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Climbing Wall Instructor Course
The PCIA Climbing Wall Instructor Course provides instructors and potential instructors with a in depth and standardized understanding of the skills essential to teaching climbing in an indoor setting. It is the first step in a sequential approach to professional climbing instructor development. The course reinforces the importance of teaching technically accurate information and debunks many common climbing myths. The course emphasizes the presentation of sound fundamental skills to climbing gym participants, the formation of risk assessment and risk management skills and basic problem solving skills such as belay transitions and on wall coaching and assist techniques. Participants will be assessed on both their core knowledge and their ability to effectively teach and coach related skills.
Climbing Wall Instructor Course Pre-requisites
- The candidate must show an adequate experience level to the course provider illustrating that he/she is ready for the course. Examples include periodic climbing for 2 – 3 years, a high intensity of climbing in the past few months, etc.
- Able to easily put on harness and tie in appropriately.
- Able to belay with an aperture belay device and an assisted locking device in competent, comfortable and confident manner.
- Possess the personal equipment necessary for the course.
- Capable of comfortably top roping 5.8 on an artificial climbing wall.
Climbing Wall Instructor Course Length
The course is 20 hours (2 days) with pre-course study and lesson preparation required.
Climbing Wall Instructor Course Certfication Levels
CWI - A - Climbing Wall Instructor Assistant
CWI - Climbing Wall Instructor
CWI - L - Climbing Wall Instructor with Lead Climbing endorsement
Climbing Wall Instructor Core Component Skills
- Presents her/himself with a professional demeanor and appropriate attire.
- Presents her/himself with essential and well-maintained personal equipment.
- Discuss differences between recreational climbing and climbing instruction and supervision.
- Understand legal and administrative aspects of wall management.
- Design and demonstrate professional client greeting and facility introduction
- Discuss options for working with youth populations vs. adult populations.
- Be able to discuss professionalism, professional training programs and the role of organizations such as the PCIA, CWA, ACCT and the AMGA.
- Model a top rope climb at the 5.8 standard illustrating confident, smooth, and controlled movement.
- Demonstrate a variety of basic and intermediate physical climbing movement skills.
- Possess a working knowledge of and an ability to inspect basic climbing gear such as ropes, belay devices, carabiners and climbing shoes.
- Demonstrate ability to confidently tie and discuss use of the following knots: Figure 8, Overhand and Bowline.
- Demonstrate ability to confidently belay using a variety of belay methods including aperture devices, assisted locking devices, and Munter Hitch.
- Possess a working knowledge of fundamental gym set-up and on-going inspection tasks hold maintenance, landing surfaces, floor areas, bolts and quick draws, and rope set-ups.
- Discuss creation of safe climbing routes for varying abilities and styles of climbing.
- Design and demonstrate administration of a basic climbing skill test
- Design and demonstrate administration of a lead climbing skill test
- Demonstrate effective skills intervention and skills remediation
- Evaluate and problem-solve the need for back-up belays and the use of anchors.
- Perform basic assistance and rescue skills such taking over a loaded belay, counter ascending / rappelling, and a climber pick off.
- Prepare an emergency plan for a sample facility.
- Demonstrate effective supervision of both bouldering and roped climbing areas.
- Demonstrate effective spotting techniques.
- Design and demonstrate an appropriate teaching sequence of harness application, knot use, belaying and communication.
- Design and demonstrate a lesson showing effective coaching of movement skills through activities, verbal direction and modeling.
Climbing Wall Instructor Certification
Certification is granted to candidates who successfully meet all component skill objectives, complete pre-course requirements, and score a minimum of 75 on the written exam. The target goal for the certification standard is for candidates to be able to generalize learned information - in other words to be able to utilize various principles to create solutions for problems at hand. Generalization is considered the fourth learning stage following memorization, comprehension, and application.
Academic Course Format
The Climbing Wall Instructor Course Curriculum is also available from the PCIA in an academic classroom format. Lessons are divided into 75 minute blocks to better fit class schedules. Also included are assignment suggestions, sample exams, sample activities and an A-E grading model.
PCIA Climbing Wall Instructor certifications can be maintained in multiple ways. Option 1 is a standard one day recertification course taken anytime within three years of the last date of certification. Certified individuals also have the option of participating in approved continuing education courses as well. Recertification by continuing education requires a minimum of 5 hours focused on technical skills and 5 hours focused on education skills. Candidates may also take a higher level course and/or certification. Certified individuals may petition the PCIA for credit for activities that are not pre-approved. Completion of an upper level PCIA course fulfills the requirements for Climbing Wall Instructor Recertification. An upper level PCIA certification supercedes the Climbing Wall Instructor Certification and both will remain valid as long as the continuing education requirements of the higher level course are met.
Recognition of Other Certifications
The PCIA recognizes that there are many sources of information available to the climbing public. Any person possessing a current Climbing Wall Instructor certification from a nationally recognized program may join the PCIA as a certified member and receive a reciprocal PCIA Climbing Wall Instructor certification. Persons holding other certifications will be reviewed on a case by case basis.
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