Become a Coach or an Offiicial

You can support students by becoming a coach or an official for a CPS team.

To be a “legal” coach or official for a member school of the Illinois High School Association/Chicago Public League you must be a formal employee, or formal registered volunteer of the district/school.

**Becoming an official in second section of this page, please scroll to bottom.

Becoming a Coach:

Coaching Requirements:

  • Complete the Concussion Awareness Program designed and required by League by-laws (same as required by the IHSA) and keep the certification current.
  • Complete the Performance Enhancing Substance Awareness Program designed and required by the IHSA.
  • Complete a formal Coaching Education Program approved by the IHSA (most notably the courses named Coaching Principles and Sports First Aid offered through the American Sport Education Program or Fundamentals of Coaching and First Aid, Health and Safety through the National Federation of High Schools as well as the IHSA Bylaws test or IHSA component). 
  • Be 19 years or older.
  • View the Rules Interpretation Video of their respective sport provided by the IHSA.
  • Volunteers must also fulfill all of these requirements.

To become a legal coach or official for a member school of the Illinois High School Association/Chicago Public League, you must be a formal employee or a formal registered volunteer of the district/school. Each of these positions require submitting to a background check.

Individuals that are not currently employed by the Chicago Public Schools must complete the formal hiring process through CPS Talent, which includes submitting to a background check after being referred by a school principal for a coaching position. All prospective coaches must pass a CPS background check.

You can submit your coaching credentials/certifications for open positions by applying on Taleo, the CPS job portal:

This information will be stored in a database to be accessed when the Office of Sports Administration is informed of a position opening at one of the schools.

Additional Training

The completion of additional free sports-specific courses to target training for appropriate behaviors and student protection offered by the National Federation of State High Schools (NFHS) may also be required each year by the Office of Sports Administration.

  • Concussion Certification
    Concussion certifications are valid for two years. Coaches will need to renew their certification if it has expired. Log into and click on the concussion protocol.
  • IHSA Coaching Certification
    Coaches are required to have a current coaching certification through American Sport Education Program (ASEP), NFHS, or other IHSA Board-approved coaches certification programs. Read more about IHSA non-faculty certified coach requirements.

Becoming an IHSA Official:

The IHSA is looking for men and women who want to return something to their sport, their school, and their community by becoming licensed athletic officials. Candidates must be at least 17 years old, in good physical condition, and able to make decisions on their feet and stick to them.

We currently license officials in 16 different sports: baseball, basketball, competitive cheer, competitive dance, football, boys gymnastics, girls gymnastics, boys lacrosse, girls lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, track and field, volleyball, water polo, and wrestling.

To become an IHSA official, you’ll need to submit an online application and, after you’ve received a rule book from the IHSA, take an online, open-book rules examination. In your first season of being licensed you’ll also need to watch an online rules presentation that will introduce you to the latest rule changes and interpretations and attend a clinic that will teach you the fundamentals of good officiating.

Start the application process here.

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