As the number of trials increases annually, it is important that we continue to grow the number of NACSW Certifying Officials to meet the demand.  We are excited to continue our Certifying Official Training program to offer more individuals the opportunity to become Certifying Officials for NACSW.

Our next training weekend will be offered February 3rd and 4th, 2024.  The training will take place online, so no travel necessary.  

The following are the minimum qualifications to apply:

  • 750 hours observing dogs in person or virtually search; can be combined as an instructor, a student or a volunteer at a trial.
  • 500 hours setting hides, in person, for others either in or out of the class setting (this does not include online instruction or video review).
  • volunteering at a minimum of 10 NACSW trials.
  • experience competing in an NACSW trial.
  • Be able to provide a reference from a peer, instructor, and student.

Prior to submitting your application, please review the following basic duties of being an NACSW Certifying Official:

  • travel by car and/or air to trial locations.
  • spend extensive time walking and standing during a trial weekend, at times over rough or uneven ground.
  • be available the day before and after a trial, minimum, for travel and site walk-thru.
  • must be willing to accept the terms and conditions of NACSW Certifying Official agreement (to be provided upon acceptance in program).
  • COs in-training are responsible for their own expenses, including travel and lodging.
  • comfortable with public speaking.
  • able to work with hosts, volunteers and competitors at trials in a professional manner.
  • Understand and implement NACSW standards for each trial level including the following:
    • select appropriate search areas and make necessary adjustments based on trial level.
    • understand and implement appropriate hide placement for each trial level.
    • select appropriate flow for site and trial level.
    • have a good understanding of each trial level and what NACSW is looking to test.
  • ability to think quickly and make last-minute adjustments when necessary.
  • able to manage time effectively and stay on schedule.
  • attention to detail.
  • stay current on NACSW trial rules.
  • navigate Google Drive and make sure you have all appropriate paperwork for each trial.
  • ability to upload videos to Smugmug via phone and computer for walk throughs and debriefs.
  • complete continuing education requirements once CO training is complete in order stay current in the program.

Applications will be accepted between August 1st and August 31st, 2023.  A reminder announcement will be made to the NACSW Membership Google group in July.  

The NACSW trial department will review all submitted applications and reserves the right to select applicants for any reason into this program.  We will be looking for several criteria including experience, familiarity with NACSW Trials, regional needs, and overall fit in the program.  Criteria may change as the program continues to develop.

The application submission is the first part of the screening process. After reviewing all applications, a group will be invited to complete a second part of the process which is to submit three videos. These videos should show teams working NW1/NW2 level trial appropriate hides that the applicant has set.  These videos gives us a broader scope of the selected applicants’ knowledge and understanding of NACSW trials. More specifics on how this should be done will be provided at that time.  From that group, we will invite a final group of up to 20 for the training.

Accepted participants will be expected to:

  • attend a 2-day online training weekend.
  • complete online homework assignments after the training weekend.
  • complete a written test.
  • submit a set of mock trial videos for both NW1 and NW2 levels.
  • pay for and travel to assigned trials for hands-on training (Length of time for this training will vary based on available assignment opportunities and trainee availability).
  • once CO training is complete, quarterly meetings are required to stay current in the program.

Please email with any questions.