/ Becoming a climbing instructor

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spiderdan - on 01 Apr 2010
Hello. In need of a bit of helpful advice!

Ive been living in Canada for the past few months and have just arrived back in England. I would like to look into becoming a climbing instructor but im not too sure about how to go about it.
I phoned my local indoor centre (nottingham) to ask about jobs and they said that i needed to be SPA qualified.

I have been away from climbing for about a year, and haven't had very much experience outdoors. Had 3 or 4 weekends at Stanage and froggat.
I see that you need to have lead quite a few climbs before you could start the training?

Thanks for your time.
Any help or information would be greatly appreciated.

george mc - on 01 Apr 2010
In reply to spiderdan:

First award is for working in climbing walls - lead climbing experience indoors required.

Second covers both indoors and outdoors and you need to have been leading climbs outdoors. Both links give you all the info you are looking for.
Hoppo on 01 Apr 2010
In reply to spiderdan:

Register with MLTE, and they will send you an information pack. You need to have logged a certain amount of climbs or be able to prove a certain level of experience before you can go for assesment. They will be able to provide you with much more information. Check out their website

All the best.
David Hooper - on 01 Apr 2010
In reply to spiderdan:

Also on the excellent MLTE website - you will find a list of courses in your local area.

However BLATENT PLUG COMING UP if you dont find something suitable - I have these running over ther next few months
Mark Stevenson - on 01 Apr 2010
In reply to spiderdan: You don't really mention whether you are looking at this as career or just as a bit of a sideline.

You've got a variety of different options for getting into the outdoor industry, but if you're sensible I won't bother thinking about being a 'climbing instructor' as there loads of far better climbers than you already chasing too little work.

However if you can get a very basic qualification in 3-4 of Hillwalking, Caving, Mountain Biking, Sailing, Dinghy Sailing, Paddling, Orienteering, Archery etc. then there is certainly work out there. Some of your options are:

- get a general job at a climbing wall (working in reception, cafe and floor walking) which will generally involve getting in house training so you can instruct kids groups and novices. You can then possibly get promoted, get your CWA, SPA etc..

- get an assistant instructor job with a large outdoor centre. Generally residential positions on very low salaries where you will help deliver a variety of different activities and generally at the end of a season you will get on one or more NGB training courses. You can then work through gaining both climbing, walking and water based qualifications and get better pay the following year or work freelance.

- train like demon, climb about E8 onsight, get loads of publicity and sponsorship, and then offer coaching to other climbers.

- pursue another career that allows you do to a bit of outdoor instructing on the side (military, teaching etc.) and then long-term once you are fully qualified MIA/MIC/IML, BCU 3 etc. you can then change careers and instruct full time.

- get a job that has nothing to do with the outdoors but over time pick up your basic SPA/ML etc. and do some part time instructing for a bit of extra money.

- pay loads of money for a fastrack course that will get you lots of experience and qualifications. You will then be in a position to get better paid positions with outdoor centres or work freelance.

Rory Shaw - on 01 Apr 2010
In reply to spiderdan: become a climber... move to snowdonia and get a bar job. Climb lots and start working your way through the Climbing wall award and then SPA
kilner on 02 Apr 2010
In reply to Mark Stevenson:

Being a good climber does not make you a good instructor. you could be the best climber in the world but this does not instantly qualify you as a good teacher.

@ spiderdan
I recently did my SPA training it cost £150 took two days and was a really good course. You could also look at doind the CWA if you prefer indoor climbing, once you have done your training for either you will need to get some group experiance, voulenteer at your local wall or outdoor center most will be glad to help (free labour) it may lead on to more work.

Good luck
muppetfilter - on 02 Apr 2010
In reply to kilner: However being a good climber means you have an intimate awareness of Climbing. Unlike someone who has ticked off 30 or so indoor climbs up to 6a for the cwa.... Who can then pass on their experience of..erm 30 or so indoor climbs and can only rig an abseil one way.
kilner on 02 Apr 2010
In reply to muppetfilter:

I agree, however surly the word should be experienced not good. and the 30 climbs for a log book realisticly works out at about 120. also alot of the CWA is about coaching, how to teach not just what to teach.
Mark Stevenson - on 03 Apr 2010
In reply to kilner:
> (In reply to Mark Stevenson)
> Being a good climber does not make you a good instructor. you could be the best climber in the world but this does not instantly qualify you as a good teacher.

You completely mis-understood my point. It is extremely difficult to work purely as a climbing and mountaineering instructor even as an MIA and almost no-one really earns a good living just from having their SPA. It is vastly easier to earn a living in the outdoor industry if you have lots of strings to your bow. Specifically, more jobs want people who can paddle then climb and having lots of basic qualifications can be more useful than one high level qualification.

If you are already an experienced hillwalker and very competent climber who can cruise multi-pitch VS 4c and Scottish III/IV then it may make sense to play to your existing strengths and put lots of effort into instructing climbing and going solely down the MIA/MIC route. However if you are not at that level then it would be very short sighted from a career point of view to decide you want to only be a 'climbing instructor' when you are years away from getting to the stage you can earn a reasonable living from it. However, if you embrace outdoor pursuits instructing in the round then within a short space of time you can progress to a basic level in multiple disciplines and have a much wider range of transferable skills and better employment opportunities.

Hope that makes sense.
kilner on 03 Apr 2010
In reply to Mark Stevenson:

good point well put.
Randy Baird on 03 Apr 2010 - whois?
In reply to spiderdan:

I reckon the first thing you should do is get loads more experience. I find it bizarre that you don't have to be any good, nor experienced at climbing to be teaching it. I wouldn't want to be taught tennis by someone who'd just picked up a racquet a week ago....
ian Ll-J - on 07 Apr 2010
In reply to spiderdan:

Have a look at this Job Advert in N Wales, ideal for someone of your age looking for a good starting point as an Outdoor / Climbing Instructor.

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