Coaching qualifications needed to work in football in the UK

The coaching of footballers

Coaching is an important part of football as it enables youngsters to learn all aspects of the game from an early age, both in relation to playing skills and on how they should conduct themselves on the football pitch– such issues as fair play being an integral aspect of coaching young players.

Qualification levels for football coaches

There are certain levels of coaching which must be attained before an individual is able to coach at different levels of the sport.

These are:

  • FA Level 1
  • FA Level 2
  • FA Level 3 (UEFA B)
  • FA Level 4 (UEFA A)
  • FA Level 5 (UEFA Pro)

FA Level 1

Level 1 is the UK’s most popular coaching course. It can be completed in just a few days and provides an introduction to coaching the game and working with players from age under-seven upwards.

To achieve Level 1 certification you must:

  • be aged 16 or over;
  • hold a current FA Emergency Aid Certificate (provided as a separate workshop as part of the Level One course);
  • have attended the FA Safeguarding Children Workshop (provided as a separate module as part of the Level One course).

Courses are coordinated by local County FAs. Click here to find a course near you.

FA Level 2

Level 2 is for more experienced coaches and covers key issues in coaching. It takes 145 hours to complete and successful participants achieve the 1st4sport Level 2 Certificate in Coaching Football qualification. Those signing up for this course must:

  • be aged 16 or over;
  • have attended the FA Level 1 in Coaching Football course, and hold the 1st4sport Level 1 Award in Coaching Football qualification;
  • hold a current FA Emergency Aid Certificate;
  • have completed the FA Safeguarding Children Workshop or the new FA Safeguarding for Coaches Workshop.

Courses are coordinated by local County FAs. Click here to find your closest County FA.

FA Level 3 (UEFA B)

For many, completion of the Level 2 course will provide all the skills required to coach at a community level. However, for coaches who wish to progress to a higher level, the Level 3 (UEFA B) qualification represents the next step.

The course is designed to be the bridge between the grassroots game and the professional game. It takes eight days to complete and requires three in-situ visits. Course applicants must:

  • be aged at least 16;
  • hold the FA Level 2 in Coaching Football qualification (1st4sport Level 2 Certificate in Coaching Football);
  • be able to provide evidence that you work at a club/organisation as a paid member of staff or a volunteer with access to appropriate players.

To register your interest in the FA Level 3 (UEFA B), click here.

FA Level 4 (UEFA A)

For those wishing to work as a manager or coach in the professional game, or as a youth academy manager, a Level 4 (UEFA A) qualification is necessary. Taking place over 18 days, the course is divided into six residential blocks held at the FA’s national football centre. Each block lasts three days with learners receiving in-situ support between the blocks.

Applicants must:

  • have completed the FA Level 3 (UEFA B) in Coaching Football qualification (or equivalent);
  • be a senior professional with at least five year’s experience;
  • have had their applications vetted and approved by the course director prior to enrolling;
  • have access to sufficient players to practice 11v11 sessions throughout the course.

To register your interest in the FA Level 4 (UEFA A), click here.

FA Level 5 (UEFA Pro)

The FA Level 5 (UEFA Pro) is the mandatory qualification for all first team managers who want to work in the Premier League. The course is delivered in a number of modules over an 18-month period.
Course application pre-requisites include:

  • holding a current FA Level 4 (UEFA A) in Coaching Football, with priority given to applicants holding the English FA Award;
  • having experience in the professional game as a player (minimum five years’ experience), player coach, coach, assistant manager, manager, academy manager or technical director;
  • holding a valid FA Advanced Youth Award (desirable).

Competition for places on this course is fierce so meeting the above criteria does not guarantee a place. For further information, click here.

Article written by...
Lucy Trevelyan LLB
Lucy Trevelyan LLB

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Lucy graduated in law from the University of Greenwich, and is also an NCTJ trained journalist. A legal writer and editor with over 20 years' experience writing about the law.