Professional Interpreter

The Professional Interpreter Certification Program formally recognizes the knowledge, experience, and interpretive skill of guides who have been in the profession for at least three years. Professional Interpretive Guides have demonstrated the ability to transform an average walk in the park to a memorable and meaningful experience for visitors.

All individuals wishing to become certified as a Professional Interpreter must complete the Professional Interpreter Certification Program (PICP). The PICP is a minimum of 48 hours of instruction, along with the completion of two exams. Students are required to attain a mark of 70% or higher on both the written and oral exam.

Tous nos cours de certification sont disponibles en français. Veuillez nous contacter si vous souhaitez en savoir plus.

PICP Certificate requires completion of the following modules:

  • Interpretive Specialist Course
  • Professional Interpreter Vignette Workshop
  • Canadian Rockies Lectures – Geology, Ecology, Parks Management, History
  • Two Elective Modules


To become certified as a Professional 3-Season or 4-Season Interpretive Hiking Guide, you must also complete the IGA’s 3-Season or 4-Season Group Management Course.


The PICP is an advanced level program that can take up to a year to complete. It is open to anyone interested in gaining an in-depth understanding of interpretation, park management, geology, ecology, and history of the Canadian Rockies. It is specifically designed for individuals with previous interpretive guiding experience who are interested in advancing their guiding career.

Please note: You must attend each core module of the program, along with 2 elective modules, to become certified. Please make sure you can attend everything before you register and pay.


The PICP will have its core modules offered three times per year – Winter (January-February), Spring (April-May), and Fall (October-November).

The core modules include: the Interpretive Specialist course, the 4 PI lectures (geology, ecology, parks management, and history), and the PI Vignette Workshop.


Check back soon as we are creating a PICP for folks who interpret outside of the Canadian Rockies. Contact us if you're interested in getting involved.


The following topics are covered in the program:

  • Geology & Ecology of the Canadian Rocky Mountains
  • Banff, Jasper, Yoho, Kootenay National Park Management and Local History
  • Advanced-level Thematic Interpretation & Training

PICP Elective Modules offer a broad perspective for upcoming Professional Interpreters. The IGA will strive to offer a variety of elective modules throughout the year, however, most will be offered in the Spring. Topics can include flora/fauna identification, climate change, wildlife safety, interpretive writing, dialogic interpretation, forest bathing, and other topics related to the profession of guiding and interpretation.

These elective modules will often be open to the public. You can see the list of available options (here) or check the event for "Professional Interpreter Elective: Eligible" (example below).

Officially Recognized Certificates: The IGA recognizes other interpretive training organizations, such as InterpActive's online course on Dialogic Interpretation (also known as two-way or visitor-centered interpretation). The self-guided course utilize the interactive Miro whiteboard platform, allowing you to work on the materials on the days of the month that suit your schedule.

All IGA members are welcome to take this online self-guided training. For Professional Interpreter candidates this qualifies as two elective modules if you take both BASIC TALK and ENHANCED TALK together.

Special IGA member cost for BASIC and ENHANCED TALK combined $270. For more information and to register, go to


Students seeking their Professional Interpreter certificate are required to have completed the Apprentice Interpreter course or the Interpretive Specialist course (pre-2024). If you do not have your Apprentice Interpreter certificate, but have substantial (5+ years) experience in guiding or interpretation in the Canadian Rockies, you may contact us for a possible exemption.


There are two exams for the PI course; a written one and an oral one. These exams are taken separately and must be completed within 1 year of starting the PICP. The written exam has a time limit of 4 hours and covers the 5 sections of the core course (geology, ecology, interpretation, parks management, and history). Note that any content from the elective modules will not be included in the written exam.

The oral exam is a 5 minute interpretive vignette that you present live in front of a 3-person panel of evaluators.

In order to be eligible to take either exam, you must complete and attend each core module the program and submit your PI Application Points.

In order to take the exams you will need to register for them in advance. The exams are most often done over zoom (all oral exams will take place over zoom and written exams may be taken in person where possible).

If you started the PICP but did not complete either the written and oral exams within the 1 year timeframe, you will have to retake the core modules.

Check here for upcoming exam dates. Email if you have any questions.


To become certified as a Professional Interpreter you will be assessed on your guiding experience, understanding of thematic interpretation, local area knowledge, the completion of the PICP, a 4-hour written exam and the delivery of a 5-minute thematic interpretive vignette.

Your guiding experience and understanding of thematic interpretation are assessed using the Professional Interpreter’s Points System. In order to be able to take either exam, you must have a minimum of 120 points, and at least 50% of those points must come from direct interpretive work experience. See the table to the right for more details.

If you want to take the course or become certified at the professional level, please read through the application package and complete the application form.

Only individuals who have completed the PICP (100% attendance is mandatory) and have the required experience are eligible to take the exams.

Additionally, to receive your certification at the professional level, you must:

  • Be a current member in good standing (professional dues paid and at least 10 hours of professional development submitted).
  • Complete both exams within 1 year of signing up for the PICP.
  • Achieve a minimum of 70% on the written and oral exam (note: you must achieve 70% overall as well as 70% on each of the 5 sections of the written section).
  • Adhere to IGA’s Code of Ethics.
PI Points Breakdown 2022


  • PICP, including exam fees: $1025 plus GST
  • Click here to register
  • After paying the above fee, you will be sent a coupon code for you to register for each core module (IS Course, PI Vignette Workshop, 4x PI Lectures) and grant you free entry into select elective modules. Please note that some elective modules will be more expensive than others and require an additional fee. We cannot guarantee that all elective modules will have space for all PICP students, so early registration is recommended.
  • The coupon code system is not automated and may take 1-2 business days to be sent to you.

Other Costs:

  • You must be a member of the IGA in order to become certified. Please purchase and pay your membership fees if they are not current and up to date.
  • If you do not pass the written or oral exam, there are additional fees to retake the exam ($75 written (full exam) or $50 (one section), $75 oral exam).

Individuals who are certified as a Professional Interpreter and are interested in refreshing their knowledge may sit through sections of the course a second time for a discounted rate when space is available. Contact us for details.


Please read the full Cancellation & Refund Policy if you are planning to sign up for a course.

If you cancel three weeks or more prior to the course or module start date, you will receive a full refund less a $30 administration fee and a $45 digital handbook fee, if applicable.

If you cancel between two and three weeks prior to the course or module start date, you will receive a 50% refund.

If you cancel with less than 2 weeks' notice, no refund will be issued for any reason.

Please note: Once purchased, membership fees are non refundable. Please make sure you want to join the association and/or take a course before joining and paying these fees.


June 2024
Jun 17 2024

Professional Interpreter Oral Exam June 17, 2024

Students seeking their Professional Interpreter certification must complete the written and oral exams with a minimum grade of 70%. Click this link if you're ready to present your interpretive vignette.
On Zoom
August 2024
Aug 28 2024

Professional Interpreter Oral Exam August 28, 2024

Students seeking their Professional Interpreter certification must complete the written and oral exams with a minimum grade of 70%. Click this link if you're ready to present your interpretive vignette.
On Zoom
No event found!