About our Courses and Certifications
The Interpretive Guides Association offers a series of training courses and exams that help individuals create the skills and knowledge to effectively communicate our unique local natural and cultural heritage to visitors while also keeping them safe when taking them outdoors.
Our training and certification programs will help people working in the following areas:
- hiking guides
- outdoor leaders
- museum educators
- bus tour guides
- information centre staff
- rafting guides
- cycling and mountain biking guides
- horse packing guides
- scuba guides
- mountain guides
- writers, YouTubers, and influencers
- anyone interested in learning more about how to effectively communicate their messages with others and/or keeping them safe in the outdoors.
Our courses range from 4hrs – 48 hrs in length to suit the needs of different individuals from mountain enthusiasts to professional guides.
We offer courses in:
- knowledge acquisition of the Mountain National Parks -Basic knowledge course, Apprentice Interpreter 2-day course, and the Professional Interpreter Course
- Interpretation - Apprentice Interpreter (1 and 2-day course), Interpretive Specialist, and Professional Interpreter
- Safety certification for land-based guiding - Three-season and four-season Group Management Course.
Please explore this page and the individual pages for each of our courses to learn more about our courses and certification options for Interpretive Guides and Interpretive Hiking Guides.
Course Schedule and Languages
Our public courses are generally scheduled in May, June, November and February each year and are available in English, French, and Japanese. If you have a group of 10 or more we may be able to schedule a private course to fit your schedule.
Upcoming courses are listed at the bottom of this page. If you don't see the course you want listed, please contact us.
Tous nos cours de certification sont disponibles en français. Veuillez nous contacter si vous souhaitez en savoir plus.
What is Interpretive Guiding?
These days, many travellers are seeking out adventure-based experiences that do more than just get them to that beautiful viewpoint or a spectacular sunset.
Interpretive guiding is a profession. We earn a living by showing our guests special places or resources, entertaining them, and, most importantly helping them discover these places or resources in a way they couldn’t on their own. Being able to do this well, takes skill, knowledge, and expertise.
Our interpretation courses and certifications will help you focus your knowledge and expertise in a way that will offer your guests the best experience possible. As professionals, it is important that we are well trained so we can provide authentic and inspiring experiences.
“Interpretation attempts to communicate in a thought-provoking way to an audience that’s completely free to ignore it.”
We have three levels of Interpretation training
Group management (Hiking Guide) training
A Group Management course paired with an Interpreter Certification will certify you as an Interpretive Hiking Guide.
Basic Knowledge Courses
We also offer a general introductory course called the Basic Knowledge Course. This course is currently available for Banff/Kootenay/Yoho National Parks, Jasper National Park, Waterton Lakes National Park and the Tofino, BC region.
The Basic Knowledge course is a 4-hour overview of each region’s natural and cultural heritage and the guide’s role in protecting and presenting that heritage. Basic Knowledge Courses are 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 an excellent training tool for van and bus drivers, tourism staff and activity guides such as raft guides, ACMG guides, horse outfitters, scuba guides, or anyone who wants to augment their knowledge.