1. One does not need to be an NRA Member to be certified as an instructor. Training Counselors must be Members.
2. If I want to add another discipline rating, such as Basic Rifle, and I was certified in Basic Pistol do I need to take the BIT, Basic Instructor Training again?
Good Question! The BIT stays fresh for two years. Within that period you only need to take the instructor course specific to the new discipline rating, in this case, Instructor Courses for Basic Rifle. There is no need to take the basic course itself. The one exception to this rule is Personal Protection OUTSIDE The Home. For this course, to be certified as an instructor you must first take the basic course and then the instructor course. The reason for this is the added intensity of the drills. Withing the two year period, while your BIT, Basic Instructor Training is still fresh, a Training Counselor who is administering a new discipline rating can require a certified instructor to retake the BIT if they feel this is best.
3. Once I am certified, I can treat students however I want based on what I ate for lunch that day, right?
Wrong. While you are not an employee of the National Rifle Association, you are now an official representative of the mission to Teach Freedom. Before you were certified, you could do whatever you wanted, now you are called to a higher standard of conduct due to the values, rights, knowledge and safety information that you represent. Treat students in respectful ways that make positive impressions upon their hearts and minds.
4. How long is my certification good for?
One year. Then you can choose to renew for up to three years.
5. What is the most important part about being a certified firearms instructor?
Good question. This depends upon the individual instructor and your beliefs and set of priorities. For some it is to help friends, family and neighbors be safe against criminal violence. For others it is the privilege to connect people to their firearms heritage. Some want to share the joys and culture of hunting. Some instructors want to share correct fundamentals and the knowledge that leads to accuracy and pass on the discipline of shooting. Another good reason to instruct is to share with citizens access to the use of their right to keep and bear arms.
6. What kind of people make the best instructors?
Different students relate well to instructors of all types. It is usually important for a teaching group to have experience and knowledge well-represented. New instructors and instructors with less background in firearms often generate positive rapport with students during class and so contribute in many important ways. Some instructors like to remain in supportive roles like taking attendance, making the coffee and handing out paperwork. Don’t underestimate the value of the quiet supportive instructor. One of the hardest jobs a training group faces is the process of getting students on the roster; this can require much time and energy. Spreading the work-load involved in running great courses is important. The instructors who like being upfront and do a solid, dependable job teaching the core material are a basic part of the puzzle.
7. What if I’d like to become a certified instructor but have little background in guns?
Some instructors with little background are far superior to some instructors with endless background. It depends on attitude. A very knowledgeable person who has a condescending attitude towards newcomers is not worth having on your team. A new instructor with a great attitude and little experience can soon be bringing much excellence to the training hall that students and fellow instructors deeply appreciate. If you have the spark, don’t underestimate what you can accomplish. Make sure you choose good influences to nurture and propel your growth.
8. What if I’d like to be an instructor and have zero background, I mean I’ve never even walked by someone who’s touched a gun?
If you have zero experience, fan the flames of your interest while you take a few steps to make up for lost time. Take a course. Learn the safety rules. Do a bit of shooting. Don’t jump straight into instructor certification training; its not fair to you, the other instructor candidates or students you will soon have. With some healthy mentor-ship, there is no reason you can’t be ready in a few months, providing you have support from more knowledgeable instructors while you learn more and get a sense of the ropes in running programs. Do fan the flames and keep your interest in instructing; many people with 20, 30, 40, 50, & 60 years of background turn up quite unfamiliar with certain firearm types or applications and some just have crazy technique and need a major refresher on the fundamentals. When you start with solid fundamentals you can get up to speed fast.
9. Does the Gangsta’ baggy pant look play well in firearm instruction?
The good thing about the baggy pant look is that when you are accosted by a gang member showing undies due to low rider pants, you can outrun him and escape. Actually, we require of our instructors an image that reflects healthy self-esteem. Rad tattoos need to be covered, clothing must accomplish modesty, hair must be groomed and it all needs to come together into a package that says good things.
10. Is firearm instructing more fun than in-line skating?
Yes. Especially when you can’t skate worth beans and keep bustin’ yo hiney.
11. What does RSO (Range Safety Officer Rating) add to CFI (Certified Firearms Instructor)?
Good question! Now you are really digging in and sorting out matters! The answer, is…Nothing. Range Safety Officer can be held without the Certified Firearms Instructor rating. Adding it on top of CFI does not add anything. Insurance cost and coverage should not be affected. As a Certified Instructor you are already counted as qualified to run and supervise range activities. Think about having a helper certified as RSO so they can assist and add safety on the range. You may find that the individuated RSO rating is needed for a special purpose (Boy Scouts of America may require it) and you can home-validate if you are already a CFI. This info is on the NRA programs website.
12. How do I know I am ready to take the step of becoming a certified firearms instructor?
There are many different types and levels of instructors. You may be ready to run the whole shooting match, or you may need to find a niche where you can receive support that provides for your growth. If you are not ready for one step in instructing, you may be ready for a slightly different step. Be patient and review your conscience. Ask questions of people who are instructing to help you get a sense of what the responsibilities and challenges are; and remember- firearms instructors vary widely, so be clever who you talk to.