Training Courses and Certifications
Welcome to our training program!
The Interpretive Guides Association offers a series of training courses and exams designed to provide 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 – 40 hrs in length to suit the needs of different individuals from mountain enthusiasts to professional guides.
Our public courses are 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, more and more people are traveling and many of these people 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.
The Apprentice Interpreter course 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
- 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
- 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.
BASIC KNOWLEDGE COURSE
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 upgraded to the “Apprentice Hiking Guide” accreditation.
We also have an apprentice course that can be taught in any other region of Canada or the world. The focus of this course is thematic interpretation and the two days are spent learning these techniques and developing your own program.
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.
The Apprentice or Professional Interpreter accreditation is a pre-requisite for this course. Apprentice Interpreters who complete this course earn the “Apprentice Hiking Guide” certification. Professional Interpreters who complete this course earn the “Professional Interpretive Hiking Guide” certification.
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.
The Cancellation & Refund Policy is available on each individual course page. Please make sure to read through those thoroughly before registering for a course.
Currently Available Courses & EventsCalendar View
January 18, 2021
40 hour Adventure Medic w/ RMAM
Rocky Mountain Adventure Medicine have partnered with the IGA to offer this 40-hour adventure medic course to our members and friends of the IGA. If you work as a guide and take clients out on any trail (even ones that seem insignificant) having a minimum of 40 hours of first aid is a must. This course will help you feel more in control and confident taking clients out on your programs away from parking lots, towns and emergency assistance.Course Details Register Now
January 23, 2021
Interpretive Specialist Certification Course
This course includes two full days of interpretation and will help you take your interpretive programs to the next level. Course content includes theme development, Sam Ham's 4 qualities of interpretation and lots of hands-on practice so you can create engaging, meaningful, memorable experiences for your guests. After completing this course and passing the exam you will become certified with the Interpretive Guides Association as an Interpretive Specialist.Course Details Register Now
January 24, 2021
4-Season Group Management Supplement January 24&26, 2021
January 24&26, 2021 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
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
Purchase Canadian Rockies Natural/Cultural History Handbook
Purchase Canadian Rockies Natural/Cultural History HandbookCourse Details Register Now