How to Become an NRA Certified Firearms Instructor

NRA Women Firearms Instructors are the best of the best … so naturally that means you!

posted on July 16, 2021
Heidi Rao Nra Instructor Rifle Scouts

As an NRA Training Counselor, it seems that many of my students would like to become Instructors themselves. If you’d like to join the ranks of “the best of the best,” you should know that there are three steps, regardless of shooting experience or training, to become an NRA Instructor in your discipline of choice. First, you must complete the required prerequisites before enrolling in the instructor course in your desired discipline. There are several disciplines to choose from, including Rifle, Shotgun, Pistol, Personal Protection and Home Safety Courses. For beginners, I recommend getting started certification in Rifle, Shotgun and/or Pistol.

Step 1: NRA Basic Course
The first step to become an NRA Instructor is to successfully complete the NRA Basic Course in the discipline that you wish to teach. The Basic Course is objective-based and includes classroom and range time. Each discipline has its own requirements as far as length of class, range requirements, shooting qualification and passing score on the final exam. NRA Basic Courses are taught by certified NRA Instructors.

NRA Basic course requirements:

Basic Rifle
Course length = 8 hours
Goal: Achieve a Basic Rifle Shooting Course exam score of 90% or higher.

Basic Shotgun
Course length = 10 hours
Goal: Achieve a Basic Shotgun Shooting Course exam score of 90% or higher.

Basic Pistol
Course length = 8 hours
Goal: Achieve a Basic Pistol Shooting Course exam score of 90% or higher.

Many would-be NRA Instructors ask if they can use their law enforcement, military or life experience in place of the NRA Basic Course. The answer, regardless of past experience, is “No.” There are several reasons for this policy. The first is that once you become an NRA Certified Instructor, you can teach the NRA Basic Course. This ensures uniformity and standardization. After all, how can you teach the NRA Basic Course if you have never taken the NRA Basic Course? 

Second, there is no quantitative way of measuring an individual’s qualifications and ability to teach the NRA Basic Course based on experience. What an individual learns and retains varies from person to person regardless of experience. There is also no way of knowing if an individual was taught correctly, or if they have picked up bad shooting habits along the way.

I continually remind students that this is a basic class. We are teaching the knowledge, skills and attitude required to operate and use a firearm safely when shooting targets on the range. These basic classes educate students about firearm and ammunition safety, operations and malfunctions, proper terminology, selecting the right firearm for you, maintenance, cleaning, storage and shooting fundamentals.

Step 2: NRA Basic Instructor Training (BIT)
The second step to become an NRA Instructor is to successfully complete the NRA Basic Instructor Training (BIT). To become certified as an NRA Instructor, candidates must complete this course, which teaches material common to all NRA courses. BIT does not “certify” the instructor candidate to teach any course. Additional discipline-specific instructor training (Step 3) is required to certify instructor candidates to teach specific courses.

During BIT, instructor candidates will learn about the NRA and its programs, policies and procedures. Public speaking skills will be practiced with team teaching and role playing. Candidates will learn training methodology, the benefits of use of a training team and the importance of training aids. BIT also teaches how to organize a course, advertise, promote the course and build a budget before preparing to teach.

You only need to take BIT once if you take additional NRA Instructor courses you are interested in within a two-year period. If you have already taken BIT, you will not have to repeat it, unless it has been longer than two years since you last sought additional Instructor certifications.

Basic Instructor Training (BIT)
Course length = 6 hours
Goal: Achieve a BIT Trainers Exam score of 90% or higher.

Step 3: NRA Instructor Course
The third step to become an NRA Rifle, Shotgun or Pistol Instructor is to successfully complete the NRA Instructor Course in the discipline that you wish to teach. This course is objective-based, and includes classroom and range time. Each discipline has its own requirements as far as length of class, range requirements and passing scores. NRA Instructor Courses are taught by certified NRA Training Counselors.

Each discipline has the following requirements:

Instructor Rifle
Course length = 10 hours
Pre-Course Qualification for Rifle = minimum 80 out of 100
Goal: Candidate will shoot a blank 4.5-inch diameter circle at a distance of 25 yards and fire 10 shots from each of three positions.

Instructor Shotgun
Course length = 11 hours
Pre-Course Qualification for Shotgun = minimum 80 out of 100
Goal: Candidate will fire one 25-shot round of trap or skeet with a minimum of 13 total hits or breaks.

Instructor Pistol
Course length = 10 hours
Pre-Course Qualification for Pistol = minimum 80 out of 100
Goal: Candidate will shoot a blank 9-inch diameter paper target at a distance of 15 yards and fire 20 shots from a two-handed, unsupported, standing position.

Once you complete the NRA Instructor Course successfully, and the Training Counselor has finalized and submitted the class roster, you must then log into the NRA Instructor portal and complete the next step to activate their new Instructor rating.

First time Non-NRA Member instructors, Coaches and Range Safety Officers pay a flat credentialing fee of $60 for a two-year term. Additional ratings can be added at a rate of $30 per rating, and renewals are $60 for a two-year term regardless of how many ratings are being renewed.

NRA Members who are becoming Instructors get a bit of a discount. Credentialing fees are $35 for a two-year term and additional ratings can be added at $15 per rating.

Example:  Susie is an NRA member, paying her annual membership dues each year. She just completed the NRA Rifle Instructor course and has 30 days to log into her NRA Instructor portal to activate her new Rifle Instructor rating. She pays $35 to activate her 1st NRA (Rifle) Instructor rating. Six months later, Susie successfully completes the NRA Shotgun Instructor course. Within 30 days, she logs into her NRA Instructor portal to activate her new rating, paying only $15for her 2nd (Shotgun) Instructor rating. One month later, Susie completes the NRA Pistol Instructor course, logs into her NRA Instructor portal to activate her 3rd (Pistol) Instructor rating, and pays $15 for it.

Since Susie completed all three Instructor ratings within a two-year period, she did not have to take BIT again. To remain current with her NRA membership, the following year she pays her annual NRA membership dues.To remain current and active as a certified NRA Rifle, Shotgun and Pistol Instructor, every two years she must pay $35through the NRAInstructor portal to keep all her ratings current. All of her NRA Instructor ratings will have the same expiration date, every twoyears, and she will only have to pay one fee of $35 to activate them all.   

With more than 125,000 instructors, 8,000 coaches and 2,200 training counselors, the NRA is recognized nationally as the gold standard for safe firearm training, developing millions of safe, ethical and responsible shooters and instructors. The NRA trains more than 1 million people throughout the country every year. Join the ranks of those who have a passion to teach others about firearm safety and promoting our Second Amendment! 

For more, go to firearmtraining.nra.org/become-an-instructor.

Latest

Woman Walking With Concealed Carry Purse
Woman Walking With Concealed Carry Purse

Concealed-Carry Options for Women: Pros vs. Cons

Learn how to simplify your concealed-carry choices in this latest video from Smith & Wesson's GUNSMARTS series.

Tips for Easy Magazine Loading

Loading pistol or rifle magazines can be cumbersome, so follow these tips to make sure your process is as efficient as possible.

10 Ways We Celebrate National Shooting Sports Month

August is National Shooting Sports Month, and this is your invitation to join us in the fun!

5 Common Mistakes Firearms Instructors Make

NRA Firearms instructors are the best of the best—now here’s how to stay that way!

Paige Pearce Named NFAA Shooter of the Year

The Bowtech archer takes the title for the second consecutive year.

New Items to Bid on at NRA Women's Leadership Forum Luncheon & Auction

Grab a gal pal and get your bid paddles ready! Check out a few of the unique featured auction items that will be up for bid in Houston.

Women's Interests



Subscribe to the NRA Women newsletter