USA Triathlon’s Level III Coaching Certification Program is designed to select and develop elite, international-caliber coaches capable of delivering the highest standard of practical athlete development expertise. The program gives prospective candidates the opportunity to develop more specialized practical coaching skills, improve performance planning and analysis, and learn organizational techniques through active learning exercises and interactions with the Sport Development Staff of USA Triathlon and the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee. The Level III Certification is highly selective, and candidates must satisfy the following prerequisites to be considered.

2021 Level III Coach Certification Clinic Schedule 

Application Available Date
TBD TBD More information coming soon. 

If you have a question about the USA Triathlon Coach Certification Program, please email Brad Hildebrandt at  

USA Triathlon Level III Coaching Clinic

This clinic will include presentations from attendees who have been prepared prior to the clinic on an area of weakness. There will also be at least two case studies that the attendees will have to present. One of which they get time to prepare and one to test ready-knowledge. The clinic will also include group discussions with each other, led by Level III/High Performance Coaches. In addition, this Level III clinic will be overlapping a Level I clinic. Level III attendees will lead hands-on/practical sessions of the Level I clinic as well as group discussions on training planning. The Level I attendees will be asked to comment on and evaluate the Level III attendees.

This will be a conformational clinic rather than an educational clinic. We are looking to certify coaches who are already at the highest level. We want to see your passion, hear your knowledge and observe you in action. We are looking for coaches who are well-rounded, experienced, passionate and professional.

Acceptance into or passing of the Level III clinic is not guaranteed. There is a checklist that is used to score each candidate on the ATP presentation and on the final project. Only after all of the requirements are satisfactorily met with an 80% or higher will a candidate be considered passed through the Level III clinic.

Candidate Requirements

  • Must be a current USA Triathlon Level II Short Course/Level II Long Course Coach, in good standing, for a minimum of three years
  • Have coached for a minimum of eight years, including experience with:
    • Youth
    • Age Group
    • Elite
    • Long course
    • Short course
    • Experience coaching other sports than triathlon
  • Must be coaching on a day-to-day basis and have experience with building a business
  • Must complete a mentorship program with an existing USA Triathlon Level III/High Performance Coach. This can be prior to or after the Level III clinic. *See more details below.
  • Must demonstrate exceptional knowledge in physiology, nutrition and psychology
  • Must have volunteered regularly throughout coaching career
  • A USA Triathlon Level III candidate understands and applies the following concepts while working with athletes:

    • Advanced periodization and planning including program implementation, progression, lab and field testing and recovery methods.
    • Swim stroke analysis, run gait analysis, bike fit and analysis
    • Functional strength training and dynamic warm-up
    • Advanced nutritional and mental skills strategies
    • ITU qualifications and rules
    • Ironman World Championships and/or Long Course qualifications and rules
    • Race strategies
    • Daily Training Environment (if applicable) 

Formal Application Requirements

  • Written essay about:
    • How you have contributed to the coaching community and the impact it has had
    • What more you can contribute to/teach the coaching community
    • How you plan to contribute to building/strengthening the athlete/coach pipeline
    • Five books/podcasts/role models that have impacted you as a coach
    • Why you should be accepted to this clinic
  • Example of at least one athlete you have coached to a high level of performance and how you, as a coach, impacted them as a triathlete
  • Letter of recommendation from two existing USA Triathlon Level III/High Performance Coaches and two athletes, which include:
    • Coach’s strengths and weaknesses
    • How the coach has influenced their life
    • What they believe the coach contributes to the coaching community
    • What improvements do they think the coach can make
  • Detailed ATP of an athlete that you coach, including:
    • Brief description of how your experience as an Level I/Level II Coach taught you this process
    • Buildup of each of the three disciplines
    • Strength & mobility
    • Recovery strategies
    • Load management predictions (tss, ctl, atl..)
  • Current CPR/AED Certification
  • Online Background Check (Criteria)
  • Online SafeSport Training
  • Current USA Triathlon Membership

Preferred Candidate Qualifications

These qualifications are not required, but having coached an athlete to these accomplishments will increase the likelihood of acceptance:

  • Top 10 AG at Ironman Kona
  • Top 10 overall at Nationals
  • Top 10 at Junior Nationals
  • Top 10 placing ITU WC
  • Currently coaching WTS athletes

*Mentorship Program Requirements 

To achieve a Level III Coach Certification you must participate in a mentorship program with an existing USA Triathlon Level III/High Performance Coach and submit an essay on what you learned from this experience, as well as a letter of recommendation from your mentor coach. This can be a mentorship program you have done in the past or one that you will do following the Level III clinic. If you are accepted to the clinic before having done so, you will not receive Level III Certified Coach status until the mentorship is completed.  

Level III Coach Recertification Overview 

A USA Triathlon Coaching Certification is valid for two (2) years. In order to maintain your USA Triathlon Coaching Certification, you must recertify at the end of that two-year time frame (USAT has two recertification deadlines per year: June 30 and December 31). Please note, your Coach Certification expiration date is located on your coaching certificate.

For detailed recertification information, please visit the USA Triathlon Recertification webpage

In order to recertify as a Level III Certified Coach, coaches must complete:

  • $95 Recertification Application Fee
  • Online Background Check (policy)
  • USA Triathlon Annual Membership
  • Annual SafeSport Training 
  • Service to the Sport Documentation
  • CPR Certification
  • Mentor Coach in either the Coach to Coach Mentorship Program or the Elite Mentorship Program
  • Signed USOPC's Ethics Code for Coaches

Additionally, all Level III Certified Coaches must either select 3 of the options below and complete 20 total CEUs or must complete all of the options below and 0 CEUs:

  • Present a USAT Webinar (unpaid)
  • Write an article for the Performance Coaching Newsletter (unpaid)
  • Host two USAT CEU Clinics in partnership with USAT (50/50 paid split with USAT)
  • Present at a USAT Coaching Clinic (paid)
  • Propose Your Own (must be approved - please email