Climbing Wall Instructor Certification Program
This certification is available to any climbing gym worker who wants to take their career to the next level.
The Climbing Wall Instructor Program
The CWI certification program focuses on education, review and skills evaluation of individual candidates using consensus certification standards developed by leading professionals in the indoor climbing industry. To learn more, read the full CWI Program Policy.
The Mission of the CWI Program:
- To increase the professionalism, knowledge, and experience of climbing wall instructors.
- To provide access to consistent and quality certification programs.
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
- bouldering and spotting - Level 1
- teaching top rope skills - Level 2
- teaching lead skills - Level 3
- risk management
The CWA CWI Certification is divided into 3 progressive levels:
Auto Belay and Top Rope
To become a certified Climbing Wall Instructor you will complete an online Foundation self-directed module. With the successful completion of the Foundation module, the candidate will complete the subsequent Level 1 module and assessment, then Level 2 module and assessment, and finally a Level 3 module and assessment.
All instructional material and assessments must be completed for each level either through courses provided by the CWA or our network of Providers.
Once the candidate holds lead certification, the candidate may apply for a CWI Provider certification.
Minimum Experience Recommendations for the CWI Certification
Foundations study - no experience
Level 1 - 16 years old; minimum bouldering experience; can climb V0
Level 2 - 18 years old; 20 top rope climbing experiences; can climb 5.8
Level 3 - 18 years old; 40 lead climbing outings; can lead 5.9
CWI Provider Certification
CWI Providers work to support the mission of the CWA, the CWI Program, and to make CWI Certification more accessible to facilities and instructors.
Provider training is offered by the CWA as a blended learning experience with self directed course content, virtual discussions, and an in-person day of assessment.
If you are interested in becoming a program provider, the requirements are as follows:
You meet the following pre-requisites:
- CWI Level 3 Lead Instructor
- Minimum 5 hour First Aid/CPR Certification
- Willing and able to climb 5.8 on lead
- Familiar with the CWI Policy Manual (see the link below)
Your facility must meet the following requirements:
- Your facility is a current CWA member
- Your facility has proof of liability insurance
- Your facility representative is willing to sign the Attestation and Agreement on your behalf
If you have any questions, please contact Heather Reynolds at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resources For Providers
- Activity Plan
- Sample Application Form for CWI Applicants docx format
- Certification Program Policy Manual
- Frequently Asked Questions