What are NZOIA qualifications, and how do I get them?

Are you passionate about bringing unique outdoor experiences to people’s lives? No wonder you have started to think about a career path in the outdoor adventure industry. But it seems easier said than done - where to even begin? It all starts with developing your own personal competency in the outdoors, after which you can move on to gaining the right qualifications.

The NZOIA qualifications could be a great option for you. We’ll tell you all about the level and disciplines you can get certified in, the international recognition, and other reasons why they might be just what you’re looking for.


What does NZOIA stand for?

NZOIA stands for the New Zealand Outdoor Instructors Association. It is the professional body for outdoor guides and instructors in New Zealand. They have set the industry standards in terms of instructor assessments for ten different activities and disciplines in New Zealand, ranging from hiking to rock climbing and even canyoning.

NZOIA Qualifications


What qualifications does NZOIA offer?

NZOIA has developed a qualification scheme for ten different disciplines. They have not been developed in isolation, but in partnership with other relevant industry bodies, like Whitewater NZ and various canyon operators and guides throughout New Zealand.

NZOIA qualifications exist in the following outdoor disciplines:

  • Alpine

  • Bush (hiking)

  • Canoe

  • Canyon

  • Cave

  • Kayak

  • Mountain bike

  • Rock

  • Sea kayak

  • River rescue


How do I prepare myself for getting NZOIA qualifications?

Aspiring outdoor guides and instructors can take their first steps to getting certified by taking a pre-assessment training course. Training programs like Pure Exploration’s Adventure Guide Program train you on all the skills required to pass your NZOIA assessment for Bush, Rock and Canyon. They have an amazing 98% pass rate amongst participants, so if you have put in the time and energy - by the end of the program you will be a certified Bush Leader and Canyon or Rock Leader.


3 Levels of Qualifications

There are 3 different levels of qualifications for each discipline: Leader, NZOIA 1 and NZOIA 2. The level of qualification you need depends on the type of outdoor guide job you are after. We recommend that you have a look through job adverts in order to find out what level of qualifications you need for your dream outdoor job.

NZOIA Qualifications


Are the NZOIA qualifications internationally recognized?

Every country has their own nationally recognized qualification scheme, similar to studying any other degree or course. NZOIA is the national assessment scheme for guiding in New Zealand. The New Zealand framework is very well regarded worldwide and looked upon with a lot of confidence.

NZOIA also maintains a register of qualified instructors and guides that the public can access. This register will list your name and qualifications after passing your assessment, making it a great website link to include on your resume.


What is the difference between NZOIA and AMGA?

They are each other's equivalent. AMGA is the assessment body for certain outdoor guiding skills like rock climbing in the United States, while NZOIA does the same for New Zealand. They both offer robust quality in qualifications that can lead you to fulfill your dream of becoming an outdoor instructor or guide.

NZOIA Qualifications


Why the NZOIA qualifications could be a great asset for you

✓ It’s a first step on your way of becoming an outdoor instructor or guide

✓ NZOIA promotes excellence in outdoor leadership in terms of quality and safety management

✓ The qualifications are constantly reviewed to ensure they reflect the latest in good practice

✓ Your name will listed in the public NZOIA register as a qualified guide or instructor

✓ NZOIA is recognized throughout New Zealand as the industry standard, and looked upon favorably in other countries


The takeaway

NZOIA qualifications could be a great option if you want to get started in the outdoor activity industry, but it will require expertise in your chosen discipline. The Adventure Guide Program could help you get there. This program is a great way to gain qualifications in both hiking and rock climbing or canyoning, a Wilderness First Aid certificate and Water Rescue certificate, while traveling to some epic locations around the world.

NZOIA Qualifications


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