Para-Professional Procedures

The MHSAA Handbook states that no school shall be permitted to use a coach unless he/she is a full-time certified employee of the school system.

Student teachers may be used as assistant coaches.

A school may employ a person who retired as a certified teacher from the Mississippi Public Employees Retirement System to coach.

An off-site coach or non-certified district personnel (para-professional) can be the head coach in track, tennis, golf, soccer, volleyball, cross-country, powerlifting, archery, bowling, cheer/dance and swimming, or an assistant coach in any sport.

A Para-professional cannot be head coach in Football, Basketball, Baseball, Slow Pitch or Fast Pitch Softball.

The school using an off-site or non-certified district employee as a coach is responsible for submitting the name(s) to the MHSAA upon employment.

Steps in preparing the para-professional for their coaching position:

1. Acquire permission from the MHSAA to use the individual. The principal or AD must submit in writing to the Executive Director the name of the individual and the sport in which he/she will be assisting (fax to 601.924.1725).

2. The para-professional must take the Fundamentals of Coaching and the Safety/First Aid modules by going on-line to The Fundamentals of Coaching module is $75.00 and the Safety/First Aid module is $50.00. Payment for these courses is made to the National Federation of High Schools. No money is sent to the MHSAA. In lieu of the NFHS Safety/First Aid course, the para-professional may choose to take the online NCSS Prepare Safety. For more information on the NCSS Prepare Safety course, you may visit

3. Online test questions are included throughout these modules.

4. After completion of the module, the certificate of completion can be printed directly from the website. A copy of the certificate must be sent to the MHSAA. This certificate will be put in the school file.

5. A recent college transcript indicating successful completion of a safety/first aid course and/or a coaching fundamentals course will be considered in lieu of the above-mentioned online courses.

6. Once approved, para-professional coaches must take and complete a hands-on CPR training (locally), the free online Concussion in Sports (NFHS) module and the online S.T.A.R. Sportsmanship program (locally). Proof of completion should be kept on file in the district.

7. Additionally, all cheer coaches must be AACCA safety certified. Cheer coaches have one semester to complete this course after their hire date. The AACCA certification is good for 4 years. The cost of the AACCA Spirit Safety Course is $75.00 (online or through Kim Higgins, UCA). Online registration is through NFHS website, or by contacting Kim Higgins at See the MHSAA Spirit Handbook for more details.

If you have any questions about the use of Para-professionals, please call Diane Bruser at the MHSAA office, 601-924-6400, or email