Professional Interpeter and Professional Hiking Guide

The Professional Interpreter certification formally recognizes the knowledge, experience and interpretive skill of guides who have been in the profession for at least three years. Professional Interpretive Guides have demonstrated the ability to transform an average walk in the park to a memorable and meaningful experience for visitors.

All individuals wishing to become certified at the professional level must apply for and complete the 6-day Professional Interpreter course, and complete and pass both the written and oral exams with 70% or higher (Written test requires 70% overall and 70% per section of the test).


To become certified as a Professional 3-Season or 4-Season Hiking Guide, you must successfully complete  the IGA’s 3-Season or 4-Season Group Management Course.


The Professional Interpreter course is an advanced level 48-hour course. It is open to anyone interested in gaining an in-depth understanding of interpretive guiding, park management, local natural history and cultural history but is specifically designed for individuals with previous interpretive guiding experience who are interested in pursuing their Professional Interpreter career. If you are newer to guiding and interpretation, the Apprentice Interpreter course may be a better fit.


The Interpretive Guides Association Professional Interpreter Course is typically offered twice per year – once in the Spring (May) and once in the Fall (November). We can also offer these courses in French and Japanese if there are enough applicants.


The following topics are covered in lecture and workshop/ field trip format:

  • Geology & Ecology of the Rocky Mountains
  • Park Management and Local Issues
  • Ecological & Commemorative Integrity
  • History and Sense of Place
  • Fundamentals of Interpretation


IGA Apprentice Interpreter Course other thematic interpretation training or certification.


Exams are taken separately in the months immediately following the course (e.g., May/June or November/December). If you would like to take an exam outside of these times, contact to inquire about availability. Please note that special exam dates may be subject to an additional fee of $200 plus GST per exam.

If you took the course but did not complete the exams within two years, you will have to redo the entire course and pay the full course fees.


The Professional Interpreter certification is based on an assessment of your guiding experience, knowledge, presentation skills and the completion of our 6-day Professional Interpreter course. 

Your skills are assessed using the Professional Interpreter’s Points System. To be certified, you must have a minimum of 120 points, and at least 50% of those points must come from direct work experience. See the following table for more details.

If you want to take the course or become certified at the professional level, please read through the application package and complete the application form

Only individuals who have completed the Professional Interpreter course (100% attendance is mandatory) and have the required experience are eligible to take the exams.

Additionally, to receive your certification at the professional level, you must:

  • Be a current member in good standing
  • Achieve a minimum of 70% on the written and oral exams (Note: You must achieve 70% overall as well as 70% on each section of the written exam)
  • Adhere to IGA’s code of ethics


  • Course: $649 plus GST
  • IGA Membership: $79 plus GST
  • Oral Exam: $75 plus GST
  • Written Exam: $75 plus GST

Individuals who are certified as a Professional Interpreter and are interested in refreshing their knowledge may sit through sections of the course a second time for a discounted rate when space is available. Contact our office for details.


Please read the cancellation and refund policy if you are planning to sign up for this course

A minimum of 10 participants are required to run this course, and this number must be reached three weeks before the course start date. At this point, a decision will be made whether to run the course or not. As a result, no refunds will be given for cancellations after this point.

Prior to the three-week point, full refunds will be given to individuals who wish to cancel minus a $30 administration fee.

If the Interpretive Guides Association has to cancel a course due to low numbers, you will be given the choice of a full refund or to transfer your registration to another course.


November 04, 2020

Professional Interpreter Course Nov 4-9, 2020

Online via Zoom Meetings, November 4 - 9, 2020

Course Details Register Now

PI Oral Exam (French or English)


Course Details Register Now

If there are no exams scheduled, you may contact us to request an exam date. Please note that exams requested outside of scheduled exam dates are subject to additional fees and examiner availability.