The PTGA is a US federally recognized Professional Industry Association for standards setting and assessment of those standards against our Polar Tourism Qualifications Framework. Assessment and professional qualifications are the core of our business.

Become a Member and you gain status as a polar professional (Polar Pro), access to our qualification system and educational resources, equipment and insurance deals and current information that working professionals need to not only do their job, but to continually get better at it.

In order to simplify administrative costs our subscription rollover dates are April 1 and Oct 1 of each year. You can join anytime but your first ‘year’ might not be exactly 12 months.


These criterion referenced assessments are the foundation of our existence and measuring tools of technical competency. PTQs represent a collection of skill sets crucial to the work and responsibilities of a polar tourism guide/naturalist. They have been vetted by long-time PTI professionals and external agencies of ‘like’ industries. PTQs undergo review every year by a group of industry representatives.

All PTQs have value in their own right.

In order to achieve Polar Tourism Guide (PTGuide) status you must have five PTQs on your Pro-File. In order to achieve Senior Polar Tourism Guide (SPTGuide) status you must have all the entry level PTQs, a collection of Advanced PTQs and logged time supporting your application.

We recognize the diverse range of roles across the polar tourism platform and that some roles may not need every PTQ. We do believe that to offer full performance in every aspect of modern polar tourism guiding it is preferable to work towards a full SPT Guide level of operation. These levels represent a full commitment to a robust level of performance, knowledge and code of conduct across all skill-sets required by the industry throughout the polar north and south. A fully certified guide is a thoroughly vetted industry professional, has been acknowledged as competent in all facets of polar tourism-craft and upholds the standards of operation required by a bona-fide profession.


There are a number of ways to gain PTQs but PTGA membership and proof of a current 1st Aid/Emergency Care certificate is mandatory before starting.

Members decide which PTQs they would like to gain and apply to be assessed via a range of options. Some people may have the skills and experience to apply for, and supply, a Portfolio of Evidence (POE) to gain Recognition of Current Competency (RCC). Or, they may have an external qualification with relevance to their job and wish to Cross-Credit this qualification into their PTGA Pro-File.

Assessment Options

There are three physical assessment options and two POE options:

1. Accredited Provider – Workplace Based Assessment

The most realistic and cost effective way to assess polar tourism guides is at their actual place of work, doing their daily job. A Company can apply to become a PTGA Accredited Workplace Provider and have their own assessors on staff, or hire free-lancers, to administer the examinations in real time. This means many staff can be assessed over a period of time without disrupting any commercial activities.

2. Open assessment course

A traditional form of assessment, scheduled and advertised by the PTGA, mixes candidates from different companies/organisations who meet the course prerequisites and present themselves at a set location/date to be assessed on any PTQs applicable (separate fees apply). Contact us for information.

3. Free Range Assessment

Any company, group of individuals or single individual can hire a freelance PTGA Senior Assessor to run an assessment/s at their choice of time, location or place of work. It becomes and independent negotiation between the Assessor and client (separate fees apply). Contact us for information.

4. Cross Credit Program

5. Recognition of Current Competency Program


An assessor is a well vetted industry professional capable of assessing against criterion referenced standards (our PTQs).

There are many benefits to Companies having their own in-house assessors and there are benefits for Assessors in those Companies as well as the free market. Assessors have more resources and opportunities available to them because of their commitment and skill level.