Starting a Team

Anyone can start a FIRST® Tech Challenge Team! Teams may be made up of members from a school, church, scout troop, club or group of friends. It is often necessary to form a new team since existing teams may not be adding new members. Details and resources can be found on the FIRST website under Start a FIRST Tech Challenge Team, but here are the basic steps:

Note: Neither WPAFB or FIRST creates teams, hosts teams, or places students onto teams.

  1. Recruit 3-15 students and 2 (min) adult coaches (including yourself). Team members must be in grades 7-12. An individual can only participate on one FIRST Tech Challenge team per season.
  2. Register the team with FIRST Tech Challenge. Registration opens in May, however rookie teams can register as early as February through FIRST's Jump Start Program. Team members do not need to be identified until tournament registration in late fall. Registration with FIRST is an annual process and does not cover regional, state or national tournament fees.
  3. Order your robotics kit and begin practicing building techniques and learning the programming software.
  4. Attend a FIRST Tech Challenge OH Kick-Off in September where FIRST reveals the new Challenge.
  5. After the kick-off, register for an Ohio Regional Qualifying Tournament. FIRST Tech Challenge OH has a qualifying system whereby teams must compete in one of the qualifying tournaments to advance to the FIRST Tech Challenge Ohio Championship. Qualifying Tournaments are usually in December and January and the Ohio Championship is in March. Approximately 1/3 of the teams competing in qualifiers will advance.

Estimated Costs

The cost to operate a rookie FIRST Tech Challenge team typically ranges from $2000 – $3500. This amount is highly dependent on the number of events a team enters, playing field needs, as well as additional parts typically required for design improvements and/or spares. Travel costs will also vary due to the distance and time needed to travel to an event.

Here are the basic expenses that should be considered in the team budget:

Expense for a returning team may be lower, but consideration must be given for replacing broken or worn parts, as well as potential for progressing further in the tournaments.

  $295 FIRST Tech Challenge Team Registration Fee
  $896-$964 FTC Competition Set including Electronics, Controls and Communications (reusable each year)
  $400+ Misc. Tools and Parts
Team Supplies
  $100+ Consumables (Printer Ink, Paper)
  $250+ Team Branding (Tee-Shirts, Buttons, Pit Display) - optional
FIRST Tech Challenge Playing Field
  $350-$460 Competition Field (Also available as 1/2 fields - purchase each season)
  $259 Playing Field Tiles (Recommended - lasts 3-4 years, subject to wear and tear)
  $659 Playing Field Hard Wall Perimeter (Recommended - one time purchase)
FIRST Tech Challenge Event Fees for Ohio Teams
  $100 OH Regional Qualifier (per entry) (this also covers State Championship if a team advances)
  $100 2nd Event
  $100 3rd Event