Welcome to our program!
The Interpretive Guides Association offers a series of training courses and exams designed to provide and certify guides with skills and knowledge to effectively communicate our unique local natural and cultural heritage to visitors. We provide training focused on sharing the natural and cultural heritage of the areas we work in for:
- hiking guides
- museum interpreters
- bus tour guides
- information centre staff
- rafting guides
- horse packing guides
- scuba guides
- mountain guides
- and anyone interested in learning more about the the areas we teach.
We also offer group management training for Interpretive Hiking Guides.
Our courses range from 4hrs – 48 hrs in length to suit the needs of different individuals from mountain enthusiasts to professional guides.
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. Please explore these pages to learn more about our courses and certification options for Interpretive Guides and Interpretive Hiking Guides.
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 two “streams” that most of our training courses and certifications fall into:
1) Interpretive Guide. Course offerings and certifications include:
- Apprentice Interpreter
- Interpretive Specialist
- Professional Interpreter
- Master Interpreter (Note: The Master Interpreter certification appointed to individuals who stand out as true masters of interpretive guiding. There is no course for the certification)
2) Interpretive Hiking Guide. Course offerings and/ certifications include:
- Apprentice Hiking Guide
- Interpretive Hiking Guide
- Professional Interpretive Hiking Guide
- Note: To be certified as a Hiking Guide you must complete a Group Management course
We also offer a general introductory course called the Basic Knowledge Course
All of our courses are offered in English, French, and Japanese; please look under course registrations to find the course that suits you best.
The Basic Knowledge Course provides a broad overview of the local natural history, cultural history, park management and a brief introduction to the role and purpose of interpretation. It is great as a staff training tool for van drivers, tourism staff and for activity guides like raft guides, ACMG mountain guides, and scuba guides.
The Apprentice Interpreter certificate is designed as a stepping stone to the Professional Interpreter Accreditation. This 2-day course covers natural history of the Rocky Mountain national parks, cultural history of Banff, Jasper, Yoho and Kootenay National Parks, management of Canada’s National Parks and an introduction to effective interpretation skills. Apprentice Interpreters who successfully complete the 2-day Group Management course are awarded the “Apprentice Hiking Guide” certification.
The Interpretive Specialist certificate offers a more in-depth look at the fundamentals of Heritage Interpretations. In this 2-day course, we begin with the theory of the 4 qualities of thematic interpretation – T.O.R.E. Once the foundation has been set, we workshop our way through an interpretive program. This hands-on course focuses on group interaction to help the creativity flow. By working on building your program ideas in a safe group setting you’ll begin to feel comfortable and confident with the materials and be inspired to carry this effective communication process into your daily guiding.
The Professional Interpreter accreditation formally recognizes the knowledge, experience and interpretive skill of guides working in the mountain parks. Interpreters at this level typically have a minimum of 1200 hrs of experience in the field and many have relevant University or College education. They have also passed the required oral and written exams. Professional Interpreters who successfully complete the Group Management course are upgraded to the “Professional Interpretive Hiking Guide” accreditation.
The Master Interpreter is the highest level of accreditation we offer. Only those with extensive knowledge of local natural and cultural history and whose actions in the field demonstrate masterful application of interpretation skills are considered for this level of accreditation.
The Group Management course is designed to complement the training provided in tour interpretation courses and prepare Interpretive Guides to safely lead interpretive day hikes on established park trails.
An Apprentice Interpreter, Interpretive Specialist or Professional Interpreter certification is a pre-requisite for this course.
The Interpretive Guides Association offers two versions of the Group Management Course. In the spring, we offer a 2-day, 3 Season course. This course will certify you as a 3 Season Hiking Guide (spring, summer and fall). In the late fall and winter, we offer a 3-day, 4 Season course. This course will certify you as a 4 Season Hiking Guide.
Currently Available Courses & EventsCalendar View
January 23, 2021
Interpretive Specialist Certification Course
January 23/24, 2021 - online Via Zoom. This is a two-day course covering thematic interpretation creation and delivery that will help you take your interpretive programs and career to the next level.Course Details Register Now
January 24, 2021
4-Season Group Management Supplement January 24&26, 2021
January 24&26, 2021 COURSE FULL!! EMAIL TO JOIN OUR WAITING LIST This course is for Interpretive Guides Association certified 3 Season Hiking Guides who would like to add the winter to their certification and become certified as an IGA 4 Season Hiking Guide. Please read and be prepared to adhere to our COVID-19 policyCourse Details Register Now
January 24, 2021
Jasper 4-Season Group Management Supplement January 24&26, 2021
Jasper 4-Season Group Management Supplement - This January 24&26, 2021 course will have the field day portion held on a Jasper area trail. This course is for Interpretive Guides Association certified 3 Season Hiking Guides who would like to add the winter to their certification and become certified as an IGA 4 Season Hiking Guide.Course Details Register Now
January 28, 2021
BC AdventureSmart Professional Development Session
BC AdventureSmart info session - Sandra Riches will be joining us on Zoom to tell us about the BC AdventureSmart program and how you can benefit from their incredible list of outdoor-based resources. As a guide, you will find many benefits within their program to help keep yourself and guests safe and informed.Course Details Register Now
February 09, 2021
Virtual Conference - Interpretation in a Changing World - Forum for Interpretation in the America's
Virtual Conference on "Interpretation in a Changing World". This 2021 Forum for Interpretation in the Americas will bring together four North American interpretive associations under the umbrella of the Global Alliance for Heritage Interpretation for an engaging and inspiring virtual conference on "Interpretation in a Changing World."
This event is accessible for all through Zoom Meetings and will be broadcast in English, French and Spanish.
Registration closes January 26, 2021.Course Details Register Now
February 15, 2021
Dialogic Interpretation Sampler
Learn what Dialogic Interpretation is and how you can use this technique to create more interactive, fulfilling experiences for your guests and yourself.Course Details Register Now
February 17, 2021
Apprentice Interpreter - Bow Valley
Online Via Zoom Meetings â€¢ February 17 & 18, 2020Course Details Register Now
February 22, 2021
4 Season Group Management Course - February 22-24, 2021
Bow Valley 4 Season GM Course - February 22, 23 & 24, 2021. The classroom portions of this course will be delivered online via Zoom. The field days will be held in person in the Lake Louise, Field or 93 North regions.Course Details Register Now
February 24, 2021
Interpretive Specialist - February 2021
February 24/25, 2021 - online Via Zoom. This is a two-day course covering thematic interpretation creation and delivery that will help you take your interpretive programs and career to the next level.Course Details Register Now
February 24, 2021
Tofino Area Interpretive Specialist
February 24 - 26, 2021 - online Via Zoom. This three-day course focuses on thematic interpretation and local knowledge of the Tofino area to help you take your interpretive programs and career to the next level. The first 2 days are spent working through interpretation creation and delivery and the third day is spent learning about the Tofino area geology, ecology, land management and history.Course Details Register Now
February 26, 2021
Tofino Area Knowledge Course
This one day course will cover the geology, ecology, land management and history of the Tofino - West Coast region. If you already have an apprentice, professional or Interpretive specialist certification or just want to learn about the Tofino area this course will be perfect for you.Course Details Register Now
March 09, 2021
Dialogic Interpretation - Beyond the Basics - certificate program
Dialogic Interpretation - Beyond the Basics certificate - taught by DI expert Jacquie Gilson. Learn the fundamentals of DI so you can craft great questions, engage with your audiences and develop your own growth mindset within your life and career.Course Details Register Now
April 06, 2021
Dialogic Interpretation - Making It Real Certificate
Dialogic Interpretation - Making it Real certificate is the final step in your DI training. This session will also be taught by DI expert Jacquie Gilson and will take you through your final learning journey of Dialogic Interpretive techniques.Course Details Register Now
Purchase Canadian Rockies Natural/Cultural History Handbook
Purchase Canadian Rockies Natural/Cultural History HandbookCourse Details Register Now