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I Want My Archery Instructor Certification. But Which Level is Right For Me?

By earning your USA Archery Instructor Certification, you become a vetted resource of archery information and valuable qualifications, which attracts new customers and grows your business.
Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo

Author: Cassie Gasaway

USA Archery’s certification program provides valuable knowledge and hands-on skills for retailers who want to boost the marketing value of their shooting programs. Certification also gives your store access to the Explore Archery and Junior Olympic Archery Development programs to help attract and engage new archers.

The USA Archery program offers five certification levels, but retailers receive many benefits simply by earning Level 1 and Level 2 certifications.

Level 1 Archery Instructor Certification

Participants in the Level 1 Instructor Certification course are trained to teach beginner programs like Explore Archery. Trainees learn about range safety, range setup, shooting steps, equipment and repair, and programs and lesson plans.

Depending on the instructor, the cost for these courses is typically about $75. They last about eight hours.

Level 2 Archery Instructor Certification

Participants in the Level 2 Instructor Certification course cover in greater detail the curriculum from the Level 1 course, and learn about archery events, equipment and accessories, and athlete development. Trainees also learn the National Training System Steps of Shooting for compound and recurve bows. Level 2 instructors become qualified to teach the Level 1 Archery Instructor Certification course, and can receive USA Archery insurance coverage.

Those pursuing Level 2 certification typically pay $125 to $150 for the training, which lasts 12 to 16 hours in the classroom.

Through USA Archery’s Instructor Certification program, trainees learn about range safety, range setup, shooting steps, equipment and repair, and programs and lesson plans.

Why Pursue Level 2 Certification?

Participants quickly recognize the difference between the two courses. Advisers recommend archery-store owners earn at least the Level 2 certification.

“People who obtain Level 2 certification can teach the Level 1 course,” said Jennifer Mazur, ATA’s director of archery and bowhunting programs. “That means they’ll have a self-sustaining archery program in their shop. They can train their staff and increase their number of certified, qualified archery instructors, and that’s better for business.”

Level 2 participants must also pass a background check, which further establishes credibility and builds trust with parents. That’s crucial, because you’re working with their child.

Why Pay for the Certification Title?

USA Archery certification is more than just a title. It’s a validation. You become a vetted resource of archery information and valuable qualifications. To attract customers, advertise the fact you and your staff are certified archery instructors. That’s important. After all, most customers seeking scuba lessons for their child would choose a certified scuba instructor over one that’s uncertified. Right? The same goes for archery lessons.

Regardless, archery retailers have multiple reasons to become certified instructors, profit being No. 1.

“If you see what people pay for recreation, the return on (your certification) investment is high,” Mazur said. “There’s a lot of room to make money teaching archery. If you pay $75 for a certification and hold one two-hour archery class for $10 per student, you’ll pay for your certification with eight students.”

By earning a Level 2 instructor certification, archery shop owners can create a self-sustaining archery program for their shop. They can teach the Level 1 course to their staff, and increase their capacity for archery lessons.

The Stats Don’t Lie

Becoming a certified archery instructor is worth the time and effort, says Randy Phillips, who owns Archery Headquarters in Chandler, Arizona. Phillips has one full-time certified instructor and four part-time certified instructors. He also works with the parks-and-recreation department and a nearby college to find interns seeking job experience. Phillips pays for their Level 1 certification and uses their help.

After investing in the USA Archery certification program, Archery Headquarters brought in $153,000 in 2015 by holding archery classes, programs, corporate events, birthday parties and other events.

Phillips achieves great success by promoting the classes online. He notes many participants appreciate that the classes are taught by safe, certified instructors.

People will pay more for an expert’s opinion. Instructor certification from a trusted, well-known source adds value to your archery classes and lessons.


James Sampson, CEO and co-owner at Havana Outdoors in Havana, Illinois, has four Level 1 and two Level 2 certified instructors. He has two others ready to enroll for the Level 1 course at the 2018 ATA Trade Show. Sampson said the store’s success is proof of the benefits of certification.

“The USA Archery Level 1 class gave us the basics on archery instruction, and the foundation we needed to be confident in our instruction,” Sampson said. “The Level 2 class built off the Level 1 coursework, and taught us how to develop an archery athlete. That prepared us for the various programs we implemented.”

After obtaining certification, Sampson and his team worked with ATA staff through the Retail Growth Initiative program to further enhance their store’s efforts.

“Since obtaining certification and implementing the ATA’s complementary classes, we have seen well over a 50 percent increase in range income, which we attribute to our efforts,” Sampson said. “With the added foot traffic, we’ve also seen merchandise sales increase. New archers mean new sales that weren’t predicted for a particular season. I can’t thank ATA enough for starting me down the certification path.”

Marcy Reese, co-owner of the Hunt N’ Shak Archery in Henrico, Virginia, is also happy she became certified, and is thankful for its benefits.

“Level 2 certification enabled me to start my own club, obtain USA Archery insurance, and get more kids involved shooting,” Reece said. “That, in turn, increases revenue for the shop. Parents seek out certified coaches. That gives them the confidence to know their children are in good hands with professionals who have passed their background check and received the required certifications needed to teach archery the correct way.”

Reece implemented the Explore Archery program at HNS Archery, and it is receiving lots of interest and boosting revenues. She also earned a USA Archery Level 3-NTS Coach Certification, and spends most of her time helping young archers.

Obtain Your Certification Now!

Visit the USA Archery website to find a certification course near you.

Or enroll for a class at the 2018 ATA Trade Show. USA Archery partnered with the ATA to tailor its certification plan specifically for retailers at the ATA Trade Show. After all, they already know lots about archery. This ATA-member benefit means you don’t need to spend additional time outside the shop to get certified.

Registration opens Monday, July 10, so mark your calendars, and contact the ATA Trade Show’s business and membership office at (866) 266-2776 or (507) 233-8130 to learn more or enroll.

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