Methods for Skydiving Certification

Since I was really young, I have always been an adrenaline junkie. There are many things that scare me, but I love to be scared. I love the tingles, the jumps, and the adrenaline that goes along with doing things that most people are terrified to even try. So I have always had in the back of my mind things that I could do; but not necessarily do just to do, but to be the best at; to become certified at.

Most of these activities that I can think of take time and energy, which is fine; but they all definitely cost money. Some of these things include getting my SCUBA license, receiving my license to be a pilot, and even becoming a certified skydiver. How cool would that be! So I have decided to write this article, in hopes that it would help you to discover what it takes to become certified as a skydiver, but also to serve as a piece of history that I can go back to when I can afford to get this certificate. All I’ll have to do is come back to this article and I’ll have it all here waiting for me; all of the information needed to become a professional skydiver. And I hope this helps you as well. So, the best of luck to you and feel free to let me know how it’s going by commenting below. I’ll definitely reply to anybody who leaves a comment.

The A License

This is the first license that you receive when you have passed from being a student to a skydiver. At this level, you are able to jumpmaster yourself, perform basic freefall jumps with groups, participate in a few collegiate competitions, and pack your own main parachute.

The B License

This is the second level of advancement and one can participate in a 4-way formation skydiving event, perform night jumps, and apply for a Coach rating.

The C License

This level allows the skydiver to apply for the AFF, IAD, and Static-Line Instructor ratings, ride as passenger on Tandem Instructor training and rating renewal jumps, and participate in intermediate-altitude jumps and open field and level 1 exhibition jumps.

The D License

The highest level of certification by the United States Parachute Association, this skydiver is allowed to participate in all levels of competitions, apply for all instructional and proficiency ratings, and participate in high-altitude jumps.

Choose Your Method

When it comes to the training that you need to become certified, there are a couple options. Depending upon the school or the type of path you want, you can choose between a number of options available to you. The time that you are able to jump solo is called your first jump. This term defines the fact that you are jumping for the first time without any help from an instructor or trainer.

Accelerated Freefall (AFF)

This method is compared to riding a bike with training wheels because of the way you fall. First, you and two trainers jump out of a plane. Then, the trainers will hold onto your belt while you freefall alone. As the trainers are holding onto your belt, you demonstrate a couple required turns and moves while the instructors watch carefully. They also provide in-air instruction and stability if necessary. The student must be trained to respond to emergency situations. The student then opens up the parachute at around 4,000 feet and lands to safety by himself.

Because AFF requires more support from staff, this method is more costly than other methods of training. The student will also take a few hours on-ground, attending a training course. The student’s first jump may be the same day, so this course is justly called, the accelerated freefall.

Instructor-Assisted Deployment (IAD)

In this method, the instructor uses a cord to deploy the student’s parachute himself, as the student jumps from the plane. The end of the cord is actually attached to some sort of equipment inside the plane and helps the deployment of the parachute itself. The instructor does not jump with the student in this method.

This course allows the student to learn what it feels like to jump, have the parachute opened, and find his/her way to the ground. The IAD usually occurs the first day of training. The second jump may also occur the first day. The price of this course is usually $100 less than AFF and the same as tandem.

Tandem Freefall

Ground training is usually only 30 minutes in length because of the amount of training in the air. In this method, the instructor and the student are strapped to the same parachute. The two jump together and descend together with the harness containing dual controls for practice. Tandem jumps typically cost between $200-$275, depending upon the Drop Zone.

Other Information

So these are the three different ways you can go about getting certified. These courses will give you an A-license, which will allow you to solo freefall whenever you are able to pay for a plane ride and the equipment rental. If you plan on doing this for a long time, you may want to invest in some skydiving equipment along the way.

But there are many more qualifications to become a certified skydiver.

  • You must be in good physical health.
  • You must be under the specific Drop Zone’s weight requirements (each one is different, so check ahead of time).
  • You must not be on any medications that can affect your judgment or performance.
  • The minimum number of jumps you must perform to be certified is 25.
  • You may need to do more than 25 jumps depending upon your ability and performance of specific techniques and moves.


So if this interests you, then get ready to have some fun. With the amount of jumps that is required, it could take a few months to a couple years to actually receive you’re A-license, but if it’s worth it to you, then take the leap; especially if the pricing is not a problem for you. We wish you the best of luck and nothing less than success!