United States Parachute Association > Experienced Skydivers > Earning Licenses & Ratings
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Professional Exhibition (PRO) Ratings

The USPA PRO Rating qualifies skydivers for skydiving exhibitions into challenging landing areas. To earn the PRO rating, skydivers with a USPA D license must demonstrate landing skills with the parachute they plan to use for shows and receive training on how to use flags and pyrotechnic devices.

The PRO Rating is recognized by the FAA and serves as a certificate of proficiency to allow the rating holder to fly and land closer to crowds than jumpers who have not demonstrated these qualifications. PRO rating privileges are listed in the Skydiver's Information Manual, Section 7-1. The standard PRO rating limits skydivers to wing-loadings of 1.5:1 and below. Those qualifying for an additional HP (High Performance) endorsement on their PRO rating allows wing-loadings greater than 1.5:1.

More details on the PRO rating are available in the Skydiver's Information Manual, Section 7-2.

Prices for New Licenses

New licenses cost $43.00 and never need to be renewed. They remain active as long as your USPA membership is current.

Prices for New Ratings and Rating Renewals

Judge ratings do not need renewed and remain active with your current USPA membership and annual activity submission.

Coach, Instructor, and Examiner ratings need to be renewed annually when your membership is due. You pay a flat renewal fee no matter how many instructional ratings you are renewing.

See current prices here.

Judge Ratings

Of all the various progression paths available within our sport, judging is one that slips past many people’s attention. Yet, judging is an opportunity to be involved in a part of the sport that is reaching higher and setting new standards. More information about the USPA Judging Program can be found in Chapter 2 of the Skydivers Competition Manual.

The road to judging begins when a USPA member completes a Judge Training Course. These courses are listed on our Judge Rating Course page. Additionally, some judge examiners may offer one-on-one courses, or other creative methods to train members in the art of judging.

If you are interested in training as a judge, but don’t see a course planned, please e-mail USPA’s Competition Department at competition@uspa.org. There is a constantly updated list of interested members and we pass this information on to judge examiners regularly.

Instructional Ratings

Complete information regarding USPA's instructional ratings can be found in the Instructional Rating Manual (IRM) available in pdf download and in hard copy through the USPA Store. The IRM includes course outlines for every instructional rating. Additionally, evaluation forms, exams, and proficiency cards for each rating are available on the Downloads page.

USPA issues instructional ratings to USPA members who have gained the necessary experience and successfully completed a certification course for three different levels of instruction:

  • USPA Coach Rating
  • USPA Instructor Rating
  • USPA Examiner Rating

The USPA Coach Rating may be earned by jumpers with at least 100 jumps and a USPA B license who have completed the Coach Certification Course. Coaches can teach the general sections of the first-jump course and train and supervise students for group skydiving skills. Coaches work under the supervision of instructors.

The USPA Instructor Rating may be earned in four different methods:

  • Accelerated Freefall Instructor (AFF-I)
  • Instructor-Assisted Deployment Instructor (IAD-I)
  • Static-Line Instructor (SL-I)
  • Tandem Instructor (TAN-I)

These are the four methods of first-jump instruction available to anyone interested in skydiving. Each instructor rating requires a higher level of experience than the coach rating, as well as successful completion of a certification course for each different method. Instructors may teach the entire method-specific first-jump course, as well as train and supervise students beginning with the first jump through to the completion of the USPA A license.

The USPA Examiner Rating may be earned in five different methods:

  • Coach Examiner (CE)
  • Accelerated Freefall Examiner (AFF-E)
  • Instructor-Assisted Deployment Examiner (IAD-E)
  • Static-Line Examiner (SL-E)
  • Tandem Examiner (TAN-E)

The examiner rating is the highest level of instructional ratings issued by USPA. Examiners are very experienced instructors who train new coaches and instructors. They have completed additional training and apprenticeship that is necessary to become an examiner.   

License Exams

USPA Instructors may administer the A-, B- and C-license exams. Safety and Training Advisors and Examiners may administer any USPA License exam.

License exams are available online and must be set up by the correct official. This closed-book, supervised test consists of randomized multiple choice questions taken from a pool. If applicants score less than the required 75% passing score, they can retake the online exam up to three times in the same day.

Paper exams are also an option and must also be closed-book and supervised. If an instructor or S&TA needs a copy of paper exams, they may contact USPA at safety@uspa.org. Applicants scoring less than the required 75% passing score must wait 7 days to retake the exam on paper.

For more details on license exam procedures, visit SIM Section 3-2.

Rating Renewals

Each coach and instructor rating must be renewed annually. The first year of any rating will be a partial year, because the rating will be issued with the expiration date that coincides with your membership renewal date. Regardless of whether that is one month or 11 months, you must complete the rating renewal requirements with the necessary signatures and include the rating renewal fee with your membership renewal. You can have requirements verified online as you meet them using the online rating renewal process, or you may use the paper renewal form. Each rating holder must conduct a minimum number of student training jumps each year to meet the renewal requirements, except for the first partial year of holding the rating. See Section 1 of each course syllabus in the Instructional Rating Manual to find the rating renewal requirements.

Who Can Sign Off On License Applications?

(This is the 1-page shorter version of the two A license cards available)
The A license proficiency card was developed for drop zones that use their own student training program to train students to the A-license skill level. Each item to be initialed on the card lists the final advancement criteria for the various skill sets required for the A license. Each line includes an "I" beside it, which indicates a USPA Instructor must initial the item after verifying that the student satisfactorily completed all of the necessary training. A USPA Instructor must also sign the card once everything has been initialed and it is ready to be submitted to USPA Headquarters for the A-license number to be issued.

(This is the 2-page longer version of the two A license cards available)
The A-license Progression Card was developed for drop zones that use the USPA Integrated Student Program to train students to the A-license skill level. It is divided into categories A through H to match the ISP, included in Section 4 of the Skydiver’s Information Manual. Each category lists the various skills and training requirements that must be met to finish the category. These specific items must also be initialed by a USPA Instructor wherever an “I” is noted beside the initial line, and for all of the items listed as “Advancement Criteria” for each category.

A USPA Coach may initial the exit, freefall, and canopy lines in Category E through H of the progression card as indicated by the "C/I" beside the initial line. A pilot or instructor may initial Spotting and Aircraft in Categories G and H as indicated by the "P/I" next to the initial line. And a rigger or instructor may initial in categories E, G and H for the equipment training. These are the only items that can be initialed by someone other than a USPA Instructor. Make sure the proper person is initialing and signing the A-license cards to help your new A-license holder receive his A license in a timely manner.

The B- through D-license applications must be initialed and signed by a USPA Instructor or higher for the B and C license application, and an Instructor Examiner, S&TA or USPA Board member for the D license application. Make sure each of the items listed in the skill tables are verified and initialed, and the license application is completely filled out and signed by the appropriate person before submitting the license application to USPA Headquarters for processing.

USPA Licenses

USPA issues four skydiving licenses, A through D, indicating progressive levels of skill and accomplishment. USPA licenses remain current with membership and are recognized by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale. A skydiver is considered a student until issued a license.

For the current license requirements and privileges see the Section 3-1 of the Skydiver's Information Manual.

There are no additional requirements for renewing USPA Licenses, as they remain current with your USPA membership. You can apply for a new license on your profile page, or download the application.

FAI Sporting Licenses

USPA does not issue licenses of the world governing body of air sports, the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI). Instead, the National Aeronautic Association, in Alexandria, Virginia, issues the special FAI sporting licenses.  For world record attempts and for all members of the U.S. Parachute Team, the FAI Sporting License is required in addition to the FAI certificate of proficiency (license) issued by the various national aeroclubs, such as USPA.


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