The Oregon Outdoor Educator course is an extraordinary expedition that combines beautiful environments and challenging activities with an intensive educational curriculum.
The Oregon Outdoor Educator course is a comprehensive expedition program combining the beautiful and challenging environments of the Oregon wilderness with intensive educational curriculum and activities. Students spend 55 days expanding their mastery of wilderness techniques across multiple environments, honing the skills needed to work in the field of outdoor and adventure education. Designed specifically for individuals interested in instructing, guiding, or outdoor teaching positions, this course offers in-depth learning in mountaineering, snow camping, rock climbing, whitewater rafting and first aid.
The course also explores group dynamics, experiential education theory and methods, and wilderness activity management. In a supportive community of like-minded adventurers, you are provided with the opportunity to act as both a student and an educator, drawing from your experience to reinforce the wilderness educational concepts you explore. Previous course participants work in all facets of the outdoor industry — as guides, instructors and classroom teachers. They have expressed that this course delivers the invaluable experience, relevant skills and knowledge needed to help students become better educators.
For detailed information on course availability statuses and what they mean,
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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.
The following is an example of what your course itinerary might look like. Your actual course plan will vary according to weather, student skills and abilities, and instructor preferences.
Course Start, welcome and introductions, course overview
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 legendary outdoor educators and add your own strengths as you design and lead your own 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.
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.
Students travel on the river in four to six person paddle rafts, learning to “captain” (maneuver) their paddle raft team through Class II to IV rapids. After lessons in basic river travel and safety, students learn to read currents, anticipate obstacles, scout rapids and negotiate technical portions of the river. Students learn river hydrology, swimming in currents, paddle techniques, and expeditionary travel. On the rafting expedition, there may be the chance for short day hikes.
Students receive individual instruction and test their skills against vertical cracks, steep faces and boulders. Students will camp in a front country site at Smith Rock State Park among the multicolored cliffs and spires or in a backcountry location near the Central Cascades. Students learn about basic climbing equipment, rope management, wearing harnesses, tying knots, belaying and rappelling techniques, top rope site assessment and management, facilitating the climbing experience and movement on rock.
Mountaineering courses move through high mountain terrain and focus on preparation for a peak attempt that may require the use of ropes, technical equipment and snow camping. During this section of the course, students start by learning snow travel skills, including off-trail travel, map and compass navigation, and campsite selection. Learn basic mountaineering skills like route finding, snow and glacier travel, ice axe use, and rope team travel. Please note that peak attempts are dependent upon variables such as weather and group dynamic.
Nine days of this course will be spent fulfilling the 72 hours of classroom and hands-on learning required to obtain the Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certification. During this portion of the trip, students learn advanced backcountry first aid and evacuation techniques. Each day, time is devoted to lectures and exams as well as practical hands-on sessions and rescue simulations. Evenings are reserved for study and assignments. Full participation is required. Upon successfully completing and passing the course, students receive WFR, Anaphylaxis, and Basic Life Support-CPR certification cards from Wilderness Medical Training Center. These are the industry-standard medical certifications required for professionals working in the outdoors.
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.
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.
Service to others and to our environment is a core value of Outward Bound and is integrated into each course. Groups follow Recreate Responsibly 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.
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.
Smith Rock State Park is a world-renowned climbing destination that attracts climbers of every ability level. It is widely considered to be one of the top sport climbing areas in the country. Smith Rock is a uniquely beautiful area that commonly graces postcards and calendars. The Crooked River lazily winds its way through the canyon, cutting a path through the cliffs and spires. To the west, the snow-capped volcanoes of the Cascade Range rise on the horizon, above the flat checkerboard of irrigated plains. One of the most striking features is a prominent spire, Monkey Face. Given the dry and temperate climate, rock climbing is feasible most of the year. These regions are the ancestral lands of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs and the Tenino nations.
Deschutes River, Oregon
The Deschutes River is part of the national Wild & Scenic Rivers System. The river flows north from the Oregon Cascades to the Columbia River and then on to the Pacific Ocean. The Lower Deschutes is a popular river for both whitewater rafting and fly fishing. The river is spring-fed, which results in an unusually constant water flow and cold water. Excellent geologic evidence is present all around this area. This course will travel the entire 96-mile stretch of the Lower Deschutes. The rapids on the Deschutes are rated to Class IV, mostly Class II-III, and are excellent for learning paddle skills and teamwork. The group camps each night along the banks of the river. These regions are the ancestral lands of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs and the Tenino nations.
Central Cascades, Oregon
Volcanoes dot the spine of the Cascade Mountains, rising over 10,000 feet above the forests, lakes, and rivers of the surrounding region. These glaciated peaks run north and south and create perfect mountaineering objectives. The Central Cascade range is home to the Three Sisters, Broken Top, Mt. Washington, Three Fingered Jack, and Mt. Jefferson. Four 10,000 foot glaciated volcanoes are present in this course area, with a total of nine major volcanoes. You’ll find a unique blend of dry eastside and moist westside weather conditions, which allow diverse types of vegetation to flourish. The area has a complex geologic history that continues today. Students can find active glaciers methodically carving away the mountain and the dramatic traces of avalanches that altered the landscape. It is these features of the volcanoes that create a challenging playground from which crews learn the more technical aspects of mountaineering and snow camping. Depending upon the peak, your summit attempt may necessitate glacier and roped-team travel. Students can expect snow travel the entire portion of this section of the course. These regions are the ancestral lands of the Yoncalla, Molalla, Kalapuya, Tenino and Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs nations.
Odin Falls Base Camp, Redmond, Oregon
This facility is the office and support site for all wilderness courses conducted in Oregon. The 48-acre property is located on the Deschutes River in the high desert, north of Bend. From the base camp, Smith Rock State Park is visible to the east and the Central Cascades rise in the distance to the west. Students may spend time at this location in order to utilize the lodge classroom setting for the Wilderness First Responder (WFR) portion of the course. Students stay in the campground or a rustic bunkhouse on the property. These regions are the ancestral lands of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs nation.
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.