Become a Firearms Instructor

Thank you for your interest in the NRA Instructor Training Program. The goal of this program is to develop instructors to teach NRA Basic Firearm Training Courses according to the lesson plans and training standards of the National Rifle Association. This program is not designed to prepare you to teach other firearm training courses (such as law enforcement, security, or hunter safety courses), nor to prepare you to develop firearm training courses of your own.

The NRA Instructor Training Course is designed to teach you how to teach others to shoot using NRA lesson plans and training methods. The course is not designed to improve your shooting skills. Possession of basic firearm safety and/or shooting skills is a prerequisite for certification as an NRA instructor. You may be asked to demonstrate your firearm background through participation in pre-course assessment exercises. We highly suggest enrolling in the student level course before instructor training even when it is not a prerequisite.

A complete NRA Instructor Training Course consists of two parts. The first is basic instructor training, which consists of 6 hours of instruction. The second part is discipline-specific instructor training, which consists of an additional 5 to 14 hours of instruction per discipline. For example, an NRA Instructor Training Course in rifle, pistol, and shotgun lasts at least 40 hours.

During the NRA Instructor Training Course, you will receive from your Training Counselor the NRA Trainer’s Guide, the appropriate NRA Instructor Candidate Packet which includes the course outlines and lesson plans for the disciplines you wish to teach, the appropriate NRA basic course student packet which includes the handbook, certificates, NRA Gun Safety Rules brochure and other materials used in NRA basic courses.

The NRA Training Counselor who conducts your course will make a recommendation to NRA concerning your certification based on an evaluation of your knowledge, skills, and attitude. You will be asked to demonstrate your organizational and teaching skills through participation in several practical exercises during the course of your training. You will also be asked to complete an instructor certification examination. A minimum score of 90 percent is required for certified instructor applicants (85 percent for assistant and apprentice instructor applicants). However, attendance at the course, or a passing grade on the examination, does not guarantee that you will receive the recommendation of the NRA Training Counselor.

Instructor certification is valid for one year upon initial certification. After completion of the first year, instructors may renew their instructor credentials for up to three years at a time. NRA encourages instructors to remain active and would like to see at least one basic course taught per year.

Please remember NRA Instructor Courses are performance based courses, Instructor Candidates must possess the knowledge, skills and attitude necessary for this level of training. You do not pay and automatically pass Instructor training. You pay to have the opportunity to pass.

Instructor Classifications:

Certified instructor: 21 years of age or older
Assistant instructor: 18 years of age or older
Apprentice instructor: 13-17 years of age

NRA Assistant Instructors are individuals 18 years of age or older who assist certified instructors to gain the knowledge and experience needed to become certified instructors. Assistant instructors must complete the same instructor level course. The Assistant Instructor ratings are available in six disciplines (Pistol, Rifle, Shotgun, and Muzzleloading Pistol, Muzzleloading Rifle, and Muzzleloading Shotgun). There are no Assistant Instructor ratings for Home Firearm Safety, or the Personal Protection and Reloading disciplines.

NRA Apprentice Instructors are young people 13 to 17 years old who wish to understudy a certified instructor. An NRA Certified Instructor will choose the apprentice instructor from select individuals. These individuals must possess the emotional maturity necessary to handle such a position. In addition, they must attend and successfully complete the appropriate NRA Basic Firearm Training Course prior to attending an NRA Instructor Training Course. Apprentice instructor ratings are available in the three disciplines of rifle, pistol, and shotgun. There are no Apprentice Instructor ratings for Home Firearm Safety, Personal Protection, Muzzleloading, or Reloading disciplines.


NRA Basic Instructor Training (BIT)

NRA Basic Instructor Training is designed to develop NRA Certified Instructors who possess the knowledge, skills, and attitude necessary to conduct the NRA Basic Firearm Training Courses. It is the NRA class that helps people who already have subject matter expertise learn how to hold a class the NRA way so that their students earn recognized NRA certification.

This course teaches you the policies and procedures for becoming an NRA instructor as well as effective teaching methods for training students. Basic Instructor Training is a pre-requisite for all instructor level courses.

NRA Basic Instructor Training opens with an exercise on "How to Introduce a Speaker" designed as an icebreaker. You're paired with another Instructor Candidate, spend a few minutes in exchanging information, and introduce each other to the class. Immediately you start learning how to talk on your feet while we teach you how to offer useful praise and constructive suggestions. We help you conquer shyness and develop a communications bridge with a group of people who depend on you for positive instruction. Our classes establish an atmosphere in which your fellow students assist us in helping you succeed.

All courses include the required NRA documentation, instructor guides, student packets, instruction and follow up support. You will receive everything needed to first take and then teach each course. Note: There will be processing fees payable to the NRA due upon the completion of class. Fee's are determined by how many and which courses you attend.

This course is a minimum of 6 hours and covers the following topics:

  • How to introduce a speaker
  • The instructor and the NRA Basic Firearm Training Program
  • Using a training team
  • Training materials and training aids
  • Organizing your course
  • Preparing to teach

This course is the mandatory pre-requisite for initial NRA Certified Instructor training.

To be certified as an NRA Instructor, students must complete this 6-hour course that teaches material common to all NRA courses. This course does not certify the instructor candidate to teach any NRA courses. Additional discipline-specific instructor training is required to certify instructor candidates to teach specific courses.

After you successfully complete NRA Basic Instructor Training and score at least 90% on the Trainers Examination you should be ready for whichever discipline-specific instructor training class comes next for you: Pistol, Rifle, Shotgun, or Personal Protection depending on your qualifications and enrollment. You demonstrate your qualifications through the Pre-Course Qualification tests associated with the specific discipline.

The first day of most NRA instructor training courses consists of this 6 hour Basic Instructor Training (BIT).

Special Note for Current Instructors adding a rating: When adding ratings, instructors may be required to attend another Basic Instructor Training (BIT) Course if they have not completed that course within the previous 2 years.

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