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 difference between an Outdoor Educator Instructor course and an Advanced Outdoor Educator Instructor course?

Our 30+ day Outdoor Educator courses are designed to provide the training and skills necessary for students who are interested in working professionally in the outdoor industry, or for outdoor instructors who need to acquire specific certification(s).

Our 80+ day Semester courses provide Advanced Outdoor Educator instruction and specialized certifications. They are additionally designed to spend a significant amount of time in the backcountry to develop relevant field experience. As part of the NCOAE curriculum, you’ll develop advanced skills to teach outdoor and environmental education, along with NCOAE technical skills and protocols.

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 Advanced First Aid (WAFA)
  • Wilderness First Responder (WFR)
  • 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 Keystone College.

Can I get college credit?

Academic credit is available for NCOAE courses by transferring credit through Keystone College or by arranging your own independent study.  You will need to check with your institution to verify how it will accept the transfer of NCOAE/ Keystone College credit. If you need help in understanding credit transfer, 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 17-19 year old students. Instead, the Semester course participants are a mix of students who have enrolled as part or all of a gap year, some who are currently enrolled in college, and some are taking time off between high school and college.  The NCOAE curriculum is taught systematically and consistently across all NCOAE courses.