Questions? Call NCOAE Support (910) 399-8090
Hidden in the pristine Alaskan backcountry is a faraway adventure through the least visited National Park in the United States. Join The National Center for Outdoor and Adventure Education (NCOAE) for a 50-mile route that is isolated, challenging, and absolutely untouched. Our 25-day Alaska expedition will give you the skills you need to work professionally as an Outdoor Educator with remote, backcountry experience. And, it’s breathtaking.
- 25 days
$5,375.00See Available Dates
With NCOAE’s Alaska Backpacking & Outdoor Educator course, you’ll explore remote territory on a rugged route that is distinctly Alaska. Our adventure begins and ends with Alaskan wilderness, and in the middle you’ll find Alaskan solitude. Our route takes you across remote glaciers, cold-mountain streams, high-mountain passes, and wide-open tundra. And, all of this provides the true backpacking adventure of a lifetime, with food and supplies airdropped by helicopter to remote locations.
In the wilds of Alaska, you’ll learn the skills to treat medical, environmental, and traumatic incidents in the backcountry. During your expedition, you will have the opportunity to sharpen your teaching abilities and technical wilderness skills.
During this 25-day course, you’ll find yourself exploring the heart of Wrangell-St.Elias, the least visited National Park in the United States. While traveling more than 50-miles across mountains, glaciers, and tundra, you’ll be learning, sharpening, and practicing the skills to plan and lead adventure-based experiential education trips.
- Duration: 25 days
- Minimum Age: 19
- Tuition: $5,375.00
- Credit Hours: 6
- Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certification
- Leave No Trace (LNT) Trainer certification
- Expedition planning and logistics
- Remote wilderness camp craft, including backcountry cooking and food planning
- Ice and snow gear and travel techniques
- Teaching-level knowledge of the NCOAE core curriculum
- Backpack through the remote wilderness in Alaska to explore the region’s pure streams, lush tundra, and sapphire lakes.
- According to the National Park Service, at 13.2 million acres, Wrangell-St. Elias could fit Yellowstone National Park, Yosemite National Park and a country the size of Switzerland all within its borders. The park stretches from one of the tallest peaks in North America — Mount St. Elias (18,008) — to the ocean.
- Camp next to small wilderness lakes; hike beneath beautiful hanging glaciers, and cross unnamed glaciers.
- Leap across glacier creeks, scale steep and exposed sheep trails, and cross high-mountain passes during the days on the trail.
- Whenever possible NCOAE attempts to follow our planned itineraries. However, there are multiple factors beyond our control, which some call the “Alaska Factor.” Weather conditions, group preferences, unforeseeable circumstances, and unpredictable variables can change on a moment’s notice. Join us, and you’ll see what we mean when we suggest you consider having an “open mind” as a prerequisite for an Alaskan adventure.
Why Take This Course
- Advance your knowledge of a leading outdoor education curriculum
- Discover which areas of outdoor and wilderness education are best suited to your strengths
- Acquire career skills to teach and travel in pristine destinations around the country — and around the world!
Where You’ll Be
- Wilderness of Wrangell — St. Elias National Park and Preserve — the largest unit in the U.S. National Park System
Beginning in McCarthy, Alaska, you’ll fly to a remote base camp in Wrangell – St. Elias National Park, relying solely on yourself and your fellow Outdoor Educators for everything.
Wrangell is the largest and least visited National Park in the United States. Spanning 13.2 million acres it’s as big as Yosemite National Park, Yellowstone National Park, and Switzerland combined. The park stretches from sea level to the top of one of the tallest peaks in North America — Mount St. Elias (18,008 feet).
You will be traveling and living in an area that is so remote, the only way in or out is by bush plane. Food and supplies will be airdropped at remote locations by helicopter.
You and your party will travel more than 50 miles across mountains, glaciers, snow-melt streams, and tundra, practicing the skills to plan and lead adventure-based experiential education trips.
The Alaska Backpacking Outdoor Educator course begins by helping you develop foundational outdoor and adventure education skills. You will learn wilderness medical skills and receive your Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certification. You’ll also gain hands-on experience in expedition planning, logistics, backpacking, backcountry cooking and food planning, remote wilderness camp craft, ice and snow travel techniques, environmental and civic responsibility, backcountry navigation, wilderness risk management, Leave No Trace (LNT) outdoor ethics, leadership and communication styles, as well as decision-making and teamwork. You will return home confident in your ability to lead others and instruct groups in the backcountry using your newfound skills.
No prerequisites are required. Throughout the course, you will acquire the knowledge and skills required to complete the course and to teach others how to navigate and thrive in the wilderness and in life in general.
This course is best suited to those who want to work full-time as an outdoor educator; those who are currently enrolled in college or university programs in adventure education, recreation, wilderness leadership, environmental science, and experiential education; and those who want to challenge themselves to be better educators.
You do not need to be an “Ironman” to participate in this course. That said, you will be required to carry your own pack, with your own gear and some group gear. Your pack will weigh between 40 and 50 pounds at any given time. You will be hiking over rugged terrain, crossing rivers and glaciers, making high altitude ascents, and negotiating deep valleys and steep ridges.
Yes, Wrangell – St. Elias is home to all three species of North American bears. The Wrangell is land of harsh landscapes in which bears like to travel looking for food. Statistically, it’s unlikely that you will encounter a bear in this 13.2 million-acre park, but it’s possible.
That said, NCOAE follows recommended best practices to mitigate the risks associated with bear encounters. You will learn and practice these risk management techniques as part of the course.
Each group has two or three instructors and eight to 12 students. We maintain an instructor-to-student ratio of no less than one instructor for every six students.
The minimum age for this course is 18 years, and the average age is about 30 years. Typically, participants range in age from 25 to 34 years old.
NCOAE provides all necessary group gear and food, but you will want, or be required, to bring certain items for yourself. We encourage you to contact NCOAE with all of your gear questions as early as possible. Start planning now by viewing the pack list.
Yes. If you are a college student, you may be eligible to receive up to six (6) credit hours for this course. If you are attending a college or university as part of a degree granting program, your advisor can determine whether your school will accept and transfer academic credits for participating in NCOAE courses from the University of North Carolina – Wilmington. For more information on the consortium agreement process, contact email@example.com.
Yes. This course offers a three-year Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certification and a Leave No Trace (LNT) certificate.
At this time, we do not offer financial aid. However, if you are a college student you may be able to use your existing federal financial aid to help pay for your course, and you may receive college credits through a consortium agreement with NCOAE. If you are attending a college or university as part of a degree granting program, your advisor can determine whether your school will accept and transfer academic credits for participating in NCOAE courses from the University of North Carolina – Wilmington. If it does, consult your financial aid office to determine if, how, and which funds may be used toward your NCOAE course costs. For more information on the consortium agreement process, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your work during our 25-day Alaska – Backpacking / Outdoor Educator course is eligible for up to six college-level credits through The University of North Carolina – Wilmington including:
- EVS 485 — Issues in Sustainability: 6 credits
- EVS 592 — Issues in Sustainability: 6 credits
This 25-day training is strenuous and will test your route-finding skills, stamina, and ability to excel in the outdoors. You will bushwhack, travel steep side-hills, navigate challenging terrain, cross multiple ice-cold streams and rivers, and encounter untouched flora, fauna, and landscapes.
Where do you want to go (physically, mentally, socially, academic, etc.)?
Traveling through Wrangell—St. Elias National Park for a month will allow you to rely solely on yourself and your fellow group members – for everything. Additionally, you’ll learn environmental and civic responsibility, backcountry navigation, wilderness risk management, outdoor ethics, leadership and communication styles, as well as decision-making and teamwork. You will return home confident in your ability to lead others and guide, and instruct groups in the backcountry using your newfound skills.
How will NCOAE help you get there?
Alumni of The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education (NCOAE) have a distinct advantage when applying to enter the fields of outdoor education, adventure-based education, backcountry guiding, as well as city, college, or university outdoor recreation programs.
Our curriculum offers graduates guidance in the areas of outdoor or interpersonal and intrapersonal management skills, and teaches how to use the curriculum to provide students with the tools they need to make positive decisions about their lives and the world around them.
This Outdoor Educator course and remote adventure is only offered through NCOAE, which is why we’re excited to offer it in Alaska.
This 25-day training is strenuous and will test your route-finding skills, stamina, and ability to excel as a professional outdoor educator. You will bushwhack, travel steep side-hills, navigate challenging terrain, cross multiple ice-cold streams and rivers, and encounter untouched flora, fauna, and landscapes.