How to Get Your Skydiving License

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Wondering how to get your skydiving license? You're not alone! Many people share the same ambition, of being able to skydive by themselves, whenever they want to. But that's not going to happen overnight. 

There's a lot of time, energy, practice, and education that go into being able to safely skydive on your own. Among the most important things to consider with skydiving, though, is that it requires you to have a license. Here's what you need to do to get your skydiving license.


Learn the USPA Guidelines

Ultimately, it's the USPA that issues your license. That means it's their requirements you need to fulfill. These requirements include anything that's on the proficiency card you're working toward (A,B,C, or D). For an A license, which is the beginning level, you'll need to pass the license exam for that level. You also need to complete a minimum of 25 jumps. These 25 need to have a total of:

  • at least 7 AFF (accelerated freefall) jumps,
  • 6 coach jumps,
  • 2 hop-n-pop jumps, and
  • 10+ solo jumps.

The A license also requires you to have at least 5 skydives with one or more other people, pass the written and oral USPA exams, and receive a USPA stamp on your skydiving license. 

You can't allow more than 30 days to elapse between your required jumps, either, or you'll have to undergo additional study, called recurrency training. It's very important to understand these expectations, so you can appropriately plan out how to get your skydiving license and the training you'll need to pursue.

Choose a Dropzone to Earn Your License

Once you know the requirements you'll need to meet, you can choose a dropzone to get started on your learning and training. Most of the dropzones require you to appear in person, whether you're doing your practical jumps or attending "ground school," which is classroom-based learning. 

With CSC, though, you can take your ground school requirements online. You'll still have to come to the dropzone to do all of your practical jumps, but being able to attend ground school online can help you fit it into your schedule.

Fulfill USPA Criteria

When you have everything ready to go, you can start fulfilling the requirements. As you work toward how to get your skydiving license, you'll start with tandem jumps and ground school.

Then you'll be more prepared to work toward the independent jumps that will help you get your skydiving license. The criteria you'll need to meet are strict, but they're designed to keep you safe and make sure you know all you need to know, so you aren't putting yourself at any unnecessary risk.

Continue to Your Level of Expertise

There are four levels of expertise you can work toward, when it comes to how to get your skydiving license. The first is class A, which is the beginner level and the easiest to learn. 

Then there are classes B, C, and D. You can move up to those licenses by completing additional requirements and passing other exams. While you may or may not want to do that in the future, it's important to understand what kinds of requirements you'll need to complete, so you can decide if you want to move up or not.

Class "A" License

For a Class A license, you'll need to meet the criteria listed above for the number and types of jumps, ground school completion, and other requirements. You'll also need to pass the A license exam. 

If you do those things successfully, you'll have your class A license and be able to skydive on your own. However, there may be times where you want to move up to a more advanced license. If you plan to do that, you'll have to complete more training.

Class "B" License

A Class B license requires that you already have a Class A license. In other words, you can't complete requirements and go straight to a B. After you get your Class A license, and you want to work toward a B license, you'll need to complete:

  • 50 total jumps,
  • 30 total freefall minutes,
  • 10 jump landings within 33 feet of a target,
  • a left & Right 360 and repeat within 18 seconds (or complete 10 successful group freefall jumps),
  • a water training course, and
  • a canopy course.

You'll also need to pass the Class B license exam. Getting in all of those courses and jumps can take time. When you're focused on how to get your skydiving license, and you're looking to move up from one class to another, that time can be well spent by taking the courses you need when the weather isn't the best, and then doing all the practical jumps during good weather days. That can keep you progressing faster, so you can reach B license status. Of course, you also may want to keep going, toward a C license.

Class "C" License

To get a Class C license, you'll have to already have a B license. You'll also need to pass the Class C license exam. In addition to those requirements for how to get your skydiving license, you'll also be asked to complete:

  • 200 total jumps,
  • 60 total minutes of freefall,
  • 25 jump landings within 7 feet of a target, and
  • perform an air turn and barrel roll (or complete two points on an 8-person formation skydive).

With each class of skydiving license, the number of jumps you need to have rises, and there's at least one other requirement added on. That way you continue to progress and get more experience, so you can advance your abilities and continue learning.

Class "D" License

To get your Class D skydiving license, you'll need to have a Class C license already, and also pass the Class D licensing exam. Then you'll need to have at least:

  • 500 total jumps,
  • 180 total freefall minutes, and
  • 2 night jumps lasting at least 20 seconds each.

Once you've done those things, you can get your Class D license. If you want to keep an active license of any class, though, there's one more thing you have to do.

Maintain Your USPA Membership

To keep an active skydiving license, you have to keep your USPA membership. You can do that through paying a lifetime fee of $2,500, or through paying $78 or $66 per year. If you let your membership lapse, you won't be able to jump solo.

Start Learning & Testing Online with Freefall U

Freefall U is now available for online learning. Take a look at our coursework, so you can see how to get your skydiving license and get started today!

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Douglas Smith is CEO/President, and Guest Relations Associate at Chicagoland Skydiving Center. He has owned and operated the business since 2000. He has been skydiving since 1994, and in addition to leading the CSC Team, is currently an instructor, videographer and pilot for CSC.

Topics: Freefall University