Courses, Certifications, Accreditation

Do you often stare out the window at sunny skies dreaming of the mountains you will climb as soon as you can get outside? Maybe your folks counseled you to become a lawyer or computer programmer. But do you really want to sit in front of a computer all day? If you’re checking out this website, probably not. So why not consider a career in guiding? Become an international guide and work anywhere in Europe or Asia, or just take a step in that direction and work throughout the United States. The International Federation of Mountain Guides Association (IFMGA) and the International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation (UIAA) have endorsed the 300+ programs the AMGA runs each year. Our training course, exams, and certifications are designed to certify you, the individual guide, or accredit the guide services you work with.

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.