It’s hard to even imagine, but years ago USPA required jumpers to provide copies of their logbooks when they mailed in their applications for licenses and ratings. Checking these logbooks was the only way that USPA could verify that jumpers completed the required jumps and training for the desired credentials. There were then (and still are) certain jump-number and training requirements that jumpers had to meet in order to qualify for credentials, and logbooks provided a convenient place to gather the necessary information and signatures.
Fortunately, the days of sending logbook entries to USPA Headquarters are long past. Eventually, USPA gave certain rating holders, appointees and officials authority to simply sign a license or rating application or renewal form verifying that the applicant completed the required jumps or training. Though an improvement, it still meant that the applicant had to carry or mail their form to the signatory, show them their logbook entries and then send the form on to USPA.
Now, USPA is applying technology to our entire credentialing system. Members have been able to join and renew their memberships entirely online for a few years now. Until recently though, members still had to mail, fax or email scans of completed and signed applications for new licenses and ratings, as well as for rating renewals. These forms still required the applicants to gather physical signatures from various authorities (whether instructors, instructor examiners or Safety and Training Advisors).
That is changing.
Members who want to renew ratings, including examiner ratings, can now do so fully online. No pen. No paper. No postage stamp, fax machine or scanner. An authorized signatory chosen by you logs into their USPA account, connects to your account and—after verifying that you’ve met specific requirements, including verifying entries in your electronic or physical logbook—provides their electronic signature on your renewal application. You can even have different signatories sign off on different requirements as you meet them. Your online payment then completes the process, and your rating renews immediately. Recently, we’ve even added QR codes to speed up the process. If you have a rating, log on to your USPA account, click “Credentials” and you’ll see a unique QR code for each rating. Signers can access and scan your QR code and go directly to the final signature page for requirement tracking.
Soon to come are online license tests and license applications. Again, no pen or pencil. No paper. No erased or marked-out answers. No searching for a hard copy of the exam. Members ready for a new license will simply find an instructor, examiner or S&TA to set up access to the exam and proctor it. The member will then log in to USPA on a desktop computer or mobile device to take the desired license test. The system will grade tests automatically. The proper signatory will then verify the other license requirements exactly as they do for rating renewals, and when the applicant receives verification of the completion of all requirements, they can submit payment and receive their new license instantly. Expect to see online license applications around the start of the new year, if not before. Initial rating applications are more complicated and will be the last to move to an online process.
Online rating renewals and license applications are more efficient, less confusing and result in the applicants receiving their new credentials within a matter of minutes instead of days or weeks. It involves lots of technical work by USPA staff, but it’s worth it to provide faster, more streamlined service to the membership.