Basic Knowledge

The Basic Knowledge course is a 4-hour overview of a region’s natural heritage and history, along with the guide’s role in protecting and presenting this information. It is designed to introduce course participants to what makes the region unique, and inspire them to learn more about the area to captivate their guests through the stories they tell.

This course is available in-person or on-line

Guides with more experience and knowledge of the local landscape are strongly encouraged to take the Apprentice or Professional level course.

We are working towards expanding our Basic Knowledge Course offerings. If you are an expert on the natural and cultural history of a region in Canada and would like to develop a Basic Knowledge Course for the IGA, please contact us.


Groups with 10 or more participants are encouraged to book a private in-person course. This course is offered in English and French.

Whenever possible, your instructor will modify the course to meet the needs of your particular group.

There are currently 4 versions of this course that focus on different geographic regions and parks:

  1. Waterton Lakes National Park
  2. Banff, Yoho, and Kootenay National Parks
  3. Jasper National Park
  4. Tofino, BC, and area

Please contact us to arrange a private, in-person course for your group of ten or more.

Ce cours est disponibles en français. Veuillez nous contacter si vous souhaitez en savoir plus.


Course content:

  • An introduction to how the mountains were formed
  • An overview of how mountain ecosystems work and discussion of how some of the common species live and interact within those ecosystems
  • A brief summary of the human presence on this landscape over the past 11,000 years
  • An introduction to how national parks were managed in the past and how they are managed today

We reserve the right to cancel courses if registration is below 10 people.


On-line versions of the Basic Knowledge Course are currently available for:

  1. Banff, Yoho and Kootenay
  2. Jasper
  3. Waterton Lakes

Coming soon! Online option for Tofino, BC is in the works.


The online Basic Knowledge Course covers the same content and is the same cost as the in-person course. The online version is best viewed with a high-speed internet connection. You may complete this course over a couple of days or sittings if you wish. You can also stop the course at any time to take a break, or get a snack!

To register for the online course, follow these steps:

  1. Click “Register Now” beside the appropriate course below to register & pay for the course online.
  2. You will be asked to create a password as part of the registration process. Enter your email and personal password below to access the course.
  3. Open the course up using your browser (ensure pop-ups are permitted if using an ad blocker).
  4. Turn your computer speakers on, sit back, and enjoy the course but don’t forget to take notes throughout so you are prepared for the test.
  5. Complete the quiz (top right corner of your screen). Be sure to hit “submit” so your information is properly submitted.
  6. Your results will be automatically tallied and emailed to your account shortly after you complete the quiz.  If you do not achieve 90% or higher on the quiz, you will be asked to re-do the course.

Note: You have 30 days, from the date of purchase to complete the course and pass the test.


$99.00 plus GST (online)
$125.00 plus GST (in-person)


All Basic Knowledge certified guides are required to pay a nominal yearly administration fee in order to keep their certification active.

If you choose not to pay the yearly administration fee you may have your certification revoked and your profile removed from the IGA database. Basic administration fees that have lapsed for three or more years will be removed from the database. The IGA has no way of knowing if a guide has remained active in their perspective field if this fee is not paid. If you require the Basic Knowledge certification to work as a guide and you are no longer in our system you will have to retake the course.

The yearly administration fees are $34.99 plus GST. You can pay your year administration fee here.

Become a full member of the Interpretive Guides Association

IGA individual and corporate memberships come with benefits! Group insurance plans, pro-deals, job advertisements, professional updates and professional development events are some of the things available to those who become a full member of the IGA. Learn more.


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Basic Knowledge Online Course – Waterton Lakes


Basic Knowledge Online Course – Jasper National Park


Basic Knowledge Online Course – Banff, Yoho, Kootenay