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Certification Testing

Why Become Certified?

Horseback riding is inherently a dangerous activity, yet while most states require certification or licensing of realtors, accountants, beauticians, plumbers, aerobic instructors, even dog groomers, an uncertified riding instructor is permitted to put a 5-year-old child on the back of 1,200 pound horse and try to teach that child the fundamentals of riding. Unfortunately, there are instructors who are not competent to do this and the results can be disastrous.

In other cases, instructors may be highly proficient yet not know how to conduct their lesson business in a professional and businesslike manner, which results in financial pressures forcing instructors to leave the business.

The American Riding Instructor Certification Program (ARICP) was established in 1984 with the objective of helping to solve these problems by identifying instructors who teach knowledgeably, safely and with integrity. Among the benefits of ARICP certification:

  • nationally recognized credentials
  • improved employment and remuneration prospects
  • a listing in the nationally-distributed Directory of Certified Riding Instructors
  • a listing in the Online Directory of Certified Riding Instructors on ARIA Web site, the very first site a prospective student will see after searching for 'riding instructor' and their state on Google!
  • possible insurance discounts through several major insurers
  • the quarterly magazine, Riding Instructor
  • the opportunity to network with like-minded instructors at the annual Riding Instructors Convention

ARIA certification is not a "pay your money and get your certificate" process. Over twenty years and many thousands of dollars have been spent to develop, refine and implement a thorough and fair process, which is unique to ARIA. "Politics," so prevalent in some associations, has never been tolerated in ARIA. Professional educators are impressed with the system of checks and balances that are in place to evaluate each candidate. Have no doubt - it takes courage to put yourself on the line for others to evaluate, but the certification process is one of the single most important steps you can make in your career development.

Certification demonstrates commitment. College degrees no longer represent the full measure of knowledge in today's rapidly evolving workplace. Instead, certification serves to distinguish professionals as leaders in their fields. Certification is voluntary and indicates willingness to invest in one's own development.

Certification improves career opportunities and advancement, and enhances a professional's image. Certified instructors gain an advantage over the competition and qualify for insurance discounts. Certification also provides an "edge" when being considered for a promotion or key assignment. More and more lesson barns, camps and stables are insisting on certification being held by those they hire. In a 2003 survey conducted by the National Organization for Competency Assurance (NOCA), 52% of respondents indicated that individuals holding professional certifications earned more than those without.

Certification reflects achievement. ARIA certification, at any level, confirms your knowledge, attention to safety, professionalism and integrity. It is proof of your ability to meet standards and requirements, and is recognized internationally. Earning ARIA certification also provides a deep sense of personal satisfaction. Instructors often tell us how valuable the preparation process has been for them. Those who don't earn certification learn where they stand, and what their strengths and weaknesses are. This knowledge will help them prepare to try again.

Past participants have remarked on the warmth and caring of the ARICP staff and the overall excellence of the program. We believe that you too will find this an exceptional program.

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