Climbing Wall Instructor Certification

The primary goals of the CWI Certification program are:

  1. To increase the level of professionalism in indoor climbing;
  2. To improve the level of consistency and competency in indoor climbing technical instruction;
  3. To define a consistent standard of care for climbing instructors in the following areas:

a. client orientation and instruction;
b. teaching general climbing skills including movement;
c. teaching proper belaying techniques;
d. teaching proper leading techniques;
e. teaching proper equipment care and use;
f. proper facility use, care, and inspection; and
g. emergency procedures;

4. To evaluate the technical skills of climbing instructors;
5. To provide candidates with guidance for further professional development.
6. To provide a means of promoting consistency and quality assurance in climbing instruction for the benefit of the public.

The CWI certification program focuses on education, review and skills evaluation of individual candidates using consensus performance standards developed by leading professionals in the field of climbing sports which have been subjected to public review. Certification standards are intended to address the minimum criteria a candidate should meet to be able to comply with prevailing industry practices and standards of care.

Why Certification?

Certification Standards are intended to promote industry self-regulation and assist owner/operators of climbing facilities in the management and operation of those facilities by establishing consistent, observable, and minimum criteria for evaluating climbing wall instructors. CWA certification standards have been released after a public review process and pertain to technical skills and teaching of technical climbing skills only.

Certification is a voluntary process of training and evaluation that credits an individual with conforming to a prescribed set of standards that existed at the time of the evaluation or examination.

Pre-requisites for Certification

Prior climbing experience is important in developing the skills necessary to climb safely and teach basic climbing and belaying skills to others. We recommend, but do not require, the following experience guidelines for successful candidates:

  • The candidate has one year personal climbing experience;
  • The candidate has a minimum 20 outings climbing indoors and/or outdoors;
  • The candidate has a combination of formal training and climbing experience of 40 hours.

These guidelines are provided by way of example. Candidates that do not have sufficient prior climbing experience may not pass the course.

  1. The candidate will be at least 16 years of age by the conclusion of the course. (Note: persons less than 16 years of age may audit the course and will not receive certification, but will receive a letter of completion.)
  2. The candidate can demonstrate basic climbing movement skills.
  3. The candidate can climb 5.8 top rope demonstrating calm, confidence, and good position without falls.
  4. The candidate can climb 5.7 lead demonstrating calm, confidence, and good position without z-clips, back clips, or falls (optional: for lead endorsement only).
  5. The candidate has or is provided with appropriate equipment in good condition.
  6. The candidate can demonstrate proper care, use, and inspection of climbing equipment.
  7. The candidate can demonstrate proficient belay technique.

What does the course cover?

The CWA Climbing Wall Instructor Certification Course will address the basic technical skills necessary to participate in an instructional program at a climbing facility, and will address the following general topic areas:

  • equipment and facility inspection
  • client orientation and instruction
  • teaching top rope skills
  • teaching lead skills (optional)
  • bouldering and spotting
  • emergency procedures


Top Rope Certification: $150/ student + $45 CWA certification fee = $195/student
(Optional) Lead Endorsement: $25 additional/student

Payment is due 7 days prior to course schedule. Course Fees are non refundable.

  • Course fee includes: All necessary CWA paperwork and submissions, facilities, rental equipment, ropes and hardware.
  • We offer certification at Climb UP.  See the schedule below for class dates.
  • Climb UP offers the CWI certification in a one day (8 hour) program. Times may vary depending on the previous experience of the group.
  • Lead endorsement may be added for an additional $25 and an additional 4 hours
  • Please call to discuss details and to schedule your certification today.
  • CWA CWI Application Form – This form must be submitted prior to class registration to be considered for course enrollment. Please submit applications to