The Best Way to Become an Outdoor Educator—Learn from the Best!

Video and Photos

Sea Kayaking in Tomales Bay
Sea Kayaking in Tomales Bay
Our Group
Our Group
Hiking in the High Sierras
Hiking in the High Sierras
My patrol from the Instructor Development Course
Benny and I at Broken Top

About

It takes a special kind of person to become an outdoor educator. They brave the elements, day in and day out. They devote a lifetime to working with all kinds of people. They practice patience and compassion, and hone technical, facilitation and leadership skills.

Not everyone has what it takes. But for those who find their calling under the wide blue sky, our Outdoor Educator courses are designed just for you.

These expeditions offer hands-on teaching experience – so participants can develop top-notch technical skills. With an emphasis on student dynamics, group and individual facilitation, and safety and risk management, Instructor courses prepare students to be elite outdoor leaders and compassionate educators with proven and practical expertise. Best of all, every lesson takes place in rugged experiential learning environments, alongside world-class Outward Bound Instructors.

Highlights
  • Develop top-notch technical skills with the best Instructors in the industry
  • Learn group and individual facilitation, along with safety and risk management
  • Return home as an elite outdoor leader and compassionate educator with proven and practical expertise
  • Receive your Wilderness First Responder certification
  • Explore exotic and remote locations in the U.S. and the world

Questions & Answers

Reviews

99%
based on 7 reviews
  • Housing 8.1
  • Support 9.6
  • Fun 9.9
  • Value 8.7
  • Safety 9.9
Showing 1 - 7 of 7
Default avatar
Charis
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Northwest Outward Bound Outdoor Educator Course

Taking this course was one of the best decisions I've ever made. I signed up in order to gain technical skills to perform better in my role within the outdoor industry. I walked away with these skills, but I also gained so much more. Some of the greatest lessons I learned while on trail came from the seven other individuals on expedition with me. They remain some of the closest friends and encouragers I have in my life. While on trail we leaned on each other's strengths to get us both physically and mentally to our next destination. And while, sleeping in a cave overlooking granite spires and kayaking alongside orca whales are "never-forget-it moments", some of my favorite memories are rap battles and campfire dinners with my crew. This expedition of course would have not been the same without the instructors who led it. They exemplified passion, integrity, and grit — leading by example and creating a space that was fun to learn, fail, and try again in, they are truly the real MVP's and are reason enough to sign up for a course.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
For anyone considering this course — first and foremost: do it! And secondly, lean fully into every part of the course. Ask questions. Be yourself. And be ready to challenge and grow yourself in ways, you probably won't even recognize until you're back home.
Default avatar
Laura
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Epic Travels

One of the hardest experiences of my life but it was all worth it! On my 2 year anniversary with my boyfriend, I had to leave him for 2 months to go on these adventures with random people from all over the Country. The heartache was indescribable but from every mountain that I climbed, every dinner under the stars, all scenic routes, and the variety of personalities that were found from each bond, the heartache was just easier and easier to deal with. This course pushes your limits, from the fear of heights to the fear of opening up, it's all different for one but it just gets better and you grow from your weaknesses. You travel together but your journey is your own. You learn a bunch of new skills; map and compass reading, variety of knot building, WFR certification, rock climbing skills, and so much more. When I came back home my current job advanced my position and gave me more responsibility. I am growing as an outdoor educator. The one thing to note down from all of this is just be you. There might be a day that you feel frustrated with someone or sad about an incident, or just lonely, we'll speak up! Be yourself and let yourself grow from these experiences. It will all be worth it!

What would you improve about this program?
Not sure
Default avatar
Andrew
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Outward Bound California 65-Day Instructor Development Course (High Sierras, Joshua Tree, Bay Area)

I came into this semester course with some previous outdoor experiences and was unsure about how much more I could learn from a semester course. To answer that question, I learned much more than I ever thought I would. One of the main takeaways from my trip has been to keep the "beginner's mind", or in my case, learning to accept that I didn't know as much as I thought I did and that it's okay.

Having had previous experience with the technical skills of backpacking, mountaineering, rock climbing, and sea kayaking, this course provided for a much needed refresher into these different skills. However, the most influential learning for me was the interpersonal skills. At its core, Outward Bound allows students to put into practice the transferable skills of leadership, communication, and conflict resolution. In this microcosm of a learning environment, it's allowed me to put the skills I've learned and practiced in the backcountry into my everyday life. That's what makes Outward Bound so special. It's not just an outdoor education. The outdoors is simply a vehicle that Outward Bound uses to teach a life education.

It is a program that I highly recommend for either the beginner of the experienced. And while the program is targeted towards aspiring outdoor educators, I think this program would be fit for just about anyone.

Default avatar
Chloe
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Life-Changing

Doing this course will truly change your life! The memories you will take away from this course and the places you'll see are amazing, and I know I for one would never have done/seen them if it wasn't for this trip. It was challenging every single day but I am so much better for it--I feel so much more independent ever since doing this course, which makes sense because Outward Bound (at least in this program) focuses on having you figure things out yourself.

And though I didn't end up pursuing outdoor education as a career, it has still benefited me so much just in life in general, living in a city.

I still talk about my experience at Outward Bound to this day (and it was over 2 years ago) because of all the things I've done in my life, I am perhaps most proud of doing and completing this course.

Default avatar
Eric
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Outward Bound Instructor Development Course Washington

My passion for outdoor education and recreation led to my enrollment in a 50-day Outward Bound Instructor Development course. This extraordinary expedition in the Pacific Northwest combined challenging environments with an intensive educational curriculum advancing my educational, technical and medical skills. Upon reflection, my favorite part was the education practicum because the opportunities to teach the skills I learned as a student and see my campers comprehend and practice those skills. This fully immersive course I am incredibly thankful for because it has furthered my passion to teach in the outdoors and taught me to pursue what I love.

I am proud to say this experience led to employment this past summer with Northwest Outward Bound base as an intern. One of the many learnings from my employment included understanding the value of open communication between co-instructors to maintain a supportive and safe environment for the students. Lastly, I would recommend the Instructor Development Course for any inspiring outdoor educators!

Default avatar
Henry
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

50 day Intructor's Training (Three Sisters Wilderness)

It isn't a specific story, but rather a whole experience. On my trip we started with backpacking a section of the Three Sisters Wilderness, Rocking Climbing at Smith Rock, Rafting the Deschutes (i think), and then we finished with less guided backpacking. And while the less guided backpacking was the most difficult due to weather and overall independence, the trip that stays with me the most was Rafting the Deschutes. It was roughly 2 weeks of the most beautiful, and sometimes frightening, place I have ever been. It was challenging everyday, but it was all so rewarding. Each day we had to rig and take down the row-boats, possibly raft through some rapids, and receive some wilderness medical training. It was a daily struggle, but I was never more happy. I had a smile on my face the moment we touched the water. I kind of felt like a super responsible kid because I had jobs I had to do to help my team, but I was laughing and excited the entire time. Outward Bound and this specific part of the trip in general helped me to realize that challenging myself feels good and it never hurts to be positive.

Constantine Dhonau
Constantine
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

52 Days: Rockies to Alaska

I met one of my best friends on this course. Every day I would look around in awe that I was actually climbing or hiking in the Rockies, in Wyoming, in Alaska. The beauty is incomprehensible. We made several peak attempts, but our only successful summit was optional. Our group could have walked away, but we came together in the pouring rain, freezing temperatures, and gale winds to make our way to the top. This instructor development course is a great option for just beginning, or taking your foundational knowledge to the next level.

Interviews

Staff Interviews

About Outward Bound

Here at Outward Bound, our motto is "learn by doing." Founded in 1962, Outward Bound has helped over 1 million students achieve their goals. Today, we equip students looking to pursue a gap year with self-confidence, tenacity and compassion. Outward...