Certification & Training Program

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Ever notice how some people seem to be natural storytellers? Others just seem to have a way of handling people and making them comfortable, and still others are able to explain just about anything to anybody in a way that makes sense. All of these elements and more are involved in the art of interpretation. While it’s true that some people are simply born interpreters, it’s also true that almost anyone can learn enough about interpretive techniques to improve the way they communicate with others. To accommodate all of this, NAI offers professional development and training and professional level certifications for interpreters around the world.  

Certification Program

Certification is a way to document that you possess skills and knowledge that allow you to perform effectively in the interpretive profession.

Anyone who meets the minimum qualifications can apply for certification, regardless of their current or previous employment status. Students, docents, and volunteers are eligible as long as the qualifications are met which include a minimum age of 16 (CIG/CIH), college course work or 8,000 hours in the field (CIT, CIM, CHI and CIP).

Membership in NAI is not required for certification application and partial scholarships for certifications and courses are available for NAI members on a first-come, first-served basis. Some NAI organizational units also provide scholarships for participation in any certification course (including CIG). Check out NAI's Organizational Units page to determine if scholarships are available.

Training Certifications:
As mentioned above, NAI has training certifications that include the Certified Interpretive Guide and Certified Interpretive Host. These certifications are course-based and are trained by several hundred trainers across the globe. The Certified Interpretive Guide curriculum is for individuals who present formal interpretive programs and covers the foundations of interpretation as well as presentation skills. The Certified Interpretive Host program is for everyone else at your site (front desk, maintenance, retail, food and beverage staff) to recognize they share part of the interpretation at your site; course includes customer service and informal interpretation skill development. For a list of upcoming courses, please visit our Certification Calendar.

Professional Certifications:
NAI also provides professional certifications to recognize the good work individuals have done through their employment experience or study. Certifications include Certified Interpretive Trainer, Certified Interpretive Manager, Certified Interpretive Planner and Certified Heritage Interpreter. Each are applied for once individuals have acquired the necessary skills and now want to be recognized by the profession for their skill set.  For more information on how to apply, please see the Certification Handbook and Study Guide.

Not sure which certification is right for you? Download this Flow Chart or view this webinar to understand our program and what benefits it might have for you!

Professional Certification Application
Make sure to read over our Certification Handbook and Study guide before applying. You can find the forms you need to apply in the box on the right side of this page, or use our online system to apply and skip having to fill out the paper application. Click below to go to the Professional Certification Application Portal (login required).

Professional Certification Application Portal 

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Training Program

Aside from certification, NAI also provides courses that help to train folks to meet their specific needs on topics such as leadership, social media and interpretive planning. Training may be done as a multiple day workshop or even as a one-hour webinar. Current workshop offerings include Social Interpretation and the Process of Interpretive Planning. For a list of upcoming webinars, click here. An archive of previously conducted webinars is also available to our members in the “Member Area.”