Why Certify? 

Since 1998 when our program began, NAI has been fortunate enough to facilitate the certification of over 30,000 interpreters across the globe. Long ago we identified several benefits to both you and to the profession:

Benefits to You:

  • Builds credibility
  • Encourages lifelong learning
  • Increases promotion potential
  • Sense of pride in achievement
  • Increases performance effectiveness

Benefits to the Profession:

  • Encourage high performance standards
  • Encourage professional behavior
  • Support peer-reviewed research
  • Continuous improvement of profession
  • Peer review of certified professionals

But don’t just take our word for it...

Here’s what our members/certified individuals say about why they became certified in our program:

"I am certified and maintain my certification for several reasons. With "CIG" following my name, people who understand what it means will know that the interpreter in front of them has gone through rigorous training, that I won't take an audience's attention for granted, that I sincerely care about the quality of what is delivered. I also keep the certification to remind me of a responsibility I accepted and a commitment I made to myself and to my audience that I'm not just going through the motions of my job.  Certification connects me emotionally to the ideas and ideals of the giants upon whose shoulders I stand. I feel that connection when confronted by a new challenge in my field. It reassures me that I am not alone. It makes me proud."
—Ken Forman, CIG, Education and Information Specialist, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

"I had experience but no professional schooling so it was a means to improving my hire-ability before I finally went to grad school."
—Liz Thompson, CIT, Naturalist/Interpreter

"After about 8 years of being a docent at the "world's best dinosaur museum" I did the CIG training which ended up being a creative challenge (read "battle") to understand and use interpretation and to incorporate themes into my tours. I came to an understanding that my job was to interpret the information in our museum's fixed and travelling exhibits to make it come alive for anyone between kindergarten and adult audiences. Having a theme for my tour made this much more of coming together of what I had to say and what connected with my audience. I still struggle with themes, but the CIG training put me on the right track."
—Roger Barnes, CIG, Docent Volunteer- Museum of the Rockies

"Working at a zoo we are accredited through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums who provide us with a set of standards to follow for our animal collection. I look at NAI as sort of the interpretive version of that. It provides best practices and interpretive standards to follow as interpreters, to teach others, and to put into the projects that we work on as interpreters. So I can say "we should do this thing this way" because I can back it up with standards, information, and data from NAI, and that is why I am certified."
—Chris Radek, CIT, CIG, Interpretation Manager- Nashville Zoo

"When certifying staff who have been doing this a long time, I discuss that it gives us a common language to use to describe, implement, and evaluate the things they already do with guests."
—Kerri O’Brien McDowell, CIT, CIH, CIG, Safari Experience Supervisor, San Diego Zoo

"For our young (teenage) volunteers I tell them the CIG curriculum will give them a set of skills to help their confidence to proactively engaging others instead of waiting for guests to approach them."
—Ann-Marie Lisi, CIT, Manager Of Instruction & Interpretation, The Maritime Aquarium