Denise A. King, State Training Counselor Liaison - California

Below are the new eligibility requirements to become an NRA Certified Training Counselor.



NRA Training Counselor eligibility as of January 2020

To qualify for a Training Counselor Development Workshop, you must conduct and report NRA Basic Firearms Training Courses as the LEAD Instructor via the Instructor Portal linked below.

Eligibility requirements to become a Training Counselor are also briefly stated on the main NRA website.

See page 4 of the April 2018 Trainer’s Guide (item # NR40830EF13530 on the Program Materials Center website): “NRA Training Counselors are experienced instructors who have received additional training and certification to conduct NRA Instructor level courses. Qualified and experienced instructors that are interested in Training Counselor certification must successfully complete a Training Counselor Development Workshop. To be eligible to apply for a workshop, individuals must be NRA Certified Instructors [see *1 below] with a minimum of two years’ recent experience teaching NRA Basic Firearm Training Courses according to current NRA standards. They must also be intimately familiar with NRA instructional methods, training materials, and administrative procedures as a result of this experience. (Ten NRA-approved courses and 50 students [see *2 below] reported as the lead instructor is the absolute minimum experience recommended for workshop attendance.) Although NRA membership is not required to attend a workshop, individuals must be a member to be certified, or maintain certification as a Training Counselor.”

*1 - The NRA requires that TC Candidates have Basic Pistol Instructor (or Advanced Certified Pistol Instructor) plus one additional Instructor discipline that requires live-fire. The 10 courses and 50 students need to come from any combination of TWO of the Instructor ratings held that require shooting. Effective January 2020, the Education and Training Division has increased the level of experience required to be eligible. Eligible Candidates registered prior to January 2020 will be grandfathered.

*2 - Eligible NRA Basic Firearm Training Courses include live-fire and issuing the student an NRA certificate.

Eligible courses are:

Basic Pistol, Rifle, or Shotgun (including Rifle/Shotgun FIRST Steps)
Personal Protection In and Outside the Home, Defensive Pistol, and NRA CCW
Any of the Muzzleloading discipline group

BSA Merit Badge courses conducted with the BSA approved NRA FIRST Steps Lesson Plans (*3) *3 - requires manual verification at NRA HQ by the Training Counselor Program Lead

Courses that do NOT count are Home Firearm Safety, Metallic Cartridge and Shotgun Shell Reloading, RSO, RTBAV, WOT, and any non-NRA course such as certain state specific courses for permits.

In order to effectively teach instructor candidates how to manage and report their own courses on the Instructor portal, you must be intimately familiar with the online course reporting (and certificate preparation) process, especially for Pistol ILT.  Teaching classes in your other disciplines presents a well-rounded training record.  BSA centric trainers should exercise their ratings in full NRA courses as well as Merit Badge activity.  Many youth programs require full NRA course completion such as the NRA Outstanding Achievement Youth Award.  We also encourage you to teach full Basic courses to adult leaders to prepare them to take your Instructor course when you become a Training Counselor.

NRA Instructors are expected to maintain a high degree of marksmanship and gun handling skills.  TC Candidates must pass the Basic Pistol Level 4 shooting qualification and a safe gun-handling exercise as if it were a pistol instructor pre-qualification (loading, cocking, de-cocking, and unloading a double and single action revolver; loading and unloading a semi-auto; and proper grip for all three action types).  Staff experience has shown that the most common cause for non-certification as a Training Counselor is poor marksmanship. You are strongly encouraged to practice the pre-qualification enough that you are UTTERLY CONFIDENT in your shooting abilities. Excellent marksmanship fundamentals translates directly to confidence in your own abilities in all facets of training.

Finally, you will also be required to shoot the NRA CCW Student qualification for evaluation of safe gun-handling and application of defensive marksmanship, but not for score.  All Candidates will shoot from the low ready the first time, and then be taught the NRA method of presenting a pistol from a holster.  The rest of that day will be spent on the range conducting extensive marksmanship practice and coaching drills, many of which will include drawing from a holster.  The second iteration of the NRA CCW Student qualification WILL be from the holster.  You must become intimately familiar with your defensive pistol and equipment before you arrive.

From page A-16 of the NRA Training Counselor Guide:

Training Counselor Responsibilities

NRA Training Counselors make a specific commitment to serve the NRA, its membership, and the shooting community as a whole.  This commitment involves the following responsibilities:

- Keeping current on NRA training program policies by registering at:, thoroughly reviewing NRA Training Department Update emails upon receipt and visiting the NRA Blog at:

- Upholding the training standards of the NRA in conducting NRA Instructor Training and Basic Firearm Training Courses as specified in the NRA Training Counselor Guide and NRA Trainer’s Guide.

- Following the applicable lesson plans, time requirements, and administrative policies and procedures specified by the NRA.

- Using the necessary NRA training materials in their courses and supplying the appropriate NRA training materials to candidates at the beginning of each instructor course.

- Conducting NRA programs in a manner that is positive, responsible, professional, and enthusiastic. - Projecting a positive image in dress, behavior, and speech.

- Assuming a leadership role in the establishment of NRA training programs in their communities.

- Keeping their NRA membership current.

- Keeping their instructor ratings current.

- Reporting training after each course.

- Screening prospective instructors to ensure they possess the necessary qualifications. - Committing to quality in every aspect of course organization and conduct.

- Teaching and practicing the training philosophy of total participant involvement.