Outward Bound alumni find ways to apply their experience and skills in a multitude of industries and jobs, in addition to leading the charge in many outdoor industry platforms. I am honored to draw from the deep and passionate pool of our course alumni and Instructors for a greater breadth. Thank you to those who generously offered up their voices of experience to further illuminate the myriad of job opportunities and paths a course can provide.
What types of jobs did your Outward Bound course help you get down the road?
“Every job! Technical skills gave me more jobs in experiential education. My contacts/network gave me opportunities in Antarctica, where I had the privilege to be on the Search and Rescue team.” —Yvonne
“I eventually became a field Instructor and wilderness ranger. My experience as a student gave me important insights into the mind of ‘the novice.’” —David
“Certified Nurse Midwife. I have traveled on my own to teach rural midwives in various countries—living in tents, huts, finding clean water and growing food.” —Carol
“Discovery Channel Field Producer.” —Shane
“Labor and delivery, postpartum, nurse. All those years of working with people in challenging environments as an [Outward Bound] Instructor gave me the skills to work with people under duress.” —Elizabeth
“…I’ve been a freelance writer, a Unitarian Universalist lay-minister, teacher (in a variety of arenas and mediums), firefighter, paramedic (including seven years remote Alaska air ambulance and remote mining EMS) and a communications professional/consultant. Now, again, [I’m a] teacher (in a classroom). I’ve been known to say from time to time that, underneath it all, it’s all an Outward Bound course.” —Pete
“I did an Outward Bound course as a 14-year old in the 1980s. I look at my [Outward Bound] friends and colleagues and can’t help but feel admiration and pride in the many paths we have all followed. We are all, of a sort, committed to the adventure and the success of the expedition, up for the struggle and the possible failure, supportive of a variety of paths and looking to love ourselves and others.” —H.
“Organic farmer and coach.” —Jen
“My experiences working for [Outward Bound] back in the sixties led me into teaching EMT and First Responder, technical rescue and wilderness survival courses. Also, I opened a small outdoor equipment shop which ran for 29 years. I also organized a mountain search and rescue team in Santa Fe at St. John’s College that lasted until 2008.” —Herb
“Since the early 70’s, [Outward Bound] is responsible for the direction of my entire working career, teaching outdoor education, building ropes course, tree houses, climbing walls, making nets…” —James
“Working as an Instructor and Course Director at Outward Bound in North Carolina actually made me want to be a classroom teacher. I did that on middle school, high school and college levels. I was also [a] university outdoor programs director for 13 years. [Outward Bound] work [is] very applicable to parenting as well.” —Joe
“Biology Professor at Tufts University.” – Adam
“I’m currently the Communications Manager for New Zealand Mountain Safety Council since 2016 and was a Marketing Coordinator for a commercial property firm prior to that. I’ve also done work in tourism—tour, track and kayak guide—as well as a stint on a cruise ship as sports staff. Adaptability is a key asset in an ever-changing world.” – Nick
“Recreation administration professor.” – Geneviève
“I did a 45-day outdoor leader course in ‘03 and was able to land an Instructor job right after that with Outward Bound South Africa, which was a fantastic experience. I went on to teach elementary special [education] for three years at an EL School in NYC. I was able to land a job at a foundation in NYC that was funding research and k-12 programs focused on social and emotional education. Outward Bound impacted those years of my career.” —Dan
“Wildland firefighter.” —Jesse
“Wellness Educator (Physical activity and Health), Special Ed Teacher, Developed Programming for Girls (The Center for Ventures in Girls Education) and last but not least, living in the woods, gardening and earth living skills.” —Deborah
“I do community organizing, and it taught me how to work with people and with groups. It taught me how to be alongside people during enormous challenges and help them fight through and overcome, and what I can do to help them be successful—believe they can do it, break down what needs to happen into steps, and how to encourage them to be their true selves in the process, warts and beautiful strengths, all.” —Cynthia
“Interviews always circled back to my time as a lead Instructor. My ICU director, after hiring me said: ‘Boy, that wilderness work you did really sealed the deal. It’s tough to interview someone and figure out their strength of character, but you were able to get that across.”—Tony
“I became a certified yoga Instructor and am in the process of starting my own company that will help others achieve the same empowerment and inspiration I felt after my Outward Bound class.” —Dina
“All the jobs. Raft guide. Zip line guide. Outward Bound Instructor. Outward Bound Instructor at another Outward Bound School across the country. Interest in going to Prescott College. Wilderness Orientation Instructor at Prescott College. Degree in Outdoor Experiential Education from Prescott College. Adjunct Faculty in Outdoor Leadership due to a connection I had made 20 years previously at Outward Bound. So, really, all the jobs.”—Thomas
ALL THE JOBS! Did you read that?! Ultimately, your future is wide open. Leadership, group management, emergency management, risk assessment, facilitation and debriefing and teaching for educational outcomes are transferable skills you will develop on a course. How you choose to apply those skills is up to you. Trail blaze. Set sail. Write your own story. Go Outward Bound!
About the Author
Sabrina Stein is an Assistant Instructor for the Northwest Outward Bound School and a Logistics Coordinator for the Colorado Outward Bound School Southwest Program. She is drawn to the tenacity of life in Southwestern deserts and the magic of rivers everywhere. Sabrina pursues rafting as a means to both, and for the added benefit of strong arms and a flexible mentality. Other hobbies include writing, reading, drinking coffee, getting haircuts, singing extremely loud in the car and source-to-sea rafting trips. She will bake you cookies if you hang out with her long enough.