AIARE Instructor Qualification and Progression

Instructor and Course Leader qualifications starting November, 2017 can be downloaded from this link: 2017 qualifications or read requirements below.

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 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 the AIARE 1, AIARE 2 and Avalanche Rescue programs.

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

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


AIARE 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, AIARE 2 and Avalanche Rescue curriculum including:
    • Recent (within 4 years) observation or participation in an AIARE 1 Course.
    • Recent (within 4 years) observation or participation of an AIARE Rescue Course
    • Recent (within 4 years) observation or participation in an AIARE 2 Course
  3. AIARE Instructor Training Course (ITC) – steps 1 and 2 above are prerequisites for registering for the ITC.
  4. Pro 1 Certificate
  5. AAA affiliate or professional membership (this qualification can be met before or after the ITC).

Required Continued Professional Development

  • AIARE ITC or IRC course every year. (In person or webinar options are available)
  • 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 Pro 1 or Pro 2 courses (AIARE 3 prior to fall of 2017)
  • Professional avalanche decision making experience for at least two years.
  • AMGA Ski Guide or Alpine Guide certification.


AIARE 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 Pro 2 certificate or AIARE 3 Prior to fall of 2017.
  • 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.
  •  Course Leader Training (CLT) class offered starting in 2016-17 or AIARE 2 Instructor Training Course prior to fall of 2016
  • AAA professional membership.

Required Continued Professional Development

  • Update teaching materials as they become available.
  • AIARE ITC or IRC Course (IRC required every year after initial ITC course).

Recommended Qualifications

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

AIARE instructor and course leader qualifications forms can be downloaded from the links below.

New forms for 2017-18 will be forthcoming for those who will be applying for their instructor status after November 1, 2017. Instructors or Course Leaders applying prior to November 2017 can use the forms below.

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