Guide Certification

All credible professions require formal training and proof of competency. The profession of guiding is no different and there are a number of established training and certification organizations throughout the world for canyon guides.

CGI is unique …

CGI offers two paths to certification – Training and Assessment and Assessment Challenge. Most organizations require certification candidates to receive all of their training from that organization. We believe there is significant value for aspiring guides in acquiring knowledge and skills from more than one organization. The real value of certification is in proving technical knowledge and competence, which can be accomplished through our unique assessment process, regardless of where or how you acquired the knowledge and skills.

  • TRAINING AND ASSESSMENT — For individuals who are working towards acquiring the skills needed for certification we encourage you to find a reputable training organization near you or contact us for recommendations.
  • ASSESSMENT CHALLENGE — For individuals who feel they have acquired the necessary skills (perhaps from a variety of sources), but have not received certification and wish to consolidate their credentials, assessments conducted by CGI provide another option for you to prove your competency and receive an internationally recognized certification. There are no training prerequisites for challenging an assessment.

Regardless of the path you choose, the goal is to insure the investment you made in your training and certification is recognized everywhere you wish to work. Certification indicates to prospective clients and students that you have been assessed to the standard of an internationally recognized, professional body.

Certification Levels

CGI offers professional certification assessments at four levels:


Level 1  Aspirant Canyon Guide

This certification level is ideal for those seeking an entry-level certification as a foundation for gaining additional guiding experience working as an apprentice or assistant guide before pursuing higher levels of certification.

Level 1 Guides can be trained and certified by any CGI certified guide, Level 2 or higher.

Level 2  Fixed Site / Single Pitch Canyon Guide

Fixed Site / Single Pitch Canyon Guide is a certification available to individuals who either (a) guide fewer than three canyons that all have similar characteristics, hydrology and emergency response requirements, or (b) guide easy canyons with simple, straight-forward anchors and rigging (single-point natural anchors, bolted anchors, basic deadman anchors). It is also suitable for individuals who anticipate that a significant portion of their work will be teaching canyoneering skills in non-canyon environments such as local climbing crags.

Level 2 Guides can be trained by any CGI certified guide, Level 2 or higher, but can only be certified by CGI Certified Instructors.

Level 3  Pro Canyon Guide

CGI certified Pro Canyon Guides are individuals who have attained and demonstrated a high level of technical competence through rigorous assessment that meets and exceeds international standards. CGI certification provides a decisive tool for choosing the right guide/instructor to help clients and students achieve their canyoneering objectives.

Level 3 Guides can only be trained and certified by CGI Certified Instructors who are Level 3 or higher.

Level 4  Master Canyon Guide

CGI certified Master Canyon Guides are individuals who progressed from Pro Canyon guide to attain a level of technical proficiency that represents the pinnacle of guiding excellence.

Level 4 Guides can only be certified by CGI Certified Instructors who are Level 4.

Instructor Certification

Teaching canyoneering skills to others involves more than technical competence. Effective instructors must be good communicators who use an array of teaching strategies to accommodate students’ learning styles. Assessments for Instructor certification are available as an add-on for CGI certified guides, Level 2 and higher. Instructor certification assessments focus on teaching skills rather than specific technical skills.

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 reputable instructors and guides. 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.

  • JOIN CANYON GUIDES INTERNATIONAL — Membership is required for certification. Joining will grant you access to the Certification Checklist and other documents you will need to complete the process for certification. If you prefer to download the documents prior to becoming a member you can use the FREE Startup Registration.
  • COMPLETE THE REQUIREMENTS — Use the Certification Checklist as your guide for completing all of the requirements for certification, including an online knowledge exam, hands-on skills assessment, letters of recommendation and canyon resume.