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State Administrative Code Requirements for Qualification of Coaches:
The New Jersey Administrative Code sets forth qualifications for the coaching of public school pupils. These qualifications are found at NJ.A.C. 6A:9-5.19, as follows:
NJ.A.C. 6A:9-5.19 Athletics personnel
(a) Any teaching staff member in the employ of a district board of education shall be permitted to organize public school pupils for purposes of coaching or for conducting games, events or contests in physical education or athletics.
(b) School districts shall be permitted to employ any holder of a New Jersey teaching certificate to work in the interscholastic athletic program provided that the position has been advertised.
(c) In the event there is no qualified and certified applicant, the holder of a county substitute credential pursuant to NJ.A.C. 6A:9-6.5 is authorized to serve as an athletic coach in the district in which he or she is employed for a designated sports season, provided that:
The district chief school administrator demonstrates to the county superintendent that:
i. The vacant coaching position had been advertised; and
ii. There was no qualified applicant based on the written standards of the district board of education;
The district chief school administrator provides a letter to the county superintendent attesting to the prospective employee’s knowledge and experience in the sport in which he or she will coach; and
The district board of education obtains the county superintendent’s approval prior to such employment. The 20-day limitation noted in NJ.A.C. 6A:9-6.5(b) shall not apply to such coaching situations.
NJSIAA Coaching Certification and Regulations
A person shall be eligible to coach in any interscholastic contest, provided the person satisfies all of the conditions listed below (For the purposes of this section, “coach” shall mean all persons who coach an interscholastic high school athletic team in any way, whether for pay or as a volunteer at the varsity, junior varsity and/or freshman level – ninth grade through twelve grade).
In addition to State Department of Education Regulations, the following regulations must be adhered to:
The person’s appointment as coach must be approved by the local educational agency responsible for the member school at which the person coaches.
All new coaches will have 120 days after being hired to register for the NFHS Fundamentals of Coaching (Blended Version) Course. Upon completion of the classroom components, coaches will have sixty (60) days to complete the remaining four (4) components. A certificate of course completion must be submitted to respective athletic supervisors by June 30th to be eligible to coach at an NJSIAA member school for the subsequent school year.
All new coaches will have one year after being hired to successfully complete a course in “Sports First Aid.” Course at NFHSLearn.com or an equivalent taught at a school by a certified instructor/athletic trainer.
All coaches must be CPR / AED certified AND maintain a current certification.
All coaches must obtain a “Concussion Awareness” certification ANNUALLY - Free Course at NFHSLearn.com
All coaches must obtain a “Heat Acclimatization Awareness and Wellness” certificate ANNUALLY - Free Course at NFHSLearn.com
Coaches currently in place, and/or who have experience coaching in an NJSIAA high school prior to the 2006-2007 school year, will be exempt from provisions 2 and 3 above. (While experienced coaches will not be required to adhere to all of the provisions listed above, it is recommended that all coaches complete the NFHS Fundamentals of Coaching and Sports First Aid Courses.)
Note: The above regulations do not apply to the coaches appointed by the school to accompany student athletes to individual events.
Paraprofessional Aide Positions
Nothing in the rules governing coaching positions would preclude a board of education from creating, pursuant to N.J.A.C. 6A:32-4.7, paraprofessional aide positions to assist in the supervision of athletic activities under the direction of a certified coach. However, all such positions must be created and maintained in full compliance with the provisions of N.J.A.C. 6A:32-4.7, including requirements for written job descriptions and qualification standards, and approvals by, and annual reporting to, the county superintendent. As with classroom aides employed to assist certified teachers, athletic paraprofessionals may only function under the direct supervision of a certified coach, or if not assisting with coaching duties, under the direct supervision of designated certified staff; they may not independently undertake coaching duties or any other duties requiring educational certification. Additionally, all persons employed by a district in a paraprofessional capacity (i.e., not serving on a volunteer basis) are subject to the criminal history record check law.
If a board contemplates the use of an aide (paid or unpaid), the policies of the local board must be adopted and in place regarding this type of position, and the rules of the league or conference to which the district belongs must be followed. Please contact your county superintendent of schools should you have any questions.