All credible professions require formal training and proof of competency. ACA courses and assessments give you that credibility by guiding you through the entire process of becoming a professional canyon guide.

The ACA is the only organization in America to offer a comprehensive certification program for professional canyon guides. Certification from the ACA involves rigorous training and assessment with two key factors in mind: (1) Becoming the best canyon guide possible, and (2) Delivering the greatest reward for your clients. Success in the program indicates that an individual has been assessed to the standard of an internationally recognized, professional body.

The ACA offers professional certification at three levels:

 

Certification - Step by Step

Start by getting out and descending canyons. Lots of canyons. The key to becoming a canyoneering guide is to become accomplished in the sport. Seek instruction from a reputable instructor/guide to learn skills from the ACA's Level 1, 2, 3 and 4 Skills Checklists.

Seek out mentors. Talk to canyon guides. Observe them in the canyons. Check out their gear, their interactions with clients, and the techniques they use that differ from recreational canyoneers. No matter what your skill level is now, there is a big difference between canyoneering recreationally and guiding professionally. To be a pro, learn from a pro!

When you think you are ready, ACA certification at each level follows these steps:

1. Complete the training by any means you desire for each level of assessment. When you have obtained the skills for a desired level of certification you are ready to take an assessment.

2. Pass the required assessments.

3. Create and maintain your member profile on the ACA's website.

4. Submit a canyon resume that reflects the required canyoneering experience.

5. Progress to the next level.

 


How much does it cost to be certified by the ACA?

The answer will vary between providers but you can expect the cost of courses and assessments to be around $100 to $125 per day.

  • Fixed Site / Single Pitch Canyon Guide certification involves a 5-day course and 2-day assessment. You can expect the fees to total $700 to $875.
  • Pro Canyon Guide certification involves a 7-day course and 4-day assessment. You can expect the fees to total $1100 to $1375.
  • Master Canyon Guide certification involves one 7-day course, one 4-day course and a 7-day assessment. You can expect the fees to total $1800 to $2250.

Be sure to add the cost of travel, accommodation and meals to estimate your total investment. The courses above are not required but are highly recommended to pass the assessment. Our assessments are extremely challenging for even the most competent canyoneer.

Is there a first aid requirement for certification?

First aid certification is not a prerequisite for ACA certification. However, you will be expected to obtain the level of first aid certification that is typical for guides in your area. In the United States it is common for guides to hold Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certification.

How long does certification last?

Certification is valid for three years, provided you have kept your member profile current on the ACA's website. You can become recertified by any of these methods:

  1. Retake the assessment.
  2. Become certified at a higher level.
  3. Submit a canyon resume that reflects (a) preapproved continuing education and (b) participation in at least two ACA Leader-Guide Rendezvous during the current period of certification.

 

 

What people are saying …

All credible professions require formal training and proof of competency. ACA courses and assessments give you that credibility by guiding you through the entire process of becoming a professional canyon guide.

The ACA is the only organization in America to offer a comprehensive certification program for professional canyon guides. Certification from the ACA involves rigorous training and assessment with two key factors in mind: (1) Becoming the best canyon guide possible, and (2) Delivering the greatest reward for your clients. Success in the program indicates that an individual has been assessed to the standard of an internationally recognized, professional body.

The ACA offers professional certification at three levels:

 

Certification - Step by Step

Start by getting out and descending canyons. Lots of canyons. The key to becoming a canyoneering guide is to become accomplished in the sport. Seek instruction from a reputable instructor/guide to learn skills from the ACA's Level 1, 2, 3 and 4 Skills Checklists.

Seek out mentors. Talk to canyon guides. Observe them in the canyons. Check out their gear, their interactions with clients, and the techniques they use that differ from recreational canyoneers. No matter what your skill level is now, there is a big difference between canyoneering recreationally and guiding professionally. To be a pro, learn from a pro!

When you think you are ready, ACA certification at each level follows these steps:

1. Complete the training by any means you desire for each level of assessment. When you have obtained the skills for a desired level of certification you are ready to take an assessment.

2. Pass the required assessments.

3. Create and maintain your member profile on the ACA's website.

4. Submit a canyon resume that reflects the required canyoneering experience.

5. Progress to the next level.

 


How much does it cost to be certified by the ACA?

The answer will vary between providers but you can expect the cost of courses and assessments to be around $100 to $125 per day.

  • Fixed Site / Single Pitch Canyon Guide certification involves a 5-day course and 2-day assessment. You can expect the fees to total $700 to $875.
  • Pro Canyon Guide certification involves a 7-day course and 4-day assessment. You can expect the fees to total $1100 to $1375.
  • Master Canyon Guide certification involves one 7-day course, one 4-day course and a 7-day assessment. You can expect the fees to total $1800 to $2250.

Be sure to add the cost of travel, accommodation and meals to estimate your total investment. The courses above are not required but are highly recommended to pass the assessment. Our assessments are extremely challenging for even the most competent canyoneer.

Is there a first aid requirement for certification?

First aid certification is not a prerequisite for ACA certification. However, you will be expected to obtain the level of first aid certification that is typical for guides in your area. In the United States it is common for guides to hold Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certification.

How long does certification last?

Certification is valid for three years, provided you have kept your member profile current on the ACA's website. You can become recertified by any of these methods:

  1. Retake the assessment.
  2. Become certified at a higher level.
  3. Submit a canyon resume that reflects (a) preapproved continuing education and (b) participation in at least two ACA Leader-Guide Rendezvous during the current period of certification.

 

 

What people are saying …

“The technical info and application of methods was outstanding.

Rich and Stefan provided some great approaches to common canyoneering problems. If Rich had not told me that it was the first [ACA] course, I would not have known. Everything went very smoothly.”

May 28, 2015

“Just wanted to drop you a quick note

to let you know that I really enjoyed your course. Thanks for your patience. You are a great teacher. I have found in the past that just because one has the knowledge on something, doesn’t mean they have the ability to convey that information to others in a way they can retain it. You actually have the gift. I know I retained more that I thought I would. It was a pleasure spending those three days under your guidance.”

May 28, 2015

“Maybe I shouldn’t say this

since I’m planning to take more courses in the future, but your fees are too low. I learned more in three days than I have in my first six years of canyoneering with friends. The course is worth at least twice what you are charging. Kudos.”

May 28, 2015

“Not only is Rich an expert

but he’s a great teacher as well. He’s patient and explains procedures and techniques clearly. I appreciate that he is willing to do these classes for the community. I’ve been able to attend several of his Meet-ups, but also his 3 day canyon leader course with the Boy Scout group from Salt Lake. He provides a great resource to the community. Thanks, Rich!”

May 28, 2015

“I have been a rock climber for over a decade

and didn’t really expect to learn anything new. Was I ever wrong. I didn’t realize that there were so many specialized systems employed in canyoneering. All of it makes sense. Rock climbing systems are fine for dry rock, but not at all appropriate in a canyon – especially if there is water present.”

May 28, 2015

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May 28, 2015

“Rich did a great job (as usual).

He knows how to cater to a large, diverse group and make everyone feel welcome.”

May 28, 2015

“This was a great opportunity

for me to get exposure to a myriad of new techniques for use in future canyoneering exploits. The experience and perspective of the instructors added another dimension and contributed greatly to the value of the course.”

May 28, 2015

“This was definitely an eye-opening experience

into understanding how much there really is to canyoneering. It was a challenging week with tons and tons of information and skills to be learned. Thank you for taking extra time and effort in seeing I understood things clearly. I’m very pleased with the setup of the course. I had so much fun – the canyon trips were excellent. My excitement for canyoneering has greatened even more.”

May 28, 2015

“I learned more ropework

in 6 days with Rich than I learned in 25 years of climbing. Thank you for introducing me to the world of canyoneering.”

–Tom Jones

May 28, 2015

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