HOW THE PTGA SYSTEM WORKS
The PTGA is a US 501c6 non-profit Professional Industry Association for polar guides. We train to, and assess competence against, our Polar Tourism Qualifications Framework and criterion referenced syllabi. Assessment, professional qualifications and training are the core of our mission.
Become a Member and you gain status as a polar professional (Polar Pro). You will have access to our qualification system and educational resources, any equipment and insurance deals and current information that working professionals need to not only do their job, but to continually get better at it. Gain enough experience and qualifications you can become recognized as a Polar Tourism Guide (PTGuide). Gain more experience and more qualifications from our framework and you have will have status as a Senior Polar Tourism Guide (SPTGuide). Revel in your glory!
You can join the PTGA at anytime but in order to simplify administrative costs our subscription rollover dates are April 1 and Oct 1 of each year. If you are before those dates in your first year you’ll gain a little extra time as a joining bonus.
POLAR TOURISM QUALIFICATIONS (PTQS) & AWARENESS COURSES
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 members, industry representatives and our Technical Sub-Committee.
All PTQs have value in their own right.
In order to achieve Polar Tourism Guide (PTGuide) status you must have five PTQs. In order to achieve Senior Polar Tourism Guide (SPTGuide) status you must have all the entry level PTQs, a collection of Advanced PTQs and extra logged time supporting your extra experience. See Qualifications Framework.
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 SPTGuide 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-guide craft and upholds the standards of operation and Code of Conduct required by a bona-fide profession and professional association.
There are a number of ways to gain PTQs but PTGA membership 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 the Recognition of Current Competency (RCC) scheme. Or, they may have an external qualification with relevance to their job and wish to Cross-Credit this qualification into their PTGA portfolio.
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
Some PTQs and assessments don’t have to be completed in the polar environment. This traditional form of assessment, scheduled and advertised by the PTGA or its agents could mix candidates from different companies/organisations who meet the course prerequisites and present themselves at a set location/date to be assessed on any applicable PTQs. Contact us for information.
3. Free Range Assessment
Any company, group of individuals or single individual can hire a freelance PTGA 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. Contact us for information.
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.