Courses, Certifications, Accreditation

The AMGA’s training courses, exams, and certifications are designed to certify you, the individual guide, with the skills necessary to effectively guide clients in Rock, Alpine, and/or Ski terrain. The International Federation of Mountain Guides Association (IFMGA) and the International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation (UIAA) have endorsed the 400+ programs the AMGA runs each year, which opens the door for individuals with our certifications to work not only in the United States, but all around the world as well.


Guide Program

Alpine and Rock Guides typically work with one or two clients in mostly technical terrain, and they limit teaching to what clients need to know to move efficiently through the guided terrain. Ski Guides typically work with larger numbers of clients in technical terrain. Guides who complete all three disciplines of the program become International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations (IFMGA/UIAGM) guides.

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Climbing Instructor Program

Climbing instructors typically work with higher student-teacher ratios and focus on educating and teaching skills to clients. The International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation (UIAA) has endorsed the AMGA’s Single Pitch Instructor and Climbing Wall Instructor certificates. The UIAA sets world standards for Climbing Instructor certification.

Climbing Service/Business Accreditation

Established in 1986, the AMGA Accreditation Program endorses guide services, climbing programs, and/or school or university outdoor programs that offer climbing instruction, guided climbing, or skiing services.


Accreditation provides a consistent standard for judging the reliability and professionalism of a climbing service by ensuring it:

  • Conforms to industry standards;
  • Guarantees rigorous and uniform guide training;
  • Is compliant with state and federal law.


The American Mountain Guides Association operates under the appropriate land use permits on the following public lands: San Juan National Forest, Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Pisgah National Forest, North Cascades National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, BLM Prineville Field Office, Eldorado Canyon State Park, Smith Rock State Park, City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks, Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation, British Columbia Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations, and Parks Canada.

The American Mountain Guides Association provides services and employment opportunities regardless of an individual’s ethnic or cultural heritage, religious beliefs, sexual orientation or physical handicap.