Another commonly asked question relates to internationally recognised qualifications. Contrary to what most people believe, when it comes to getting qualifications for hiking and climbing, there are actually no internationally recognised qualifications at the entry level for guiding in these disciplines.
The reason for this is that each state, region, or country has specific protocols and industry standards relating to these activities, in terms of how they can run professionally. When you think about it, places around the globe all have different cultural norms, environments, weather systems, and a general way of how things are done, so this explains why qualifications are often specific to a place.
It's not until you’ve built up years of experience and proof of time in the field that you can consider applying for international guiding qualifications. IFMGA or UIMLA are examples of international qualifications which ensure guides all have technical expertise, safety standards and the professionalism necessary to lead expeditions around the world. These certifications require guides to possess specific skill sets, undergo rigorous training, and take years of time in the field to achieve.
The good news for everyone getting started in the outdoor industry is that most guiding companies often have a little grace for those just beginning their journey, and recognise that although international qualifications may not hold weight in their country, professional and personal experience in the field does. This is where the importance of a logbook comes in. We have had many students join our Adventure Guide Program and continue on to their home countries with a logbook full of hikes and climbs, training hours and client days. Your logbook is your resume of experience in the industry which is why we believe it is so important for you and your career to keep this in focus (as explained above).
Whether or not becoming an internationally recognised hiking or climbing guide is your goal, the first thing you need to do is to gain some personal and professional experience in order to consolidate your learning and begin to build your skill set. Everyone has to start somewhere, so just take it one step at a time and see where the road takes you.
OUTDOOR CERTIFICATIONS & QUALIFICATIONS
Alongside personal development, amazing travel adventures, outdoor skills acquisition and a whole new crew of amazing friends, the majority of our programs also give you the opportunity to gain epic industry standard qualifications. Does that sound like something you're interested in? If so, we encourage you to read on...
FIRST AID COURSE CERTIFICATIONS
All our programs offer one of these first aid courses:
- Advanced Outdoor First Aid Training (Queenstown AGP)
- International Wilderness First Aid (all other destinations)
In these courses, you will gain advanced first aid knowledge and learn how to use emergency care equipment such as oxygen, defibrillators and BP cuffs as well as more invasive, but effective resuscitation techniques. You will also learn to confidently treat wounds and injuries of patients.
WATER RESCUE TRAINING
All our programs except for Patagonia offer one of the following water rescue courses:
- White-Water Level 1 Rescue training (Nepal)
- Outdoor River Rescue along with an Intro to Packrafting (Queenstown)
These courses are designed for recreational or professional river users who require rescue skills in a white-water environment. You will learn to safely paddle when leading a group, use commonly used river safety equipment, and learn about common river hazards.
NEW ZEALAND OUTDOOR QUALIFICATIONS
Our New Zealand 12-week program offers New Zealand Outdoor Instructors Association qualifications in rock (climbing) and bush (hiking). The New Zealand framework is very well regarded worldwide since the country has one independent authority, single owned and single assessed. So New Zealand is very proud of the fact they have very robust quality in the qualifications.
What this means is you can take your NZ certifications around the world and other countries will look at these with a lot of confidence!
NZOIA BUSH LEADER
A NZOIA Bush Leader can lead bush walks on formed and marked tracks, in open or bush terrain. You will need to be able to use a plan to prepare a bush walk, lead and manage groups, demonstrate effective safety management, and provide information on the natural and cultural history. Your new skills will be evaluated during a two-day assessment.
NZOIA BUSH INSTRUCTOR (LEVEL 1)
A NZOIA Bush Instructor can organise, instruct and guide multi-day tramping trips on and away from tracks, in easy and moderate bush terrain. You will need to be able to plan and prepare for a multi-day tramping trip, lead and manage groups, demonstrate effective safety management, deliver teaching sessions, and provide cultural and environmental information. Your new skills will be evaluated during a three-day assessment.
NZOIA ROCK LEADER
A NZOIA Rock Leader can lead introductory top-rope rock climbing experiences. You can instruct groups in gaining rock climbing skills, lead and manage groups, demonstrate effective safety management, and provide information on the natural and cultural history. Your new skills will be evaluated during a two-day assessment.
NZOIA ROCK INSTRUCTOR (LEVEL 1)
A NZOIA Rock Climbing Instructor can organise, instruct and guide bouldering, top rope climbing and abseil experiences at single pitch rock climbing sites, using fixed and placed protection anchors. You can instruct groups in gaining rock climbing skills, lead and manage groups, demonstrate effective safety management, deliver teaching sessions and provide interpretive information about the visited sites. Your new skills will be evaluated during a two-day assessment.
PURE EXPLORATION OUTDOOR QUALIFICATIONS
Pure Exploration’s industry standard outdoor qualifications are developed to recognise the training and assessment of your skills to lead or guide activities in a global environmental context. Our qualifications are developed in benchmark to other regionally or nationally focused qualifications and reflect common industry requirements. The Pure Exploration qualifications are written and structured around the NZOIA framework, are designed for people wanting to operate in a global context and are well regarded for employers. The skillset you are gaining is applicable worldwide.
The Trekking Leader Certificate is a training and assessment scheme that provides candidates with the required skills to safely lead and manage groups on multi-day bush and mountain treks. Treks must be on formed or marked tracks, below 2500m, with no technical river crossings and only above the bush line in fine conditions. Your new skills will be evaluated on completion of all modules during a one-day assessment.
ROCK CLIMBING SUPERVISOR
The Rock-Climbing Supervisor Certificate is a training and assessment scheme that provides candidates with the required skills to safely supervise and instruct single pitch top-rope climbing and bouldering. The training and assessment scheme also covers the personal skills required to safely single-pitch sport climb. Your new skills will be evaluated on completion of all modules during a one-day assessment.
CERTIFICATE OF GUIDING
On completing your program, you will have gained essential skills to become a well rounded entry-level technical adventure guide for the adventure tourism industry. You will have build key self-awareness & confidence, and will be able to lead a group and cope with group dynamics. Alongside your logbook, this certificate will be a valuable asset to your future career in tourism guiding.