PMBIA’s New 4-Tier Course Structure

May 2022

Dear PMBIA Members,

First of all, we hope you’re well! We have some exciting changes coming to the structure of our certification system, and we wanted to give you, our members, a preview before they’re live on the website. This is really important information for all of you to know, so we highly encourage you to read on, but also head to the website next week for more detailed information. The new 4-tier certification structure and information will be added to the website on May 15th, so this may cause some issues when visiting the website. Make sure you refresh your browser to get the latest updates and don’t fret, the website should be fully operational by May 16th. Okay, let’s get started!

Moving from a 3-Tier to a 4-Tier System

Rider – Javier Munoz Santos

As you know, we previously conducted a 3-Tier certification, and for 2022, we are officially moving to a new, 4-Tier certification system! This model gives instructors a deeper understanding of mountain bike skills and techniques while providing them with an organized framework of knowledge from which to teach. Together with the PMBIA Teaching Models, this enables mountain bike instructors to offer safer, more effective lessons to a great variety of students, than ever before.

The 3-day Level 1 Certification Course is designed to train instructors how to teach skills and maneuvers to beginner to low intermediate mountain bikers, on green and blue trails.

The Level 2 Certification requires instructors to complete either the 4-day Air Instructor Course or the 4-day Tech Instructor Course. These courses train experienced instructors how to teach intermediate to advanced riders, on green, blue and single black trails. The Air course focuses on teaching in lift-accessed bike park environments, while the Tech course focuses on teaching in cross country trail networks. However, instructors from either course will learn the relevant skills to teach and guide any student, in any trail environment.

The Level 3 Certification requires instructors to complete both the 4-day Air Instructor Course and the 4-day Tech Instructor Course, and the Kids Module. The purpose of this modular approach to the Level 3 Certification is to provide a training pathway that builds a diverse, adaptable and refined, advanced instructor that can truly benefit the mountain bike industry. A PMBI Level 3 Instructor will be able to work to a high degree of competency in a huge variety of mountain bike programs and industry positions.

Photo Courtesy of Hailey Elise

The 5-day Level 4 course is for very experienced Level 3 instructors wanting to learn the necessary skills and tools to transition into coaching advanced to expert riders, during long term skill development coaching programs. The Level 4 Certification Course trains instructors how to assess and develop the technical skills of riders on any terrain, up to and including black diamond and double black diamond ability levels. Instructors will also learn more about instructing vs. coaching skills, providing them with the tools necessary to either teach an expert rider on a half-day lesson, or coach someone over a weekly, monthly or even seasonal period.

The PMBI Level 4 (previously known as the PMBI Level 3, prior to 2022) is the top-tier certification in the mountain bike industry, akin to Level 4 Instructor Certifications in the Ski and Snowboard Industries. This course requires a mastery in riding and teaching skills expected from full-time, professional, career instructors or coaches.

Why are We Doing This?

The Level 3 course prior to 2022 was always designed to be a top-tier, instructor-training, industry-leading certification, similar in standards and degree of difficulty to current top tier certifications, such as the Level 4 ski and snowboard certifications. The new four-tier system within PMBIA adds a level of training and certification between the 2021 Level 2 and 3 certifications. This will provide a more progressive and attainable training system for instructors, while encouraging a more diverse training pathway to build more adaptable, skilled and relevant mountain bike instructors.

Important Information to Know

  1. Anyone who is already registered in one of our programs will be required to download the reference guide and course booklet once more, starting May 16th, in order to get the latest updates.
  2. We have added only minor updates that relate mostly to some of the colours used on some documents and the name changes of certain programs. For example, the Level 2 Trail Course has changed its name to Tech Instructor Course.
  3. Other than that, there are no major changes to the content of the courses, and anyone registered prior to May 15th will have the same course content and delivery. For any technical issues, reach out to


Stay safe and happy trails,

The PMBIA Team

#PMBIA | #bikeskills #skillbasedteaching #pmbiaassociation #globalmtbstandard #mountainbikeinstructor #mountainbiking #theonlyglobalstandard


Photo courtesy of the Crux Initiative Society, Golden, BC


Photo courtesy of Hailey Elise, Squamish, BC


Online Recertification Training !

Time to do your Level 1 recertification? We are asking all our members to re-certify via the Level 1 Online Recertification Program. 

Regardless of any courses or training you take, your level 1 re-certification has to be completed online every three years. This ensures instructors stay current with the latest teaching methodologies & information that specifically relate to teaching beginner to intermediate riders; which is still the most common student type within the mountain bike coaching industry. You can learn more and register below!

Register Now!