The emphasis of the scheme is on providing opportunities for training and qualification and an incentive for instructors to increase their experience and abilities. The association tries to avoid being overly prescriptive in its approach, believing that the development of good judgment in all aspects of climbing is of primary importance.

The training scheme addresses the following aspects of rock-climbing instruction:

1. Technical knowledge and skills.
2. Safe practices.
3. Effective group management skills on and off the cliff.
4. Sound environmental awareness and practices.
5. Effective teaching skills.
6. Informed climbing ethics, philosophy and historical perspective.
7. Competent emergency response.

Entry into the training scheme at the Top Rope Guide level is open to anyone with some climbing experience who wishes to work with clients in a top rope and/or abseiling situation. At the first level, candidates do not need to be lead climbers. However, to continue onto the second level (Single Pitch Guide) which is encouraged, they would need to be a competent lead climber, capable of leading graded traditional climbs safely and efficiently. Previous instructing experience is not a prerequisite.

The ACIA currently operates with several levels of qualification. These are sequential and each builds upon the knowledge, skills, and experience of the preceding level. At each level there is a training course and subsequent assessment, separated by an interim training period with a logbook requirement. The levels are:

  • Top Rope/Abseil Guide (TRG)
  • Single Pitch Guide (SPG)
  • Multi Pitch Guide (MPG)
  • Climbing Instructor (CI)
  • Instructor Trainer/Assessor (ITA)


In 2024 the ACIA will be offering a Sport Climbing Instructor (SCI) course. This course is currently standing separate from the above (Traditional gear) courses. As it is designed at an instructor level, participants will be required to be at least SPG qualified before attending the training. The SCI course is currently offered in Western Australia and we will be liaising with our instructors this summer to offer it in the other states in the future.


The training scheme deals with techniques for the safe and effective instruction of the sport of rock climbing and assumes that all participants have knowledge of, and experience in, the basic techniques of rock climbing. For those candidates who have little or no experience with rock climbing equipment such as placing traditional gear, there is a 2 day preliminary course to the TRG which covers these basics and others. Previous instructing experience is not necessary.

At each level there is a training course, interim log book period, and assessment. The duration of each course varies - see the individual course details. The training courses at each level are broken into seminar type sessions on various instructing techniques and there is plenty of opportunity for ‘hands on’ practice of the topics covered. All of the techniques that will eventually be tested at the assessment are covered during the corresponding course.

At the end of each course there is an interim period before assessment, during which a logbook must be kept. Interim log book requirements vary at each level and some candidates may have extra requirements added if it is felt that they will need more experience or training before assessment. It is also possible for candidates to apply for exemptions from some or all of the interim requirements if they feel they have sufficient previous experience. The onus is on the candidate to apply.

At the end of each training course candidates are also appointed an ‘adviser’, normally from the course staff. The adviser is a contact for the candidate to consult regarding logbook requirements or any other problems before assessment. Once the logbook requirements have been met the candidate can attend assessment. Candidates take as long as needed to complete log book requirements and return for assessments.

It should be noted that candidates are not necessarily required to complete any assessments. The scheme is available to those who wish to complete the training courses without undergoing any assessment. This would suit people who just wish to acquire more skills and knowledge but are not interested in working in the industry and hence do not require a qualification.

Currency Requirements

All qualified instructors are required to hold a valid first aid certificate and be a financial member of the association in order to be listed as current instructors on our database.
There is an ongoing currency requirement for all levels of instructor. This is based on a self-reporting system and is a minimum requirement of instructing and/or climbing experience over the preceding two year period. Specific currency requirements are explained in detail during the courses.


Entry into all courses is by completing an application form. Please be as detailed as possible with regard to your previous experience in order for us to make an informed decision about your ability to enter the course. Please include a deposit of $100.00 with your completed application form. You can find an application form on the document download page. Please book early to avoid disappointment. The balance of the course fee is due three weeks prior to the course starting date but can be paid earlier. If paid earlier than three weeks, your course manual can be mailed out upon request.

Courses have a minimum (and maximum!) number to make them viable. Any course that doesn't reach its minimum number of applicants may be cancelled. In this case all applicants will be notified immediately and any fees paid will be returned or applied to a future course if preferred.

A cancellation fee (loss of $100 deposit) may apply if cancellation is made by an applicant less than three weeks before the course starting date. Should a participant withdraw from a course less than 24 hours before the course starts or during a course, full fees may be forfieted. Cancellation fees may apply even if the applicant is requesting to switch to a later course.

A late registration fee of $20 may apply to bookings made within two weeks of course date. Places are not guaranteed until confirmed by the course coordinator or executive officer.
Tax receipts will be distributed by email or during the course. Credit cards can be used for payment, but will incur a 4% charge additional to course cost. Electronic transfer is the preferred method of payment. Details are on the forms.


  • You need to provide your own food and accommodation during the course.
  • You will need to provide your own climbing equipment and ropes for the course.
  • Full details and course programs are sent out prior to the course start date.
  • A course manual and logbook is included in the course fee for TRG or SPG Training courses.
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