Professional Instructor Course - River

Credit: Elliot Johnston

Professional Instructor Course - River

This instructor course will not be offered in 2019. Check out the courses that will be offered here.

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 be a solid Class IV kayaker and rafter, and Class V kayaking and rafting experience is desired. 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. This course also provides a 3-day River Rescue certification.

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.

Learn more about instructor courses with NOLS here

Here is a sample of the instructor course questionnaire.



Stay tuned for upcoming course dates.


All course information at a glance


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15 days

Minimum Age

25 yrs.

Academic Credit

4 College Credits
  • 2 Leadership
  • 2 Outdoor Educator
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Swiftwater Rescue Training


Course Description

Equipment List

Travel and Logistics


Vernal, Utah

Fly in/out

Salt Lake City, Utah

Skills learned



Whitewater Kayaking

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