We've taken a few of the most commonly asked questions from our in box to put together a small FAQ section for coaches interested in gaining their coaching badges.
I want to take an FA coaching course, where do I begin?
We're just an informational website so don't run any courses ourselves but the best place to get more information is at the FA Learning course search page here. If you enter your postcode it will list all the locally available courses and the links to the county FAs that actually run the courses have more details about dates and costs etc and you can make a booking on line in most cases.
What can I do with these qualifications?
Level 1 and 2 are by far the most popular coaching courses and are designed to help people coach at grass roots level in the youth game. Level 1 is generally considered pretty difficult to fail as it's largely about keeping young players safe and happy within the game and providing a positive footballing environment that allows them to develop. Level 2 adds some technical skills and allows coaches to contribute more actively to the development of young players.
How old do I have to be to take a course?
The minimum age for taking courses on the FA Coaching Pathway is 16.
What qualifications do I need to start?
Level 1 is an open entry course meaning anyone can take it. It's common that you will have taken Level 1 before starting Level 2 but it's not mandatory, particularly if you have experience within the game. At Level 3 and beyond the course prerequisites start to get a lot more difficult to meet, see the question below about pursing a professional coaching career for more details.
How long are coaching certificates valid?
Certificates require refreshers every 2 years to remain valid.
I took a course years ago is it still valid?
No, the FA Coaching Pathway has changed radically in recent years and older qualifications are no longer valid in a formal sense, although this obviously doesn't mean they're not useful in practical terms.
Can I take these coaching badges on line?
No, coaching is by definition a hands on, practical pursuit and whilst there are a few on line learning modules, all of the main coaching badges require time on the pitch.
How difficult are the FA Coaching courses?
The short answer is Level 1 is hard to fail, Level 2 is a lot harder and people can and do fail. Level 3 is a challenging course and beyond that only a handful of coaches each year can meet the very tough entry requirements to be accepted on the course. See the question below about starting a career in professional football coaching for further information about the progression and requirements.
I took a course but didn't receive my certificate, what do I do?
The first point of contact is your course provider, if they think a certificate was issued and it somehow didn't reach you, you may have to request a replacement (see below).
I've lost my coaching certificate can I get a replacement?
If the FA has a record of your qualification you can normally get a replacement certificate. If your course was Level 1 or 2 call 1st4sport on 0113 2907610 - they charge £11.75 for a replacement certificate. For other courses/certificates contact FA Learning on 0870 850 0424, replacements cost between £4.95 and £10 depending on the course. Unfortunately replacement certificates are not usually available for most older courses. In any event these courses are no longer officially valid so certificates do not have any real value as such.
I want to pursue a professional coaching career, how do I start?
A lot of people have aspirations to make their passion for football their career and whilst this is a great dream to aim for and the game always needs more coaches, prospective professional coaches should be aware of a few points.
At the lower levels, just getting your Level 1 and 2 coaching badges and some coaching experience can open doors. A number of paid coaching opportunities exist for people with these qualifications and although they are often only short term positions at kids' summer camps etc this is how a lot of coaches get their first professional experience.
Taking things further requires regular, on going exposure to coaching and by Level 3 this becomes a pre requisite for joining a course. Many people think they can land a nice coaching job simply by taking courses but unfortunately this isn't the case. It's generally considered that you must develop the formal qualifications and real life experience in tandem so you need to make a solid commitment to football to progress.
Generally it's very difficult to chart a course of qualifications that will lead to high level full time professional management/coaching jobs because there aren't really specific courses that are tailored just for that, because again, getting this type of position usually comes after involvement with the game over many years and is largely shaped by what exposure you gain in your career and at what level. To give some idea of how serious things get, to even apply for the UEFA A License (which is taken by just a handful of coaches each year) you need to be working with (or want to work with and have on going access to) 11 v 11 teams in a semi professional or elite context. Getting that level of coaching exposure in itself can obviously be more of a challenge than gaining the actual qualification.
Taking things even further and getting to the very top is extremely tough - actually it's harder than becoming a Premier League player because every team has 11 men on the field but only 2 or 3 on the coaching/management side. A large number of high level coaches or managers are ex professional players with strong connections and a direct route into the game so if you don't have that you are already at a disadvantage.
Our advice for anyone looking to progress within coaching is start at the beginning with Levels 1 and 2 then get out and get some experience. Try to develop opportunities for yourself and be aware that qualifications and real world experience have to move forward together. If the commitment is there, opportunities can present themselves as good coaches are always needed and usually valued so positive things can happen if you put yourself about a bit - so keep persevering!