Become an Instructor - ACA

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Become an Instructor

For 50 years, the ACA has been the leader in paddlesports education. The ACA’s National Paddlesports Instruction Program is widely considered the “Gold Standard” in the U.S. and abroad. The reasons to pursue certification are vastly different for each Instructor Candidate; however, what every student takes away from the certification workshop can be remarkably similar. First, there is simply the experience gained and knowledge shared by fellow candidates throughout the class.

A lot of participants say they come to be a “sponge” and absorb teaching ideas, paddling information, and feedback about their skills and teaching abilities. Second, through the certification process you will learn a proven set of paddlesports instructional best practices. Instructor Trainers who conduct instructor certification workshops will demonstrate and teach a educational models to which you can add your own creativity and personality.

With a dedicated Safety Education & Instruction Department and the oversight of the Safety Education & Instruction Council, the ACA is able to systematically maintain, review, and improve the National Paddlesports Instruction Program to continually provide relevant tools and resources for ACA instructors in every discipline.

ACA Instructors teach paddling courses based upon approved ACA course outlines; an ACA Instructor can teach both skills courses and assessment courses up to their level of certification.

How to Become an Instructor

  • Instructor Certification Process
  • General Certification Requirements
  • First Aid & CPR Requirement
  • To become an ACA Instructor, an Instructor Candidate must:

    • Participate in an Instructor Development Workshop (IDW) and pass an Instructor Certification Exam (ICE). These courses are offered either as separate courses with time between for skills and presentation development and practice or can be offered concurrently (at the discretion of the Instructor Trainer) as an Instructor Certification Workshop (ICW).
    • Perform paddling skills consistently with demonstration quality
    • Demonstrate effective teaching skills
    • Demonstrate technical knowledge of paddlesports
    • Demonstrate appropriate safety & rescue ability
    • Demonstrate effective group / course management and positive interpersonal skills
    • Represent and promote the ACA and paddlesports in a positive manner

    General Requirements for all Instructor Candidates:

    • Be a full ACA member
    • Be at least 18 years old
    • All participants must acknowledge personal compliance with and demonstrate general knowledge of the purpose and significance of the ACA Essential Eligibility Criteria (EEC)
    • Understands and acts in accordance with ACA’s Code of Conduct
    • Demonstrate general knowledge of ACA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) policy and initiatives
    • Successfully complete an Instructor Certification Workshop (IDW and ICE)
    • Upon successful completion, register with the Safety Education and Instruction Council
    • Have and maintain first aid and age appropriate CPR
    • Demonstrate a general knowledge of paddlesports and the ACA
    • Demonstrate the ability to appropriately perform and teach all of the following material, unassisted, in the appropriate venue
    • Instructors are expected to be able to demonstrate, teach, and model everything on the official ACA skills course and assessment course outlines which correspond to their level/craft and in the appropriate venue

    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.