No matter how far they go in the sport, or which path they choose, all skaters begin the same way: Learning to skate through the Learn to Skate USA Program, which provides a fun and positive experience that will instill a lifelong love of skating. The curriculums are fun, challenging and rewarding for skaters of all ages and abilities. Learn to Skate USA allows beginning skaters to develop and enhance their skating skills, and then, if they choose to pursue figure skating, advance to take official U.S. Figure Skating proficiency tests.
The test structure is the backbone of U.S. Figure Skating. Starting with the first test you take, through your entire career, it is the national standard that you are measured against. Passing skill tests in front of official judges advances the skater to the next level. The level you enter in competitions is determined by your highest test passed. Each U.S. Figure Skating test that you pass goes on your permanent record and is an achievement you always carry with you.
There are opportunities almost every weekend across the nation for figure skaters to compete.
Many figure skating clubs and Basic Skills programs host annual “opens” or “invitational” competitions for skaters to showcase their abilities and compete against one another – these are all considered nonqualfying competitions. Nonqualifying competitions are open to all members, recreational and competitive, and offer skaters an opportunity to showcase their abilities, improve their skills, receive feedback on their performance, to have fun and to earn awards.
If skaters choose the competitive track, they will enter what is referred to as the qualifying system. In the U.S., qualifying competitions are those which are part of the competition structure leading to the U.S. Championships, U.S. Adult Championships, U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships
and U.S. Collegiate Championships. Qualifying competitions are all regional and sectional events
advancing the top finishers in each level.