Instructor Policies & Procedures - ACA

For ACA Instructors

Instructor Policies & Procedures

Instructor Certification FAQs & Resources

What Can I Teach?

ACA Instructors are certified to teach any and all of the content that is included in the sample skills course outlines and skills assessment courses for their own level of certification, and all the levels below.

For example, a Level 3: River Kayaking instructor can teach the Level 3: River Kayaking skills course, the Level 3: River Kayaking skills assessment, and the corresponding courses for Levels 2 and 1.

Can I Certify Other Instructors?

ACA Instructors CANNOT certify other instructors. ACA Instructors can teach the following courses within their respective discipline and up to their level of certification:

  • Skills Courses
  • Skills Assessments
  • ACA Instructors Level 3 and higher may teach the Paddlesports Safety Facilitator (PSF) course in their discipline(s)

Only ACA Instructor Trainers & Instructor Trainer Educators can certify new instructors.

How Many Students Can I Have in My Courses?

Instructor to Student Ratios are outlined on ACA skills course and assessment course outlines, and are as follows:

  • Canoe – Solo: 5 students : 1 Instructor; 10:2 with a qualified assistant
  • Canoe – Tandem: 6 students : 1 Instructor; 12:2 with a qualified assistant
  • Kayak – 5 students : 1 Instructor; 10:2 with a qualified assistant
  • SUP – 5 students : 1 Instructor; 10:2 with a qualified assistant
  • Raft – 6 students : 1 Instructor; 12:2 with a qualified assistant
  • Safety & Rescue – 12 students : 1 Instructor; 24:2 with a qualified assistant
  • Prone Paddling – 5 students : 1 Instructor; 10:2 with a qualified assistant
  • Surfski – 5 students : 1 Instructor; 10:2 with a qualified assistant
  • Level 5: River Canoe & River Kayak Course Ratios: 3 Students : 1 Instructor; 6:2 with a qualified assistant

How Do I Request ACA Services Such as Insurance or Posting To The Online Calendar?

To obtain ACA liability insurance coverage for your courses, submit a course registration via the ACA Course Management System (CMS). To access the CMS and associated resources, please visit: www.americancanoe.org/CMS. Your log in credentials for the CMS are the same as those associated with your general ACA membership profile. To request insurance through the ACA General Liability Insurance Policy, an ACA Instructor must be in good standing, which includes:

  • Current ACA Membership & SEIC dues
  • Appropriate level and discipline of ACA certification for the course
  • Appropriate First Aid & CPR certification (proof is required and should be uploaded to your profile within the CMS)

 If you would like assistance ‘getting the word out’ about your courses, the ACA can post your course dates, location, and other details to our online calendar, so anyone looking for instruction in your area can find you! This instructor benefit is absolutely free! To request that your course be put on the calendar, you need to register the course via the ACA Course Management System (CMS) and select “Yes” when asked if you’d like to place the course on the ACA Instructional Calendar.

First Aid & CPR Requirement

ACA Instructors, Instructor Trainers, and Instructor Trainer Educators are required to maintain appropriate First Aid and age appropriate CPR training from a nationally recognized First Aid and CPR provider throughout the term of their ACA certification. First Aid and CPR courses must include hands on practice and skills demonstration.

If an Instructor, Instructor Trainer, or Instructor Trainer Educator’s First Aid or age appropriate CPR certification expires during the period of his or her ACA certification, the ACA certification is no longer valid. Instructors, Instructor Trainers, and Instructor Trainer Educators whose certifications are not valid are not eligible for ACA insurance coverage. For additional details, please review the SEIC Policy Manual.

Certification Maintenance Requirements

Instructor Maintenance Requirements:

All ACA Instructor certifications are valid for a 4-year certification period and expire on the last day of the year, 12/31/20XX. They will never expire at any other mid-year date. By the end of the 4-year certification period, the following minimum maintenance requirements must be met for the certification to be renewed for an additional 4 years:

  • Maintain annual ACA membership and SEIC registration.
  • Instructors must teach and properly report a minimum of two classes every four years. At least one class should be at their highest level of certification.
  • Successfully complete an Instructor Update during the certification period.

Instructor Updates can be accomplished by one of the following methods:

  • Participate in an actual Instructor Update course at your highest certification level.
  • Assist with an IDW or ICE at the highest level of certification (with the pre-approval of the facilitating IT) and complete a review of ACA Policies & Procedures with the IT.
  • Co-teach a skills course at your highest level of certification under the supervision of an IT in that discipline and complete a review of ACA Policies & Procedures with the IT.

Instructor Trainer (IT) Maintenance Requirements:

By the end of the 4-year certification period, the following minimum maintenance requirements must be met for an IT’s certification to be renewed for an additional 4 years:

  • Maintain annual ACA membership and SEIC registration.
  • Participate in an Instructor Trainer Update. Alternatively, ITs may co-teach an IDW and ICE with another IT or assist teaching an ITDW in lieu of an IT Update.
  • Teach a minimum of four (4) properly reported courses to include: one IDW/ICE at the highest level of certification, one Update, and one skills or assessment course. The remaining courses can be at the IT’s discretion.

Administrative Extension of Instructor Certification

In accordance with the SEIC Policy Manual Chapter 2.D.6, the SEI Department may authorize a one-year administrative extension of instructor certification if requested in writing prior to the certification expiration.

To apply for a one-year administrative extension for your instructor certification, please click here.

*Note: To be eligible to apply for an administrative extension, your ACA and SEIC Dues must be current.

Essential Eligibility Criteria (EEC)

ACA courses are open to all individuals who acknowledge the ability to perform the following essential eligibility criteria.

  • Breathe independently (i.e., not require medical devices to sustain breathing)
  • Independently maintain sealed airway passages while under water
  • Independently hold head upright without neck / head support
  • Manage personal care independently or with assistance of a companion
  • Manage personal mobility independently or with a reasonable amount of assistance
  • Follow instructions and effectively communicate independently or with assistance of a companion
  • Independently turn from face-down to face-up and remain floating face up while wearing a properly fitted life jacket*
  • Get on / off or in / out of a paddlecraft independently or with a reasonable amount of assistance*
  • Independently get out and from under a capsized paddlecraft*
  • Re-mount or re-enter the paddlecraft following deep water capsize independently or with a reasonable amount of assistance*
  • Maintain a safe body position while attempting skills, activities, and rescues listed in the appropriate Course Outline, and have the ability to recognize and identify to others when such efforts would be unsafe given your personal situation*

* To participate in adaptive programs, participants must acknowledge only the first six EEC listed above. Entry-level adaptive programs will involve teaching and practicing EEC #7-11.