Professional Interpreter

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).

Tous nos cours de certification sont disponibles en français. Veuillez nous contacter si vous souhaitez en savoir plus.


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 or 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 interpretive 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: Member rate: $720 plus GST; Non-Member rate: $799 (includes membership for one full year)
  • Oral Exam: $125 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 our Cancellation & Refund Policy if you are planning to sign up for a course. 

If you cancel three weeks before the course starting date, you will receive a full refund minus a $30 administration fee and a $65 digital handbook fee and membership fees (if applicable).

If you cancel two weeks before the course starting date, you will receive a 50 percent refund minus the $65 handbook fee and membership fee (if applicable).

If you cancel with less than 2 weeks notice no refund will be issued.

The 2 course handbooks cost $65 for members and are sent out digitally, so once it is sent, we cannot refund you for that cost.

If you are sick on one or more days of the course, you must prove your sickness (i.e. a doctor’s note) and immediately get in touch with the instructor. We will place you in an alternate course within the same year if we have space available. Otherwise, you will need to re-register and pay.

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 to another course.

This policy includes, but is not limited to:

  • illness
  • work changes
  • injury
  • level of interest
  • feeling unprepared
  • transportation challenges
  • internet challenges
  • Technology issues
  • you slept in
  • incorrect scheduling
  • etc.

Please keep all these reasons in mind when booking and paying for a course. Our ability to offer and run these courses depends on the number of registrants we have. A lot of time and finances go into planning and operating our programs. Knowing our participant numbers in advance and guaranteeing these numbers is essential to the operation of this member-based not for profit.


We run this course every May and November. We may be able to offer it other months if we have enough interest so please contact us if you are keen.

Already taken the course and need to finish your exams? If you find yourself with extra time on your hands due to Covid-19 and would like to schedule your exam, contact us. We are open to do exams at any time throughout the year based on availability and are happy to work with you to help you achieve your professional guiding goals.

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