Practitioner Certification

Certification is the indication that a particular individual has met a certain set of criteria at a given time. ACCT has developed certification guidelines in order to define certification in the challenge course industry, to the benefit of both the individual holding the certification and the employer looking to assess an applicant’s skills. Certification is the testing and skills verification piece that follows a training.

The Practitioner Certification guidelines were first published in an addendum to the ACCT standard in June 2007. The guidelines outline the requirements for Level I, Level II and Challenge Course Manager certification, with tracks of Full Certification, High Course only, Spotted Elements only, and Site/System Specific Certification. They also outline the requirements for practitioner competencies related to the operations standards in every type of certification.

Part of the requirement is a portfolio outlining all of the different kinds of experience that a practitioner has acquired over the years. ACCT has developed a sample portfolio as an excel spreadsheet, if you choose to use it. The spreadsheet has a number of pages, each relating to a different kind of experience and/or education. Download a blank sample portfolio.

ACCT does not mandate how many staff working on a challenge course are certified. We do suggest that you make a plan that is specific to your course, in consultation with your risk management team, which may include insurance and legal professionals.

Certification is intended to be transferable to different courses, with the exception of the Site Specific certification. An individuals’ certificate will also outline any specialty elements on which they have been trained, such as a zip line or climbing tower. Certification does not replace good hiring practices, but complements them.

The certification itself is issued by a challenge course vendor, not ACCT. Certifications from ACCT Professional Vendor Members will indicate that they have been accredited to issue certifications or not.

Download a blank sample portfolio

Members can download this chapter below:

Practitioner Certification Guidelines (PDF; must be logged in)

Non-members can order a digital standalone copy of these guidelines.


ANSI/ACCT 03-2016 is the last edition of the standards which contained Practitioner Certification guidelines. It is available for purchase as a print copy or a downloadable digital license.

(To order the most current version of the standards go to the relevant section of our store)