Development of the ACA's training and certification programs began in 1999. Since then, they have been continually refined to insure we always present the most current skills and techniques, while adhering to the highest standards. The cornerstones of the programs include training, mentoring, experience and practice, assessment and certification.
Training for Canyoneers of All Skill Levels
Canyoneering is not a new sport; it has been around for decades. It has, however, enjoyed a tremendous surge in popularity over the past several years. Unfortunately, many of the people who are discovering this exciting sport remain unaware of the inherent risks and the complex technical skills required to enjoy it safely. The rope skills learned from rock climbing and rappelling are a good start, but will prove to be inefficient, and sometimes dangerous, in an aquatic or semi-aquatic canyon environment.
Since 1999, the American Canyoneering Association (ACA) has been the premier source for training, technical information and services for recreational canyoneers, canyon leaders, guides and rescue professionals in the United States, Canada, Latin America, Asia and around the globe.
Sovereign Canyoneer Program
The ACA Sovereign Canyoneer program is a recreational program intended for individuals who do not wish to enter the Canyon Leader or Pro Guide track, but instead wish to become self sufficient canyoners in their own right. This program is intended for the individual(s) who wants to gain more knowledge and improve their technical skills while becoming a safer canyoneer.
The ACA currently offers these 2 program levels for recreational canyoneers:
- Sovereign Canyoneer
Canyon Leader Certification
The ACA's Canyon Leader certification is intended as a recreational designation for those who facilitate canyoneering programs in group settings such as Boy Scouts, universities, camps, schools, clubs, and our own canyoneering meetup group. The mission of the Canyon Leader program is to improve canyoneering safety by developing qualified mentors, thereby reducing the number of canyon descent parties that have only beginner level skills. Goals of the program include: (1) Provide training and mentoring for beginner canyoneers, and (2) Provide advanced skills and canyon rescue training for experienced canyoneers who volunteer to serve as mentors for beginners.
The ACA currently offers these 3 certification levels for recreational Leaders:
- Assistant Canyon Leader
- Canyon Leader
Pro Canyon Guide Certification
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.
Professional Canyon Guide certification is offered in four levels:
- Single Site Pro Canyon Guide
- Assistant Pro Canyon Guide
- Lead Pro Canyon Guide
- Master Canyon Guide