NAI Certified Interpretive Guide Course at the Phoenix Zoo

The Phoenix Zoo, in partnership with the National Association for Interpretation (NAI), is offering a professional certification course for individuals who deliver (or will be delivering) interpretive non-formal and informal education programs or have public contact at interpretive sites. As a non-profit charitable organization, the Zoo provides experiences that inspire people and motivate them to care for the natural world.

CIG Course

The Certified Interpretive Guide (CIG) program is designed for anyone who delivers interpretive programs to the public. It combines both the theoretical foundations of the profession with practical skills in delivering quality interpretive programming to guests.

This 32-hour course includes:

  • History, definition and principles of interpretation.
  • Making your programs purposeful, enjoyable, relevant, organized and thematic.
  • Using tangible objects to connect audiences to intangible ideas and universal concepts in interpretive programs.
  • Developing presentation and communication skills.
  • Certification requirements (50-question literature review; program outline; 10-minute presentation).
  • All materials, workbook and CIG course textbook.

Requirements for the CIG Course

Anyone age 16 or over with a desire to increase their knowledge and skills related to interpretation may participate. Membership in NAI is not required, but NAI members may pay a discounted fee to participate in the program. You can also elect to take the training without becoming certified. You do not have to be an NAI member to take the training course.

Why become a CIG? 

The CIG is an internationally recognized professional certification. Many potential employers and volunteer recruiters actively seek certified interpreters. Workshop participants are expected to;

  • Attend entire workshop.
  • Provide own meals and lodging.
  • Complete a 50-question open book literature review.
  • Produce a one-page presentation outline. Trainers will allow sufficient time for coaching individual participants prior to grading outline.
  • Deliver a 10-minute thematic interpretive talk on last day of workshop. Trainers will ensure each participant has the opportunity to review content and techniques of talk with a trainer prior to presenting.

The course is held primarily indoors at the Zoo with a few outdoor classroom sessions if weather allows. Classroom sessions require full participation, allowing for fun and engaging interaction with fellow students.

Core Review Library Package

A set of books needed to complete the open book exam will be provided for your use during the workshop; however, if you wish to purchase your own books, NAI offers a discounted package price if you are a current member. To order directly from NAI, please visit Order the “Core Review Library Package” and have the books shipped to you now.

Texts used are

  • “Interpreting Our Heritage” by Freeman Tilden
  • “Gifts of Interpretation” by Beck & Cable
  • “Personal Interpretation” by Brochu & Merriman
  • “Interpretation: Making a Difference on Purpose” by Sam Ham