Outdoor education refers to structured learning that takes place in an outdoor environment. It enables learners to break the monotony of indoor or classroom education and enhances their social and survival skills.
Outdoor education facilitators, also known as outdoor education program coordinators, are the professionals who oversee several facets of organizing a successful outdoor education session. If you’re a perfect organizer with a knack for the adventure, this is a job you could enjoy.
What Do Outdoor Education Facilitators Do?
The duties of outdoor education facilitators include:
- Organizing outdoor education activities that meet learners’ needs.
- Creating a safe and positive learning environment for all participants.
- Organizing outreach programs to educate communities and organizations about the importance of outdoor education.
- Educating participants about safety measures and policies.
- Supervising and training an outdoor education staff that includes instructors and equipment technicians.
- Ensuring outdoor activity equipment is in sound working condition.
Although outdoor education facilitators have regular 9am to 5pm work schedules, it is common to find them attending to participants’ needs late in the evening and over the weekends.
This job involves a lot of traveling and is often physically demanding. Aspiring facilitators should be prepared to work in all weather conditions and challenging terrain.
The average annual wage of outdoor education facilitators is:
Outdoor education program coordinator
Source: Simply Hired
To become an outdoor education facilitator, you should have a postsecondary qualification and a professional certification. Although you can get started in this profession with at least an associate degree in any field, it is desirable to pursue a degree relevant field such as outdoor education or outdoor leadership.
Examples of professional certifications that employers look for include:
- First aid certification
- Boat operator certification
- A driver’s license
Experience also plays an important role in helping you get hired for this position. As such, you can look for jobs or volunteer in camping organizations to gain some relevant work experience.
To be an effective outdoor education facilitator you should have:
- Excellent multitasking and organizational skills
- Strong problem-solving skills
- The physical ability to work in an outdoor environment
- Good teamwork skills
- The ability to motivate other people
- Be enthusiastic about nature
- Good communication and interpersonal skills
There are a good number of career progression opportunities for you within the outdoor education industry. You must, however, gain vast facilitation experience and earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in outdoor education or leisure management.
Examples of universities offering these degree are:
You can also join professional association such as the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education, and the Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education to access other professional development resources.
The employers of outdoor education facilitators include:
- Recreational facilities
- Camping organizations
- Education systems
- Corporate firms
- Hotels and resorts
With vast experience and advanced qualifications, you could become an outdoor education director or camping manager.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of all recreation workers will grow by 14 percent between 2012 and 2022. This is a faster-than-average growth rate, which definitely means outdoor education facilitators have good employment prospects. So your love for adventure can easily turn profitable!
So if you have a love for the outdoors and want to help people enjoy it as much as you, then this might be the right career for you.