Southwest Outdoor Educator: Backpacking and Rock Climbing

Southwest Outdoor Educator: Backpacking and Rock Climbing


  • Intensive curriculum targeted toward teachers, outdoor leaders and those studying outdoor education
  • The Southwest’s Sonoran desert is famous for its incredible diversity and wealth of plants and animals
  • Hike in the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge or the Galiuro Wilderness
  • Climb at famed climbing areas, either Joshua Tree or Cochise Stronghold
  • Develop educator skills within a group of peers
  • Certification: Leave No Trace Trainer or Master Educator
Are you an active or aspiring outdoor educator? This is your opportunity to develop the knowledge and skills necessary for teaching and leading field-based wilderness education programs.

While in the desert, you'll learn basic outdoor living skills such as minimum-impact camping, first aid, and map reading.

We'll also give you an inside track into the fundamentals of running wilderness education courses with an overview of program supervision, risk management, and NOLS administrative practices.

While building a foundation of program knowledge, the course dives into a 16-day backpacking expedition in the pristine desert landscape of the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge or the Galiuro Wilderness followed by 14 days of rock climbing at Cochise Stronghold or Joshua Tree National Park.


Location NOLS Southwest
Tuition $4,730 Learn about Financial Aid
Equipment Deposit $350
Minimum Age 18
Duration 31 Days
Type Career
Start/End Tucson, Arizona
Fly in/out Tucson, Arizona
College Credit
  • 6 Credit Hours
  • 2 Hours Outdoor Educator
  • 2 Hours Leadership Techniques
  • 2 Hours Environmental Studies
Learn about College Credit

“In receiving personalized mentoring from my instructors, I was affirmed in my desire to pursue a career in outdoor education. Before the course, I was unsure whether I was qualified or committed to pursuing a career in outdoor ed. I learned that I am a good candidate to instruct for NOLS or other top education organizations in the future. This is a major positive step forward for me in life and career.”

-Christopher M.

Southwest Outdoor Educator Grad