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How to become an Outdoor Educator

Outdoor educators are responsible for planning and leading outdoor education programs and activities, including camps, treks, and hikes. Instead of the focus of these programs being recreation, you’ll be supporting participants to discover their strengths, meet new people, learn new skills, and thrive both physically and emotionally. Outdoor education programs often focus on building skills such as leadership, conflict resolution, problem-solving, resilience, and general life skills.

If you love spending time in nature, are a great communicator and natural leader, and want a job that provides opportunities for travel all around the world, you might like to consider becoming an outdoor educator.

What skills do I need as an outdoor educator?

  • Strong communicator
  • Fit & healthy
  • Dedicated & resilient
  • Excellent leader
  • Organised & efficient
  • Safety-minded
  • Hard-working
  • Great problem-solver

What does the job involve?

  • Lead groups on outdoor excursions & activities
  • Teach important skills to participants
  • Educate participants on natural history & ecology of the area
  • Provide safety instructions & follow safety protocols
  • Encourage active participation & learning
  • Facilitate socialisation & communication between participants
  • Help participants work through challenges & conflict
  • Plan & organise logistics, including transportation, equipment & food

What industries do outdoor educators typically work in?

  • Education & Training
  • Arts & Recreation Services
  • Public Administration & Safety

What Career Cluster do outdoor educators belong to?

Because their work involves teaching and guiding others, Informers usually make great outdoor educators. Coordinators may also enjoy outdoor education roles that involve more planning and management than instruction.

What kind of lifestyle can I expect?

Part-time roles are common for outdoor educators, so if you need a bit of extra flexibility in your week, this could be an option for you. Because of the nature of the activities you’ll be leading, it’s likely you’ll need to do work on weekends, holidays, and sometimes even be on location over several nights. Prepare to spend lots of time travelling and away from home. And because of the nature of the job, remote and working from home opportunities are very uncommon.

Outdoor educators can be employed in schools, education centres, camps, tour centres, adventure operators, or by private outdoor expedition companies. Once you have enough experience and have built up a network, you might even like to start your own business and offer personalised outdoor experiences.

Most outdoor educators earn an average salary throughout their career.

How to become an outdoor educator

To work as an outdoor educator, it’s beneficial to have a vocational qualification in a relevant area, such as outdoor education, sport and leisure, or recreation. In addition, gaining certification in specific activities such as rock climbing, kayaking, or mountaineering can also be advantageous. If you’re working in an environment with young people, you’ll also need to acquire a working with children and/or police check.

You can also take specialised short courses and workshops to build on your leadership and communication skills, both vital for outdoor educators. Expect to undertake lifelong learning throughout your career as standards and practices change.

If you’re in high school and you’d like to find out if a career as an outdoor educator is right for you, here’s a few things you could do right now:

  • Spend lots of time in the outdoors and think about the activities that interest you the most.
  • Volunteer or find work experience in outdoor recreation or education and start building important skills.
  • Work on your interpersonal skills, engage with people from diverse backgrounds, and start networking.

Find out more here:

Similar careers to outdoor educator

  • Tour Guide
  • Secondary Teacher
  • Camp Counsellor
  • Adventure Guide
  • Fitness Instructor
  • Recreation Officer
  • Primary Teacher
  • Tourism Operator

Find out more about alternative careers.

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