I am familiar with and attempt to follow the following guidelines to the extent that they apply. (Some are based outside the US and sections may not apply here). I also use these documents as guidelines for my own continuing professional development.
In other IFMGA (UIAGM) countries guides generally attain these standards and are tested to them in a certification program. While such a program is now available in the US through the AMGA this certification is largely unrecognized. Given that full certification costs $15,000 to $20,000 or more it is impossible for many of us to justify at this time. Not only do US land managers not recognize US certification, they do not recognize the very high qualifications of IFMGA/UIAGM guides from abroad. Despite greatly exceeding local standards such guides find it close to impossible to guide legally in the US and have even been removed from National Parks, jailed and deported. Until this unfortunate situation is resolved many Americans will be unable to justify seeking AMGA certification. Hopefully a future generation of US guides will find a better climate for professional development and will find that certification is not only a worthwhile pursuit but is also recognized by the government and financially viable in a truly free market.
While certification is still very problematic in the US I do support it in principle. In areas where it is possible to hire a certified guide I recommend considering it. In areas where it is impossible due to land management and permit policies I recommend that you at least seek out a guide that is familiar with the guidelines and supports the ideal of certification as a recognized standard in the future.
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