This 50-day course combines outdoor skill mastery with proven experiential education principles for those wanting an introduction to the outdoor education profession.
As the oldest and leading provider of wilderness education in the world, Outward Bound provides comprehensive training on the fundamentals needed to become effective outdoor educators. On course, you and your crew will practice technical outdoor expedition skills, how to cook and set up camp in the backcountry, orienteering, rock climbing and rappelling, and navigating Class I-Class III rapids. By learning ‘hands-on,’ you will gain a better understanding of both the technical and teaching skills needed for a career in outdoor education.
This course includes three phases: Immersion, Skill Development, and Wilderness First Responder. It also provides students with the opportunity to earn college credit, their Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certification and to complete a service project.
For detailed information on course availability statuses and what they mean,
Thank you for your interest in Outward Bound!
This course starts within the next week. Please call us at 866-467-7651 to assess the possibility of applying for this course!
APPLY NOW This means a course has several open spots and is actively processing applications.
APPLY NOW – Almost Full This means there are three or fewer currently available spots left on a course. To secure your spot click Apply Now to begin an application!
JOIN WAITLIST Once a course has reached capacity, three waitlist positions become available. To join a course’s waitlist, click “Join Waitlist” to begin the application process. A $500 deposit is required. This $500 deposit includes a $150 non-refundable application fee and a $350 tuition payment. The $350 tuition payment is refundable only if you cancel your waitlist application or if an open position does not become available. If a position does become available, the applicant will be applied to the open position and the Application and Cancellation Policies of the Regional Outward Bound School will be followed, including forfeiture of the $500 deposit if you cancel 90 days or less prior to the course start date.
Waitlist applicants are encouraged to complete all required admissions documents while awaiting an open position. Positions may become available up to two weeks prior to the course start date. Applicants may only apply to one course. We recommend applying to a course with open positions instead of a course that is accepting waitlist applications. If you have questions, please call 866-467-7651 to speak with one of our Admissions Advisors.
CALL TO APPLY This means a course is very close to its start date. Although it is unlikely to secure a spot this late, you can call the National Admissions office at 866-467-7651 to discuss your options.
COURSE IS FULL When a course has reached maximum capacity, meaning all spots and the three waitlist spots are occupied, a course will read “Course Is Full.” This means applications are no longer being accepted.
CLOSED As a course nears its start date, the availability status may read “Closed.” In this event, a course roster has been finalized and applications are no longer being accepted or processed.
Most College Savings Plans, including the 529 College Savings Plan, may be used to attend an Outward Bound expedition, thanks to a partnership with Western Colorado University. Anyone can register – you do not have to be a current Western Colorado University student. Registration is easy! Click here to learn more.
You want to be an outdoor educator? We feel so seen. We know what it takes to gain the technical skills and field experience to build your resume and we’re here to support you on that journey. Designed specifically for individuals interested in pursuing positions as outdoor instructors, guides, or outdoor teachers, Outdoor Educator courses offer in-depth technical skill development while simultaneously exploring group dynamics, assessing risk, problem solving and leadership. Join a supportive community of like-minded adventurers and discover opportunities to be both student and educator.
Previous participants have gone on to work in all facets of our industry — as guides, instructors, and classroom teachers — and have expressed that these courses delivers invaluable experience, relevant skills, and knowledge needed to help them become better educators.
Build skills, form connections: Refine backcountry, technical, and interpersonal skills - and practice teaching them. Help students evaluate options, manage risks, and learn to engage people of different ages and backgrounds in an environment where they are “crew, not passengers.” Master the outdoor knowledge, strengths and skills that can’t be found in a traditional classroom.
Value strengths and strengthen values: Absorb the technical prowess you’ll need to master multiple outdoor activities and potentially help others do the same. Discover the power of reflection and how to create lasting impact behind every adventure, challenge and opportunity.
Demonstrate mastery: Learn from the best outdoor educators in the industry and add your own strengths as you design and lead courses, as you take on physical and mental challenges in numerous wilderness environments and as you become responsible for the creation and fulfillment of life-changing lessons.
Train in basic first aid and wilderness medicine: Learn the principles and techniques of patient assessment, care and treatment in remote and extreme environments. Earn Wilderness First Responder (WFR) Certification on select courses.
What you’ll learn: Return home with the knowledge and skills necessary for teaching and leading field-based wilderness education programs. Depending on the course, you’ll have expanded knowledge and skills relating to a variety of land and/or water-based activities. You’ll be a conscientious safety and risk management leader and you’ll have a solid grounding in the Outward Bound philosophy and methodology for teaching and facilitation.
Outdoor Educator courses allow you to work in and through the widest variety of wilderness environments and develop high level skills in each. Beyond preparing you for career opportunities in the outdoor industry, you may also earn academic credit in the field of Recreation and Outdoor Education.
Outward Bound is accredited with the American Gap Association and is the longest running program in this elite group dedicated to providing safe, meaningful and high-caliber educational experiences to students.
Students begin their course with a wilderness-based immersion expedition. Immersion is structured like a typical 8-to-10-day Outward Bound backpacking course so that participants learn what it is like to be a student of the program. Learnings include on-and off-trail navigation, training in Leave No Trace minimum-impact camping techniques, cooking and nutrition, introductory lessons on leadership, decision-making and much more.
Participants are taught how to both give and receive the feedback necessary between teacher and student in outdoor education while also developing essential judgment and risk management skills. This section of the course includes:
Rock Site Management and Climbing - Knots, anchors, top rope and slingshot set-up, belaying, equipment, site assessment and management, facilitation skills and multi-pitch climbing
Ropes Course Management - High ropes course experience, harnesses and other equipment, self-belay systems, rescue techniques and facilitation skills
River Site Management and Whitewater Canoeing - River safety, strokes, ferries, eddy-turns, peel-outs, rapid swims, river reading, rope throws, river rapid classification, rescue concepts, hydrology and group management
Workshops - Possible topics include, Outward Bound philosophy, adolescent management skills, games and initiatives, teaching styles and techniques, group facilitation and debriefing, diversity, educational philosophy and environmental ethics, leadership theory and conflict resolution.
Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certification is recognized as the standard level of expertise in backcountry first aid. This nationally recognized 80-hour program trains participants to respond to emergencies in remote settings. Participants spend time completing practical skills, case studies and scenarios designed to improve decision-making abilities in high-stress situations.
Students develop patient assessment skills, knowledge of body systems, equipment improvisation, trauma response, environmental medicine, toxins knowledge, wilderness protocols, backcountry medicine and wilderness rescue techniques. The WFR certification is offered through a partnership with Landmark Learning.
A little more than halfway through course, students will participate in a reflection period called Solo. During this time, Instructors assign students their own individual spaces within a designated area. These sites are both secluded and within hearing distance of other group members and Instructors for safety. Students will be given all the necessary gear, food, water and skills to enjoy this time alone. Solo is a great opportunity for students to relax, recharge and reflect on their course after having long days of strenuous group activities. They also know the location of their Instructors should they need to contact them for any reason. Instructors will be monitoring students closely during this experience.
Outside of learning technical outdoor skills, longer courses also allow enough time to conduct a service project. Whether maintaining trails, partnering with nonprofits or helping at local farms and gardens, stewardship has long been a part of the mission and values of an Outward Bound program. These projects help students discover the true meaning of giving back to their community, the value of compassion and their ability to lead.
Outdoor Educator Course students will receive in-depth training in technical, interpersonal and educational skills that apply to being an outdoor educator. With a progression of teaching and leadership skills where Instructors and peers will provide feedback in an organized setting, students will be prepared to step into the role of an Instructor for a short outdoor education experience. Much like other courses, students will be challenged to try new things, step outside their comfort zones, and do things they never before thought they could do. As a team, each group will work together to complete difficult tasks necessary for backcountry travel, expedition living and outdoor leadership.
The Blue Ridge Mountains, or Southern Appalachians, is one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world. While the mountains themselves formed over 250 million years ago, some of the rocks that underlie the region are over a billion years old.
The long geologic and evolutionary history of the Southern Appalachians has created one of the most biologically diverse regions in North America; some even say it is “rainforest-like.” This region is home to beautiful rushing rivers, hundreds of waterfalls and some of the highest peaks in the Eastern United States—including Mt. Mitchell (elevation 6,684 feet), the highest point east of the Mississippi River. Its diverse landscapes have been featured in many motion pictures including The Hunger Games and The Last of the Mohicans.
Outward Bound students can expect to share the wilderness with over 700 different kinds of trees, more than 50 types of mammals, 150 different types of birds and over 50 species of amphibians. The huge numbers of tree and plant life is actually what gives these mountains their namesake. Trees put the ‘blue’ in the Blue Ridge Mountains from the organic chemicals they release into the atmosphere, thereby contributing to the distinctive color of these mountains.
Temperatures in this area range from 50 to 85 degrees in the summer, 30 to 65 degrees in the spring and fall, and 10 to 50 degrees in the winter. These regions are the ancestral lands of the Cherokee.
If you are ready to enroll on a course click the enroll button next to the course you wish to select or you can enroll over the phone by speaking with one of our Admissions Advisors (toll-free) at 866-467-7651.
To secure your spot on a course you must submit an enrollment form and $500 deposit that is applied toward the total cost of the course and includes a $150 non-refundable enrollment processing fee.