The ACGA (American Canyon Guide Association) was formed following the dissolution of the ACA in 2011 (though it has attempted reorganization several times since). The ACGA was to become America’s first professional association for the industry of canyoneering. Four years later, its volunteer Board of Directors and limited membership were been unable to host the guide assessments for which it was created and it dissolved. It is the goal of ACE to independently fill this void in certifying guides, now and for our future.
- Certification for professional canyon guides
- Standardized curricula for canyoneering instructors
- Safety forums and tools for the canyoneering community
Our Mission: To set an American Standard to which professional canyon guides and instructors can be held; to present a clear path to certification for professional canyon guides; to host professional canyon guide assessments; to develop standardized technical canyoneering curricula; and to develop relationships between land managers, guide services, and training providers.
Please find below the details on the process to become a certified guide, and the benefits that accompany certification. Even if guiding isn’t in your future, the Assessment is great proof of your competence in the canyon environment. While this program is new, it is a strong one, and one which has drawn on the successes and learned from the failures of a variety of programs, both in the sport of canyoneering, and many others.
The fee for the ACE Guide Assessment is $395; Registration ($295) and 3-year Membership to ACE ($100).
What is the path to certification for professional canyon guide?
- Be proficient in all of the skills on the ACE Master Skills List.
- Sign-up for and pass a 2-day ACE Guide Assessment.
- Provide a Canyoneering Resume showing your:
(1) Training (dates, courses, organizations, instructors)
(2) Experience (primary leader of 30+ unique canyon descents with 6+ people each)
(3) References (4 canyoneering professionals or recreational)
Where do I learn the skills on the ACE Master Skills List?
The best way to ensure you learn ALL the technical skills on the ACE Master Skills List is to take the series of four ACE curriculum courses (L1, L2, L3, L4) offered by a variety of providers. Those 4 courses teach all the technical skills on the ACE Master Skills List. You could also learn on your own by attending any combination of courses, workshops, practices, etc, and then fill-in-the-blanks (the skills you haven’t learned yet) by reading books, searching the internet, or learning from friends. This isn’t always easy to do and the skills you learn may not be ideal. During an ACE Guide Assessment, you will be evaluated on safety, efficiency, and canyoneering-specific methods of achieving a goal. Keep that in mind should you choose to learn canyoneering from anyone other than an ACE Certified Guide or ACE Instructor.
Does ACE recognize other professional canyon guide certifications?
Yes. Submit your request to have your existing certification recognized by ACE, along with the name of the certifying entity, the curriculum and/or assessment process you went through, the date of your original certification and the date of your most recent re-certification. We will assess the program and make a determination.
If your certification is recognized, you will need to register with ACE as a professional member, pay your membership dues to ACE, and recertify every 3 years with ACE.
Are other training or certifications required to become an ACE Certified Guide?
No. We evaluate your technical proficiency and decision-making as they relate to the technical aspect of canyoneering, and a general knowledge of navigation, weather, hydrology and group health. However, Wilderness First Aid/CPR, Wilderness First Responder, Swiftwater Rescue, Leave No Trace, Meteorology, Navigation and other relevant formal training may be required by your employer, by land managers, and by insurance providers.
How is the ACE Guide Assessment administered?
- In 4 parts: Written, Skills, Exercises, and Scenarios.
- Candidates will provide their own ropes and equipment for the ACE Guide Assessment unless otherwise indicated by the hosting entity.
- All skills will be evaluated on safety, best application, and efficiency. ACE does not assess interpersonal skills, teaching style or likability. Therefore, these traits have no weight during an ACE Guide Assessment. Employers will make these determinations during their interview process.
- Candidates will be graded Pass or Fail
- In the event of a Fail during the ACE Guide Assessment, the candidate will be required to retake the entire Assessment at a future date.
What are the benefits of Professional Membership?
- All the benefits associated with a Sport membership
- Pro-deals & discounts (regularly pursuing new relationships)
Imlay Canyon Gear
- Recognition, relevance, relationships
- Business listings, Employer/Employment listings & assistance
- Professional Membership is $100 for three years, which includes registration, the creation of a professional PROfile on ACECanyoneering.com, mailing out the ACE-L5 Certified Guide certificate, and the helmet stickers.
How long does my ACE-L5 Certified Guide certification last?
The ACE-L5 Certified Guide certification is valid for three years, at which point ACE requires recertification.