Working at NCOAE
Professional development — learning that allows you to earn or maintain professional credentials — is key to career planning, especially when it comes to considering a career in the outdoor adventure and education industry. Much more than participating in a bunch of classes, our sector of the outdoor industry looks favorably on applicants with wilderness medicine training and certification, skills training and certification, and hands-on guiding and expedition leadership experience.
Truth is, we here at NCOAE found that operating an adventure education company during a health pandemic was challenging. And staffing our AEE-accredited organization with highly experienced instructors became increasingly difficult but not impossible.
Like other industries, we suffered a staffing shortage, and yes, some of our existing staff left to pursue other pathways. But what we’ve noticed lately is a lack of experience from some people who thought working in the outdoors would — quite literally — be a walk in the park.
Many of these would-be outdoor educators and guides decided that sitting on a couch while looking at photos and films of wilderness expeditions was a suitable alternative for actually going out and experiencing the outdoors.
This potential pool of applicants backed out and went the way of the “Instagram Adventurer” or the “Armchair Explorer.” And in talking with our colleagues across our sector of the outdoor industry, we’re not alone in seeing this trend. Nearly all outdoor adventure and education organizations are taking pause and evaluating the future of trainings, staff recruitment, and what it means to be qualified to head out into “wild places.”
Regardless of what other organizations choose to do about their staffing challenges, NCOAE will not budge on what is required of our field instructor and outdoor educator candidates. Hands-on experience coupled with recognized industry certifications still matter and always will.
If you’re interested in a seasonal or full-time job in outdoor education, here are my recommendations on how to proceed. (more…)
The economy is booming and we here at The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education (NCOAE) find ourselves in the position of seeking a few part-time instructors. Specifically, we’re looking for instructors to supplement our expanding team of EMT professionals who teach courses at our North Carolina headquarters. Among the many courses we offer is an intensive 19-day EMT-Basic course that satisfies eligibility requirements for the National Registry and NC EMT certification. These classes meet Mondays through Fridays with an additional 24 hours of clinical and field practice on either Saturday or Sunday.
If you know anything about us, you know we pride ourselves with employing some of the very best instructors in the industry, and that includes instructors who are also EMT-paramedics, firefighters, military operations specialists, and experts in critical care management.
As an AEE accredited organization, we provide an exciting and one-of-a-kind teaching environment where teamwork is paramount — which means our EMT offerings stand out from most teaching institution’s. Our instructors provide (more…)
Here at The National Center for Outdoor Education & Adventure Education (NCOAE), we recently welcomed three new field instructors, a climbing instructor and a program coordinator to our outstanding team of staff members.
Earlier this year, these five candidates — two women and three men — successfully completed our Winter 2017 Instructor Candidate Training Program, becoming part of a staff treasure trove that annually attracts some of the best outdoor and experientially-based wilderness educators in the country.
Much of the success of our Instructor Candidate education goes to our training program, where NCOAE instructors work directly with candidates who — on their own steam — are highly qualified outdoor educators.
Many of these candidates have worked for top-drawer wilderness organizations, and our training serves as a means of taking their experience and fine-tuning it to fit NCOAE’s extremely comprehensive curriculum.
Our candidates tell us that despite their prior instructor training and experience, an intensive week of training at our North Carolina headquarters only serves to ratchet up that experience, giving them something more meaningful when guiding and instructing in the field with NCOAE’s students and participants.
But enough about us. Let’s meet these five new NCOAE staff members: (more…)
Without going completely overboard, we here at The National Center for Outdoor Education & Adventure Education (NCOAE) liken our popular Instructor Candidate (IC) training to a Hollywood red carpet event — without the egos or trophies.
That’s because this training attracts the best wilderness educators in the world to our North Carolina headquarters for five days of curriculum design and delivery training. It’s a time when NCOAE’s instructors get to work directly with some of the most highly qualified outdoor educators in the industry.
This “invitation only” event draws participants who have worked for other companies and schools on both the domestic and international levels. By the time they arrive on our campus for IC training, they are often looking for something different — something more meaningful.
As NCOAE instructors, we think of this educational training and refresher as a time of (more…)
Oftentimes after a successful outdoor adventure, at least one smiling student comes up to me and says, “Man, I wish I had your job.”
Well, of course you do. As far as you know, I’m getting a paycheck for camping, climbing, paddling and exploring in some of the most beautiful spots on earth. That part’s true. As outdoor education instructors, we get to work with others who share that passion for the wilderness. We love the job and we can’t think of another occupation that would be half as satisfying.
But there’s a lot that goes on before you can go out and bag that dream job. And just looking the part isn’t enough to get you in the door and on the trail.
We want to give you some preliminary — quick and dirty — career tips for those who are serious about becoming an outdoor educator, experiential educator, and/or an adventure educator. Throughout the year we will revisit this topic with additional tips and offerings from the experts here at The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education (NCOAE).
Here are a few of the basics for obtaining that sought-after outdoor educator position, starting off with a short rundown of high-level skills and certifications you’re going to need to get started: (more…)
By Stephen Mullaney, NCOAE Staff Development Director
When The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education (NCOAE) got together to host a multi-day “invitation only” event for instructional candidates, we took the same care as we would when building a campfire.
As a rule, wood doesn’t burn on its own. It’s the gases released, along with a combination of oxygen and ignition that creates the flame. What you need, in fact, is quality fuel, oxygen and ignition.
Here at NCOAE, we have developed, over a period of time, a curriculum that goes well beyond the industry standard and synthesizes best practices that work in wilderness and beyond. Our outdoor education curriculum is our fuel, and it’s the finest fuel to support the courses we offer to students, educators and communities. However, it’s the thought, passion and effort we put into constant improvement that provides the (more…)
Come early October, more than 100 seventh and eighth graders — along with an experienced crew of outdoor educators from The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education (NCOAE) — will be camping under the stars in Southern California’s Joshua Tree National Park.
The only thing missing from this scenario are the outdoor educators, and if you meet the requirements, you could be spending Oct. 7-9 with 120 youngsters, staring up into a full moon, which, by the way, we are also providing for this particular NCOAE course.
As you’re probably learning right now, NCOAE is a well-respected source for outdoor adventure and education for teens and adults who are interested in personal growth and professional and educational development. And the three-day excursion to Joshua Tree will feature one NCOAE staff member for each teacher and 10 students.
That’s where you come in. If hired for this course, you will be responsible for facilitating a meaningful and safe outdoor education experience for some of these young outdoor explorers. What this entails is teaching specific aspects of the NCOAE curriculum — and not to worry because we’ll be providing paid training for that.
In addition, you will guide such activities as (more…)
Jena Honeyman was born to teach, but not in the public school system where standardization appears to have removed hope of educating the individual. That’s why Honeyman — a native of Washington State who was raised in the Adirondack Mountains of New York — is a perfect fit for the staff here at The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education. Her recent experience of hiking the Appalachian Trail with friends convinced the 2011 graduate of the Univ. of North Carolina Wilmington to pursue a career that meshes the outdoors with education. She wants kids to know that they can learn and enjoy things without a bunch of money, as well as create memories to last a lifetime while preserving the world’s beauty for the next generation.
Get to know this self-described Amelia Earhart fan here, in our latest NCOAE Staff profile:
NCOAE: Tell us about a time you realized you had the power to do something meaningful?
Jena: For starters, we have to realize that everyday is meaningful. We will all be gone soon enough, so it’s important to live while we can. When teaching in the public school sector, a student wrote me a note that pulled at my heartstrings. I realized then it wasn’t a “could do” but that “I was” impacting lives. The note referred to the interesting approach I took to teaching and thanked me for the nature walks and classes in the sunshine. We all have the ability to connect as humans in so many beautiful ways if we just allow ourselves.
NCOAE: What do you think about when you’re alone on the trail?
Jena: In addition to being aware of my surroundings and safety, I wonder about random things such as… Do we have such an affinity for electronic music nowadays because we live in an age where we are so ‘linked in’ that our brains respond better to the frequency of a computer and not the soul of a bass string? Pretty random, right! And then I snap out of it and think about how I don’t want to be in love with a computer and its frequency, but instead with the soul of the artist. That’s when I realize that I’m an artist in just my walking and the way I move, and then I laugh at how ridiculous the thought is and I smile and hope I’m not the only one thinking such ridiculous things when alone on the trail.
NCOAE: What gets you excited?
Jena: SQUIRREL! Oh wait; that’s Penny my dog. But as you can sense, I’m as easily stoked as she is. Killer sunrises, sandy toes and warm coffee excite me, as does waking up to newly fallen snow — particularly of the light and fluffy variety, which is excellent for skiing. The warmth a wood stove gives off excites me (especially when tuned into the knowledge that I started, stoked and maintained that fire myself). Giving excites me. Giving a smile that creates one back or leads to laughter. Guiding someone to see a cliff, a view, or a vista and knowing that I am part of him or her forever because of that shared experience excites me.
NCOAE: On a scale of one to 10, how weird are you?
Jena: You tell me… I (more…)
As seasonal hiring for outdoor educators draws to a close, we thought it’d be a good idea to share why it’s so important that outdoor educators use LinkedIn.
If you’re unfamiliar with LinkedIn, it’s a professional networking website that allows its members to create and maintain online profiles with resume-like features, including job history, certifications, professional affiliations, recommendations from coworkers and previous employers, awards, educational history, and much more.
For employers, LinkedIn offers a place to post job openings and paid advertisements, and to search for potential employees. There’s a lot more to the site than that, but for the purposes of today’s post, that’s what you need to know.
With about 300 million registered users, LinkedIn has become the default online tool for professional networking. In the United States alone, around 93 million people are using LinkedIn. So don’t think for a minute that just because you work in outdoor education — where we’re known for bucking trends and ignoring technology — that LinkedIn doesn’t matter. Anytime a website attracts nearly 30 percent of the adult population, it matters!
Here at The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education, we’re just as likely to search for an applicant’s online profile as we are to call for references. In other words, we take this hiring thing pretty seriously, and if you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, well, that just makes us question how serious a professional you are. Think about it: Just because we’re hiring you to hike, climb, raft and guide doesn’t mean you’re not to be taken seriously.
So how should you use LinkedIn? For starters, you want to (more…)
If you’ve spent any amount of time surfing our website or reading this blog, you know that working at The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education (NCOAE) is more than just a job. It’s a reward.
Working at NCOAE is a reward for many things, including: superior performance elsewhere; having a keen understanding of emotional intelligence and its impact on group dynamics; and, successfully teaching and guiding youths and adults in remote wilderness locations. Along the way, those who master technical outdoor skills – as evidenced by earning highly sought after certifications from organizations like the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) and the American Canoe Association (ACA) – also find that their hard work and dedication is potentially rewarded with an opportunity to work at The National center for Outdoor & Adventure Education.
In other words, working as an NCOAE outdoor educator, instructor or administrative staffer isn’t possible for everyone who applies. Instead, our employment openings – some of which are referenced below – are only available for the best of the best.
Currently, we’re actively pursuing applicants for these upcoming NCOAE job openings:
- NCOAE Course Director (This position oversees the safety, quality, and educational effectiveness of all of NCOAE courses. Your primary responsibilities in this job include: supervising and evaluating instructors, managing technical sites/activities, and overseeing all logistics of NCOAE courses in the field. That’s it? No, there’s more to this position than just that, of course; so for more information and a full job description, send an email of inquiry to email@example.com.)
- NCOAE Lead Instructor (This position is responsible for helping to manage the safety and wellbeing of all NCOAE students, and actively co-instructs while in the field. To learn more about this position, please send an email of inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
- NCOAE Assistant Field Instructor (As do all NCOAE wilderness instructor positions, this opportunity requires that you have a very solid understanding and knowledge of the inherent risks associated with backcountry travel in remote wilderness settings with groups, and that you have your Wilderness First Responder [WFR] and Leave No Trace [LNT] certifications. Learn more by sending an email message of inquiry to email@example.com.)
The hiring process here at NCOAE is fairly straightforward. You start by (more…)