Certification Process and Procedure

RMGA Purpose: “The nature of the business and activities of this Corporation is education and the objectives and purposes thereof to be transacted, promoted, or carried on are to promote the highest degree of competence and professionalism among persons who act as tour guides and tour managers/directors, to provide ethical and professional standards against which all tour guides and tour managers/directors are measured …”

What is the benefit of pursuing and achieving certification? In addition to knowing information that can improve one’s tours, successful certifiers will receive a new member badge specifying that that person is a certified member, and will also have updated information included in that person’s RMGA website profile, available to tour operators seeking a guide.

RMGA Certification Program
RMGA offers members the opportunity to test to become an RMGA Certified Tour Guide.

The purpose of the exam is to certify basic informational competency for members wishing to work as Rocky Mountain tour guides, with emphasis on the Front Range. The Certification Committee has developed a study guide which includes questions about information as well as a list of visual landmarks. All test questions and visual identifications come from the study materials.

The study guide is available to all RMGA members whether they seek certification or not. The guide consists of questions about information a Rocky Mountain tour guide should be able to find through research, and to know. The questions cover the entire state of Colorado, with emphasis on the Front Range, and encompass history, geography, economics, geology, natural resources, and points of interest.

The Certification Study Guide CD provides the questions and topics in .doc and .pdf format, and the Guide is also available in printed form. The study materials are available at/after any membership meeting or by contacting the Certification Committee Chair.

Guidelines for participating in the Certification Program

  • The test-taker must be a member of RMGA for one calendar year before taking the test, dated from acceptance of application by the RMGA Board

  • The test-taker must have purchased the materials themselves

  • The copyrighted materials are not for further distribution

  • Those members preparing for the exam will be provided with the name(s) of other preparers. Prospective test-takers may study in self-created and self-managed groups as desired.  A member of the Certification Committee will work with the preparers to make certain that the correct information has been acquired. What form that support will take will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

  • Prospective test-takers living too far away to commute to take the test may make arrangements for a local proctor, at their own expense and with advance warning of at least a month to the Committee, which reserves the right to approve the proctor

  • Feedback will be provided to test-takers; however, the physical test itself is the property of RMGA

  • Feedback will be requested of test-takers concerning the study materials and test

  • Test re-takes will be scheduled by the Committee, and may not be scheduled until the following general testing date.

The study materials are available to all RMGA members, certified or not, for $10, check made payable to RMGA. The study materials are provided on a CD in both .pdf and .doc format. If you want to receive the CD via US mail, the total cost is $14 ($10 for the CD, $4 for the bubble mailer and postage). 

The fee for the exam itself is $40, and is valid for two attempts at the exam. A score of 80% is needed for passing the test. Further test opportunities cost $40 per two attempts. The fee must be paid at least one month in advance of the exam, so the Committee knows how many people for whom to prepare test materials.

It is recommended that those studying for the test also purchase, from any number of local bookstores, 2 of the multi-fold, laminated booklets in the Pocket Naturalist Guide series, “Colorado Wildlife,” and “Colorado Trees and Wildflowers”, for use in identifying the flora and fauna specified in the study materials.

Test format
Part I of the exam, based on the study materials, will consist of 100 questions to test basic knowledge of important Rocky Mountain and Colorado people, events, and places. Questions may be in a variety of formats, e.g., multiple choice, matching, true/false, and fill-in-blanks
Part II will consist of 4 visual identifications. You will be asked to identify the site pictured in a photograph (1 point), give its location (1 point) and briefly identify its significance and the persons, facts or events associated with it (3 points).

100 questions                   1 point apiece                    100 points
4 site identifications          5 points apiece                     20 points
TOTAL                                                                       120 points

The minimum passing score is 96 out of a possible 120 points (80% correct answers).

At the Certification Committee’s discretion, multiple versions of the test may be created, each in the 100 + 20 points design.