Master Interpreter

The Interpretive Guides Association’s Master Interpreters are an integral part of our community of interpretive guides.

They are leaders in interpretive guiding, and their dedicated actions have moved the profession forward. Both visitors and locals have benefited from the stories and wisdom so willingly shared by this group of outstanding individuals.

The Master Interpreter certification is the highest level of certification offered by the Interpretive Guides Association. It is appointed to individuals who stand out as true masters of interpretive guiding, and who are strong supporters of or ambassadors for the Interpretive Guides Association. Successful candidates must demonstrate a genuine love of place, and extensive experience, professionalism and mentoring in the interpretive guiding world.


The Master Interpreter certification is different from our other certifications because it is appointed to an outstanding interpretive guide rather than earned through a course and exams.

To become certified as a Master Interpreter, your name must be brought forward for review. The individual who brings your name forward must demonstrate your expertise through letters of recommendation collected from other Master Interpreters and colleges who know your work (see below for more details).

All Master Interpreter appointments are assessed based on the following three areas of expertise:

  • Leadership, vision and mentoring capacity
  • Experience, knowledge and a review of professional programs
  • Peer reviews and letters of recommendation.


Master Interpreters are individuals with vision who take an active role in moving the profession forward. They can articulate personal ideas clearly to their peers and the review board about why interpretation is an integral part of being a guide, leader and educator. Additionally, Master Interpreters can anticipate and guide the development of interpretation as a profession.

Interpreters who are certified as Masters can provide examples of personal and professional leadership, including mentoring others. Mentoring can include assisting others through teaching interpretation courses such as the IGA Apprentice and Professional Interpreter courses, teaching through colleges and universities, or instructing private courses in interpretation, natural history, cultural history, interpretive workshops, etc. as well as helping other interpreters, peers or friends to improve and strengthen their interpretive skills and connection to place.

Leadership may also be demonstrated through other means such as, but not limited to writing articles, books or assisting in video or television productions dedicated to promoting an appreciation of our natural and cultural heritage.

All individuals who become Master Interpreters with the Interpretive Guides Association must be strong supporters, ambassadors and advocates of the IGA. They must have kept their certifications and membership with the IGA in good standing and followed IGA standards and best practices throughout the years.


To become certified at this level, Master Interpreter candidates must have:

  • Experience presenting in a variety of interpretive venues to a variety of different audiences.
  • Extensive understanding of interpretive techniques and practices.
  • Fifteen years of experience working in the field of interpretation - with ten of these years as a certified IGA Professional Interpreter.
  • Extensive knowledge of the following in the areas in which they work:
    • Parks policy/management issues.
    • Flora and Fauna, including ecological relationships.
    • Geography and Geology.
    • History and Culture.
    • The interrelationship and ongoing evolution of all the above areas of knowledge.

Knowledge and skills will be evaluated through an assessment of the candidate’s professional programs.


As noted above, to achieve the Master Interpreter certification, your name must be brought forward by someone from the IGA Interpretive Guide community. A minimum of four letters of recommendation from other Master interpreters, peers, or co-workers who know of your work and level expertise. A minimum of two letters must come from other Master Interpreters. The remaining two can be from IGA certified peers, mentors or students. The letters should highlight your leadership and mentoring capacities, relevant experience and expertise.

A Master Certification Review Board - made up Master Interpreters, the Executive Director and the Interpretive Guides Association President - will assess the letters of support and make a determination.

Candidates must be certified at the Professional Interpreter level and have been an IGA member in good standing at that level for at least ten years.


Once you have become certified as a Master Interpreter with the Interpretive Guides Association, you must do the following to maintain that status:

  1. Adhere to the IGA’s code of ethics
  2. Remain a voting member of the IGA
  3. Participate in 10 hours of professional development per year
  4. Dedicate 5 hours of volunteer time to the association, or its members yearly by actively supporting the IGA’s ongoing professional interpretation development goals.

Note: This can be achieved by providing services to the organization and its members through the following examples: a workshop, presentation, guide mentoring, website work, Facebook posts, blog posts, interpretive writing, or videos showcasing excellent interpretation, providing photos for the website or advertising, course development, Professional Interpreter oral exam evaluations, etc.

To recommend someone as a Master Interpreter, please contact Tracey Gage at to get the process started.