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Coaches > Coaching Standards Requirements

The WIAA's annual two-day Coaches School conference fulfills WIAA Coaches Standards Requirements for three years and also offers sport-specific certification for Cheer, Dance/Drill, Football, Swim/Dive and Track & Field at no additional cost.

Learn more and register at:
2019 WIAA Coaches School
July 25-27
Yakima Convention Center


The purpose of the WIAA Coaching Standards program is to enhance the training of student-athletes by assuring that their coaches maintain a certain level of professional development throughout their careers.

Coaching Standard Requirements Beginning with 2017-18 School Year
(Handbook Interpretation)

20.4.0 COACHING REQUIREMENTS - For initial employment as a paid and/or volunteer interscholastic coach, an individual must meet the following requirements:
(Also refer Coaching Standards Checklist in Appendix 15).

20.4.1 Be a high school graduate or have completed a graduation equivalency diploma (GED) program.

A. Be at least 21 years of age to be a head coach.
B. Be at least 19 years of age to be an assistant coach except as in c. below.
C. High school students may serve as middle level volunteer assistant coaches during the designated middle school season when under the direct supervision of the middle level coach. These high school students must meet WIAA coaches standards minimum requirements to hold a valid First Aid Certification and a valid CPR card.

20.4.2 Complete the WIAA general rules clinic and the WIAA approved rules clinic for the sport being coached prior to the end of the third week of the sports season.

A. All High School and middle level paid coaches and volunteers acting as head high school head coaches - required annually.
B. Volunteer assistant coaches – recommended, but not required.

20.4.3 Hold a valid current First Aid Certification or have completed a School District approved Athletic Training/Sports Medicine course equivalent to the Red Cross First Aid Card training or be enrolled in a First Aid class. A Sports Medicine course is to include prevention of injuries, recognition of injuries, emergency on-site procedures including transporting the injured, and rehabilitation of injuries. If a Sports Medicine course is used to fulfill this requirement, it must be renewed every three (3) years.

20.4.4 Hold a valid current CPR Certification or be enrolled in an approved CPR Course, it must be renewed every three (3) years.

20.4.5 Have successfully completed Concussion recognition and management with Return to Play Protocols training as required by Washington State Law that must be renewed every three (3) years.

20.4.6 Have successfully completed Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness and Training as required by Washington State Law that must be renewed every three (3) years.

20.4.7 Before the beginning of the third year of coaching, a member school coach (paid or volunteer) must complete a school district approved Coaching Principles training that requires a minimum of five (5) hours of instruction, or complete the NFHS Coaches Fundamentals Course, or attend all sessions of the WIAA Coaches School, or other Coaches School as approved by the WIAA or the local school district. After initial completion, coaches will be required to repeat this training every three (3) years. The training may include but is not limited to:

A.     Medical aspects of coaching - Health and Welfare
        Care and Prevention of student injury
        Athletic Training/Sports Medicine
        Chemical and Substance Abuse
        Injury Rehabilitation
        Exercise Physiology

B.     Legal Aspects of Coaching - Litigation, Liability
        School Physical Education, Sports, or Athletic Law
        Annual review of rule changes and application of rules
        School Board Policies, WIAA Rules, School Law

C.     Psycho/Social Foundations
        Sociology and Psychology of Sports (adolescent psychology, sports sociology and psychology, motivation,
        dealing with substance abuse.)
        Philosophy of Interscholastic Activities Programs
        Coaching Techniques
        Instructional methods in physical education/activities
        Instructional methods in physical education for handicapped
        Instructional methods in interscholastic sports
        Philosophy/Sports Management/Pedagogy

20.4.8 Red Cross Safety Training for Swim Coaches or Lifeguard Certification is required for all swim coaches. Red Cross Safety Training for Swim Coaches, U.S. Diving Safety certification or Lifeguard Certification is required for diving coaches.

A. Each team must have a certified swim coach on site during practice and competition in order for an athlete(s) to be eligible to participate in swimming.
B. Each team must have a certified dive coach on site during practice and competition in order for an athlete(s) to be eligible to participate in diving.

20.4.9 “Hands on” pole Vault Coaches Training is required for Pole Vault Coaches. Coaches must be recertified every three (3) years with “hands on” training to be required the first year and either the “hands on” training or completion of WIAA-approved online courses in subsequent years.

Each team must have a certified pole vault coach on site during practice and competition in order for an athlete(s) to be eligible to participate in pole vault.

20.4.10 Stunt Certification is required for Cheer Coaches and dance/drill coaches who intend to have their cheer or dance/drill squad(s) perform stunts. The certification program must be approved by the Washington State Cheer Coaches Association, the Washington State Dance/Drill Coaches Association, and the WIAA. Coaches must be recertified every three (3) years with “hands on” training.

Each team must have a stunt certified coach on site during practice and competition in order for an athlete(s) to be eligible to stunt.

20.4.11 All Middle School and High School football coaches must complete school-district approved technique specific safety training similar to “Heads Up Football”. The training must include, but is not limited to, "hands on" Safer Tackling Techniques and Drills, Helmet and Shoulder Pad fitting, Concussion management with Return to Play Protocols following a concussion, Heat and Hydration training and Sudden Cardiac Arrest training. Football coaches will be required to repeat this training every three years.

20.4.12 Washington State Patrol Criminal History Information – The employing school district is required by RCW 43.43.830 to file the Washington State Patrol Criminal History Information for paid and/or volunteer coaches.

20.5.0 COACHES EDUCATION COMPLIANCE - Only paid and/or volunteer coaches who have met the coaches standards are eligible to coach or be involved in a practice or competition.

If a school district has more restrictive coaching standards, the coach will be held to the more restrictive standard.

Coaching Standard Requirements pre-2017-18 School Year

A coach is required, prior to the beginning of his/her third year of coaching, to 1) complete the HKCE (Human Kinetics Coach Education) Coaching Principles Course from
ASEP.com OR 2) complete the NFHS Fundamentals of Coaching course OR 3) participate in at least thirty (30) hours of activities, courses or programs that provide some level of professional development for the coach.  After achieving this, paid member school coaches are required to maintain a minimum of fifteen (15) hours of professional development activities each three year period following the initial two year cycle.  Individuals who graduate from an accredited college or university with a P.E. or coaching major or minor (or hold a P.E. endorsement on his/her teaching certificate) are exempt from the initial 30 hour requirement. 

In addition to meeting the above requirements, each coach must also maintain a current CPR/First Aid card (and Red Cross Safety Training for Swim Coaches), a Washington State Patrol criminal background check, be 21 years of age if head coach, 19 years if assistant coach, and attend a WIAA/WOA Rules Clinic if a high school varsity head coach.

Qualifying Activities

WIAA only maintains standards in terms of the number of hours required; beyond that it is up to the administration of the member schools to determine which activities qualify toward the 30/15 hour marks (aside from the aforementioned Coaching Principles Course, which automatically qualifies for the middle level mark and counts toward initial or continuing high school standards).  The types of activities that are typically qualified toward the coaching hours requirements include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • WIAA Rules Clinics
  • League Coaches Meetings
  • Chemical Awareness Training
  • Sports Psychology Courses
  • CPR/First Aid Training
  • In-School Coaching Staffing
  • WIAA/School Policy Review
  • Injury prevention/rehab course
  • Sport Specific Clinics
  • Liability Training
  • Coaching roundtables
  • Motivation training


Each year, every WIAA member school is required to file with the WIAA office an overview of compliance for each coach, paid and volunteer, that coaches for that school.  Each coach is required to maintain his/her own records of activities taken to meet the hour requirements and provide a copy of such documentation to the school for compliance records.

School standards

Each school must have at least 80% of its coaching staff in compliance with the above-stated requirements in order for that school to meet WIAA compliance.  Each school must also provide a plan to attain 100% compliance.  For schools not in compliance, a progressive penalty is incurred.  For full text of the WIAA regulations regarding coaching standards, click on the "Coaches and Officials" section of the
WIAA Handbook.

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