shooting instructor

How to Become a Firearms Instructor in the US

There are a number of steps and requirements, but it can be worth it.

With so many people buying handguns and other firearms for the first time in 2020, it only stands to reason that there will be a bigger need for certified firearms instructors very soon.

The most common certification that is widely recognized is the National Rifle Association Instructor Certification. There are also specialized certifications one can attain to provide firearms training to a wide variety of people, including law enforcement personnel.

Here's how to go about getting instructor training and certification.

What are the necessary qualifications?

When it comes to NRA certification, candidates must be upstanding citizens with no felony convictions. If they're a former member of the armed forces, they must have been honorably discharged and must provide evidence of successful completion of an approved firearms instructor course and meet other individual state requirements (these differ from state to state).

Additionally, before taking an instructor course, an individual must meet their state's requirements to legally possess a firearm and must have completed any necessary gun safety courses.

Once a firearms instructor course has been completed, an individual then submits their certification from an approved training program for state certification.

The National Rifle Association (NRA) is the largest and most well-known instructor training organization. However, there are other organizations that offer training, such as the National Association of Certified Firearms Instructors.

What do the NRA instructor courses entail?

The NRA states its main objective is to provide education and training in the proper use of firearms. More than a million gun owners received training from 125,000 NRA-certified instructors every year. There are 16 NRA courses that teach instructors.

First, prospective instructors must complete the basic course in a specific area, such as home safety or a basic pistol course, where they must demonstrate a strong knowledge and background in safety and shooting skills. They must then take a course and receive a training counselor's endorsement before receiving an NRA certification.

NRA CFIs are also tested on how well they can follow lesson plans and in other areas within the framework of NRA teaching policies.

NRA training counselors are the people who teach others how to teach students.

Personal Protection Instructor courses are also offered by the NRA. Candidates have to be certified at lower levels to be eligible for these courses, which include a section on relevant laws and may be taught by an attorney or law enforcement professional.

The actual NRA Firearms Instructor courses don't just cover guns, but also basic teaching skills like public speaking, methodology, budgeting, organizing a course, utilizing a training team and the use of training aids.

Course lengths vary depending on the course, but generally take anywhere from 11 to 22 hours over the course of several days. The prerequisite course will take up additional hours, too.

What does it cost?

Costs vary, as individual instructors and schools set the fees. Basic safety courses can cost as little as $100 and the specialized training courses can cost over $500. Anyone who wants to be a full-time firearms instructor should plan on taking several courses, though.