The Northwest Outdoor Educator course is a comprehensive expedition program that combines the beauty and challenging environments of the Washington wilderness with intensive educational curriculum and activities, giving priority to the skills needed to work in the fields of outdoor and adventure education. Designed specifically for individuals interested in pursuing instructional, guiding or outdoor teaching positions, this course offers 50 days of in-depth learning. You will learn skills in mountaineering, sea kayaking and first aid while simultaneously exploring group dynamics, experiential education theory and methods, and wilderness activity management. Within a supportive community of like-minded adventurers, you are provided with opportunities to act as both a student and an educator, drawing references from your experience to affirm the wilderness educational concepts being explored. Previous course participants are out working in all facets of the industry — as guides, instructors and classroom teachers — and have, along with course Instructors, expressed that this course delivers invaluable experience, relevant skills and knowledge needed to help students become better educators.
|WWQL-071||6.16.20 - 8.4.20||50||18 and up||$8,600||APPLY NOW|
|WWQL-072||9.1.20 - 10.20.20||50||18 and up||$8,250||APPLY NOW|
This course starts within the next week. Please call us at 866-467-7651 to assess the possibility of applying for this course!
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.
Are you motivated by the never-ending discovery in the adventure of the outdoors? Are you passionate about sharing knowledge and helping future generations become comfortable and confident appreciators of the natural world and skilled wilderness wanderers? Working as an outdoor educator requires deep technical expertise in outdoor skills alongside hands-on training in the science behind experiential learning and how to create lasting impact for students. Outward Bound leads the outdoor education industry in both areas, providing a coveted foundation to jump-start an outdoor-involved career.
The Outdoor Educator course is the most comprehensive Outward Bound course available, allowing 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.
The course starts with almost two weeks of sea kayaking in the San Juan Islands, exploring Washington's renowned inner coastal waters. Students traverse the waterways in single and double kayaks, seeking out island beach campsites and getting acquainted with the fascinating natural and cultural history of the Pacific Northwest coast. Becoming a competent sea kayaker involves learning how to read a chart, perform self and assisted rescues, paddle efficiently, and assess sea conditions appropriate to each student and the group’s abilities. Team building and learning about marine environments will be emphasized during this section.
Nine days of the course will be spent completing 80 hours of advanced backcountry first aid and evacuation techniques. Mornings are devoted to lectures and exams with afternoons devoted to practical hands-on sessions and rescue simulations. Students can expect many rescue simulations with made-up victims and stage blood that will be recorded for enhanced learning. Evenings are reserved for study and assignments. Successful completion of this section involves full participation in the field simulations and written exams that make up the assessment process. Students receive WFR, CPR and epinephrine administration certification cards from Wilderness Medicine Training Center upon successful completion of the course. These are the industry-standard medical certifications that are required for professionals in the outdoor industry.
The rock and mountain section focuses on mountaineering skills, including institutional top-rope climbing management. Students learn skills such as knot tying, climbing and belaying technique, anchor building, and climbing site management. Each day presents a different focus, with ample time for experiential learning. The Instructor-to-student ratio is never more than 1:5, which allows for personal coaching on the physical techniques of climbing and mountaineering, and also enables Instructors to cater curriculum to the specific interests and aptitudes of individual students. During the mountaineering section, Instructors focus curriculum on educational philosophy and group dynamics.
Outward Bound believes that an appropriate amount of independence is a powerful educational tool. During the travel sections of this course, Instructors purposefully and gradually transfer certain leadership responsibilities to the students, culminating with the “Final Expedition.” Near the end of course—if the group has demonstrated the necessary leadership, team problem solving and wilderness living skills—students may have the opportunity to travel without Instructors immediately present. Many of our students feel this phase of the course is the most rewarding, as the group learns to work as a team, problem solve, and accomplish a goal independently, while utilizing all the skills they have acquired.
Service to others and to our environment is a core value of Outward Bound and is integrated into each course. Groups follow Leave No Trace ethics as they engage in acts of service while leading and supporting fellow participants. Students see the impact of their actions firsthand , develop an appreciation of service, and transfer this desire to serve their communities back home.
In order for profound learning to take place, students must spend time reflecting on their experience, and Solo is that opportunity. The Solo experience provides an important break from the rigors of the expedition and gives students the opportunity to reflect on their Outward Bound experience. With sufficient food and equipment, students will set up camp at sites of their own, using the wilderness skills learned during the first portions of the course. The amount of time students spend on Solo is based on course length, weather, student condition, age and Instructor preference. Solo campsites are chosen to offer as much solitude as possible (yet be within emergency whistle-signaling distance of other group members). Most students spend their Solo time journaling, drawing, reflecting, thinking and resting as they process lessons of the course to focus on their goals for the future. Instructors check on each participant at regular intervals, as safety is always a top priority.
Toward the end of the course students will have the opportunity to practice the educational skills used to lead groups in a wilderness environment by facilitating a 3-day outdoor education overnight program for local students. The program may include hiking, rock climbing, rappelling, initiatives, games and a service project. Many students consider this the highlight of the course because it allows for the use of many skills that have been learned in the previous six weeks. Two days of intensive training and practice led by the Outward Bound staff prepares students to fill the instructional role with confidence and competence. Afterwards students will receive direct, constructive feedback from Outward Bound staff about their performance.
Courses typically with a Personal Challenge Event—an individual final physical push. This might take the form of a run or a triathlon-style challenge.
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 provide feedback in an organized setting, students gain a strong foundation to begin or continue working as an outdoor educator. Much like other courses, students are 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 works together to complete difficult tasks necessary for backcountry travel, expedition living, and outdoor leadership.
San Juan Islands, Puget Sound, Washington
Nestled between Vancouver Island and the North Cascades, the San Juan Islands are a unique coastal cruising ground with large expanses of sparkling water and mountain scenery. During their journey, students will encounter coastlines with a combination of sandy and rocky beaches, shallow and deep harbors, placid and reef-studded bays. Knotty, twisted Madrona trees grow along much of the shorelines while evergreen fir and pine forests cover large inland areas. Sightings of harbor seals, porpoise and eagles are common as well as the rare glimpse of an Orca whale. The islands get less average rainfall than the surrounding area due to the rain-shadow effect of the Olympic Mountains. Summertime high temperatures are around 70 degrees Fahrenheit while lows could be in the 40s.
The North Cascades, Washington
The North Cascades are called the “American Alps” for their rugged beauty and glaciated peaks; they remain some of the wildest and least traveled wilderness in the United States. The North Cascades host the greatest concentration of glaciers in the lower 48 and are full of high mountain meadows peppered with wild flowers. The mountain sections of our programs operate in the Sawtooth, Pasayten, and Glacier Peak Wilderness areas, as well as North Cascades National Park. All lie on the east side of the North Cascades and receive significantly less rainfall than the western coast of Washington. Temperatures typically range from freezing to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
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.