What does it take to become a Range Officer?

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  • What does it take to become a Range Officer?

    I haven't got my PPL yet, but was wondering what sort of qualifications and experience would be required to become a Range Officer?

    Are the qualifications determined by individual clubs, legislated by the government or by the SSAA (or all three)?

    Do Range Officers get paid/remunerated for their time and effort?

  • #2
    Really depends on your club.

    To gain 24/7 access to my club, I had to do a RO test which was short "questions with answer options" test.

    Not a RO as such but enough to ensure that the right thing is being done by me and others who use the club after hours.

    Check with your club or ask at SSAA.
    "Time is a companion that goes with us on a journey. It reminds us to cherish each moment, because it will never come again. What we leave behind is not as important as how we have lived."
    Captain Jean-Luc Picard


    • #3
      The question depends of the shooting discipline, IPSC, Service Match etc.

      There in the state of Victoria and possibly all other states, there is no government legislation, it depends on the experience of the person wishing to become a Range officer, courses are run as required by the shooting discipline, but shooting experience is critical, no payments in IPSC, but the match entry into the match is free and food is sometimes supplied, as is accommodation at large matches, you become a range officer because you love it.


      • #4
        As someone who is almost finished with the range officer quals with SSAA (VIC)

        Depending on where you go or who you ask you may be told to be a member for x months/years or depending on how well known you are in the club in regards to firearms knowledge/safety you could walk right into it.

        I waited 1.5 years from joining SSAA before I decided to take the RO exam with SSAA. Gave me good time to know rifles/handguns enough to see the types of issues that can happen, see how RO's deal with different situations in competitions etc. You get a booklet which details the specific knowledge you need to know to be a range officer. Once you sit the exam, its multiple choice and like the firearms safety course there are certain answers that need to be correct.

        After sitting the RO exam and passing, I was given a little card which I have to do 6 trainee RO sessions under supervision with a RO. I have done 5 so far, and within those 5 lessons I learned quite a bit in regards to the amount of stuff the RO has to deal with outside of safety issues. The amount of people asking different sorts of questions such as, can I join mid comp, can i do this/that, I want to swap guns or general queries. That doesn't include dealing with some unpleasant people as well or those that may try do their own thing or be quite pushy/rude. I have RO'd many safety course practicals, introductory courses etc outside of this and it was a great pleasure to give back to new shooters to the sport and help the club out.

        But once you experience that and know how to handle the common various situations that can occur and finish your 6 trainee sessions. You give the completed card to whoever is the head RO for the club and they will send that to SSAA verifying you have completed your requirements to be a range officer and you will be sent a range officer card identifying you as one.

        As far as I understand it, the SSAA accreditation of range officers is only recognised for SSAA affiliated clubs/ranges. Firearms instructors I believe need to be recognised as such by Victoria Police (the ones who run safety courses) etc as I am pretty sure they need to have a identification number which they put on the safety course certificate when they sign it. I have not come across any legislation specifically mentioning range officers.

        Alot of the stuff relating to RO is just policies. Eg: If I wanted to RO for IPSC stuff, I would need a holster qualification. Even if I was a RO and held a handgun license the policies in place for that specific competition requires a holster qual as well.

        Being a range officer for me did the following:

        A: Enabled me to go beyond just being a normal member and just shooting and going home. Helping out is a experience in itself
        B: Get to know more members of the club as whole.
        C: Become more assertive and give loud clear commands. I am generally pretty soft spoken so I felt this helped improve my communications skills tremendously
        D: Understand firearms/range safety on a level higher than what a average shooter generally would know. This in itself is invaluable. You have direct exposure as a RO to many different types of firearms in their various designs and loading and how to resolve issues with them.
        E: Renumeration depends I guess. I have been paid for helping out with certain things but the expectation is unless you are employed by the range then it is voluntary. Although club specific... free meals are generally given if you are rostered for the day.

        Unless you are vying for employment at the range as a full/part time Range officer, the focus really is on helping your club and ensuring safe usage of firearms.
        The thought of money doesn't occur to me when I have a rostered shift, or even when I am not rostered and just volunteer to help out because they are short one day. You just do it because you want to help out and do your bit.

        Do it for the right reasons and you will enjoy it immensely