The Oregon Outdoor Educator course is a comprehensive 50-day expedition program that expands your mastery of wilderness techniques across multiple environments, emphasizing the skills you need to work in the field of outdoor and adventure education. Students are immersed in the history, tradition, and teaching methods of an organization that has long been a pioneer of wilderness and experiential education throughout the world. Designed specifically for all individuals interested in pursuing instructional, guiding, or outdoor teaching positions, this course offers in-depth learning in mountaineering, snow camping, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, 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 will be provided with opportunities to act as both a student and an educator, drawing references from your experiences to affirm the wilderness educational concepts being explored. Previous course participants are working in all facets of our industry—as guides, instructors, and classroom teachers—and have expressed that this course delivers invaluable experience, relevant skills and the knowledge needed to help students become better educators.
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This course is either full or starts within seven days. Please call us at 866-467-7651 to discuss your options.
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 State Colorado University. Anyone can register – you do not have to be a current Western State 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.
Students will travel on the river in four to six person paddle rafts, and learn to “captain” (maneuver) their paddle raft team through Class II to IV rapids. After lessons in basic river travel and safety, students will progress into learning to read currents, anticipate obstacles, scout rapids and negotiate technical portions of the river. Students will also learn river hydrology, swimming in currents, paddle techniques and expeditionary travel. While on the rafting expedition, there may also be an opportunity for short day hikes.
Students will receive individual instruction and test their skills against vertical cracks, steep faces and boulders. Camping will be 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 will 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 will start by learning snow travel skills including off trail travel, map and compass navigation, and campsite selection. In progression, students will 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 will learn advanced backcountry first aid and evacuation techniques. Each day, time will be 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 will receive WFR, Anaphylaxis, and Basic Life Support-CPR certification cards from the Wilderness Medical Training Center. These are the industry-standard medical certifications that are 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, Outward Bound Instructors purposefully and gradually transfer certain leadership responsibilities to the students culminating with in a “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 applying all the skills they have acquired.
Toward the end of the course students will have the opportunity to practice their educational skills to facilitate 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 them to use many of the skills that they have 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 receive direct, constructive feedback from Outward Bound staff about their performance.
We typically end our courses with a Final Challenge Event—an individual final physical push. This might take the form of a run or a triathlon-style challenge.
Service to others and to the environment are core values of Outward Bound and they are integrated into each course. Participants follow Leave No Trace ethics as part of their service to the environment. Students develop an ingrained appreciation of service, seeing the impact of their actions firsthand, by multiple small acts of service with and for their crewmates while leading and supporting each other throughout the journey
In order for profound learning to take place, students need time to reflect 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 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 length of course, weather, student condition, age, and Instructor preference. Solo campsites are chosen to offer as much solitude as possible (and still 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 the lessons they’ve learned on course and focus on their goals for the future. Instructors check on each participant at regular intervals, as safety is always the top priority.
Outdoor Educator Course students will receive in-depth training in technical, interpersonal, and educational skills that are necessary to become an outdoor educator. With a progression of teaching and leadership skills where Instructors and peers provide feedback in an organized setting, students will gain a strong foundation to begin or continue working as an outdoor educator. 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.
Smith Park State Park, Oregon
Smith Rock 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. 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.
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 cold water flow. 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, hydrology and teamwork. The group camps each night along the banks of the river. The Deschutes River Canyon borders the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs for the first 60 miles, and follows a railroad for much of the length of the Lower Deschutes.
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 for students. 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. Active glaciers carve away the mountain while avalanches leave dramatic traces that alter the landscape. It is these features of the volcanoes that create a challenging playground from which students learn the more technical aspects of mountaineering and backpacking.
Odin Falls Base Camp, Redmond, Oregon
This facility is our 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 will stay in our campground or a rustic bunkhouse on the property.
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.