Climbing Wall Instructor Certification Program

The CWI certification program focuses on education, review and skills evaluation of
individual candidates using consensus performance standards developed by leading
professionals in the field of climbing sports


Goals of the CWI Program

The purpose of the certification program is to establish a voluntary certification for climbing instructors and a uniform set of performance standards that can be easily adopted worldwide. Read the full CWI Program Policy.

The primary goals of the CWI Certification Program are:

  1. To increase the level of professionalism in indoor climbing;
  2. To improve the level of consistency and competency in indoor climbing technical
    instruction;
  3. To define a consistent standard of care for climbing instructors in the following
    areas:
    1. client orientation and instruction;
    2. teaching general climbing skills including movement;
    3. teaching proper belaying techniques;
    4. teaching proper leading techniques;
    5. teaching proper equipment care and use;
    6. proper facility use, care, and inspection; and
    7. emergency procedures;
  4. To evaluate the technical skills of climbing instructors;
  5. To provide candidates with guidance for further professional development.
  6. To provide a means of promoting consistency and quality assurance in climbing
    instruction for the benefit of the public.


Climbing Wall Instructor Certification

The CWA Climbing Wall Instructor Certification Course will address the basic technical skills necessary to participate in an instructional program at a climbing facility, and will address the following general topic areas:

  • equipment and facility inspection
  • client orientation and instruction
  • teaching top rope skills
  • teaching lead skills (optional)
  • bouldering and spotting
  • emergency procedures

Pre-requisites for CWI certification include:

  1. The candidate will be at least 18 years of age by the conclusion of the course. (Note:
    persons less than 18 years of age may audit the course and will not receive
    certification, but will receive a letter of completion.)
  2. The candidate can demonstrate basic climbing movement skills.
  3. The candidate can climb 5.8 top rope demonstrating calm, confidence, and good
    position without falls.
  4. The candidate can climb 5.7 lead demonstrating calm, confidence, and good position
    without z-clips, back clips, or falls (optional: for lead endorsement only).
  5. The candidate has or is provided with appropriate equipment in good condition.
  6. The candidate can demonstrate proper care, use, and inspection of climbing
    equipment.
  7. The candidate can demonstrate proficient belay technique.

You can begin preparing for your certification by reading the CWI Student Manual and reviewing the assessment tool your provider will use. When you are ready to become certified reach out to your employer or one of our many certified providers.


CWI Provider Certification

In order to be a certification program provider, you must apply, be accepted, abide by the program policies and curriculum and maintain your CWA membership.

The CWI Certification Program is designed to promote industry self-regulation and assist owner/operators of climbing facilities in training staff to a minimum, consistent standard of care. The curriculum can be easily integrated into existing staff training and professional development programs. The CWI Certification Program may not cover all necessary topics required at a particular company, program or facility. However, the program should address the basic technical competencies for climbing wall instructors regardless of venue. The primary governing document for the program is the program policy manual which discusses the structure and functioning of the program and the responsibilities of the providers.

If you are interested in becoming a program provider, are a current CWA member, and are qualified to train candidates, please fill out the application materials below. Prerequisites for becoming a CWI Provider are listed on the Certification Program Provider Application form below.

If you are a current program provider and you have any questions, please contact Heather Reynolds at certification@cwapro.org.

Provider Applicants
Resources For Providers
Post Course Paperwork