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How to Become an ACA Instructor Trainer
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ACA Instructor Trainers (ITs) evaluate Instructors and Instructor Candidates to ensure they meet certification criteria. Instructor Trainers conduct Instructor Development Workshops (IDWs), Instructor Certification Examinations (ICEs), Instructor Certification Workshops (ICW: combined IDW & ICE) and Instructor Updates. Instructor Trainers are expected to represent and promote the ACA in a positive manner. Instructor Trainers are certified to teach candidates only in their discipline, at or below the IT’s level of certification, and are subject to all conditions developed by the SEIC and SEI Department.


Forms for ACA Instructor Trainer Certification:

  • Instructor Trainer Candidate Registration Form (Word)
  • Instructor Trainer Candidate Online Self Study (Online
    • You must log in through your ACA profile
    • Majority of the answers to the following self study questions can be found throughout the ACA website
    • You must answer all questions
    • If you miss any questions, the SEI Department will guide you to an understanding of the correct answers
    • If you are unable to complete the self study in one sitting, you can come back and re-login to either continue or change answers
  • Instructor Trainer Application Form (Word)

General Requirements for ACA Instructor Trainer Certification: 

  • Instructor Trainer Candidates shall be at least 21 years of age
  • Instructor Trainer Candidates must:
    • Hold current ACA membership and SEIC registration
    • Be an active ACA Instructor in the appropriate discipline for at least two years
    • Have taught and properly reported at least two skills courses at their desired level of Instructor Trainer certification within the past four years 
  • Instructor Trainers should have advanced paddling and teaching skills relative to their level of certification and also should possess excellent overall knowledge of paddlesports

*Note: Candidates for certification as Level 5: Advanced Whitewater Kayaking Instructor Trainer must have been previously certified as Level 4: Whitewater Kayaking Instructor Trainer and have properly taught or co-taught and reported at least 2 Level 4: Whitewater Kayaking IDW/ICEs or ICWs.


Instructor Trainer Certification Process: 

  To become an ACA Instructor Trainer, an ACA Instructor must:

1. Submit the Instructor Trainer Candidate (ITC) Registration Form to the SEI Department

2. Complete the Instructor Trainer Candidate Online Self Study


3. Receive written confirmation from the SEI Department that you are eligible to begin the Instructor Trainer process prior to conducting your first co-teach of an IDW/ICE or ICW

4. Participate in an Instructor Trainer Development Workshop (ITDW) or co-teach an IDW and ICE with either an IT or an ITE. An ITDW is required for newly developed disciplines. 

5. The Instructor Trainer Candidate must submit the following paperwork to the SEI Department from their co-teach and receive confirmation from the SEI Department that they are eligible to proceed prior to conducting their lead-teach:
   a) Copy of the IDW/ICE or ICW Course Report Form
   b) Evaluations of the Instructor Trainer Candidate completed by the Instructor Candidates
   c) Evaluations of each Instructor Candidate completed by the Instructor Trainer Candidate 
   d) Evaluation of the Instructor Trainer Candidate completed by the lead Instructor Trainer (or Instructor Trainer Educator)

6. Prior to leading an IDW/ICE, the IT Candidate and the supervising ITE will both confirm with the SEI Department the IT Candidate’s eligibility for certification

7. After co-teaching an IDW/ICE or completing an ITDW, IT Candidates must satisfactorily lead at least one IDW and ICE, with assistance and direct oversight by an Instructor Trainer Educator (ITE). The IT Candidate shall prepare and submit the course outline, ICW Report Form, and Course Evaluations to the SEI Department. The final leading of an IDW and ICE may be repeated as needed for successful completion of the IT process; IT candidates cannot be continued. Only one IT Candidate can receive Lead Teach credit for each IDW/ICE.

8. When the IT Candidate has led an IDW and ICE under the direct supervision of their mentoring ITE, the IT Candidate shall submit an official IT Application Form within 30 days of the ICE completion to the SEI Department. In addition to a letter from the mentoring ITE, two additional ACA Instructor or Instructor Trainer recommendation letters are required. At least one of the two additional letters must be from an Instructor or IT in the IT Candidate’s discipline.

9. The IT Candidate’s application will be reviewed by the SEI Department, with final certification approved by majority vote of the SEIC Standards Committee and the appropriate discipline chair. 


Additional information can be found in the SEIC Policy Manual.


Instructor Trainer Dues:

In addition to your yearly ACA membership dues, the SEIC dues for an Instructor Trainer are $85 per year.


Please contact the SEI Department if you have any questions about the ACA Instructor Trainer process.

ACA Mission

Founded in 1880, The American Canoe Association (ACA) is a national nonprofit organization serving the broader paddling public by providing education related to all aspects of paddling, stewardship support to help protect paddling environments, and sanctioning of programs and events to promote paddlesport competition, exploration, and recreation.

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