If you know a tennis coach, odds are they’re a certified tennis professional through the USPTA. If you are trying to become a tennis coach for juniors or adults, then it’s important to familiarize yourself with the necessary requirements. Whether you want to give private lessons at your local park, or get a job at a tennis club to teach group lessons, attaining USPTA certification is your best bet.
In this article we’ll cover the USPTA itself, certification requirements, renewal obligations, and more.
What is the USPTA?
The USPTA (United States Professional Tennis Association) is the primary certifier for tennis teaching professionals in the United States, and across the globe. It is subsidiary association under the USTA (United States Tennis Association). There are currently over 14,000 certified members. Most professional tennis coaches and teachers must attain USPTA certification before official instruction can begin. There are four membership levels for aspiring coaches, including:
- Elite Professional – the second highest level of membership. Many experienced tennis club professionals have this status.
- Tennis Instructor – A newly launched membership level which is ideal for the “recreational coach.” It includes a liability insurance policy at an affordable rate.
- School Coach – a basic membership level designed for school tennis coaches and athletic directors.
- Master Professional – the highest attainable membership level. Members must have been an Elite Professional for at least 10 years while having completed 80 hours worth of specialty training. Ideal for head pros at esteemed tennis facilities.
USPTA Professional Member Certification Requirements
The very first step in obtaining certification is to simply fill out the application. Within the online forms, you must agree to the USPTA code of ethics and terms & conditions. Pay the prorated dues and application fee, submit, and wait! You should receive a message within 1-2 days detailing the requirements that must be completed before certification. These requirements include:
- Background check and screening through Net Generation
- Safe Play Training – online
- Online training and practice for junior tennis – 7 courses of virtual Coach Youth Tennis
- Online PTCA1 training course
- Written USPTA exam – 2 hours
- Grips exam – 20 minutes
- Demonstration of skills – you must teach a private lesson, a group lesson, and show your mastery of the five stroke production elements (forehands, backhands, volleys, serves, and miscellaneous strokes)
If any sections of the certification requirements are failed, you can retake them, though you may have to pay an additional fee to do so. Until you pass the failed section(s), you will be considered a Recreational Coach by the USPTA. Results from your physical on-court test will not be sent to you until after completing all certification mandates.
Maintaining Professional Membership Status
Annual member dues must be paid on time each year in order to preserve USPTA membership status. USPTA professionals must complete 6 “education credits” every 3 years as well. You can find more information on the official USTPA website here.