Frequently Asked Questions

What's the difference between a course and training?

The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education (NCOAE) offers trainings and certifications in a number of areas essential to the professional outdoor educator or wilderness guide. Trainings include:

  • Wilderness Medicine
  • Outdoor Education Theory and Facilitation
  • Technical Outdoor Skills
  • Leave No Trace

Courses are centered on a structured outdoor program embedded with the NCOAE Core Curriculum. These courses have the goal to transform a student’s abilities, while simultaneously satisfying a quest for discovery. Our courses actively facilitate outdoor and adventure-based education experiences that foster teamwork, environmental stewardship and the acquisition of technical skills, rooted in a values-based curriculum.

What’s the age range of students on an NCOAE course?

The youngest students at NCOAE are 7th graders in the Education Without Walls programs. There is no age maximum.

What certificates can I get during an NCOAE course?

Depending on the course, NCOAE provides opportunities for its students to earn certifications in the following areas:

  • Wilderness First Aid (WFA)
  • Wilderness First Responder (WFR)
  • Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)
  • Emergency Medical Technician – Advanced (A-EMT)
  • Leave No Trace Master Educator Certification
  • Leave No Trace Trainer Certification

What kind of students take NCOAE courses?

We have all types of students, from all walks of life. Generally, students are drawn to NCOAE because of the proven outcomes and tangible skills they obtain during a course. NCOAE teaches a specific curriculum designed to help students learn self and group awareness, while becoming effective outdoor instructors. NCOAE does not provide remedial or therapeutic support, though students often gain confidence and self-awareness.

What is the application process for an NCOAE course?

All students are required to go through an application process prior to being accepted for an NCOAE course. This process is designed to be an informational exchange, where both parties can come together to determine whether an NCOAE course meets expectations from both sides. We want for our participants to understand NCOAE’s mission and values, so that we can enter into an effective partnership between NCOAE and a prospective student.

What does my tuition cover?

Your NCOAE tuition covers food, lodging, quality instruction and transportation during the course. Depending on the course, it may also include well-maintained group equipment (tents, boats, technical climbing equipment, cooking supplies, maps, etc.) and certifications when appropriate.

NCOAE tuition does not cover transportation to and from the course location and your personal items, however, you can rent most of the recommended gear from NCOAE. It also does not cover insurance (health and travel), airfare and baggage fees. If you are attending a course that requires travel to Alaska or to an international destination, you will be responsible for the additional cost of those flights. Optional fees include college credit fees from the University of North Carolina – Wilmington.

Can I get college credit?

Academic credit is available for some NCOAE courses through the University of North Carolina – Wilmington or by arranging your own independent study. You will need to check with your academic institution to verify how/if they will accept the transfer of credits. If you need help in understanding college credit process, please contact us!

Are your Semester Courses Gap-Year programs?

Although gap year students may enroll for an NCOAE semester course, the course is not specific to only recent high school grads or college students. Instead, Gap Semester course participants are a mix of students who are currently enrolled in college, some who are taking time off between high school and college, and some who just want to participate in a once-in-a-lifetime outdoor experience. The NCOAE curriculum is taught systematically and consistently across all NCOAE courses.

When my child or family member is on an expedition, how do I contact them in the event of an emergency at home?

If during regular business hours (Monday-Friday 8am-5pm EST), please call (910) 399-8090 and you will be connected to an NCOAE staff member in the office.

In case of an after-hours emergency and you need to contact an NCOAE student, please call (910) 399-8090 and press 9.

You will be routed to a live NCOAE member or an answering service that will immediately notify an NCOAE staff member who will assist in connecting with the NCOAE participant/student or help you navigate the reason for your emergency contact.

At NCOAE, emergencies are defined as:

  • Medical emergencies involving members of the participant’s family.
  • Urgent family matters requiring the participant’s immediate attention.
  • Unexpected travel disruptions affecting the participant’s return home.
  • Any situation posing an immediate threat to the safety or well-being of the participant’s family.