Apprentice Interpreter

The Apprentice Interpreter certification is intended as a stepping stone to the Interpretive Specialist or Professional Interpreter certification. We encourage you to continually learn and improve your guiding skills and knowledge to make interpretive guiding your career.

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


To become certified as an Apprentice 3-Season or 4-Season Hiking Guide, you must successfully complete the IGA’s 3-Season or 4-Season Group Management Course.


The Apprentice Interpreter Course is available as a one-day interpretation course (taught across Canada) or a two-day Interpretation plus Canadian Rockies geology, ecology, and history course. People who work in the Canadian Rockies are required to take the two day course if they plan to get a license to guide in that area.

If you are unsure which course is right for you contact to find out more.

The one-day course will introduce you to thematic interpretation skills, helping you to be a more inspirational, memorable communicator.

The two-day course will introduce you to thematic interpretation, while also teaching you about the Rockies area geology, ecology, human history, and national park management.

Both courses are a great place to start your journey as an interpretive guide.

While these courses are designed for guides relatively new to interpretive guiding, they are appropriate for anyone who wants an introduction to these topics and skills.

The Apprentice Interpreter course is taught regularly virtually and in-person (when possible) in the following locations and languages:

  • Canmore, Alberta in April, May, June, November, and February. These courses are offered in English, French (if numbers warrant), and Japanese when required.
  • Jasper, Alberta, in May and November. These courses are offered in English and French (if numbers warrant)
  • The Netherlands, in partnership with Voshaar Outdoor & Education. This course is offered in English and Dutch.
  • Other regions when requested. We teach the course regularly on Vancouver Island and in Ontario and can be taught anywhere. Please reach out if you'd like to take this course in your area.

If there is demand, we can offer this course anywhere! Contact us if you would like to bring this course to your area


Interpretation Portion - part of the one-day-only course and the two-day course

Introduction to Interpretation

  • Introduction to Interpretation and thematic communication
  • The basics of effective communication
  • How to build a thematic interpretive program
  • Thematic interpretation program development and delivery

Canadian Rockies Content - 2-day course only

Natural History

  • The basics of Canadian Rockies Geology (sedimentation, mountain building, erosion, rock types)
  • Introduction to glaciers and mountain weather
  • Introduction to mountain ecosystems (Typical mountain habitats, species interactions and ecosystem connections)

History and Park Management

  • Eras of human presence in the area
  • Evolution of the concept of park- from playground to goal of ecological integrity
  • Current park management issues & initiatives

Please note: In order to become certified as an apprentice interpreter and/or apprentice hiking guide, you must participate in all portions of the course and pass the final exam with a mark of 70% or greater as well as 70% per section of the exam to earn your Apprentice Interpreter certificate.  The classroom portions of the course contain essential information, group work and discussion that are invaluable to the learning and certification requirements.

If you are new to the area and feel like you would benefit from learning a little about the geology, ecology, park management and history of this place before this course, we have a great deal for you.

We are offering anyone taking the Apprentice Interpreter course an incredible discount on our online Basic Knowledge course. Pay for your Apprentice Interpreter course, and you can take the Basic Knowledge course for 30% off.

If you are interested in taking advantage of this offer, please  contact


  • 2-Day Apprentice Interpreter Course: $369
  • 1-Day Apprentice Interpreter Course: $185
  • IGA membership fee: $89

Course costs Include:

  • Classroom or virtual training sessions.
  • A digital copy of the course handbook
  • Final in-class exam.
  • Certificate and certification as an apprentice interpreter for those who complete all components of the course and pass the final exam.
  • Your membership includes many added benefits - check out our member section for more info.

All individuals who participate in this course and become certified MUST be members of the Association so membership fees/professional dues must be paid during registration.


Apprentice Interpreter:

You must score 70% or higher on the exam as well as 70% per section of the exam to earn your Apprentice Interpreter certificate. If you do not, you may re-write the exam a maximum of 2 more times at a cost of:

  • $70 plus GST for the full exam or
  • $30 plus GST for each section

Please note, if you do not pass all sections of the exam by the third attempt you will need to re-take the course. You have up to 6 months to become certified. If you have not completed and passed the exam within that time frame you will have to re-take the full course and exams in order to become certified.


To maintain an active certification, you must:

  • Pay the Interpretive Guides Association professional dues yearly.
  • Complete a minimum of 10 hrs of professional development (PD) per year.

Read more about Professional Development requirements in this document: Professional Development (PD)


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

If you cancel three weeks before the course starting date, you will receive a full refund minus a $30 administration fee and a $45 digital handbook fee.

If you cancel two weeks before the course starting date, you will receive a 50 percent refund minus the $45 handbook fee.

If you cancel with less than 2 weeks notice no refund will be issued.

The interpretive Guides Handbooks cost $45 each for members, and it is sent out digitally, so once it is sent, we cannot refund you for that cost.

It is important and your responsibility to keep yourself safe, healthy, and injury-free before a course. Refunds are not given if you fall ill or have an accident that does not allow you to participate. If you are sick on one or more days of the course, have a valid doctor’s note, and immediately get in touch with the instructor we might be able to place you in an alternate course. This however is not always possible and will be based on having extra space available for you in that next course. We run our courses with small margins to keep prices low, so if a space is not available, you will need to re-register and pay.

If the Interpretive Guides Association has to cancel a course due to low numbers, you will have the choice of being given a full refund or transferring your registration to another course.

This policy includes, but is not limited to:

  • illness
  • work changes
  • injury
  • level of interest
  • feeling unprepared
  • transportation challenges
  • internet challenges
  • you slept in
  • incorrect scheduling
  • Your partner or a family member falls ill or hurts themselves
  • You could not find childcare
  • You've been given an opportunity to go somewhere do something
  • etc.

Please keep all these reasons in mind when booking and paying for a course. Our ability to offer and run these courses depends on the number of registrants we have. We work hard to keep costs as low as possible for registrants and knowing our participant numbers in advance and guaranteeing these numbers is essential to the operation of this member-based not-for-profit. If you have questions or concerns, please reach out to talk with us before signing up. Your health, your availability, your work, and your preparedness are your responsibility!


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