Spring Semester for Outdoor Educators

Spring Semester for Outdoor Educators


  • For outdoor educators and those who are currently enrolled in a university outdoor education program
  • Observe and discuss teaching styles and techniques
  • Practice teaching and facilitating group experiences and learning in order to develop skills as an educator
  • Technical and non-technical peak ascents, rock climbing, teaching, and backcountry skiing
  • Focuses on building competence as outdoor leaders and emphasizes wilderness skills, group facilitation, risk management and using the wilderness as a classroom to support growth of groups and individuals
  • Certifications: Wilderness First Responder, Leave No Trace Master Educator, Recreational Avalanche Rescue 1
The Outdoor Educator Semester offers a cohesive blend of leadership, exploration, outdoor skills, wilderness medicine, group facilitation, educational theory, and environmental studies—all through the lens of using wilderness as a classroom to support the growth of groups and individuals.

The semester integrates an intensive 10-day Wilderness First Responder (WFR) course with eleven field weeks of backcountry skiing, rock climbing, canyon travel, and either mountain travel (fall) or whitewater canoeing (spring). Themes you will on build throughout the semester include foundational backcountry living and travel skills, wilderness first aid, technical climbing and backcountry skills, managing groups of students in wilderness environments, learning how to foster positive group culture that supports group learning, exploring the natural world and engendering a sense of curiosity, and using debriefing and reflection to foster intentional learning from wilderness and skills experiences.

Your semester begins with a WFR course at NOLS 3 Peaks Ranch, where you’ll learn through a blend of classroom lecture, skill sessions, and interactive scenarios. This training is designed to provide you with the tools to make critical medical and evacuation decisions in remote locations and is the standard level of training for outdoor educators and guides. The climbing section will prepare you to climb on your own, manage top-rope and rappel sites, and perform basic improvised rescue. The mountain and canyon sections will prepare you to travel and lead others in rugged environments while both managing risk and using the wilderness to support learning in others. A multi-week river section through Utah's stunning sandstone canyons will introduce you to whitewater canoeing and give you practice managing a group in a kinetic classroom. A winter section will challenge you hone your skills as an educator in more extreme environmental conditions; you will learn about avalanche risk management and complete a recreational avalanche certification.

Do you have any questions? Talk with the NOLS Outdoor Educator Advisor:

Connect with an Advisor


Location NOLS Rocky Mountain
Tuition $14,445 Learn about Financial Aid
Equipment Deposit $700
Minimum Age 21
Duration 89 Days
Types Outdoor Educator and Semester & Year
Start/End Lander, Wyoming
Fly in/out Casper, Wyoming
College Credit
  • 19 Credit Hours
  • 3 Hours Environmental Studies
  • 4 Hours Leadership Techniques
  • 4 Hours Skills Practicum
  • 3 Hours Risk Management
  • 2 Hours Outdoor Educator
  • 3 Hours WFR
Learn about College Credit

“I thought taking a NOLS course could help me out with my career goals with leading and helping others and I think I've learned a lot that I can apply to my goals. ”

-Tara H.