Apprentice Interpreter

The Apprentice Interpreter certification is intended as a stepping stone to the Interpretive Specialist or Professional Interpreter certification. We encourage you to continually learn and improve your guiding skills and knowledge to make interpretive guiding your career.

Tous nos cours de certification sont disponibles en français. Veuillez nous contacter si vous souhaitez en savoir plus.


To become certified as an Apprentice 3-Season or 4-Season Hiking Guide, you must successfully complete  the IGA’s 3-Season or 4-Season Group Management Course.


The Apprentice Interpreter Course consists of one day of local natural and cultural history content and one day of introduction to interpretation

Currently, this course is a Canadian Rockies (Banff, Canmore, Kootenay, Yoho and Jasper) based course. It will introduce you to effective interpretation skills, local natural history, cultural history, and national park management. It is a great place to start your journey as an interpretive guide working in this region.

While the course is designed for guides who are relatively new to interpretive guiding, it is appropriate for anyone who wants an introduction to these topics and skills.

The Apprentice Interpreter course is taught regularly in the following locations and languages:

  • Canmore, Alberta in May, June, November and February. These courses are offered in English, French (if numbers warrant), and Japanese (May or June only)
  • Jasper, Alberta, in May and November. These courses are offered in English and French (if numbers warrant)
  • The Netherlands, in partnership with Voshaar Outdoor & Education. This course is offered in English and Dutch.

We also teach these courses regularly in the following locations when there is a demand.

  • Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta
  • Calgary, Alberta
  • Kimberly, British Columbia
  • Golden, British Columbia
  • Revelstoke, British Columbia
  • East Kootenays of British Columbia

If there is demand, we can offer this course anywhere! Contact us if you would like to bring this course to your area


Day One
Natural History

  • The basics of Canadian Rockies Geology (sedimentation, mountain building, erosion, rock types)
  • Introduction to glaciers and mountain weather
  • Introduction to mountain ecosystems (Typical mountain habitats, species interactions and ecosystem connections)

Cultural History and Park Management

  • Eras of human presence from aboriginal to park creation
  • Evolution of the concept of park- from playground to goal of ecological integrity
  • Current park management issues & initiatives

Day Two

Introduction to Interpretation

  • Introduction to interpretation and thematic communication
  • The basics of effective communication
  • How to build a thematic interpretive program

If you are new to the area and feel like you would benefit from learning a little about the geology, ecology, park management and history of this place before this course, we have a great deal for you.

We are offering anyone taking the Apprentice Interpreter course an incredible discount on our online Basic Knowledge course. Pay for your Apprentice Interpreter course, and you can take the Basic Knowledge course for ½ price.

If you are interested in taking advantage of this offer, please  contact


  • 2-Day Apprentice Interpreter Course: $399

Note: The Apprentice Interpreter course fee includes a digital copy of the Interpretive Guide’s Handbook and a one-year membership with the Interpretive Guides Association.


Apprentice Interpreter: You must score 70% or higher on each section of the Apprentice Interpreter exam to earn your Apprentice Interpreter certificate. If you do not, you may re-write the exam at the cost of:

  • $65 plus GST for the full exam or
  • $30 plus GST for each section


To maintain an active certificate, you must:

  • Pay the Interpretive Guides Association membership dues yearly.
  • Complete a minimum of 10 hrs of continuing professional development (CPD) per year.

Read more about Professional Development requirements in this document: Professional Development (PD)


Please read our Cancellation & Refund Policy if you are planning to sign up for a course.

If you cancel three weeks before the course starting date, you will receive a full refund minus a $30 administration fee and a $45 digital handbook fee.

If you cancel two weeks before the course starting date, you will receive a 50 percent refund minus the $45 handbook fee.

If you cancel with less than 2 weeks notice no refund will be issued.

The interpretive Guides Handbook costs $45 for members, and it is sent out digitally, so once it is sent, we cannot refund you for that cost.

If you are sick on one or more days of the course, you must prove your sickness (i.e. a doctor’s note) and immediately get in touch with the instructor. We may be able to place you in an alternate course if we have space available. Otherwise, you will need to re-register and pay.

If the Interpretive Guides Association has to cancel a course due to low numbers, you will have the choice of being given a full refund or transferring your registration for another course.

This policy includes, but is not limited to:

  • illness
  • work changes
  • injury
  • level of interest
  • feeling unprepared
  • transportation challenges
  • internet challenges
  • you slept in
  • incorrect scheduling
  • etc.

Please keep all these reasons in mind when booking and paying for a course. Our ability to offer and run these courses depends on the number of registrants we have. A lot of time and finances go into planning and operating our programs. Knowing our participant numbers in advance and guaranteeing these numbers is essential to the operation of this member-based not for profit. If you have questions or concerns, please reach out to talk with us before signing up.

If you want to take the course or become certified at the professional level, please read through the application package and complete the application form.

Only individuals who have completed the Professional Interpreter course (100% attendance is mandatory) and have the required experience are eligible to take the exams.

Additionally, to receive your certification at the professional level, you must:

  • Be a current member in good standing
  • Achieve a minimum of 70% on the written and oral exams (Note: You must achieve 70% overall as well as 70% on each section of the written exam)
  • Adhere to IGA’s code of ethics


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