CIG Training


NAI Certified Interpretive Guide Training

Your Trainer: 

Parker is a Certified Interpretive Trainer through the National Association for Interpretation. She received her Masters of Science in Environmental Education and Interpretation from the University of Wisconsin – Steven Point. Parker has over 15 years of experience helping people of all ages connect with the natural world. Born in Bronx, New York, her love of nature developed after a family move from the metropolitan New York area to rural southern Georgia. Parker has had many experiences participating and working in all aspects of camp life, environmental education and youth programming. She has been a counselor, interpreter, challenge course director and environmental educator. She spent five summers working at Med-o-lark International Theater Summer Arts Camp in Maine where she was their Adventure Course Director and then their Director of Programming. Parker has also worked at several other camps, non-profit youth agencies, and outdoor education centers over the years including the Boys and Girls Club, Thousand Pines Outdoor School, YMCA Storer Camp, and the Gads Hill Center. She is currently the Education Director for the Chincoteague Bay Field Station, an Residential Environmental Learning Center located on the Virginian Coast. 

Certified Interpretive Trainers are trained, qualified instructors that lead the CIGs-in-training through the entire certification program. CITs can host the NAI certification workshops wherever there is a demand for it.

Become a Certified Interpretive Guide (CIG)

If you work (or would like to work) at nature centers, zoos, museums etc. helping visitors connect with our natural or cultural heritage this 32 – hour course is for you! The National Association for Interpretation (NAI) offers a professional certification program to recognize individuals who exhibit knowledge and skills necessary to assure quality interpretive services to all audiences. The Certified Interpretive Guide program is one level in that program. The goal of the CIG program is to provide consistent, high quality training for staff and volunteers who what to learn about interpretation and the basics of presenting interpretive programs.

The National Association for Interpretation (NAI) Certified Interpretive Guide training will help you gain skills and become more confident in creating and presenting programs, hikes and other presentations. You will find new ways to inspire others to learn more and care more for resources you cherish.

This four-day, 32-hour CIG training course includes:

• history, definition, and principles of interpretation
• techniques for making your programs purposeful, enjoyable, relevant,
organized, and thematic
• ways to link tangible objects to intangible ideas and universal concepts so
that your presentations deeply connect with your audience
• presentation and communication skills
• certification requirements (an open-book literature review test; a fully
developed program outline; and a 10-minute presentation)
• all materials, handouts, and the CIG course training workbook.

CIG Course Requirements:

All participants must attend all four days of training. Successful students will complete 32 hours of training, pass a written exam with a minimum score of 80%, and demonstrate use of skills acquired in the training course.

Additional Information:

Class size is limited to 15 to ensure individual attention. There are no prerequisites for this training workshop other than a desire to learn new skills for connecting people to your natural and cultural resources.

Certified Interpretive Trainers (CIT) have successfully completed the CIG Train the Trainers Workshop. They are trained, qualified instructors that lead the CIGs-in-training through the entire certification program. CITs can host the NAI certification workshops wherever there is a demand for it.

The mission of NAI is to inspire leadership and excellence to advance natural and cultural interpretation as a profession.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What else can you tell me about the Certified Interpretive Guide (CIG) program?

The Certified Interpretive Guide category is designed for guides, docents, volunteers and individuals who will be delivering interpretive programs or having public contact at interpretive sites. They may have little or no previous training in interpretation. The CIG program offers an opportunity to train guides in interpretive techniques and then acknowledge that training with an internationally recognized certification. The CIG category offers recognition of a basic understanding of and ability to apply interpretive techniques to guided talks and informal situations. This category is most likely to be used by new hires, seasonal employees, volunteers, docents or anyone who wants to enhance their performance.

  • Who can participate in the CIG program?

Anyone age 16 or over with a desire to increase their knowledge and skills related to interpretation may participate. Membership in NAI is not required, but fees are discounted for members.

  • How do I achieve CIG status?

You must complete 32 hours of documented training conducted by NAI-certified trainers. You must also pass a written exam with a score of 80% or better and demonstrate proficiency in a practical application of interpretation. All of these requirements can usually be met by attending a CIG training course.

  • Does CIG status last a lifetime?

No. Once certified, you can renew your certification every four years if you continue your education by attending college courses or NAI-approved training. Documentation of continued education is the responsibility of the applicant.

  • Can you run a CIG course for my center?

Yes. Parker can run an on-site CIG training course for 6 to 15 employees. She provides all the materials needed for your employees to become Certified Interpretive Guides.

  • How much does it cost?

An application fee of $150 that includes a 1-year NAI membership. This fee does not include the required training instructor fee of $230 and a $10 material fee. These fees are per person and are set by the NAI National office.

  • What if I take the test and do not pass?

You can retest within 90 days with no additional fee or training requirement. If you wait beyond the 90-day limit, you must pay the application fee and retake the 32-hour training course to attempt the test again.