Maintaining your ACA Instructor Certification

image of policy manual

image of policy manualSo you’ve completed your certification as an ACA instructor. Cool. You are now in your first 4-year cycle of being an instructor. That period is defined as the four full calendar years following the date of your certification (e.g. If you were certified on July 31, 2013, your 4-year cycle would extend to December 31, 2017). What steps do you need to take to be sure that certification remains active and in force?

I hear questions surrounding that topic quite often from new instructors. While we go over this information in detail during instructor certification workshops (ICW), I’ll agree that there is a LOT of information to digest during an ICW and the beta related to getting certified may hold a slightly more dear place in RAM than that relating to staying certified.

Most ACA policies related to instruction are outlined in the Safety Education and Instruction Council’s (SEIC) Policy Manual which is available on the ACA website. These are the policies adopted by the volunteer governing body for instruction within ACA. This policy manual covers all aspects and criteria for becoming and remaining an ACA instructor, instructor trainer (IT) or instructor trainer educator (ITE).

The SEIC Policy Manual sets out the following requirements to maintain your ACA instructor certification (paraphrasing):

  1. Maintain your annual ACA membership and dues.
  2. Maintain your annual SEIC instructor dues- $25 per year
  3. Maintain current first aid and age-appropriate (e.g. child/adult) CPR certification or other equivalent professional medical credentials. (Note: While your certification will not lapse if either of these lapse, you cannot teach as an ACA instructor during any lapse. Your certification will again be effective once the lapsed first aid and CPR are once again current).
  4. Teach and properly report at least 2 skills courses or assessment courses in your discipline during your 4-year certification window. At least one of these courses must be at your highest level of certification.
  5. Successfully complete an instructor update at some time during your 4-year certification window. You do not need to wait until the fourth year of your certification. This can be done at any time during the 4-year window. I’d suggest you take advantage of any update opportunity that you find convenient.  The SEIC Policy Manual defines several possible means of accomplishing this update process. (Write me if you’d like to discuss options/update availability). (Note: The use of certain “endorsement” courses as an update alternative has, unofficially, as yet, been all but deprecated in the process. I wouldn’t suggest relying on this option as an update.)

We all procrastinate, though, do we not? You’ve arrived at the end of your certification period and have not yet met your teaching or update requirements. What do you do? ACA’s Safety Education and Instruction (SEI) office may grant you a 1-year extension of your certification period on a case-by-case basis if you request it in writing to them. Send them a letter and make your case.

In the past year, I have had 2 instructor candidates pass through my complete 5-day ICWs who have allowed their past L4 certifications to lapse. It’s a shame to have to go through all that effort over again as both of those folks proved to be skilled instructors. Trust me: It’s a lot easier to keep it in force than it is to do it all over again.

Comment here if you have any questions! Keep up the good teaching work.

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