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Beginning a career in instructing


Original Post
Whitney Hill · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 0

Hi guys.  My name is Whitney.  I have been indoor rock climbing for about 15 years and I've just begun to climb outdoors.  I'm thinking about starting a career in climbing instructing/guiding.  Does anyone have any advice on certification courses to take (AMGA vs PCIA)?  I'm interested in working internationally so should that be a consideration when deciding which course to take?  How high of a level of certification would I need to be employed as an instructor?  How difficult is it to gain employment as an instructor/guide?  Really any advice is welcome!  Thanks in advance!

Optimistic · · New Paltz · Joined Aug 2007 · Points: 300

You might check the AMGA site to look at the prerequisites for taking their SPI (ie entry level outdoor guide) course and exam. My sense is that you don't meet those prerequisites yet if you just started leading trad, so those would be one thing to get started on.

My possibly incorrect understanding is that if you want a certification you can take around the world, that is IFMGA, and you are I'd guess many years away from that. Otherwise you'd need certification in whatever the other country was unless your employer there didn't care about certification and was just going to hire you after doing their own assessment of you.

One thought: AMGA does offer a climbing wall instructor certification. You can do that, start teaching in a gym, and spend a year dialing in the outdoor stuff and then start to pursue higher levels of certification. The teaching experience will be appreciated when you start looking for an outdoor job.

n00b · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 40

Troll.

Chris C. · · Seattle, WA · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 266
n00b wrote:

Troll.

Dude, not every new account is a troll. Sometimes they are just new. 

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275
Whitney Hill wrote:

Hi guys.  My name is Whitney.  I have been indoor rock climbing for about 15 years and I've just begun to climb outdoors.  I'm thinking about starting a career in climbing instructing/guiding.  Does anyone have any advice on certification courses to take (AMGA vs PCIA)?  I'm interested in working internationally so should that be a consideration when deciding which course to take?  How high of a level of certification would I need to be employed as an instructor?  How difficult is it to gain employment as an instructor/guide?  Really any advice is welcome!  Thanks in advance!

Hire an AMGA guide or find one to talk to about it.

C Brooks · · Fresno, CA · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 551

What's the difference between a guide and a large pizza? ..........


............

A large pizza can feed a family

n00b · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 40
Chris C. wrote:

Dude, not every new account is a troll. Sometimes they are just new. 

Sure. But new accounts that claim to have 15 years of indoor climbing experience, no outdoor experience, asking naive questions about becoming a guide, are pretty suspiciously trollish. A person with interest in being a guide would have at least tried to climb outdoors once in her 15-year climbing career.

trailridge · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 20

How do you climb indoors for 15 years without trying to climb outdoors? With that sort of inititative and creativity. I suggest you become a boulderer.  

Optimistic · · New Paltz · Joined Aug 2007 · Points: 300

I think some of you kids need to review Rule #1.

Mike Brady · · Van Diesel, OR · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 681
trailridge wrote:

How do you climb indoors for 15 years without trying to climb outdoors? With that sort of inititative and creativity. I suggest you become a boulderer.  

Not cool :)

John Barritt · · OKC · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 1,053

I love these threads.........n00b (hope I spelled it right) you have just officially volunteered as the Troll police, your mission (whether or not you choose to accept it) is to identify trolls and report them to Admin.

trailridge, you would get the meanie of the month award except you forgot to include a weed or beanie reference along with the boulderer stab........FYI boulderers, my spell check does not recognize boulderers as an actual word........even spellcheck is dissing you.

Optimistic.....It's guideline number 1, NOT rule number 1, that's why it's completely ignored........JB

;)

Optimistic · · New Paltz · Joined Aug 2007 · Points: 300

Coulda sworn it was a rule. It actually seems to be gone from the forum post form since the interface was changed.

n00b · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 40
John Barritt wrote:

I love these threads.........n00b (hope I spelled it right) you have just officially volunteered as the Troll police, your mission (whether or not you choose to accept it) is to identify trolls and report them to Admin

;)

Accepted.

Except I suspect these trolls are actually just REI's marketing department trying to generate clicks. Reporting them is probably futile.

John Barritt · · OKC · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 1,053
n00b wrote:

Accepted.

Except I suspect these trolls are actually just REI's marketing department trying to generate clicks. Reporting them is probably futile.

Conspiracy theory link up.......well done! You are the man for the job! JB

Whitney Hill · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 0
trailridge wrote:

How do you climb indoors for 15 years without trying to climb outdoors? With that sort of inititative and creativity. I suggest you become a boulderer.  

I lived in Florida.  And I am a boulderer.  That's how I have 15 years indoor experience with very little outdoor experience.  But I'm not here to defend my background.  I just wanted some advice.  

Optimistic · · New Paltz · Joined Aug 2007 · Points: 300
Whitney Hill wrote:

I lived in Florida.  

Have you moved somewhere where you can climb outside multiple times per week on quality trad terrain?  I would highly recommend setting up your living situation and your job so you can do that.  If you're still living somewhere with poor access to climbing, your goal is going to be much harder and slower to achieve.

n00b · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 40
Whitney Hill wrote:

I lived in Florida.  And I am a boulderer.  That's how I have 15 years indoor experience with very little outdoor experience.  But I'm not here to defend my background.  I just wanted some advice.  

Advice--take a trip to Red Rocks and spend a week leading and doing hanging belays to see if you want to make a career out of it.

Then research the certification classes and make a choice based on what you want.

mark felber · · Wheat Ridge, CO · Joined Jul 2005 · Points: 28

The handful of people I've met who guide/instruct internationally were people who grew up doing a wide variety of mountain sports- rock climbing, mountaineering, backcountry skiing, etc. Getting any certification beyond indoor instructor is at least as much about spending time on real rock and in the mountains as it is about taking certification classes. For that matter, experience in the outdoors counts for at least as much as any certification when it comes to being a good instructor/guide.

If you're serious about making climbing a big part of your life, move out of Florida. Actually, moving out of Florida sounds like a good plan no matter what you do with your life. But please remember that there's a lot of competition for guiding and instructing jobs, and you'll be competing with people who have a big head start in terms of outdoor experience. 

One option might be to move someplace where there's a fair bit of climbing. Keep in mid that a lot of climbing areas are in fairly rural areas with limited job options. 

Good luck to you whatever you end up doing.

                                           

John Barritt · · OKC · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 1,053

Jokes aside you are getting some good advice. You can't just get certified and hop out there, you'll end up in a bad place if you do. I started climbing at 15, I've taught dozens of people to climb and hauled dozens more up a lot of pitches without ever being paid. Had my butt hauled a time or two also. 

It's a big responsibility when you're the one in charge. It takes a cool head and thinking on your feet to keep an "iffy" situation from becoming a serious one. You can't get that in a class.

Get outdoors, spend time on the rock, and avoid the gym. Develop climbing skills on real rock and learn to be patient and relaxed. There's no "fast track" for this stuff, you have to live it.

Pretty sure that was a "Freudian invite" to climb at Redrocks with n00b, might be a good place to start right there.

Good luck, and stay safe. (unless you're a troll) JB

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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