How To Become An Outdoor Pursuits Instructor | 2018

Working in the great outdoors and helping people have adventures, is a wonderful way to spend a day at work. The outdoor and adventure industry has changed for the better; more professional, better paid, more career paths. It’s a great time to join the industry and start a job that you’ll love.


Do you want to work as an outdoor and adventure instructor?

  • Love the great outdoors?
  • Love working with people?
  • Looking for a career that make you happy and healthy?

There are three 'normal' routes to get there...

  • Seasonal Outdoor Work 
  • Study at University 
  • Intensive Instructor Training

Kayaking. Wave

There aren’t very many routes into the outdoor industry. 

After talking to hundreds of outdoor professionals we think that the huge majority of people follow three main training pathways. 

We’ve looked at the options available and have summarised some information below, fingers crossed it’ll help a few people on their way.

Seasonal Outdoor Work

Lots of outdoor people start as seasonal outdoor staff, working in outdoor centres during the summer and keeping themselves busy over the winter. The pay is low and the hours are long but this kind of work can be good fun. It can be a little dispiriting living in shared room and earning a pittance for years but the variety and locations on offer sometimes make up for it. 

PERFECT FOR: A gap year, having a good time, working with kids.

DRAWBACKS: The cost of spending several years working as a trainee or seasonal instructor is hard to calculate. Most people will spend three to four years earning very little and gaining just a few basic qualifications. This route into the industry can be very expensive and time consuming.

OIT. Kayaking group

Study at University

Studying work in the great outdoors at university may sound counter-intuitive but there are some great courses in the UK. 

It’s worth considering that even the best courses offer very little in the way of vocational qualifications. Most university courses cost £9000 a year. The theoretical aspects of the industry, adventure, risk and adventure are covered in detail.

PERFECT FOR: A route into teaching, to experience ‘student life’ 

DRAWBACKS: Most people are just starting their career in the outdoors when they finish university. Course fee’s are currently £9000 a year, when living costs etc are factored in could cost more than £60,000 to follow this path.

Kayaking. Yellow

Accelerated Instructor Training  

Intensive training courses for outdoor staff normally run over the winter, they provide the opportunity to get lots of training, experience and qualifications quickly.

They cost between £7,000 and £10,000

If you choose a training course you must get value for money. What do your tuition fees actually pay for? What do you get for your money? What qualifications will you actually leave with? 

Training and assessment fees will make up a big proportion of any course. Any credible course should be running these courses through external providers.

A good training course will have lots of highly skilled coaches and teachers leading the training (we use 8 full time coaches and an additional 8 visiting trainers and assessors)  

Look for a great location, look for a great mix of qualifications. 

If you love the mountains, go to the mountains:
If you love the ocean, go to the ocean:

Our Outdoor Instructor Training course runs for 15 weeks. It's really good. The staff that work on the course are the best in the business.

OIT. Lying in the reeds

by Owen Senior

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