The ACA runs a very professional organization. The SEIC (part of the ACA) builds/maintains suggested curriculum for courses at every level of skill. They determine suitable class venues with safety always in mind. They have developed a number of policies that help ensure quality instruction. Paperwork is a trademark for nearly all professionals. A good paper trail provides significant legal protection should that be necessary. Industry "Best Practices" are adding to our guidelines such as mandatory CPR and First Aid certification.
The US Coast Guard and other organizations recognize the ACA as the premier standards body in the US for paddle sports education. Our attention to detail enables the ACA to get grant money for special projects and hire additional staff. These grants help to reduce our SEIC dues.
For the latest SEIC policies, please refer to: SEIC Policy Manual.
Since ACA Instructors, ITs, and ITEs are both on the commercial side and volunteers (some both), I wrote a short article called: What is a Professional?.