Working in the Outdoor and Adventure Industry is brilliant.
Getting enough qualifications to get a good job as an Outdoor Instructor can take some planning.
If you want a career in the great outdoors you’re going to need to choose the best way for you to get qualifications and experience.
We’ve listed a few different pathways below, these are the most common routes into a career as a professional Outdoor Instructor.
We’ve found someone that’s followed each route that’s currently working for Land & Wave and asked them to share their experiences...
Lots of people start out as Apprentice or Trainee instructors working for big companies like PGL or Acorn Adventure
Pros: No need to invest in your own professional development, good fun, lots of experience working with groups of young children, you’ll learn lots of songs
Cons: Little or no chance of getting real activity qualifications, repetitive work, very low wages with little chance of promotion or increases in pay.
Who’s done it? David Mutton - Director
David says: I had a great time at PGL for almost 3 years. I got lots of experience working with school groups but didn’t really start developing professionally until I left PGL.
There’s a good choice of university degrees with a focus on outdoor education or adventure sports. Most degrees will take you three years to complete.
Pros: Great for meeting people, spending lots of time in the pub and having adventures in all the free time you get.
Cons: A degree will probably leave you at least £44,000 in debt, you probably wont get any real outdoor qualifications (or they’ll cost you extra), 3 years is a long time!
Who’s done it? Owen Senior - Business Development Director
Owen says: I loved uni because of the people, I made great friends and had lots of good times. I didn’t get any outdoor qualifications through my degree course. I don’t regret my time at university but it’s not really contributed to my career or professional development.
There’s a number of intensive outdoor instructor training courses. They offer lots of real outdoor qualifications and normally last for 4 (ish) months during the winter.
Pros: Brilliant for getting lots of real qualifications quickly, great for meeting like minded people, most courses offer a direct path into a good outdoor instructor job.
Cons: You’ll need to pay upfront for your training, your training will be cheaper overall but you’ll have to make that initial investment in your own professional development.
Who’s done it? Sam Locke - Lead Instructor
Sam says: Outdoor Instructor Training worked really well for me. I wanted to work hard and get qualified as quickly as possible. I think outdoor instructor training followed by a season working for a good outdoor company is the best way to kick start your career in the outdoor industry
Work out what works best for you and go for it!
Decide which professional training course, university degree or entry level job works best for you; think about what you want to be doing in a years time, three years time and for the rest of your career (scary!) and work hard at it.
Good luck out there…
“The Secret of getting ahead is getting started” - Mark Twain