Tennis Instructors and the New Certification Pathway

Sid Newcomb, USPTA National Head Tester

This is such an exciting time in the world of professional tennis coaching in our country. We are taking a monumental leap in our certification process – perhaps the biggest shift in the history of our Association.

The USPTA recently unveiled a new certified membership category, Tennis Instructor, that will replace the non-certified Recreational Coach category on Jan. 1, 2021. Tennis Instructors will receive coverage under the USPTA’s $6 million liability insurance policy for annual dues of just $199.

We would like to encourage our current Recreational Coaches to convert to Tennis Instructors by the Dec. 31, 2020, deadline. To make this change, Recreational Coaches must complete the Tennis Essentials 1 workshop, Safe Play training and pass a background check before the end of the year. Those that choose not to convert to Tennis Instructors will become Tennis Instructor Applicant Members on Jan. 1, 2021.

To facilitate this paradigm shift, the USPTA is also implementing a new certification pathway. Starting in 2021, all new applicants who wish to become certified professionals will need to work under the watchful eye of a designated USPTA mentor for six to nine months of hands-on learning at a club or facility. Additionally, new applicants will need to complete 300 hours of online and/or face-to-face education, as well as complete Safe Play training and pass a background screen every two years.

These new certification requirements will take effect for all applications started on or after Nov. 1, 2020.

All certified Professional level applicants that start their applications on or before Oct. 31, 2020, will follow the current certification pathway and must complete all tested components by Dec. 31, 2020.

All USPTA divisions are increasing testing dates by a minimum of 15% in the fourth quarter of 2020 to accommodate those seeking certification by the year’s end. Cities of Orlando, New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, and Houston will feature weekly testing in November and December of 2020, excluding holiday weeks, if needed.

Should you have any further questions about the new certification pathway or about the new Tennis Instructor category, please feel free to contact the Membership team at