Certified Forest Therapy Training Frequently Asked Questions

How much does the training cost?

Tuition for all Forest Therapy Guide Training Programs is $3570 USD. We offer early bird pricing of $3170 USD up to 6 months prior to the training start date. Tuition includes the seven-day training and the following six-month practicum.

Lodging, transportation and food costs are separate from tuition. The cost will vary with each training. Please check the venue area in the description of the training you are interested in.

Certification requires a Wilderness First Aid Certification (or equivalent in regions where Wilderness First Aid training is not available). This 16-hour course is provided by several different organizations and costs range from $125 USD to $250 USD. We provide resources for you to find a course near you during your practicum.

Are scholarships or work trade offered?

We offer twelve full tuition scholarships for forest therapy guide trainings to applicants who experience financial barriers to training programs like ours, and who demonstrate a strong potential for bringing forest therapy to communities and settings that open the doors for others to participate. These scholarships will cover a recipients’ tuition for the one-week training intensive and the subsequent six-month practicum. Click here to read more about our scholarship program and how to apply.

Work trade is not offered.

Why do I have to complete an Application before I can register for a training?

We feel it is important to get to know people before they register for a training to make sure this is a good fit. We consider applications based on a variety of factors, but ultimately we're looking for individuals whom we believe will make good forest therapy guides. Being a good forest therapy guide does not require a background in forestry, psychotherapy or medicine; more often than not, the most desirable qualities in a guide are connected to how they tend relationships.

Once your application is received, our admissions team will review it, and if you are accepted into the program, send an acceptance letter within three weeks. This letter will contain all the information for next steps, including a link to the training registration page.

For the Forest Therapy Guide Training, do I have to do the full 6-month Certification Practicum? Can I attend only the 7-day Guide Training?

We are committed to the integrity of the practice. We've learned that the the practicum is essential for people to become fully confident, skillful and effective guides. This is true even for people who have had prior deep nature connection experience, leadership backgrounds, and so on. Your prior qualifications will be helpful, but our training is centered around The Way of the Guide, which is a different way of working that takes some getting used to. Years ago, we allowed people to attend the training without following the practicum and learned from experience that the 7-day training is best viewed as the beginning of their learning. It’s been very informative to observe how much people learn during their practicum (and, for many, how profoundly it affects their lives). Because we recognize that it is for the credibility and integrity of the practice of Forest Therapy, we’ve come to the decision to offer only the complete six-month certification program.

How much time does the practicum require and do I have to travel anywhere?

The six-month practicum that follows the one-week training is for you to experience at your home. No traveling is required. Plan on spending four to eight hours per week throughout the six-month practicum with the possibility of more time for your final project.

You will be paired with a mentor who will guide you, along with a group of 5 of your fellow students (called a 'pod') throughout your practicum. During the six months of your practicum, you will have a monthly facilitated video-conference 'pod-call', four individual walk-debrief calls, two cohort calls with the other trainees in your group, and access to materials in the member portal area of our website, and in our private (and very active) Facebook group.

Do I have to be a hiker to apply? A naturalist? A therapist?

The only prerequisite for this training is a personal connection with nature and the desire to guide others. Many of our applicants work in the wellness industry, or are therapists, social workers, and teachers. However, none of these careers paths are necessary to train or become a great forest therapy guide.

Do you offer online training or courses?

The connection to fellow participants and the forest throughout the duration of the trainings and workshops is what creates the potency of this work. We have not yet found a way to replicate the depth of the experiential nature of our trainings and workshops via an online platform. However, we do provide online support for certified forest therapy guides.

Can you come do a training where I live? Can I hire you to come train at my location?

We provide trainings in many regions and countries. Please check the current training schedule for a location near you. If you are a venue interested in offering a training at your location, then please complete our Venue Interest Form.

How can becoming a Certified Forest Therapy Guide support my career?

Certified Forest Therapy Guide is a new job category. It is not widely recognized, yet! Most guides are not able to make a full livelihood exclusively from guiding, although a small but growing number are succeeding at doing so. We think this will become easier to accomplish in the near future, as the this rapidly-growing practice becomes more widely known.

There are many ways that guides are successfully incorporating Forest Therapy into their careers. The examples below are all from active guides, but our guides are always finding creative ways to incorporate Forest Therapy into all kinds of fields:

  • Nature education and interpreting at parks, botanic gardens, arboretums, and nature preserves
  • Leadership and service provider in Parks Prescription and similar programs
  • Integrating forest therapy into counseling and social work
  • Introducing forest therapy into holistic healing and wellness practices, at spas and in other settings
  • Including forest therapy as a powerful force to support personal coaching
  • Bringing forest therapy into employee wellness programs
  • Using forest therapy as a mode of organizational development and team-building consultation
  • Extending classroom learning time into the outdoors
  • Nature education, environmental studies, and advocacy

Where can I guide my practicum walks? Do I have to find an organization that will take me on as an intern?

You will be required to successfully organize and guide at four walks as part of your practicum. You do not have to have a formal internship to do this; however, we do require that you secure permission from the managers of the land where the trail you use is located. You’ll begin by exploring your area to find a suitable trail (we’ll teach you what to look for), and then review the trail with your mentor via Skype or phone. Many trainees develop relationships with parks, botanic gardens, arboretums, and similar places during their practicum. For some trainees, these relationships have blossomed, and they continue to guide on those same trails. Some trainees work at nature education centers or other places where there are suitable trails; if this is the case for you, it’s possible you will be able to guide where you work and hopefully introduce forest therapy into the programs offered there.

Human communities, like forests, thrive on diversity.
The Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs is committed to creating and sustaining a welcoming, equitable, and inclusive environment for new guides, participants and contributors from all cultures and backgrounds. We strive to be a place of belonging for all people interested in cultivating healthy relationships within human communities and the natural world.