Nature and Forest Therapy Guides

Frequently  Asked Questions About the Forest Therapy Guide Certification Training

How much does the training cost?

Regular Tuition for all Remote Forest Therapy Guide Trainings is US $3,350.00

Students may opt to select a payment plan for tuition if full payment cannot be made upfront. Payment plans are for $560 per month over six months, $3,360.00 USD total, with the first payment of $560 serving as a deposit that will confirm your enrollment and reserve your space in the course.

The tuition for the four-day immersion is $495. It does not include travel, lodging or meals. Wait to pay until you are ready to complete the immersion.  You will have two years from the completion of your core guide training to do the immersion.

Certification requires a Wilderness First Aid Certification (or equivalent in regions where Wilderness First Aid training is not available). This course is provided by several different organizations and costs range from $175 USD to $300 USD. We provide resources for you to find a course near you during your practicum and a discount code through our affiliate, Institute for Wild Med. You may complete your WFA requirement by attending either an in-person or online training.

Tuition figures are current as of most recent update on August 17, 2023 and are subject to change.

In addition ANFT has other online and in-person programs. They are not part of the Guide Training and Certification Course, but many guides come to them to gather with other guides, learn new skills, and experience new and advanced techniques of forest therapy. We hope to see you there!

Are scholarships, financial aid, or work trade options available?

2024 Cohorts
In response to a growing number of students in need of financial support, ANFT will be revamping our Financial Aid offering in 2024. In lieu of scholarships, ANFT will be offering tuition discount codes to anyone who attends our Training Walkthrough Calls.

These calls are designed to provide an overview of our Guide Training Certification program and give students an opportunity to meet some of our trainers and learn more about the Forest Therapy Guide path. Visit our Home page to register for our next call. After attending the call, you will receive an email with a discount code to enroll in our 6-month Guide Training Course.

Updated January 2024

Where can I take the remote training part of the course?  Do I have to live in the US?

The Forest Therapy guide training is divided in two parts. The first part is a 6-month online training that you can take from anywhere in the world. The second part is a 4-day immersion that you have up to 2 years to complete. There are always new immersions being offered in different countries around the world. You can find our current immersions HERE

Updated April 2022

Where can I take the Immersion training part of the course?

We currently offer training programs around the world. Our locations vary from year to year, depending on the availability of trainers, venues, and current travel conditions. We are always researching new locations and our immersion offerings are regularly updated. Please remember that you will have 2-years from completion of your 6-month training to attend an immersion. You can find our current offerings HERE:

Updated April 2022

English is not my first language; do you offer training in other languages?

We currently offer training programs in English, Spanish and American Sign Language (ASL). You do not need to be 100%  fluent in English, but we do recommend that you are comfortable enough with English that you can complete the 6-month course.  If you have looked over our website and feel confident comprehending the information there, this may be a way for you to gauge if you will understand the information presented in the course.  If you are still unsure, please feel free to contact our office.

Updated April 2022

How do I enroll in training/which cohort is right for me?

Once you have decided that you are ready to take the Guide Certification Program, you will need to choose a course with the schedule that works best for you. All Guide Certification course cover the same content. It is important to select the training that fits your personal schedule to ensure that you can regularly attend live sessions and complete your assignments. Find a schedule comparison sheet HERE

Once you have found a course that works, you will need to apply using the 6-Month Training Application Form found at the bottom of each courses detailed description. You can find our current trainings HERE

Your application will then be reviewed by our Admissions Department in the order in which it was received and you will receive a response ASAP. Generally, this timeframe would be 2-3 business days but in times of high application volume, it may take up to 2-weeks.

If you are accepted into the program, you will receive an acceptance letter via email with links to make a deposit or pay for the course in full. Upon receipt of your deposit/payment, you will receive a second email to confirm your enrollment and provide you with additional information.

Updated January 2024

Why do I have to complete an application before I can be accepted into 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 two weeks. This letter will contain all the information for next steps, including a link to the training registration page.
Updated May 2020

How many hours should I plan on dedicating to my studies?

Our six-month core training is budgeted at 200 hours. Typically, students should plan on spending between 8 to 12 hours each week between live meetings (on Zoom, which are recorded in the event you miss them), online course work (such as reading, videos, quizzes), and field work in nature (practicing invitations, sit spot, and walks).

Updated April 2022

Why do the trainings have different names? And why are the schedules not exactly the same?

The remote 6-month trainings all follow the same curriculum and the same content and scope of learning. The name of each cohort is just a name to identify the different groups and is not an indicator of a different content. (unless it is specifically mentioned) 

The schedules are all similar and yet differ in some aspects. You might notice that some of the groups have longer and maybe fewer calls and other groups have shorter but more calls. The training teams will cover the same content and learning experience in different ways. Some training teams like to do shorter calls and allow some time to discuss the content in a different call, other training teams prefer to have longer calls and do the content and the discussion in the same call. Depending on what works with your learning style but also with your schedule, you can consider one or the other option.

Am I required to complete the four-day immersion after I've completed the six-month core training program?

We are committed to the integrity of the practice. We've learned that every element of the training 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.

Therefore, the immersion is required for permanent certification. Through the six-month core program you will earn the provisional right to identify as an ANFT Certified Forest Therapy Guide. The provisional status will be removed after you complete the four-day immersion.
Updated 26 May 2020

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, a willingness to deepen that connection, 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 I have to attend all the calls/Are the calls live/recorded?  

All of the classes listed on the course schedule are live and online.  Most of the calls are recorded if you miss them so that you can go back and watch.  The Pod calls may or may not be recorded depending on the trainer so you will need to attend those live session if you choose to participate.   The POD calls are designed to be interactive and while optional they are very beneficial in deepening your understanding and giving you an opportunity to ask questions and get clarification.   We expect you to attend at least 8 out of 14 live sessions to get the most out of your training. 

In an effort to hold a respectful container for all students: please plan on being present and participating during the live sessions. We understand that there are times people may need to miss some or part of some sessions, but it is expected that students participate in group discussions and even co-guide walks during the live sessions.

How do the remotely guided walks work?

In the remotely guided walks, we invite trainees to go to a park, forest or whatever place they prefer. Some people choose their garden, backyard or balcony. Others that cannot go outside from some reason can still experience it from inside their houses. Trainees connect through their phones using earbuds. One of the trainers guide the trainees remotely, but everybody experiences the walk in the place where they are.  

Where can I guide forest therapy walks during my training?

You will be required to successfully organize and guide at least four walks during your training. 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. The training will include information and examples to support you with this.

You’ll begin by exploring your area to find a suitable trail (we’ll teach you what to look for). 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 that you will be able to guide where you work and hopefully introduce forest therapy into the programs offered there.
Following a list of possible places where you could offer Forest Therapy walks: 

Do you offer Professional Development for Certified Guides?

ANFT wants to support you on your continued learning journey. We offer a few different Professional Development courses and you will also have an opportunity to join our Professional Guide Network.  The Professional Guide Network connects forest therapy, shinrin-yoku, and forest bathing guides and leaders from across the globe. Operated by the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs, the network provides members with an international community for personal and professional development as guides. 

What if I can’t complete an immersion within the 2-years?

If additional time is needed to complete your training, we encourage you to reach out to us via email . Please advise us of your situation if you are close to the 2-year time limit and are not able to attend an immersion, and you can ask for an extension then. We are here to support you in completing your certification.

Can I complete the training remotely while working full time?

We have many students who take this training while working full time. It does take commitment from the student's side because there are assignments that need to be completed. Typically, students should plan on spending between 8 to 12 hours each week between live meetings (on Zoom, which are recorded in the event you miss them), online course work (such as reading, videos, quizzes), and field work in nature (practicing invitations, sit spot, and walks). Different cohorts may have different call schedules, sometimes the calls are held in the evening, sometimes on weekends, it depends on the cohort so be sure to check the schedules and compare with your time zone!

How is your training structured?

Our training consists of two parts until further updates:  

Part 1 You will start with a 6-month remote training, covering the content on live calls on Zoom with your trainers and fellow students. There are at least 14 of these calls. These calls are recorded, so in case you cannot attend one of these, you can watch the recordings. There will also be small group calls or discussion calls where you will dive deeper into each of the content sessions. You will also be guided on remote forest therapy walks by your trainers and will start practicing the guiding yourself. As part of this program, you will be spending a lot of time exploring this practice through nature connection activities and self-exploration exercises outside. We work with a learning platform where the content is hosted. Here you will find the chapters of the manuals, short videos, articles, studies, and the assignments. After completing this 6-month training you will receive a provisional certification as a Certified Forest Therapy Guide that is valid for 2 years. 

The 6-month training is divided in 14 modules with content and 1 preparation module. The modules open as you advance on the training.  

Part 2 If you have completed at least module 4 and submitted the corresponding assignments, of the six-month remote Forest Therapy Guide Training you are eligible to apply for a 4-day in-person immersion. Priority is given to those who have completed all six months and have already been provisionally certified as Forest Therapy Guides. Completion of this immersion and the six-month training fulfills the requirements for full Certification. During this time, you will have the opportunity to be guided on forest therapy walks by your trainers and to deepen into this practice. You have two years' time to complete this part of the training. We want to offer as much flexibility and freedom as possible.

How long do I have access to the Thinkific training course?

You will have access 6 months from the end date of your training.

What Wilderness First Aid Course should I take?

Certification requires that you obtain a Wilderness First Aid certificate.   This certification can be obtained from third-party organizations like NOLS, REI, Institute for Wild Med, etc. The class is typically a two-day event that costs $175-300 USD; online versions of the class may be less expensive.  ANFT has negotiated with Institute for Wild Med to enable you to take a low-cost online training and you will have access to a discount code once your cohort begins.

Is a CPR/First Aid certification the same as Wilderness First Aid certification?

While these two certification programs are similar and have some overlap, there are distinct differences between the two.   Most First Aid/CPR certification classes cover what to do while waiting for the arrival of EMS (Emergency Medical Services, i.e. the Fire Department, EMTs and/or paramedics), a Wilderness First Aid course specifically addresses patient needs in those situations or environments where EMS is not readily available or may be significantly delayed.

In a wilderness setting, there may be more responsibility placed on the first responders, i.e. those who are with the patient when they are discovered, or the incident occurs.  It is for this reason that ANFT requires completion of a Wilderness First Aid course in order to become a certified Forest Therapy Guide.

How does ANFT address Land Acknowledgement?

In the Bio-regional Learning Module, we ask that students learn the history of the land and write a short introduction including the indigenous history of the place they'll be guiding at (which is typically a part of the Hospitality and Introduction portion of the standard sequence of our walks). Although we provide the Standard Sequence (or optimal flow of a walk) as a framework, we center our training around the Way of the Guide core value and keep our practice culturally adaptable (as we have been training guides all over the world who have diverse cultures). So far, we have trained about 2000 guides in 65 countries). Thus, as trainers we like to tell trainees that "we don't intend to train you to guide like we do; we'd like to train you to guide like you do, to facilitate the process so that you find your own authentic way of guiding". 

I love the idea of foraging flowers/leaves for tea as is mentioned on your website, but I have concerns about over-foraging happening, especially in urban areas.  Do you address this in your training?

Yes, we do, starting with our orientation call. We talk about the Wild Tending ethic and citing from such books as Robin Wall Kimmerer's "Braiding Sweetgrass" and Kat Anderson's "Tending the Wild", to interact with the natural world in reciprocity and with a tender heart. Robin talks about honorable harvest guidelines - harvesting in a way to promote the growth rather than harming the growth of certain plants. 

What if there are no tea plants in the areas that I guide?

Part of the journey of becoming a Guide is developing naturalist knowledge of the trails you will guide on. During the practicum, Guides will learn about tea plants that can be selected. Learning new tea plants can become a lifetime hobby. A priority is to learn what plants are safe to use for tea. If you live in an area where there are no tea plants in the forest, there are alternatives for your tea ceremonies. This course does not include the necessary information about foraging for each particular region. Guides must learn from reliable sources in their area.

It is strongly recommended to start with a local class and then expand your knowledge with reputable books and websites. Caution: do not rely on Google searches as a source....... This can be dangerous. Find reputable websites when using the web. You are also encouraged to find a qualified herbalist or foraging expert with a good reputation built on years of study in your bioregion.
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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.