Climbing Wall Instructor Certification Program

CWI certification provides certificants with knowledge, an industry recognized standard of practice, and a higher degree of professionalism when introducing new climbers into indoor climbing and monitoring climbing activities.

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:

  • professionalism
  • 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:

Level 1

Level 2
Auto Belay and Top Rope

Level 3
Lead Climbing


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.

Find all scheduled virtual CWI Courses

Find a local Provider

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.

Find all scheduled Provider Courses

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

Resources For Providers

Certification Program Policy Manual

Frequently Asked Questions

CWI Course Registration