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Coaching & Sports Certification

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Steps to Becoming a Special Olympics North Dakota Coach

It is easy to become a Special Olympics coach.  There is a simple registration and certification process to complete and you will be on your way to becoming a coach.  Having well trained coaches is a key to the success of the Special Olympics North Dakota program.  We strive to provide training in the sport you coach and provide tips to help your team through their sport season.  There are a number of levels of certification that can be achieved. 


Sport Assistant
(Entry Level Requirements)

All coaches need to be Sport Assistant certified prior to working with athletes. Completing this level allows you to coach any sport.

  1. Complete the Volunteer Application.- A copy of your driver's license or State issued ID is required to verify your identification.  A background check is required for all volunteers 18 years of age or older.  
  2. Review the General Orientation Information and complete the General Orientation Quiz.
  3. Complete the Protective Behaviors Training.
  4. Complete the Concussion in Sports Training.
  5. Sign the Coaches Code of Conduct form.

The Volunteer Application may be completed online, submitted to SOND via fax: 701-772-1265, or by mail to:
     Special Olympics North Dakota
     2616 So. 26th St
     Grand Forks, ND 58201

To find more information for each sport such as quizzes, dates and rules, please click here.


Level 1 - Certified Coach

(Core Coaching Knowledge)

Level 1 certification is good for three years. Coaches who are level 1 certified in multiple sports can get recertified for all of their sports at the same time. To do this, coaches must complete one recertification course and complete one recertification application. 

Traditional Special Olympics

  1. All Sport Assistant requirements
  2. Coaching Special Olympics Athletes - online course via Human Kinetics Coach Education (formerly ASEP) or in-person training conducted by a Program-approved trainer

Unified Sports

  1. All Sport Assistant requirements
  2. Coaching Unified Sports - online course via NFHS or in-person training conducted by a Program-approved trainer.

**If the Special Olympics Coach is already a registered High School or College coach, proof of certification of National Governing Body is all that is required.

Online Learning

Special Olympics continues to research and find ways to utilize the newest technologies to provide our coaches the best training in the most user-friendly format. There are now a number of online courses available to coaches to recertify as a coach or advance your level of certification.

Coaching Unified Sports through National Federation of State High Schools (NFHS)

Special Olympics North America and NFHS is proud to introduce the Coaching Unified Sports course. This free course is designed to introduce coaches to the Unified Sports program, and will qualify a coach at a level 1 certification or can be used for recertification.

About the Course:

  • 100% Free
  • Can be completed in as little as 90 minutes
  • Includes a free resource locker room with PDF's that can be saved or printed and accessed forever.
  • Course is active for one year from starting date
  • Provides interactive learning experience with Video, Text on screen, and Narrated voice text.

To learn more about or access the course visit the course page at the NFHS Learn website.


Level 2 - Certified Coach* 

(Sports Specific Knowledge)

Traditional Special Olympics

  1. All Level 1 requirements (for either Traditional or Unified)
  2. Sports Specific Course - online for those sports where online courses have been developed or in person sport specific training

Unified Sports

  1. All Level 1 requirements (for either Traditional or Unified)
  2. Sports Specific Course - online for those sports where online courses have been developed or in person sport specific training

*NOTE: Level required of Head Coaches attending USA National Games in the specific sport being coached.

Fitness Coach Course (available 2019) - online or in person training conducted by Program approved trainer

NOTE: Option to become a certified Fitness Coach is not sport specific, but general knowledge applicable to all sports. Being certified as a Fitness Coach is not a requirement to coach at the USA National Games.


Level 3 - Certified Coach**

(Advanced Coaching Knowledge)

  1. All Level 2 requirements (for either Traditional or Unified)
  2. Principles of Coaching Course -- Conducted by a Program-approved trainer at the SOND Conference or available online via WVU

** NOTE: Level required of Head Coaches attending World Games


Contact Special Olympics North Dakota

If you have any questions regarding the online courses, the coaching certification opportunities, or more information on becoming a Special Olympics North Dakota coach, please contact us by email at sports@specialolympicsnd.org or call (701) 746-0331.

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