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Instructor Certification Program FAQ

Q: I have many years of experience as a mountain bike guide.  Can I test out of, or skip the Level 1 course?

A: The ICP Level 1 course is mandatory regardless of experience or rider ability level.  In addition to the guiding material you will learn how to properly assess other riders through the 10 fundamental elements and receive in-depth training on those fundamentals.  Without this foundation, we are unable to successfully take participants through our higher levels of training and testing.

Q: What happens if I don't pass the certification course? Can I take it again?

A: If you don't pass an ICP course you may take the full course over again one more time.  A retest may be available depending on your location and the availability of an ICP Instructor Trainer.  If you do not pass on the second attempt (either full course or retest) you are ineligible to retest for at least one year.

Q: How long is my certification good for and how do I recertify?

A: Certification is good for one year after your initial certification date. Annual dues of $65 are required to stay current and are applied to your original expiration date. Once you reach the four-year mark from your initial certification date, you must attend and pass a recertification course to keep your status as a certified instructor or guide current. 

Q: What if I’m going to take the next level of certification or a recertification course this year; do I still need to pay the renewal dues?

A: No.  If you plan to take any form of an ICP course you do not need to pay dues that calendar year.  For example, if you expire in March but plan to take your recertification course in July you can ignore our automatic email messages to renew your ICP certification. 

Q: How does recertification work?

A: Every four years we need to ensure that you as an ICP representative continue to properly demonstrate the skills and abilities required to hold your level of certification.  Each course will be a one-day event led by an IMBA Instructor Trainer similar to the final day of your initial course.

Q: How do I know if I'm ready for an ICP course?

A: Before taking others under your responsibility, guidance and instruction you should be competent in your own abilities.  This includes not only the ability to handle basic mechanical issues like a broken chain or flat tire, but a high level of bike and body awareness.  You are not required to be an expert level rider for the Level 1 course, but you should have extensive riding experience along with good personable skills.

The best way to prepare for an ICP course is to participate in a mountain bike clinic taught by someone who is ICP certified.  This will greatly increase your chances for success in a certification course. The ICP courses are very information heavy, therefore you would be familiar with terminology and able to absorb and take-away more of the critical information provided.

Q: What type of bike should I bring to the course?

A: Ride the bike that you feel most comfortable on and can perform the cleanest demonstrations on. It ’s not necessarily about the bike, but more about your ability to instruct and demonstrate bike/body positions and all skills. Make sure the seat can be moved up and down. A quick release will work or you will need to carry a wrench to raise and lower the seat. A dropper post is highly recommended. Seat height will be moved a lot during the class. Don’t forget your flat pedals and appropriate shoes, which are required for ALL ICP courses.

Q: What are the minimum and maximum number of course participants?

A: We follow a six to one ratio and require a minimum of five, maximum of six.  All courses can be doubled in size if there is enough interest and if a second IMBA Instructor Trainer is available. If the registration numbers fall between seven and nine, only the first six registrants will be accepted into the course.

Q: What is the minimum number of interested participants I need in order to request a course?

A: You can request a course with only one person, but requests that have higher numbers of interested participants are more likely to be considered. If an online course request is submitted, you will receive notice of any ICP courses coming to your region.

Q: Do I get a discount if I host a course?

A: There are no discounts for hosting an ICP course.  If your site meets all requirements, a private course at a group rate may be available.  Group rates are based on a maximum of six participants. The host is responsible for recruiting registrants; covering any site fees and providing a 50% deposit to IMBA sixty days in advance.  For more details, or to inquire about a private course, contact icp [at] imba [dot] com.

Q: I was certified through the IMIC. How does recertification work for me?

A: IMBA acquired the IMIC in January 2013 and grandfathered all certified instructors and ride guides into the ICP. Everyone was given a January 1, 2013, start date regardless of his or her date with the IMIC. Annual dues plus in-person courses every four years are applicable to everyone.

Q: What if I'm unable to pay my ICP dues, but don't want to lose my status?

A: If annual dues are not paid at your expiration date, you will no longer be current as an ICP instructor or guide and will be ineligible for any ICP benefits. If your certification lapses for more than a year from your original expiration date, you will be required to take an in-person course to regain status.

Q: When I try logging onto to pay my dues, I see an "access denied" message.

A: Try logging in using the email address at which you receive IMBA messages. If you still have trouble, send an email to icp [at] imba [dot] com.

Q: Is there a specific provider requirement for my CPR and Basic First Aid certification?

A: The ICP suggests American Red Cross or equivalent.  An ICP course host put it a good way - "if you find yourself seriously considering MTB instruction as a vocation, you may want to look for a hands-on, in-person CPR/First Aid course taught by a trained professional. Having someone's life in your hands is not a matter to be taken lightly".