A course participant whitewater canoeing rapids on the Yampa River.
Camera David Morgan

Professional Instructor Course - River


15 days


21+ yrs



Stay tuned for dates

The goal of the this course is to provide a fast track for those who already have ample experience leading in the outdoors to become NOLS instructors.

You must have extensive raft and kayak instruction and/or guiding experience. You must have multi-day wilderness river experience, and extensive experience on long trips is highly desired. Previous Swiftwater/Whitewater Rescue training and experience is required.

We’ll focus on orienting you to the NOLS curriculum, course progression, and culture, but a large part of this course will be spent refining the expertise that you and your coursemates bring to the table. On this course, you will experience a variety of river types as well as watercraft in order to prepare yourself for what you may encounter on a NOLS course.

If you have had extensive backcountry guiding experience in canoes, oar rigs, kayaks, and packrafts as well as swiftwater rescue training, and if you’re committed to sharing your knowledge with eager learners, then this course is a good fit for you. Get more information on instructor course qualifications and application process here.

The application for the November 2020 professional river instructor course is now open. You can begin the process by submitting this online form. This application will close on October 2, 2020. 

Learn more about instructor courses with NOLS here

Additional Details

Prerequisite: 50 weeks of extended wilderness river trip-leading experience, minimum of a 70-hour Wilderness First Responder and current adult CPR certification

Essential Eligibility Criteria

Course Dates

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