Practitioner Certification Standards

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The ACCT Practitioner Certification Standards create a common standard for industry use, identifying minimum individual practitioner skills and knowledge levels. The purpose in creating these standards is to recognize practitioner’s skills and promote increased standards of practice within the industry. The standard serves to increase understanding of practitioner skill commonalities and establish transferability. Certification is a credential held by an individual, indicating successful completion of knowledge and skills tests that meet the specific standards established by the Practitioner Certification Standard. Specific competencies are described in the Operation Standard, Section C Staff Competencies.

There are three practitioner certifications:

  • Level 1 – A practitioner who can apply competencies to routine, familiar program delivery situations under supervision and with support from more experienced and knowledgable staff.
  • Level 2 – A practitioner who has the knowledge and skills to solve most non-routine situations and provide leadership to less experienced and less knowledgable staff.
  • Course Manager – A practitioner who has substantial operational experience, and has the knowledge and skills to implement the operations management competencies in Section B of the Operation Standard.


There are four different certification tracks for each certification:

Site Specific

Includes the relevant knowledge and skills necessary to facilitate specific activities at a specific course. Valid only on the course on which the training takes place and is only transferable to a duplicate system at other locations. It is possible to be certified in some but not all of the activities on a course (for example, someone can get certified on only the low elements at their course, but not their climbing tower).

Spotted Activities Only

Includes the relevant knowledge and skills necessary to facilitate spotted activities, often referred to as low elements. Transferable to other courses for spotted activities only.

High Activities Only

Includes the relevant knowledge and skills necessary to facilitate high activities. Transferable to other courses for high elements and canopy zip line tours.

Full Certification

Includes the relevant knowledge and skills necessary to facilitate high and spotted activities. Individuals may be certified in one or more operating systems. Transferable to other courses only for the operating systems for which the individual is certified.


A certifying body is the organization issuing certification, such as a Professional Vendor Member (PVM). Individuals seeking certification must:

  • Possess all staff competencies listed in Section C of the Operation Standard including core, technical, and facilitation competencies.
  • Provide the certifying body, prior to testing, a portfolio documenting skills, training, and experience required for the certification level desired. A sample portfolio can be found on the ACCT website by clicking here
  • Pass a written knowledge test with a score of at least 80%
  • Demonstrate proficiency of all skills in a practical skills test


The following is a summary of the Certification Level Qualifications:


ACCT Practitioner Certification Standards


To recertify, the practitioner must do the following:

  • Level 1: document fifty (50) hours of challenge course delivery in the past year and retest; OR take sixteen (16) additional hours of training and retest
  • Level 2: document one hundred and fifty (150) cumulative hours of challenge course work experience, document twenty-four (24) hours of additional relevant training within the previous three (3) years and retest; OR retake initial training hours of Level 2 training and retest
  • Course Manager: either document three hundred (300) hours of additional course program delivery or operational management experience, of which thirty (30) hours may be accumulated in additional training taken within the previous five (5) years, and retest; OR take thirty (30) hours of training, of which 16 shall be in Course Manager training, and retest.

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