Established in 2006, the ACAʼs accreditation program has been developed for guiding programs, schools and services that offer canyoneering instruction and/or guided canyoneering. Accreditation provides a consistent standard for judging the reliability and professionalism of a canyoneering service by ensuring it conforms to industry standards, conducts ongoing guide training and promotes ethical business practices.

Benefits to accredited programs include:

  • Demonstrating to the general public and land management agencies that your program meets or exceeds industry standards – a substantial advantage when attracting clients and students.
  • Demonstrating your commitment to protecting and preserving canyon environments.
  • Support for the professional development of your guide and instructor staff through participation in free clinics and canyon rendezvous.
  • Providing your staff with a 10% discount on ACA pro guide courses and assessments.
  • Gives your program greater exposure via the ACA’s website.
  • Allows use of the ACA logo in your marketing materials.
  • Provides a thorough and valuable review of your field and business practices.

Guide certification by the ACA follows an international standard for individual guides. The ACA is Americaʼs only organization to offer a comprehensive training and certification program for canyon guides. While certification applies to individuals and accreditation applies to companies, an important goal of ACA accreditation is to tie ACA certification of individual guides to accreditation. The accreditation program promotes certification within accredited programs through mentoring, training, supervision, and financial support for the individual guide seeking certification.

The accreditation program is a voluntary means of quality assurance and peer evaluation focusing on international standards for guided canyoneering. Accreditation examines such things as operating guidelines, access, permits, insurance, employment and business practices, and guide training. ACA accreditation is not an in-depth evaluation of a companyʼs guides or their individual skills. It constitutes a general business review. Accreditation provides a consistent and meaningful standard by which to judge the reliability and professionalism of a canyoneering program. It informs the general public and land managers that a program utilizes guides who are certified and that all guides in the program have received formal training appropriate to the terrain they guide.


  • Accredited programs are committed to high technical standards and quality staff of engaged and engaging instructors and guides.
  • Accredited programs have ACA certified guides and instructors on staff.
  • Accredited programs encourage their staff to pursue ACA certification and provide mentoring to others.
  • Accredited programs conduct annual terrain-specific training utilizing in-house staff who are certified by the ACA.


  • Programs must have been in continuous operation for three full years prior to application for accreditation.
  • Programs must employ at least one ACA certified Pro Canyon Guide or Master Canyon Guide who is responsible for staff training, supervision and mentoring.
  • At least one half of the program’s guiding/instructor staff must be ACA certified Single Site Canyon Guides or higher.

How to Apply:

  • Contact the ACA to request an Accreditation Application and Self-Assessment Questionnaire.
  • Review the Application and Questionnaire to determine your eligibility for accreditation.
  • Submit the Application, Questionnaire, and supporting documents by email to the ACA for review.
  • Once your application has been reviewed and approved someone will contact you to schedule an on-site Accreditation Review.

Custom Training & Assessments

Custom training and assessments are available for programs who are interested in pursuing certification for their staff. Training can be tailored to your specific needs and taught at your location. This allows your team to develop skills based on the local environment and the anchor, rigging and rescue situations they could most likely encounter.

It may be possible to schedule a Level 1 Canyon Leader/Guide Course and Single Site Canyon Guide assessment, as well as an Accreditation Review during the same visit.