Congratulations on pursuing ASCA Certification! Since 1988, over 18,000 coaches have been certified with the American Swimming Coaches Association. Being certified sends a message to your peers, your employer, your athletes, and your swim team parents that you are a Professional Coach. No matter what level you are at, it is a significant event that you have chosen to set yourself apart as a Professional Coach in pursuit of continuing education.

To Be Certified, Do The Following:

This will start the Certification process.  Note – This is the initial application for Certification.  If you are already ASCA Certified and are looking to update your file, please submit a Certification update instead.


Certification Levels 1 and 2 require Education and Experience ONLY.

Level 2
No Achievement Requirements, however,
6 months of coaching experience required, and
Completion of ASCA Level 1 (Foundations) and Level 2 (Stroke) Schools.
Level 1
Completion of ASCA Level 1- Foundations of Coaching School.

Certification Levels 3, 4, or 5, also include a Performance Achievement Criteria.

  • You must have coached athletes who achieved the standards listed under each level below.
  • You need only ONE of the listed qualifications at each level.
  • You MUST be the PRIMARY COACH of this athlete in order to claim credit.
    (The primary coach plans and executes 90% of an athlete’s training)
  • Any coach, to be credited with that athlete, must have coached that athlete for 12 months prior to the attainment of the relevant criteria.
  • You need to submit proof of achievement as well as proof (or a statement of such if you are the Head Coach) that you were the primary coach of the athlete.
  • Assistant coaches, under certain conditions, certainly can be “primary coaches” of record.

Be aware that we thoroughly and carefully analyze and protect the integrity of the system by examining all “primary coach” claims that are provided.

Professional integrity is very important here.

Ways to Obtain Continuing Education Credits

ASCA Certified Members should accumulate 50 units of continuing education every 3 years. There are three basic ways to accumulate educational units:

  1. Attending Clinics,
  2. Online Education,
  3. Reading Pertinent Articles or Books, and
  4. Completing Home Study Courses


Attend a professional coaching clinic and you can receive credit. For swim coaching clinics you will generally receive 5 to 12 units per day. You will need to notify ASCA by completing the Certification Update form of your attendance at any and all clinics.

If you take a test or submit a list of 10 ideas per day that you accumulated you will receive 50% to 100% more units. If you attend a business, motivational, medical, or any other type conference you can also receive credit if the subject matter is related to coaching or the business of coaching. USA Swimming Webinars count – so let us know you attended!

ASCA Online Education:

Our newest and most convenient method for obtaining continuing education credits is through our Online Education courses. Our wide selection of online videos includes clinic presentations, home study, instructional videos, real-time workout videos, and more! Purchasing the video courses has never been easier. Simply visit our Online Ed store and gain immediate access. Then submit 15 ideas from each video viewed to receive up to 10 units of credit.

Home Study Courses:

ASCA currently has 26 home study courses, some with tests. Submit the test for 10 to 12 units of continuing education. If there is no test, just submit 20 ideas you gathered from the material to receive your credits.

For a list of home study courses visit our online catalog or email Certification Services to request a list be sent to you.


To receive continuing education units all you need to do is submit new ideas that you took from reading an issue of the ASCA Newsletter, ASCA Magazine, Journal of Swimming Research, or any other article, anywhere, anytime.

What’s an idea? It might be something you read OR it might be something the reading inspired you to remember from the past OR it might be something the reading inspired you to dream up. Coming up with an idea from your reading is what a professional does!

ASCA Newsletter: Submit 5 New to You Ideas, Earn 3 Units.
ASCA Magazine: Submit 10 New to You Ideas, Earn 5 Units.
Journal of Swimming Research: Submit 5 Ideas, Earn 3 Units.
Any Article, Anywhere, Anytime: Submit 2 Ideas, Earn 2 Units.
Any Sports, Nutritional, or Sport Psych Book: Submit 20 Ideas, Earn 10 Units.

Cert Requirements per Category

In all Certification cases, the coach is responsible for notifying ASCA of any continuing education updates.

Get ASCA Certified Today

Update Your ASCA Certification

Certification Purpose and Process

Certification Means that You are Serious About Your Profession.

Gregg Troy - ASCA Certified Level 5 Coach, USA Swimming

It means that you care about your continuing coaching education and your professional preparation. It marks you as a coach who is in the mainstream of the swim coaching profession, and willing to be examined and certified by an independent agency (ASCA), in the same light as the great coaches of history, whether Collegiate, USA Swimming, High School, YMCA, or Masters, as well as thousands of international coaches who chose our ASCA Certification system to document their credentials.

Employers know that the ASCA Certified Coach is committed to Professional Performance, has Professional Preparation, and, most importantly, Professional Ethics through their membership in ASCA.

In addition, compensation information and access to professionally evaluated positions are available to Certified Coaches. Certification gives you a title you deserve.

Certification also states your credentials precisely and concisely.

It represents your education in the sport, your experience in the sport, and your ability to produce athletes who perform at a high level. (Once you are doing so.) Certification is a VOLUNTARY process. Some coaches chose NOT to participate. Certification does not pretend to say who is the better coach.

What Certification does, is accurately represent your credentials from an independent agency. Employers, over the 27 year history of ASCA Certification, have become quite adept at differentiating between Resume Writing Coaches and ASCA Certified Coaches. ASCA Certification provides factual information to your potential employer.

  1. Become a member of the American Swimming Coaches Association. Sign and return the Code of Ethics that you agree to abide by, which can be submitted online or via telephone at: 1 (800) 356-2722.
  2. Complete the ASCA Certification Application. Please provide us with the most complete profile possible. We cannot give you credit for things you do not list!
  3. Complete the Required Certification Schools:
    • Level 2: The Stroke School – The Construction and Correction of Swimming Strokes
    • Level 3: The Physiology School – The Planning and Execution of Training
    • Level 4: The Leadership School – Every Coach Must Be A Leader
    • Level 5: The Administration School – Running Your Program Effectively

    Each school is available in both live clinic form and as a home study course. (Levels 1-2 are also available online.)

Send the original tests to the ASCA at 5101 NW 21st Ave, Suite 530, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33309. Tests will be scored, and processed to your file. You will then receive a letter and a Certificate for your course, with your current Level and type. (Which you supply us with the Certification Application.) You will be notified of the number of educational units that you have been awarded as a result of this test. In some unusual and specific cases, some required courses may be waived due to specific educational achievements or experiences. This is a rare event.

Get ASCA Certified Today

Update Your ASCA Certification

Certification Purpose and Process

There are three things analyzed in the Certification process. They are: Education, Experience and Achievement. Your Certification shows that you have met the requirements for each category per certification level. Level 5 is composed of the top 2-5% of coaches in the USA. Level 4 is the top 5-8% and Level 3 is the upper 15% of coaches. Level 2 requires more units of education and experience than Level 1.

Note: It is your responsibility to provide us with updates on each of these categories to add units of either education or experience, or new achievements to be added to your record. The easiest way to do this is through email directly to our Certification Desk.

When you attend a clinic, take a course, or have an athlete who has reached a new achievement level, please notify us so that your ASCA record can remain accurate and up-to-date. ASCA shall provide you with relevant correspondence (which you should save in your personal certification file) to verify what you have sent to us. Please remember to notify in your submission what LEVEL you seek to upgrade to, and in what category: USA Swimming, Senior, Age Group, YMCA, NCAA Division I or II or III; etc.

The 5 Levels of the ASCA Certification Program each have its own required school. The purpose of these schools is to provide State-of-the Art fundamental information on coaching to the appropriate level of coaches. Since 1985, this 5-level progression of courses has been the world standard for coaching education, used in more than 18 nations around the globe. Each school is geared for a different need in a coach’s career, as described below. Over 35,000 individual required courses have been taken by coaches since 1985. All five of these courses are available in either home study or live clinic format. You can access the list of live clinics online at the ASCA Store.

In the following list, we explain content and intent of each of the five courses.

  • Level 1: Foundations of CoachingIf you are, or intend to become, a USA Swimming Registered Coach, you will be taking the 101 ONLINE Course required by USA Swimming. At the end of your first year and prior to registering for your second year, you will be required to take the 2nd part, called 201, also online. USA Swimming notifies ASCA of successful completion of this course, so we can begin your certification process at the successful completion of the 101 section.IF You are NOT a USA Swimming coach, (high school, college, international) there is DVD version of the Foundations of coaching course, which you purchase from ASCA and it comes with a paper test that you complete and return to us.
  • Level 2: The Stroke School – The Construction and Correction of Swimming StrokesThis course is the most popular course in ASCA history. Over 14,000 coaches have taken the Level 2 Stroke School since 1986. This current 2013 revision is currently available in two forms: a home study course, or the preferred method, a video-based course available online (approximate duration: 8 hours). We strongly urge you to consider the online video course, as it is a superior learning experience, and one of the best teaching methods available today. Once purchased, the course can be completed at your convenience according to your schedule by accessing your progress via password upon your return.
  • Level 3: The Physiology School – The Planning and Execution of TrainingThe purpose of this course is to give the coach practical knowledge on how to develop a long and short term training plan, and write workouts that will demonstrate the progression necessary for swimmers to improve. It begins with a review of the interaction of various physical and mental systems, continues with the scientific background for training, descriptions of training methodologies and terms, and then proceeds to discuss the planning of training for both new, developmental swimmers and accomplished swimmers of all ages, up to and including Senior Swimmers and Masters Swimmers. Also required by USA-Swimming for the head coach of a new club program. Once again, available in home study form via manual and once again, recommended for a live presentation if practical for the individual coach.
  • Level 4: The Leadership School – Every Coach Must Be A LeaderOnce a coach can master the basics, do a wonderful job of teaching strokes, can plan and conduct brilliant training sessions and do an expert job at running their team, there is a critical skill left, and that is LEADERSHIP. In point of fact, this might be one of the schools that is far too important to leave to last in the progression. One can argue that effective coaching is ALL about effective leadership and in that picture this is a course to take EARLY in your coaching career. Leaders are not born, they are made. This course can help make them. The course teaches specific skills and steps that you need to master to lead children or other adults, effectively.
  • Level 5: The Administration School – Running Your Program EffectivelyFor the coach who is, or aspires to be, the head coach of any organization, high school, college, YMCA or Club, this school covers every topic from budgeting to communications to fundraising, to team entries of meets, to hosting meets, to working successfully with assistant coaches, volunteers and boards of directors. Frequently described as the area where coaches are weakest in their job, this course is designed to give new head coaches a tutorial on how to deal with administrative tasks, before they become administrative issues. There are sections devoted to the special needs of high school and college coaches. While not about the fun parts of coaching, this course is about the parts that allows a coach to get and keep and prosper in, a good job as a head coach. We recommend that the wise coach take this course LONG before they expect to need it. Having this information will help you GET the job you’re dreaming about.