View topic - Certifications for Guiding

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PostPosted: April 9th, 2018, 7:24 pm 

Joined: August 10th, 2016, 9:37 am
Posts: 26
So I've been thinking about working on getting some certifications to help get a guiding/co-guiding job for the 2019 season.

I have Wilderness survival training and am going to be getting my "Wilderness & Remote First Aid" certification shortly in addition to a fair amount of flat water tripping experience in the last few years.

From what I can tell from doing some quick job searches, I will likely need to upgrade to a Wilderness First Responder. It also looks like working towards a Bronze Cross would also be pretty key too.

I was hoping to hear from some of you what experience and certifications are helpful for finding work in the guiding industry. There seems to be a lot of courses out there offered through ORCKA and Paddle Canada that it's a little confusing as to what's key to finding work.

Any tips would help.

PostPosted: April 10th, 2018, 7:56 am 

Joined: October 19th, 2004, 5:49 pm
Posts: 91
Location: Ottawa
From an ORCKA certification aspect you would need Canoe Tripping Level 3 - CT3 (Trip Leader). See here for details: ... m_2009.pdf. I would consider WFR as essential and white water rescue technician training. Bronze Cross not essential but helpful.



PostPosted: April 10th, 2018, 9:55 am 
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Joined: February 12th, 2004, 9:28 am
Posts: 2249
Location: Waterloo, ON
Your best off talking directly to the companies you are interested in working for. They will tell you what they actually require and/or look for. For example, unless they are specifically running whitewater trips they likely won't have any interest or need for any whitewater certification.

You might also want to look at university level programs in Outdoor Leadership like the one at Laurentian: ... leadership

Generally I support certifications, but I'm not impressed with the ORCKA Canoe Tripping ones and have yet to hear of a camp or organization that actually requires a Canoe Tripping Level 3. I know of one organization that wants volunteer trip leaders to have Canoe Tripping Level 2. I know of another that does not require any ORCKA certification.

Similarly, while first aid will be a minimum and wilderness first aid will often be desired or even required, wilderness first responder likely wouldn't be expected for most Ontario positions. On the other hand if you're looking at positions doing multi-week arctic trips then wilderness first responder may well be required.

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PostPosted: April 10th, 2018, 1:32 pm 

Joined: January 11th, 2005, 4:58 pm
Posts: 1901
Location: Manitoba
First aid most likely the AWFA or WFR

For Paddle Canada you'd be looking for the Advanced Canoe Tripping certification as well as a Moving Water cert such as the Intermediate or Advance Tandem

For river rescue certs try

There are a few post secondary college/university etc. programs oriented towards guiding



PostPosted: April 10th, 2018, 1:34 pm 
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Joined: August 8th, 2017, 9:14 am
Posts: 843
Algonquin has a 2 year diploma ... /overview/

PostPosted: April 12th, 2018, 5:49 pm 
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Joined: April 25th, 2007, 1:16 pm
Posts: 65
Location: Alberta
The advice you have gotten is quite accurate. For better or worse, the canoe guiding industry in Canada is relatively unorganized and unregulated. Permission to guide in parks being the exception. But the final call on certification, experience and training rests with the employer and their specific insurance and liability policies.

Exception is First Aid, this is quite standard across the country as a 80 course for overnight and remote trips. But beyond FA, everything else has been a negotiation in my experience. Strike up conversations with guides and instructors, what certifications do they carry and maintain. In the outdoor industry we are measured against our peers and what an equivalent professional in a similar situation would have done, and how they would be prepared.

My personal priority list:
1) 80 hour wilderness first aid course
2) experience, both personal and professional
3) instructor and professional Certifications

And somewhere throw in character references.

Canoe, Kayak, Bushcraft and Traditional Wilderness Living Skills

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