We talk a lot about the high cost of learning to skate. But what about the cost of being a skating coach? Here's the low down.
PSA membership: $120
PSA continuing ed (ratings requirement) $40 to $300 (depending on if there are events in your area, otherwise you have to pay for travel)
Liability insurance: $85
USFS membership: $65
USFS background check $43
USFS coaching certification (tests through PSA) $75
ISI membership $65
ISI background check (same info, different company) $40
Red Cross First Aid certification: $40 (actually $120, but you only have to do it every 3 years)
That's $610 to $870, equivalent of up to 2 months of class take-home pay (assuming 14 hours of classes at $12 to $20/hour, which is what a lot of rinks pay, even for nationally rated coaches). Rinks do not cover this expense. One rink I worked for allowed one $50 credit per year for an educational event.
Coaches pay all these fees out of pocket, plus their own health care, retirement, and equipment. There is no positive benefit to covering these expenses like an effort to help coaches form unions so that they get guaranteed income, pension and health benefits, and job protection.
Coaches are all subject to forced lay offs several times a year when the rink shuts down, which can also impact your private lesson income, and if your regular classes happen to fall on a holiday, tough luck. You can get credentialed out the wazoo and never get a raise.
There is a punitive aspect-- if you don't get credentialed you cannot take students through testing or competition, and there is a movement afoot to make even baby coaches jump through these hoops.
Coaches complain about this system a lot, and rightly so. USFS, PSA and ISI need to add positive benefits to the high cost of being ethical in this business by pressuring rinks and clubs to treat coaches like the highly qualified professionals that they are.