Coach Licensing Program

The purpose of the NICA Coach License Program is to deliver comprehensive training to NICA coaches that provides the knowledge, skills and abilities to provide quality programming to NICA student-athletes. Quality coach education is the cornerstone to developing great youth coaches who can support the mission and vision of NICA.

NICA license certification also protects volunteers and riders with insurance, as well as protects our youth with background checks and other legally required training. Thanks to our generous NICA sponsors, licensed coaches and volunteers enjoy a number of discounts and other perks. These benefits vary by license level and also by League, click here for more information.

Licensing Requirements

License Requirement Where completed Level 1 Level 2 Level 3
Participation Agreement PitZone Required Annually
Coach Licensing Membership Fee (if applicable) PitZone Required Annually
Background Check PitZone (linked to outside provider) Required Annually
Concussion Training NICA Learning Management System Required Annually
Athlete Abuse Awareness Training NICA Learning Management System Required every two years
NICA Philosophy, Safety and Risk Management (replaces NICA Student- Athlete Coaching Philosophy) NICA Learning Management System Required Annually
Coach License Level 1 NICA Learning Management System Required every 2 years    
Coach License Level 2 NICA Learning Management System   Required every 2 years  
Coach License Level 3 NICA Learning Management System     Required every 2 years
First Aid Outside provider or league scheduled   Requirements vary based on Geography and Specific League needs
CPR Outside provider or league scheduled   In-person Class Required
OTB 101 Online Course NICA Learning Management System   Required  
OTB 101 In-Person Clinic Scheduled by your League   Required  
Field Work On your own. Confirm hours in NICA Learning Management System.   20 Hours 80 Hours
NICA Leader Summit Core Courses Online or in-person scheduled by your league     Required
Continuing Education On your own   3 Units every 3 years 6 Units 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

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.

Background Check

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

NICA National staff, state League employees, Core Race Staff and Management positions must also 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

Athlete Abuse Awareness Training

Our goal with the Athlete Abuse Awareness Training is to ensure that all coaches model appropriate behaviors, maintain an awareness of grooming behaviors, and keep open and ongoing conversation with fellow coaches. The NICA Athlete Abuse Awareness Training is a requirement for all coaches every 2 years.

USA SafeSport trained Substitution for Athlete Abuse Awareness Training

Being current in the US Center for SafeSport™ "Trained" online "Core Course" or "Refresher" as a substitute to our Online Abuse Prevention Systems Training.

Frequency of substitution: All SafeSport Certificates expire 1-year from their being issued and NICA does not allow a substitution beyond what is recognized by SafeSport. SafeSport requires a "Core Course" every three years and a "Refresher Course" every year in between. If you took either SafeSport Course more than 12 months ago, you would need to take the appropriate course and share that certificate to have an eligible substitution. For example:

  • Year 1: 7/1/2020 SafeSport Trained Course Certificate Expires 7/1/2021
  • Year 2: 7/1/2021 SafeSport Refresher 1 Expires 7/1/2022
  • Year 3: 7/1/2022 Safesport Refresher 2 Expires 7/1/2023

Ministry Safe Child Sexual Abuse Training Sustitution for Athlete Abuse Awareness Training

Ministry Safe Child Sexual Abuse Training and Abuse Prevention Systems Athlete Abuse Prevention Training were developed by the same company. NICA accepts Ministry Safe Certificates of completion as long as they are dated within the past two years.

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.

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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

Leader's Summit

The annual Leaders’ Summits, hosted by each NICA League, bring together all coaches—both new and experienced—to develop skills and knowledge, share strategies, and build community. These conferences promote a comprehensive approach to coaching that creates an environment in which young people can grow and thrive, and are the best opportunity for new coaches to become acquainted with the best practices of coaching NICA student-athletes. Check your league website for Leaders' Summit dates and locations.

The NICA Coach Licensing Staff is also offering live, online Leaders’ Summit sessions so that you can get the necessary core requirements for your level 3 coach license or the continuing education units needed to maintain your current coach license. These sessions will be offered at varying times to accommodate your busy schedules.

Click here for more information about Leaders’ Summits.

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 6 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 or bi-annually. Once a coach has been a Level 2 Coach for 3 years, they 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, they must also complete 6 CEUs to maintain that license going into the 4th year and again going into the 7th year.

NICA offers several options for Continuing Education. Please see the NICA Coach Education page 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.

CEU questions should be directed to the Coach Licensing Help Desk.

Learn more

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!