background Check

All coaches and adult volunteers are required to successfully complete a background screening through the NICA background screen provider. The background check is a one-time requirement, though a new background check is required if a coach changes teams.

Learn more

CDC Concussion Course (Required Annually)

As part of the NICA Coach License Program we now require new coaches complete the CDC’s Heads Up: Concussion in Youth Sports annually. This is a free, online course available to coaches, parents, and others helping to keep athletes safe from concussion. Upload your Certificates of Completion (digital certification the CDC provides once the training has been completed) to to your coach license in the NICA Pit Zone.

Take the course

Agreement to Participate Waiver (Required Annually)

All coaches and adult volunteers are required to sign and send in an Agreement to Participate waiver each year in order to be covered under the NICA insurance program.  When you register in the Pit Zone you will be directed to sign a waiver electronically.

$25 Coach License Fee

When a coach is invited to the Pit Zone they will be prompted to go through a registration process, which includes a $25 Coach License Fee.  We realize coaches are volunteers, and are truly the backbone of a League.  The fee is used to help pay for the insurance and administration cost of managing the program.  When you are a returning coach you will be prompted to update and confirm your registration information.  The fee covers one season.

To get started email your team’s head coach/director. No team? Please email your league’s director and we’ll help you get started!