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Careers in Adventure Education

For some folks, the idea of a career that keeps them sitting behind a desk for 8 hours a day leaves them cold. The good news is that a career in Adventure Education will keep them in the great outdoors and provide a service to others as well.

Definition

If you like being physically active, an Adventure Education career may be what you want. In addition to physical fitness, Adventure Education requires good nutrition, excellent communication skills and basic knowledge and experience with an assortment of outdoor activities. Some of those activities include backpacking and low-impact camping; climbing of all sorts; various types of skiing and snowboarding; canoeing, kayaking, rafting and river rescue; weather, navigation, search and rescue; equipment maintenance and repair; and audio-visual proficiency.

In the Wild

Adventure Education students combine a love for the outdoors with intellectual curiosity. In the Fort Lewis College program in Durango, Colorado, students will be kayaking, participating in mock courts and learning the therapeutic benefits of being away from civilization for weeks at a time. The Fort Lewis program also prepares the student for the erratic hours an outdoor educator keeps. Classes are held in late afternoon, over weekends and during spring break.

Categories

Some careers are in field-based leadership, outdoor education, summer camp administration, state and national park education, therapeutic adventure, environmental education and recreation. Graduates starting their careers may find jobs at summer camps; outfitters and expedition programs; guide service; trail crews; or with state and national parks. Experienced Adventure Education grads have a few more opportunities, such as with youth-at risk, in rehab centers and therapeutic programs or with organizations that work with people who have different learning styles and abilities.

Finding a Job

The career options are numerous when you look at the various search engines available for Adventure Education graduates. For instance, at Outdoored.com, graduates can choose from several work environments, such as schools, challenge courses, camps or therapeutic programs (see Resources). Job seekers who really enjoy the woods can choose to work in that environment rather than in the water. In addition to choosing the state, region or country in which to work, the job seeker also can choose the type of population with which to work. For instance, if the applicant wants to work with at-risk youth, he can choose that option.

Training

Fort Lewis College, in Durango, Colorado, has a rigorous Adventure Education major. Course work includes spending time in canyons and on rivers as well as in the classroom, learning how to be leaders, critical thinkers and informed professionals as well as how to teach. Students also learn the reasons why adventure education can be a life-changing experience.

At Unity College in Unity, Maine, Adventure Education students also can earn special certifications such as Trip Leader, Maine Guide, Lifeguarding, Ski Instructor, National Ski Patrol Avalanche Search and Rescue and Wilderness EMT. Many of the Adventure Education programs also help with finding a job. For instance, on the website of Plymouth State University, in Plymouth, New Hampshire, a listing of typical jobs and employers provides a wide number of options for people who pursue a degree in Adventure Education.



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