For those interested in a career as an outdoor experiential educator, The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education wants to help you get onboard that particular ship.
But as the late comedian Jonathan Winters suggested when he famously quipped “If your ship doesn’t come in, swim out to it,” that vessel isn’t necessarily going to snuggle up to the dock and pick you up. It’s up to you to do the basic footwork — or perhaps backstroke is a better analogy — in order to achieve your career objectives.
(Photo: ©2013 Jaclyn E. Atkinson | Used with permission)
Many people ask us if a formal education is necessary for a career in outdoor and adventure education and we answer that question by posing another: Does a piece of paper make for a master educator? Then we answer our own question by saying, “It depends.”
In the end, it’s you who must decide what role you want to play in the outdoor industry. If your objective is to spend a few years going “wild” as a fledgling field instructor, then just head out and apply for a job. Or let’s say you want to become a leader in a specific area of the outdoor experiential education field. In this case, gobble up some on-the-job experience and a fistful of certificates and get to work.
However, if what you seek is a career as a lifelong experiential educator — with a comfortable salary and maybe some good health insurance — some formal education might be required. The secret is to find ways to get a good education without being