AIARE 1 Instructor Qualification and Progression- 2016

This page is the current, 2016-2017 qualifications for AIARE 1 Instructors and Course Leaders. For an explanation of Instructor and Course Leader qualifications starting November, 2017, review this document: 2017 qualifications

Apprentice Instructor/Field Assistant

AIARE supports the long-held tradition of mentorship of aspiring avalanche instructors or apprentices.  AIARE defines Apprentices as aspiring instructors who do not yet meet the AIARE 1 Instructor qualifications.  One Apprentice can assist in each field group, under the direct supervision and mentorship of an AIARE Course Leader or Instructor.  During this apprenticeship, individuals gain familiarity with the AIARE curriculum, as well as building reference experiences which form an essential foundation for engaged participation in the AIARE Instructor Training Course (ITC).  Apprentice instructors with no less than 5 years of personal backcountry travel experience may register for the ITC once they have observed at a minimum one AIARE 1 and AIARE 2 program.

Following participation in the ITC, individuals progress through two levels of AIARE 1 avalanche instructor qualification:

  1. AIARE 1 Instructor – qualified to instruct AIARE 1 courses and lead field groups, with direct supervision from a Course Leader.
  2. AIARE 1 Course Leader – qualified to Course Lead an AIARE 1.  A Course Leader is required on all courses and must be present for the entire course.


AIARE 1 Instructor

Required Qualifications – to be completed in the following order:

  1. Minimum 5 years personal experience with leadership and decision making in backcountry avalanche terrain.
  2. Currency with the AIARE 1 and 2 curriculum including:
    • Recent (within 4 years) observation or participation in an AIARE 2 Course.
    • Recent (within 4 years) observation or participation in an AIARE 1 Course.
  3. AIARE 1 Instructor Training Course (ITC1) – steps 1 and 2 above are prerequisites for registering for the ITC1.
  4. AAA affiliate or professional membership (this qualification can be met before or after the ITC 1).

Required Continued Professional Development

  • AIARE ITC1 or IRC1 course every 3 years.
  • Familiarity with updated teaching materials as they become available.
  • Annual continued professional development, which can include attendance at avalanche workshops (ISSW, USAW, CSAW, NSAW…), in-house training, or the like.

Recommended Qualifications

  • AIARE 3 course.
  • Professional avalanche decision making experience for at least two years.
  • AMGA Ski Guide or Alpine Guide certification.


AIARE 1 Course Leader

A Course Leader must be present and leading on all AIARE Courses.

Required Qualifications

  • Minimum of four winters professional leadership experience in backcountry terrain.
  • AIARE 3 certificate. (other level 3 courses do not satisfy the requirement)
  • Instructor experience on 3 or more AIARE courses. †
  • Letter of recommendation from a supervising AIARE Course Leader outlining
    courses taught, professional leadership experience and teaching experience.
  • AIARE1 and AIARE 2 Instructor Training Courses. (The Course Leader Training class offered in 2016-17 meets the requirements of the AIARE 2 ITC of past seasons).
  • AAA professional membership.

Required Continued Professional Development

  • Update teaching materials as they become available.
  • AIARE ITC1 or IRC1 Course (minimum every 3 years after initial ITC 1 course).

Recommended Qualifications

  • AMGA Ski Guide or Alpine Guide certification.
  • AAA certified instructor.

AIARE instructor and course leader qualifications forms downloads

† Instructor experience on 3 AIARE courses either 1,2,3 or ITC or prove currency with AIARE 1 via AIARE Technical Director.