Coach License Program

The purpose of NICA Coach License Program is to provide comprehensive training to NICA coaches so that they are equipped to provide quality programming to NICA student-athletes that meet national standards and best practices and develops strong mind, body and character.

NICA license certification also aids in protecting volunteers and riders with insurance, as well as protect our youth with background checks. Obtaining a NICA license includes benefits beyond the knowledge that comes with the training and the insurance program. Thanks to our generous NICA sponsors, licensed volunteers enjoy a number of discounts and other perks. These benefits vary by license level and also by League, click here for more information.

Here you will find all the information you need about the different License Levelsinformation/links on the requirements and Frequently Asked Questions.

Coach License Levels and Requirements

 License Requirement

Level 1 

Level 2 

Level 3 

Participation Agreement  Completed in the Pit Zone Required Annually Required Annually
Coach License Membership Fee  Completed in the Pit Zone  Required Annually  Required Annually
Background check  Initiated in the Pit Zone  Required  Required
NFHS: Concussion in Sports

More information here

 Required Annually*  Required Annually*  Required Annually*
Athlete Abuse Awareness Training Completed in Litmos (accessed through the Pit Zone), required every 2 years Required every 2 years Required every 2 years
Risk Management 1 Completed in Litmos (accessed through the Pit Zone)  Required Annually  Not Required
Risk Management 2 Completed in Litmos (accessed through the Pit Zone)  Required Annually  Not Required
Risk Management 3 Completed in Litmos (accessed through the Pit Zone)  Not Required  Required Annually

NICA Student-Athlete Coaching Philosophy

 Required Annually  Required Annually  Required Annually
First Aid  Not Required  Requirement Based on Geography* Requirement Based on Geography*
CPR Certification  Not Required In-person Class Required* In-person Class Required*
Field Work  Not Required  20 hours required*  80 hours required*
NICA On-the-Bike Skills Training (formerly MTB 101)  Not Required  Required*  Required*
Level 3 Exam  Not Required  Not Required  Required
NICA Leader Summit 1 Day Not Required  Not Required  Required*
Continuing Education Units (CEU)   Not Required  3 units required every 3 years*  9 units required every 3 years*

*Upload required in NICA Pit Zone. See below (Continuing Education Units) for complete CEU information.

Team Roles

Team Director and/or Head Coach Requirements (Level 3 Licensing): All teams must have a Team Director and/or Head Coach that complies with Level 3 requirements. Team Director and Head Coach roles may be filled by same person. Team Directors and Head Coaches are encouraged to discuss their professional development plan with the League director.

Head Coach (HC)

Lead coach of team – must have approval from League Director to be Head Coach and achieve NICA License level 3.

Team Director (TD)

Coach on the team and is responsible to pay annual team fees to League, and manage emergency contact and rider roster downloads. Please refer to appendix C of rulebook for Team Director requirements.

Reference: NICA Handbook

Information on NICA Coach License Requirements

Acceptable Requirement Uploads

Requirement: Acceptable upload
CDC Certificate of completion
Leaders Summit attendance Certificate of completion
WFA/First Aid   Certification Card with expiration date
CPR Certification Card with expiration date
Field Work No document upload required.  Follow prompts to self report hours
NICA On The Bike Certificate of completion
CEU Certificate of Completion

First Aid Requirements

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 volunteers) receive well trained care and response when emergencies occur. Various amounts of first aid training are required for level 2 and 3 licenses.

Learn more

Continuing Education Units (CEU’s)

A coach must complete Continuing Education Units every 3 years to maintain a level 2 or level 3 NICA Coach License. CEUs are required to maintain, not attain, a Level 2 or 3 license. The level 2 coach must complete 3 CEUs every 3 years. The level 3 coach must complete 9 CEUs every 3 years. Generally, 1 hour of course work equals one CEU.

To become a Level 2 or 3 coach, the coach must complete all the required NICA training for that level. (See the Coach Licensing matrix for requirements.) Many of those requirements must be repeated annually. Once a coach has been a Level 2 Coach for 3 years, she/he must also complete 3 CEUs to maintain that license going into the 4th year and again going into the 7th year. Once a coach has been a Level 3 Coach for 3 years, she/he must also complete 9 CEUs to maintain that license going into the 4th year and again going into the 7th year.

A coach does not have to be a Level 2 before becoming a Level 3. A coach may become a Level 3 as soon as all requirements are met.

NICA offers a variety of ways to complete the Continuing Education Requirements (CEUs).The best way to complete CEUs is at a NICA league Leaders’ Summit. These trainings are held annually in individual leagues. Check your league website for Leaders’ Summit dates and locations.

Leaders’ Summits seminars typically cover:

    • Leadership, management of and/or starting an interscholastic mountain bike team

    • Working successfully with adolescents

    • Risk management and safety

    • NICA On-the-Bike Skills training

    • Fundraising/sponsorship, managing volunteers

    • Race-day rules and logistics

  • Advanced topics for experienced coaches

Attending a Leaders’ Summit is a level 3 licensing requirement.  The first time a coach attends a Leader Summit, credit is applied to the licensing requirement. Any time a coach attends a subsequent leader summit, that attendance will be applied to CEUs.

Additional CEU Credit Opportunities

NICA offers several options for Continuing Education outside of Leaders Summit with partner organizations. Please see the NICA Coach Education page under “online and non-NICA course CEUs” for a list of qualifying courses and ways to complete CEUs.

The NICA coach must present (upload to Pit Zone) an official certificate of completion to be granted CEU credit from any outside organization. The certificate must include the number of course hours, a signature/official approval from the organization or instructor and the date of completion.

NICA coaches may submit trainings from other organizations for consideration for CEUs. Please note, course hours must be specific and relevant to coaching adolescents, to mountain biking and cycling skills. CEUs are valid for 3 years from the time of completion, not submission.

CEUs questions should be directed to Coach Licensing Manager Mike McGarry at

Field Work

Actual hours spent in contact with NICA student-athletes while engaged in an interscholastic mountain bike program. Various hours of NICA approved field work are required for Level 2 and 3 licenses.

Learn more

Risk Management and NICA Student-Athlete Coach Philosophy Tests

At the start of each season it is important for coaches to realign themselves with their mission as a coach by revisiting the NICA Student-Athlete Coaching Philosophy webinar and appropriate Risk Management Training.

NICA Student-Athlete Coaching Philosophy is an annual requirement for all coaches.

Level 1 coaches need to complete Risk Management 1 annually.  Level 2 coaches are required to complete Risk Management 1 and Risk Management 2.  Level 3 coaches need to only complete Risk Management 3 annually.  Coaches can access all Risk Management and NICA Student-Athlete Coaching Philosophy trainings by logging into their NICA Pit Zone and clicking “Access Coach Courses” to be taken directly to their Litmos account where trainings can be completed.  Completing these trainings in Litmos will automatically update your license in the Pit Zone.

Contact Coach Licensing if you have any questions.

Background Check

NICA Coach must submit to an annual criminal background check by Verified Volunteers.

NICA National staff, state League employees, Core Race Staff and Management positions must submit to a criminal background check by Verified Volunteers. Any employee, staff or manager also in the role of coach must meet annual coach requirements.

Learn more

CDC Concussion Course (Required Annually)

As part of the NICA Coach License Program we require new coaches complete one of the following annually:

NFHS: Concussion in Sports

These are free, online course available to volunteers, parents, and others helping to keep athletes safe from concussion. Upload your Certificates of Completion to your coach license in the NICA Pit Zone.

Agreement to Participate Waiver (Required Annually)

All 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.

License Membership Fee

When a volunteer is invited to the Pit Zone they will be prompted to go through a registration process, which includes a License Membership Fee.  The fee is used to help pay for the insurance and administration cost of managing the program.  When you are a returning volunteer 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!