Instructor Training vs University - How will you start your career in the great outdoors?

by Owen Senior News

Instructor Training vs University - How will you start your career in the great outdoors?

There are a number of pathways into a career in the outdoor and adventure industry.

Some people start their career after 3 years at university studying Outdoor Adventure or an associated subject.

Some people start their career after a period of instructor training. This can take 4 months or several years, intensive instructor courses are available, they vary significantly in terms of content, focus and the qualifications on offer.

We thought we’d compare two options for those people considering routes into work in the great outdoors.Sea kayakingCost of training…

University: £9000 per year  for three years (minimum) + living costs. Average student debt after university = £44,035

Instructor Training: Accelerated Instructor Training courses cost between £7500 and £10500 for 4 - 5 months of intensive training including all living costs


University: 3 or 4 years for an undergraduate degree

Instructor Training: 4 to 5 months

Coasteering at dusk

Additional training needed after your degree or training course… 

University: At least 4 months and up to 2 years of gaining activity qualifications and relevant professional experience

Instructor Training: 6 to 9 months of relevant professional experience

Bushcraft relax

Earning potential straight after your degree or training course… 

University: None or a training wage rising to first year instructor wage of £15500

Instructor Training: First year instructor wage £15500

Han Trimby

Earning potential 3 years after graduating/ course end… 

University: Team Leader - Operations Manager: £17000 - £33000

Instructor Training: Team Leader - Operations Manager: £17000 - £33000

Matt Kayaking

Future development and training opportunities…  

University: Post Graduate Certificate of Education (Additional cost of £9000), coaching qualifications, high level national governing body qualifications

Instructor Training: Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training (study while you work), high level national governing body qualifications

Sea kayaking

Job Development + Progression… 

University: High level coach, management of staff and/ or resources, teaching, lecturing

Instructor Training: High level coach, management of staff and/ or resources, teaching, lecturing

DSC_9327Where it might take you…

After 10 years experience and professional development most people within the outdoor education and adventure industry will earn between £25000 and £45000 depending on their job role, personal aspirations and location. Management jobs tend to pay higher salaries than roles based on travel and lots of activity delivery.

University and Instructor Training Courses will give you good opportunities to network, meet fantastic people and get to know the industry really well.

You should choose a path that works for you; the way you learn, what you wish to achieve and where, perhaps, you hope to end up.

Land & Wave offers Outdoor Instructor Training courses, some of them last two days others last two years: /training/

Good luck out there…  

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