Becoming a Course Provider

The PCIA seeks instructor trainers who are passionate about teaching climbing. We seek individuals who are motivated to share their climbing knowledge, are highly experienced climbers, and who have the time and desire to be active participants in the evolution of climbing research and education. Admission into the instructor trainer is by application and is governed by a committee of senior instructors.

Climbing Wall Instructor Course Provider 

The PCIA Climbing Wall Instructor Course Provider training program is designed to create a network of qualified instructors through the United States who can deliver high quality, economical courses to the many organizations that operate artificial climbing walls. The PCIA Climbing Wall Instructor training program is expanding to train Climbing Wall Instructor Course Provider at key institutions around the country - college outdoor recreation and education programs, private climbing centers, challenge courses, camps and outdoor education centers with climbing wall programs. 

To become a PCIA Climbing Wall Instructor Course Provider program an individual is required to:

  1. Be a current member of PCIA and certified at least as a Climbing Wall Instructor.
  2. Receive a recommendation from a professional instructor and at least two other peers – preferably PCIA or AMGA instructors.
  3. Submit a letter of application to the PCIA along with an instructional carnet (resume) illustrating a strong history of climbing wall instruction and leadership. Outdoor climbing experience is highly recommended.

Once an instructor trainer candidate is approved by the PCIA they will be invited to a 2.5 day provider training course. Instructor trainer candidates must upgrade their membership to Provider level. Upon successful completion of the course components the individual will be considered an Assistant Climbing Wall Instructor Course Provider. They are then required to co-teach at least one course with a Lead Providerr who will review and recommend whether the candidate is ready to teach on their own.

Maintaining Climbing Wall Instructor Course Provider Status

A Climbing Wall Instructor Course Provider is required to maintain membership in the PCIA and to attempt to instruct a minimum of one course per year. A CWIC Provider is also required to complete one of the following every 2 years.

  1. Participate in one day of an instructor trainer course
  2. Participate in at least ten hours of instructor level approved PCIA continuing education.

Affiliate Faculty - CWI Provider Trainers

PCIA Affiliate Faculty are senior course providers who train CWI provider candidates.

Sponsoring a CWI - CWI Provider training

The PCIA is establishing a wide base of providers in various geographic regions. Please contact the PCIA if you or someone you know is a good candidate. CWI Provider training courses can be offered at your facility in conjunction with a CWI course. Please contact PCIA  for more information on sponsoring a CWI course.

Outdoor Climbing Instructor Course Provider
Base Managed • Top Managed • Single Pitch

The climbing instructor plays a pivotal role in the experiences and skill development of recreational climbers. On one day the instructor may be facilitating a climbing experience for a group of ten year olds while on another day the instructor is providing a lesson on anchor construction to clients who want to start climbing on their own. In essence, they are helping to form lifelong habits. The PCIA believes that climbing instructors need to be extremely well informed about climbing equipment and techniques, be superb technicians highly skilled in the management of clients in hazardous terrain, and be patient, caring educators who continually strive to better their own knowledge and delivery methods.

The climbing instructor provider and examiner plays an even more critical role in this chain. The instructor provider is expected to provide state of the art education and to evaluate and decide about the readiness of instructor candidates to become instructors. Thus, the PCIA is highly selective in seeking candidates to become instructor trainers. Selected individuals are expected to be active in educational development and personally interested in furthering the professionalism of climbing instructors. Each candidate is reviewed individually by the PCIA Technical Committee and evaluated on the merits of their background. Preferred course provider qualifications include:

  1. A professional degree related to outdoor education.
  2. A resume illustrating 300+ days of professional experience teaching entry level climbing to both individuals and groups that includes base and top managed climbing as well as rappelling.
  3. At least 5 years of traditional lead climbing experience with a current ability to lead 5.9 routes with comfort.
  4. PCIA or similar certification for three or more years.
  5. A recommendation by at least one professional climbing instructor and at least two past institutional clients.
  6. A demonstrated performance level well above the PCIA exam level.
  7. Successfully delivering PCIA eligible continuing education programs.

Course Provider Process

Step 1: An interested individual should submit a cover letter, resume, and supporting materials illustrating the above characteristics and why they are interested. Information should be electronically submitted to the PCIA Educational Director at This is the first acceptance/rejection point.

Step 2: Applicants will participate in an in-person or phone interview by member(s) of the PCIA Outdoor Program Committee. Based on the outcome of the interview, selected candidates will be invited to continue in the provider development process or offered suggestions to help them meet the pre-requisites in the future.

Step 3: Candidates will be invited to participate as a provider-in-training on a full BMCI course or to continue directly on to the instructor provider course. At this point the candidate is a "provider-candidate."

Step 4: Participate and successfully pass a provider course and evaluation to become an Assistant Provider. Assistant providers may assist lead providers on any course but are not allowed to instruct a course without a lead provider present.

Step 5: Assistant providers seeking to become lead providers are expected to demonstrate exceptional commitment to PCIA curriculum development through such things as related research, newsletter writing, conference presentations, development of teaching materials, etc. and to have assisted on a number of PCIA courses and received favorable evaluations.

PCIA Lead Providers
Each Assistant Provider seeking to become a Lead Provider is reviewed on a case by case basis by the PCIA Educational Committee. Assistant providers seeking to become leads must co-teach with at least two different PCIA providers and receive favorable evaluations from each.

Step 6. Based on a recommendation by two or more course providers, the Education Coordinator will make the final decision as to whether a candidate is selected to be a lead provider.

Note: Based on a consensus of the PCIA Outdoor Program sub committee, the committee has the flexibility to insert a well-qualified instructor candidate at any point in the process outlined above.

To maintain Course Provider Status
Active instructor providers (those who teach at least one of each course annually) are required to:

1. attend an Instructor meeting at least once every 3 years or

2. co-instruct one of each course with an educational committee member. •

Instructor trainers are also expected to demonstrate exceptional commitment to PCIA curriculum development through contrubutions of related research, newsletter writing, conference presentations, development of teaching materials, etc. Such involvement will be considered strongly when instructors are up for renewal. • Inactive instructor trainers (those who have not taught at least one of each course in the past year) are required to: co-instruct a course with another lead Instructor prior teaching a course again on their own. Instructor trainers who do not maintain meet the above requirements will be removed from the instructor trainer pool unless exemption is approved. Expenses and fees associated with acquiring instructor trainer status are the responsibility of the candidate.

The PCIA seeks course providers in various regions throughout the country. Please contact the PCIA if you or someone you know is a great candidate.

Current and Past AMGA Single Pitch and Top Rope Site Manager Course Provider Reciprocity
The PCIA cordially invites all current and past providers from the AMGA to join the PCIA instructor pool. Interested existing providers will be expected to: show a strong commitment to the PCIA mission; to begin meeting PCIA continuing education requirements (see above) within one year of becoming a recognized instructor; and to have a phone interview with at least two members of the PCIA BOD. In some cases an educational plan may be mutually developed to assist instructors who are relatively new, have been away from instructing for some time or who have need for greater curriculum familiarity.

Please email if you are interested in pursuing PCIA certification through reciprocity.

Continuing Education Instructor
Any outdoor education professional may submit a program for review as a continuing education course. Each program is subject to approval by the PCIA Continuing Education Committee.