Group Management (Hiking Guide Course)

As Interpretive Hiking Guides, we are responsible for the safety and well-being of the people we are guiding.

Our Group Management courses cover legal liability, client care, client management in different seasons, pacing, understanding and managing risk, understanding the environment you are guiding in and trip preparation, to ensure the experience you provide for your guests is safe, comfortable and sets the required foundation for inspirational interpretation! 

The Group Management courses do not teach map and compass skills and it is important that you come to the course with a minimum understanding of how to use a compass while on the trail. The IGA offers separate map and compass courses. Please email us at for more information.

A Group Management certification (or equivalent course deemed by the land manager) is required if you want to work as a Hiking Guide in provincial and national parks.

The Group Management courses are taught in English, French, and Japanese every spring, fall and winter.

Taken by itself, the Group Management Course will not certify you as a Hiking Guide. It must be paired with the Apprentice Interpreter (AI) or Professional Interpreter (PI) Certification. Please see the certificate flow below for details.


3 Season Group Management Course (taught April through June):

  • 2 days (1/2 day classroom + 1.5 days outside)
  • Cost = $269 plus GST
  • Pre-requisites – Valid 16 hour standard first aid and CPR (C level), hiking resume, AI or PI certification.

4 Season Group Management Course (taught November through March):

  • 3 days (two half days in classroom + two days outside)
  • Cost = $399 plus GST
  • Pre-requisites – Valid 40 hour wilderness first aid, hiking resume, AI or PI certification.

4 Season Group Management Supplement Course (taught November through March):

  • 1.5 days (½ day in classroom + 1 day outside)
  • Cost = $189.00 plus GST
  • Pre-requisites – Valid 40 hour wilderness first aid, hiking resume, AI or PI certification, 3 Season Group Management Course.

If you have a group of 10 or more we may be able to schedule a private course to fit your schedule. Email us for more information.


The following is an overview of some of the material covered in the Group Management courses.

Classroom instruction will include:

  •  legal responsibilities of the guide
  •  trip planning
  •  risk management
  •  group management skills.

Outdoor component – Instructional Hike:

We will spend time on a local trail where your instructor will demonstrate on- trail skills and reinforce the skills covered in the classroom portion. We will also look at group management skills and best practices for day hiking guides in summer, winter or both depending on the course you are taking and season you are taking it in. You will be assessed and evaluated on your ability to safely lead a group on the trail during the outdoor component.


To take a Group Management course you must must:

  1. Be eighteen years of age or older.
  2. Have a standard 16-hour first aid and CPR level ‘C’ certification or higher for the 3 Season course, and a 40-hour wilderness first aid certification or higher for the 4 Season course. While the 16-hour first aid certification is sufficient as the prerequisite for the 3 Season course, we recommend all hiking guides have a 40-hour wilderness first aid certification.
  3. Have completed the IGA Apprentice or Professional Interpreter course.
  4. Have a minimum of 5 days hiking experience (3 Season Course) and 10 days of hiking experience (min 5 days in winter) for the 4 Season Course PLUS an interest in leading groups on established trails. (See below for more details on recognized hiking experience and Scope of Practice).
  5. Be competent with the following basic navigation skills.
  • Identify different features on a topographical map (rivers, lakes, buildings, etc.).
  • Identify and relate contour lines from the map to the terrain you are hiking on.
  • Determine elevation loss and gain from contour lines on a map.
  • Measure the length of a trail in meters or kilometres.
  • Give a map reference using the UTM grid to show your location.
  • Take a simple compass bearing, i.e., to determine the direction of a trail in poor visibility.
  • Determine the cardinal directions of the compass at any time and orientate the map to the ground.

Your  proficiency with navigation will be assessed at various stages in the course, but, as noted above, these items will not be taught. 

Please note: 

To take this course you must have a membership with the IGA or paid your yearly professional dues. If you are taking this course back-to-back with an Apprentice Interpreter course, your membership fees are included in the Apprentice Interpreter course fees.

You must send a copy of your valid first-aid certificate, and your hiking resume to before your Hiking Guide certification will be issued.


For the outdoor/trail portions of this course, you will be required to demonstrate that you have the skill, confidence and personal fitness to guide clients on any conditions encountered in the region where you will be certified. You must be able to demonstrate that you can care for clients and yourself while out on the trail.


The IGA accepts ACMG Hiking Guide certification or higher as an equivalent to our 3 Season Group Management course and the ACMG Hiking Guide or higher with an ACMG winter certification for our 4 Season Group Management course. Any applications for other equivalencies must go directly to the appropriate land manager.


See the Scope of Practice for IGA Hiking Guides


Please read our Cancellation & Refund Policy if you are planning to sign up for this course. If you cancel three weeks before the course starting date, you will receive a full refund minus a $30 administration fee. If you cancel two weeks before the course starting date, you will receive a 50 percent refund minus a $30 administration fee. If you cancel with less than 2 weeks notice no refund will be issued.

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.