Road Runners Club of America

Empowering Everyone to Run!

Coaching Certification FAQs

January 2021 update: Due to the pandemic we have moved ALL 2020 Level I Coaching Certification courses to an interactive, online classroom experience. These team-taught courses will take place using an interactive online platform on their original course dates. We expect to open new online courses sometime soon. Registration for online courses will close one week before the course takes place to allow for shipping of course books to participants.  

Overview of the online Level I Coaching Certification course:
  • Multiple RRCA instructors will lead the course, using the RRCA private license to teach in the private interactive online Zoom environment.
  • We will use an updated version of our standard slideshow, with plenty of opportunity for both written and spoken Q&A, plus the group work on program development that has been so successful in our regular in-person classes.  
  • We're planning on holding the online course from 8am - 5pm in the time zone of the course city. Attendance is required throughout both days. Attendance will be taken throughout each day, including by using a screen-grab of the zoom video.
  • FedEx will ship the hard-copy coursebook directly to the mailing address you include in your registration. Please be sure that your course registration information includes your FedEx shipping address. There will be an additional fee for all international shipments. 
  • As part of the certification process, prospective RRCA coaches must have current CPR and First Aid certifications; in light of the current national health crisis, the RRCA is accepting CPR and First Aid certifications that are completed online.
  • The post-class exam will follow the standard online exam protocols, in which participants are required to take the exam on their own without working with any others on the course material.

Read on for answers to other frequently asked questions.

Q.  What are the steps to becoming certified as a Level I coach?

A.  First, register for a Level I Coaching Certification course that's convenient for you. 

Second, attend the course! Pay attention, participate, and engage with your fellow participants.

Third, take and pass the 100-question online exam within 30 days of attending the course. Exam details will be sent via email a few days after the course takes place.

Fourth, take and pass qualifying CPR and First Aid courses, and submit your certificates for verification.

Once all requirements are completed, you will receive your Level I certificate, have your name added to our online Find a Coach database, and be given access to the coaches-only area of

There is a six-month window from the course date to complete all steps in the Level I Coaching Certification process.

Q.  I don’t see courses listed for the remainder of the year. Will you be adding more courses to the schedule?

A.  The RRCA lists courses as they are scheduled throughout the year in locations across the country. Make sure you are on the email list for course announcements as we send an email as soon as new courses are posted. Do not hesitate to register for your desired course as courses often sell out within one day of announcing them to the public. The RRCA typically does not host courses in November and December due to the fall and winter holidays and reduced demand for the course. We also use this time to give course instructors a break from traveling and teaching 35+ weeks each year.

Q.  I don’t see a course listed that is close to my location. Will you be hosting a course in my area soon?

A.  The RRCA plans in-person courses in locations in which running clubs, running stores, and other host organizations have applied to host and locally plan the course. If you don’t see a convenient course for you, consider working with your local running club, running store, YMCA, etc. to host an RRCA Coaching Certification Course. Visit for to review the course hosting requirements and to submit a request. We are now scheduling courses for late 2020 through 2021.

Assuming we are able to travel and meet in person again, we still anticipate offering online cohorts in addition to our standard in-person courses. 

Q.  Why is it so hard to get into the coaching courses?

A.  RRCA Coaching Certification courses are hosted by RRCA member running clubs, running stores, physical therapy practices, and other organizations. Cohort size is limited to ensure a positive learning experience via lecture, discussion, and small group work. Course hosts are given the opportunity to sell course seats to their members, employees, and volunteers. When the RRCA opens the course up for national registration, less than half of the seats may remain for attendees not associated with the host organization; there is a chance that the course may be entirely sold out. We encourage people interested in taking the course to get involved with their local running clubs, or work with a local organization to host a course. See above for more information.

Q.  The course I want to attend is full. Is there a waiting list?

A.  Yes. We use an automated waiting list tool through the RunSignUp registration platform to fill seats that open up due to withdrawals. If you are interested in attending a sold-out course posted on the website, please follow the link to the RunSignUp page for the desired course and register for that course's waiting list. You will receive an email if a space becomes available. Due to our small staff size, we do not take phone calls or emails about waiting list status. If a spot becomes available, you will be contacted directly. 

Q.  I signed up for a course, but now I can’t attend. Can I get a refund?

A.  Cancellations must be requested by emailing Cancellations are subject to a $50.00 fee (with the refund issued in the amount of $275.00) until 14 days before the class starts. Online registration fees incurred using the RunSignUp platform will not be refunded. No refunds will be granted within 14 days of the start of the course. Refunds will be issued electronically via the RunSignUp platform, and will be returned to the credit or debit card used at the time of registration. Cancellations and refunds may take up to two weeks to process. This policy is subject to change and may differ for online cohorts.

Q.  I signed up for a course, but I just saw that a more convenient course location or date was just scheduled. Can I transfer my registration?

A.  No class transfers are permitted. You must register for the new location, and then request a cancellation and refund for the original course. See the instructions above for requesting a registration cancellation and refund. If the course you would like to register for is full, you may follow the link to the RunSignUp page for the desired course and register for that course's waiting list. This policy is subject to change and may differ for online cohorts.

Q.  Do I need to study before I attend the course?

A.  You may be asked to view pre-course videos, but the coursebook will be provided when you arrive to the course. The instructor will thoroughly cover all material. The exam is open-book and is taken after the course, up to one month after the course date. See above for the list of steps to becoming a Level I certified coach.

Q.  Do I need to bring anything with me to the course?

A.  Breakfast and lunch will be provided by the in-person course host. If you have any dietary restrictions or food allergies, please bring your own meals. Please bring a water bottle to refill throughout the weekend and a pen or digital materials for taking notes. There is no running during the course, but you are welcome to dress comfortably.

Q.  Can I earn any Continuing Education Credits for taking and passing the Level I Coaching Certification course?

A.  The American Council on Exercise certifies that the Level I Coaching Certification course equates to 1.6 CEU for ACE Continuing Education Credit. The American College of Sports Medicine’s Professional Education Committee certifies that this offering meets the criteria for 16.0 credit hours of ACSM Continuing Education Credit. Upon completion of the RRCA Coaching Certification requirements, you must email to obtain CEC codes or certificates for ACE and/or ACSM credits.

Q.  I’ve just updated my First Aid and CPR. Do I need to send you a copy?

A.  A copy of your First Aid and CPR certifications must be sent to your course instructor ONLY to finalize your original Level I coaching certification. You do not need to send the RRCA copies of the cards in future years to maintain your certification. However, you must update your information through the RRCA website to maintain your status as an RRCA Certified Coach in good standing, and to maintain your public listing on the website. Visit and follow the For Certified Coaches Only link to log into your profile and update your information.

Due to the pandemic the RRCA is accepting both CPR and First Aid courses that are completed entirely online.

Don’t see your question? Please email

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