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Professional Development

Free On-Demand Courses

Visit NSDA Learn to enroll in free, on-demand professional development courses. Courses are open to all member coaches, regardless of whether the school is a member.

Nearly all coaches with speech and debate professional development requirements reported that our courses and certificates meet their needs. Check if you’re among them, and use these courses to satisfy your requirements!

Course content includes:

    • Introductions to coaching new events
    • Engaging and mentoring diverse groups of students
    • Team management and culture building
    • And more

Professional Accreditation

Professional accreditation demonstrates expertise to administrators and is a mark of your commitment to speech and debate. Composed of three levels and two specialization tracks, this accreditation program demonstrates expertise and is a mark of your commitment to speech and debate. 

Level 1 – Speech and Debate Coaching Endorsement

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The first level of the NSDA Accreditation program is the Speech and Debate Coaching Endorsement. This foundational endorsement is the perfect stepping stone to expand and illustrate your skills. The accreditation requires the completion of several NSDA Learn and NFHS Learn courses on coaching, protecting students, and team management. 

Requirements for Speech and Debate Coaching Endorsement:

As part of the application process, you will be asked to upload the completion certificate you’ll receive for each course and pay a $25 fee. Processing takes approximately two weeks, and applicants will be notified of their approval status via email.

Upon completing the required courses, active coach members who have previously earned an NSDA accreditation may apply for this endorsement for free. Anyone interested in doing so should contact Lauren McCool at lauren.mccool@speechanddebate.org before applying.

After completing Level 1, endorsed coaches may choose to continue and obtain one or both of the following tracks:

Coaching Track

The coaching track of the NSDA’s accreditation program is ideal for those who coach programs that compete beyond the school day.

Coaching includes so much more than helping choose pieces or cut cards. Coaches also serve as mentors, care givers, and team administrators. The coaching track seeks to recognize the breadth of skills required of a speech and debate coach.


Level 2 – Professional Speech and Debate Coaching Endorsement
Level 3 – Advanced Professional Speech and Debate Coaching Endorsement

Teaching Track

The teaching track of the NSDA’s accreditation program is ideal for those who teach speech and debate courses. 

While all coaches are educators, not all coaches are classroom speech and debate teachers. This accreditation track seeks to recognize the unique skills teaching speech and debate in the classroom setting requires.

Level 2 – Professional Speech and Debate Teaching Endorsement
Level 3 – Advanced Professional Speech and Debate Teaching Endorsement

Coaching Track

Level 2 – Professional Speech and Debate Coaching Endorsement

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Requirements for Professional Speech and Debate Coaching Endorsement:

Level 3 – Advanced Professional Speech and Debate Coaching Endorsement

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Requirements for Advanced Professional Speech and Debate Coaching Endorsement:

    • Advanced Professional Speech and Debate Coach Endorsement
    • Five years of active NSDA coach membership
    • Continued endorsement by administrator or program advisor
    • Earn 1,500 coaching merit points
    • Earn a Don Crabtree Distinguished Service Award – bronze plaque (70 citations) 
    • Successful completion of three additional NSDA Learn courses not selected in Level 1 or Level 2.
    • Pre-approved curricular/education support to the national office (course writing, curriculum writing, webinar, etc.) – must be arranged and completed in advance 
    • Serve as a mentor to a new speech and/or debate coach using an NSDA provided system 

If you intend to pursue the Advanced Professional Speech and Debate Coach endorsement please contact lauren.mccool@speechanddebate.org to discuss the curricular/education support needed. 

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Teaching Track

Level 2 – Professional Speech and Debate Teaching Endorsement

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Requirements for Professional Speech and Debate Teaching Endorsement:

Level 3 – Advanced Professional Speech and Debate Teaching Endorsement

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Requirements for Advanced Speech and Debate Teaching Endorsement:

If you intend to pursue the Advanced Professional Speech and Debate Teaching endorsement please contact Lauren McCool  at lauren.mccool@speechanddebate.org to discuss the curricular/education support needed. 

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Conference Video Archive

Explore videos from our past National Conferences to learn from experts in coaching, management, and equity.