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If you are inspired to shoulder your backpack and explore the remote Pacific wilderness, the Spring Semester on Oregon and California’s coast with the National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education (NCOAE) is for you. Armed with a bulging backpack full of outdoor and adventure education knowledge and skill – you’ll spend months in the wilderness, exploring mountains, rivers, and the mighty Pacific Ocean. And, America is greater than you ever dreamed.
- 84 days
Your adventure will include pristine locations in wilderness environments ranging from mountains to rivers; from the Pacific Ocean to the high desert plains of Southern Oregon to the waves of Northern California’s Lost Coast. And, these locations are specifically chosen as unique outdoor classrooms for each technical certification you’ll earn during this Pacific Northwest semester.
The semester starts with trekking the east slope of the Cascade Mountains to paddle the Deschutes River, a tributary of the mighty Colombia River. You’ll paddle, climb and hike your way to Shelter Cove, and then on to the Lost Coast to surf waves that seem to last forever. The vast beauty of The Lost Coast Trail combines the rugged convergence of sea and land on a remote section of the Northern California coastline. There are no roads on this section of the coast–the terrain is too tough.
The NCOAE traveling classroom will also take us through Smith Rock State Park and Mount Shasta for world-class climbing in two different locations. En route to Northern California’s Marble Mountain Wilderness and Klamath National Forest, you’ll spend days backpacking and trekking, and weeks paddling along the breathtaking Klamath River.
When you walk off the beach in California on the 84th and final day of this course, you’ll have an impressive stack of technical outdoor and wilderness-related certifications in hand — all necessary prerequisites for qualifying for many of the best employment opportunities in the outdoor and adventure education field.
- Duration: 84 days
- Minimum Age: 18
- Tuition: $16,800.00
- Credit Hours: 22
- Wilderness First Responder certification
- American Mountain Guide Association (AMGA) training
- Single Pitch Instruction (SPI) training
- ACA Swift Water Rescue training
- ACA Sea Kayak Trip Leader training
- Leave No Trace (LNT) Trainer certification
- Expedition planning
- Wilderness Risk Management
- Remote wilderness camp craft
- Backcountry navigation
- Expedition cooking and food planning
- Experience best practices in environmental and civic responsibility
- Teaching-level knowledge of the NCOAE core curriculum
- Academic Credit
- Course Outcomes
- Hike along the Lost Coast Trail, which stretches 25 miles through the King Range National Conservation Area, from Mattole Beach in the north to the village of Shelter Cove in the south.
- Gain technical Advanced Outdoor Educator certifications, including: Wilderness First Responder, Single Pitch Instruction (SPI) training, and Swift Water Rescue training.
- Camp on coarse black sand, hike on pebbly beaches, make your way across slippery boulders, and learn about the Pacific Coast.
- Sea kayaking, surfing, stand-up-paddle boarding, and ACA Sea Kayak Trip Leader training.
- Challenge your knowledge of ocean tides and unpredictable weather, as you hike through sections of trail that are completely impassable at high tide.
- Peel yourself against the face of a bright orange cliff at Smith Rocks, a sport climbing magnet with over 1,000 routes, mostly bolted sport climbs and many good traditional climbs. Smith Rocks is home to some of the hardest routes on earth, while also offering challenges to climbers of all abilities.
- Splash down the wild and scenic Klamath River, the second largest river in California. Spend days enjoying fun rapids, awe-inspiring mountain scenery, scenic side hikes, warm water, and a safari of wildlife sightings.
Why Take This Course
- Train in multiple outdoor educator discipline
- Graduate this course with multiple certifications
- Acquire career skills and credentials that will allow you to teach and travel around the country – and around the world!
Where You’ll Be
- Mountains and rivers near Bend, Oregon
- Klamath National Forest, Oregon
- Marble Mountain Wilderness, Oregon
- Klamath River, Oregon & California
- Pacific Ocean, Shelter Cove, California
The Pacific Northwest Semester course is an 84-day wilderness adventure and experiential education course all rolled into one. Your classroom will include pristine locations in wilderness environments ranging from mountains to rivers; from the Pacific Ocean to the high desert plains of Southern Oregon to the waves of Northern California’s Lost Coast. You’ll teach and learn alongside your peers every day, acquiring skills in wilderness medicine, navigation, paddling, surfing, backpacking, and human relations and communication.
If you love spending extended periods of time in the outdoors, learning, and sharing your appreciation of wilderness and backcountry experiences with others, then this course is for you. It offers a bulging backpack full of outdoor and adventure education knowledge and skill – months in the wilderness, and a variety of land, sea, and river experiences.
Jobs at NCOAE are few and far between, mainly because we love what we do and we want to keep doing it. Our NCOAE instructors are capable and professional – and some of the best people you’ll ever meet. To join our ranks, you’ll need to earn your reputation for technical skills, because we know one of the most special parts of a semester with NCOAE is our instructors. They sincerely care about sharing their skill and passion for the outdoors with you. After an entire semester in Pacific Northwest, you’ll have a better shot of finding a job as a professional outdoor educator, either with us or with one of the other incredible programs out there!
But even if you don’t land a job in this incredible field, the skills and confidence you develop through this course transfer to any career you choose to pursue. Skills in communication, collaboration, leadership, and teaching are valued by all employers.
A semester with NCOAE in Pacific Northwest is planned to instruct you with the technical skills and certification to work as a professional outdoor educator. At NCOAE, we combine place-based education, global education, environmental education, informal education, active learning, service learning, and expeditionary learning. The academic courses are challenging, and the NCOAE curriculum is renowned for making connections and pushing your limits. At NCOAE, we appreciate the work it takes to develop the skills and certifications you’ll need, which is why a semester is an investment in your future.
At the end of this 84-day semester, you will have acquired a fistful of highly sought-after credentials and certifications, including the following:
- Leave No Trace (LNT)
- American Mountain Guide Association (AMGA) instructor training
- American Canoe Association (ACA) Swift Water Rescue
- Wilderness First Responder (WFR)
- American Heart Association CPR/AED
- Wilderness Risk Management
- Expedition planning
- Backcountry navigation
- Wilderness campcraft
The wilderness doesn’t have many places to spend money. Your tuition for the Pacific Northwest semester covers the major expenses – group gear, local transportation, lodging, and food. You’ll be responsible for extra snacks, and anything that you want to buy that isn’t part of our regular program. And, if the tuition is a challenge, please give us a call. We have fundraising ideas, scholarship opportunities, and resourceful financing options to share with you.
We’re pretty biased on this question, because we think NCOAE is the best thing out there. But, don’t just ask us what we think. Take some time to read our website – our Core Values were developed because we genuinely care about people and getting them into the wilderness. Come and get to know us – we’d love to spend a semester with you on the Pacific Coast, and we think your answer will be the same as ours. We like NCOAE a lot.
If you like the water – this is the semester for you. Oceans, rivers, rain, and water create some of the most spectacular scenery on the planet. Exploring the wilderness areas is like stepping back in time, and the people in Pacific Northwest are interesting and love to tell great stories. The Pacific Northwest semester offers you a chance to explore a wide variety of areas – from the ocean to the world-renowned rivers. For those who have explored the Pacific Northwest with NCOAE, it was the right destination at the right time.
The Pacific Northwest is known for its maritime climate, which does include some soggy days. But, the upside of the rain is the lush, thick, verdant scenery during every stage of our adventure. The trees are thick with moss, the ground feels like a spongey carpet, and the rivers often overlap the banks. NCOAE’s access to the wilderness on the ocean coast is unequalled, and you’ll have the opportunity to explore the variety Pacific Northwest has to offer. Our NCOAE instructors love to share their secret surf spots, rivers, and rock, and our semester offers everything from the ocean to the rivers to the mountains – join us!
NCOAE provides all necessary group gear and food, but there will be certain items you will want, or be required, to provide for yourself. We encourage you to contact NCOAE with all of your gear questions as early as possible. Start now by viewing the NCOAE Outdoor Education Pack List – Pacific Northwest on our downloads page.
It’s hard to pick. The wilderness. The technical skills. The NCOAE Core Curriculum. The place-based coursework. Each semester has its own unique character, and your semester will be unexpected in its own ways. Perhaps you’ll meet your new best friend, perhaps you’ll fall in love with surfing, perhaps you’ll never want to leave. Give us a call and we’ll be happy to share some of the adventures that make a semester with NCOAE one of the best out there.
You are eligible to receive a maximum of 16 credit hours from the list below during this semester program. You will need to align any of the listed academic credits/courses with your degree program. Please call NCOAE with questions on applying for transferable credit hours.
Your work during our Spring Semester – Pacific Northwest may be eligible for college-level credits through Keystone College:
- COMM 3135 — Small Group Communication: 3 credits
- EXPL 2110 — Experiential Learning: 3 credits
- LEAD 1110 — Foundations of Leadership: 3 credits
- LEAD 2110 — Team Building: 3 credits
- PHED 1125 F2F 001 — 1st Aid/Safety: 2 credits
- SRM 1018 — Hiking and Habitat: 2 credits
- SRM 2110 — Program Development and Planning: 3 credits
- SRM 3135 — Facilitation of Leadership Activities: 3 credits
This combination of US-based outdoor training is experiential education at its finest. At the end of this wilderness semester along the Pacific Coast, you will have earned an exclusive series of technical outdoor and wilderness-related certifications, which will qualify you as a top-candidate for the best jobs in outdoor and adventure education.
Where do you want to go (physically, mentally, socially, academic, etc.)?
This training will prepare you with the confidence and competence necessary to be a world-class backcountry leader and teacher. You will learn and practice the tools to be an effective communicator and make positive choices for your life and for your community. You’ll live, learn, and travel through some of the most beautiful wilderness areas in the western United States.
How will NCOAE help you get there?
You’ll develop your own teaching and leadership styles, wilderness skills, and tools for communication. Finally, you will acquire self and group assessment skills, group management skills, and the ability to teach and share your appreciation of the natural environment and outdoor and adventure skills.
Best of all, you’ll advance your opportunities — to work in the wilderness, and to affect positive changes in your world.
This Spring Semester – Pacific Northwest course and academic adventure is only offered through NCOAE, which is why we’re excited to offer it in Oregon and California.
When you walk off the beach in California on the 84th and final day of this training, you’ll have an impressive stack of technical outdoor and wilderness-related certifications in hand — all necessary prerequisites for qualifying for many of the best employment opportunities in the outdoor and adventure education field.