Skydiving Licenses: Explained

Becoming a skydiver starts with achieving a United States Parachute Association Skydiving “A” License, but that’s only the beginning. There are 4 skydiving licenses and multiple ratings that can be achieved as a skydiver. Each of those licenses and ratings requires certain skills and offers specific privileges. In this blog we will explain each of the USPA Skydiving Licenses and Ratings.

Skydiving “A” License

Skydiving A License Privileges: This is the entry-level license. It allows you to skydive solo, without supervision and participate in group skydives.  You are also permitted to pack your own main parachute. The USPA A License is accepted worldwide, allowing you to skydive almost anywhere in the world. An A License increases a jumper’s “currency” period from 30 days (student currency period) to 60 days- meaning a skydiver can go up to 60 without jumping before they will have to do recurrency training.

Skydiving A License Requirements:

  • Minimum of 25 jumps
  • Complete the requirements outlined in the USPA A License Proficiency Card
  • Make 5 skydives with one or more other people
  • Have your license card signed and officially stamped
  • Pass a written and oral exam
Skydiving student smiles at the camera while in freefall

Skydiving “B” License

  • Skydiving B License Privileges: The Skydiving B License offers the additional privileges of being permitted to participate in night jumps and eligibility for the USPA Coach Rating when you reach 100 jumps. Currency for a B license jumper increases to 90 days- meaning a skydiver can go up to 90 days without jumping before requiring recurrency training.

    Skydiving B License Requirements:

    • Prerequisite- Skydiving A License
    • Minimum of 50 jumps, accumulating a total of 30 minutes of controlled freefall time
    • Land within 33 feet of a target center on 10 jumps
    • Completed the requirements outlined in the USPA Canopy Proficiency Card
    • Successfully complete planned formations on 10 group skydives, 5 of which must involve 3 or more people.
    • Receive training for water landings in accordance with the Skydiver’s Information Manual
    • Pass a written exam
Fastrax night skydive

Skydiving “C” License

Skydiving C License Privileges: The Skydiving C License offers eligibility for the USPA Instructor Rating (except Tandem Instructor), participation in certain demonstration jumps and ability to ride as a passenger on USPA Tandem Instructor training and rating renewal jumps. Currency for a C license jumper increases to 180 days- meaning they can go up to 180 days without jumping before requiring recurrency training.

Skydiving C License Requirements:

  • Prerequisite- Skydiving B License
  • Complete 200 jumps, accumulating a total of 60 minutes of controlled freefall time
  • Land within 7 feet of a target center on 25 jumps
  • Complete 50 formation skydives, 10 of which must involve 4 or more people
  • Pass a written exam
Skydiving Licenses Explained. Jumper smiles for the camera during a skydive

Skydiving “D” License

Skydiving D License Privileges: Eligibility for all USPA Ratings including Tandem Instructor and Pro Rating. Currency for a D License jumper is 180 days.

Skydiving D License Requirements:

  • Prerequisite- C License (or meet all of the C License requirements)
  • Complete 500 jumps, accumulating a total of 3 hours of freefall time
  • Complete at least 2 of the following:
    • Night jump
    • Land within 7 feet of a target center on 100 jumps
    • Complete a canopy formation stack of 3 or more canopies and complete a full rotation
    • Intentional water landing
    • Successfully complete 100 formation skydives, 25 of which must involve 8 or more people
  • Pass a written exam
Skydiving Licenses Explained. Group of skydivers exit the skydive midwest plane


The Coach Rating is the introductory instructor rating. It is the required foundation for all other instructor ratings including a Tandem Rating. A skydiving coach works with jumpers who have graduated from the preliminary jumps of the Accelerated Freefall student program. They teach students how to fly safely with others and help them to work on basic body flight skills.

Skydiving Licenses Explained. Skydiver gives a thumbs up to another skydiver performing a maneuver


The AFF Rating is the most prestigious rating in skydiving, as it is the most difficult skydiving rating to obtain. It requires advanced bodyflight skills, in-depth knowledge of canopy piloting, expert teaching skills, and the ability to operate under pressure. AFF Instructors guide students during their first solo skydives in the licensing program- helping them to become a licensed jumper.

Skydiving Licenses Explained. Student performs a licensing skydive.


The Tandem Instructor Rating is the rating required to take a passenger on a tandem skydive. For more information on the requirements for becoming a Tandem Instructor, check out this blog post.

Skydiving Licenses Explained. Tandem Instructor with tandem student performing a hand cam skydive

What is a PRO-RATING?

A Pro-Rating is required to perform demonstration skydives close to crowds of spectators, usually off-site from the usual drop zone. Exhibition jumps often take place in difficult and unusual landing areas, sometimes with flags or pyrotechnics, like smoke or fireworks. A pro-rating requires the highest level of canopy skills, specifically the ability to land with precise accuracy.

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