The NROI Range Master Program is the final, and highest, certification level a Range Officer can achieve. The Range Master Program is not a classroom program but is an intensive self-paced, self-study program combined with real match experience, where the student is paired one-on-one with an Instructor who mentors and guides the student through the program.
The Range Master program has undergone several changes in recent years with a shift toward real-world, boots on the ground experience supplementing the usual exercises. The Range Master student is expected to be available to travel to one or more matches where they will work under a seasoned Range Master, usually but not always an Instructor who may or may not be their assigned instructor, as an Assistant Range Master. This isn't a "shadow" situation; the student will be expected to act in the full capacity of a Range Master for the match reviewing stages prior to the match, reviewing stages during the build out, working with staff crews to ensure stages are as trouble free as possible and answering calls for the RM during the match. The supervising Range Master is there as a mentor and to observe the interactions of the Range Master candidate with the other staff and competitors during the match. In general, the costs of attending and working this match are borne by the student although any match compensation for staff still applies. We do try to utilize a match as close to the student as is feasible. Instructor/mentor expenses for this match are NOT the student's responsibility.
The self-study portion of the program consists of multiple modules addressing topics such as stage design, stage troubleshooting, staffing, squadding, arbitrations and, of course, the rules. The Range Master typically doesn't get easy black/white situations, they deal in the world of varying shades of gray and the successful Range Master student will be able to delve into the grays and find the proper solution by parsing the situation and utilizing the rules, along with some common sense and experience.
The self-study portion is all online inside the NROI Learning Management System (LMS). A modern computer and reasonable Internet connection will be necessary to complete the program. Stage designs can be accomplished via many means but will be uploaded into the LMS. Use of Sketch-Up is NOT a requirement for this program but if you are still using the old green plastic stage design template for your designs, you may want to consider an upgrade.
Your mentor Instructor is only an email, video conference, or phone call away throughout the program. This is your time to learn as much as you can from them. They all have experience working at all levels of major matches and have been involved in this sport for many years. Pay attention to what they tell you, even the "war stories", for there is wisdom to be gained there.
Prospective Range Master applicants must have been certified as a Chief Range Officer for a minimum of two years. In addition, their online work history in their member profile at uspsa.org should be current at the time of application and must demonstrate significant recent major match experience including working as a CRO at multiple major matches and preferably acting as an Assistant Range Master or Range Master at a Level II or higher match. Experience shadowing an RM at a Major match can also be considered.
The application will be available on the USPSA website and opens each year after the last Fall Nationals match but no later than November 1st and closes on December 31st. Incomplete applications will not be considered; all applications must be made online. The application fee is $100 payable via credit card or check at the time of application. Applicants who are not accepted into the program will have their application fee refunded. Once a student has been accepted into the program and begun to work on the exercises the fee will become non-refundable in most cases. The online application requires references and submission of a short essay of 300 words or less about what it means to be a Range Master. While not graded as an English class type essay, reasonably proper spelling, grammar and punctuation is required. Range Masters must be excellent communicators and experience has shown us that those that cannot write coherently cannot communicate effectively. This essay also helps us understand where you are coming from in terms of your understanding as to what a Range Master is and what they do.
Applicants will be vetted by NROI once their application is complete and has been accepted and assigned to an Instructor in January. Candidates may begin immediately upon notice that they are set up in the LMS. This usually occurs within a few days of being assigned an instructor.
Note that NROI policy prohibits an RM student from being assigned to the same instructor who certified them as a Range Officer and Chief Range Officer. Students may also not request specific instructors as mentors. Assignments are made based on instructor availability. Generally, most instructors only choose to have one or two RM students at any time.
References must not be related to or live with the applicant and should be certified Range Officials themselves. It is generally wise to receive permission of those you are listing as a reference. A surprised reference is sometimes not a good reference. References should be able to speak to one or more of the following regarding the applicant: Overall leadership in the shooting community; involvement in match production, especially major matches; rules knowledge as applied in real world situations (e.g. at matches); dedication to USPSA and other shooting sports; general character. References will receive an email with a link to an online reference questionnaire once your complete application has been received and application fee paid. NROI may reach out to references by phone or email for further information or clarification.
NROI may also examine the applicant’s interactions on social media such as but not limited to Facebook and Instagram, along with various shooting related forums.
Once assigned, your instructor will reach out to you by email and introduce themselves to you. They likely will also want to know if you are planning on working any major matches soon and/or may suggest you join them at major matches they will be working. The real-world work can occur any time during the program. Generally, instructors will ask you to get started and start submitting assignments via the LMS as you complete them. DO NOT save up the entire course and submit all at once.
There is no specific time limit to complete the program. The LMS modules can all be completed in three to four months if the student applies themselves. Students should strive to gain as much understanding and knowledge as possible during the program. This is your time; make the best use of it you can. Students are expected to make steady progress over time and to remain in communication with their instructor. If circumstances arise that will cause a delay; the student is expected to communicate this to the instructor in a timely fashion.
Students who do not show adequate progress or who stop communicating with their instructor will be removed from the program each December to make room for other students.
Entry into the program in January generally allows most students to complete the self-study portion of the program and do their intern service at a major match with an experienced Range Master in time to test out at a late Summer or Fall Nationals event.
The final exam will involve working an Area or Nationals match as either an Assistant RM or CRO followed by an Oral Review Board examination. The review panel is made of up Instructors so any match used to test out must have enough Instructors in attendance to form the panel. This is almost always possible at Nationals and sometimes possible at some, but not all, Area matches.
The final oral review exam is not a rubber stamp or a formality. Students have failed in this final phase. Typically, this means the student is asked to complete additional work assignments before certification can occur or, in extreme cases, they may be dismissed from the program.
The Range Master Program is not for everyone. There is no expectation that every Range Officer who moves from RO to CRO will eventually move to RM. If you are just after the title and the certificate to hang on the wall, this program is not for you. Range Masters are expected to maintain the highest level of rules knowledge and to work matches on a regular basis. In addition, Range Masters must act as leaders in the shooting community, always represent USPSA and NROI properly, and adhere to all USPSA/NROI policies including the Social Media policy.
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