/ Career in outdoor teaching???

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jack_44 - on 19 Apr 2013
Hi all,

I am seeking a career change, and I'm quite keen on pursuing a career in teaching outdoor pursuits or guiding. I have looked into the degree's that are available, in Outdoor Education and Outdoor Leadership. However, I have my doubts weather these expensive, 3 year courses are the best bet. I have also looked into the Mountain Leader awards, and also climbing instructor awards. I am interested to hear if anyone has any experience with either pathways, or any advice regarding the career as a whole. And any advice on the job prospects in the 'industry'. Thanks for any help.
goldmember - on 19 Apr 2013
In reply to jack_44: I done a similar course. I'd avoid its expensive for what it is. If you want to do teaching in the outdoor, get a board range of NGB awards and your mini bus with trailer. You’ll be rarely out of work.

Altnatively try and get on the instructor schemes with one of the national mountain centres, they are very good.
highclimber - on 19 Apr 2013
In reply to jack_44: I'd avoid the degrees that are outdoor ed only. they are very limited. you'd be better to either get a degree in geography or similar or volunteer at some outdoor centres and then just get the NGB quals when you can (some volunteer groups will partiall or fully fund these for you).
I am currently training to be a teacher of science with outdoor ed (PGCE) and I have my ML assessment starting monday. I feel better placed having spent a bit of time doing other jobs and gaining personal experience in the hills and group experience from volunteering.

I am currently on an outdoor placement at a council run centre in north wales. they often have volunteers helping with groups.
sargy - on 19 Apr 2013
I did a three year Outdoor Ed degree. Not much to recommend really, apart from the excuse to move to the Lake District. I just wanted a degree so I could do my post-grad teacher training, so the degree could have been in anything. If I had my time again I'd do a Environmental Science or Geog degree. A lot of my cohort left with no tickets, not even a first aid ticket. I spent my student loans on getting my ML, SPA and BCU Canoe Level 2, which got me freelancing straight away. If you just want to be an instructor (as opposed to a teacher) then there are better ways than saddling yourself with £25k of student debt. Go and get on a trainee scheme- you get paid bugger all, but get NGB training and valuable experience. I'm now a primary teacher doing a bit of freelancing and leading the odd overseas expedition, but ideally I'd like to get a job as an outdoor teacher (teacher pay, holidays, pension etc) at some point in the future....
goose299 - on 20 Apr 2013
In reply to jack_44:
yeh, i echo what these guys say about the uni courses. utter tosh
thank god, i'm just about done with mine
Get your ngb's and lots of experience
Paul at work - on 20 Apr 2013
In reply to jack_44: Go and do a real degree, and then do a PGCE, if you want to be a teacher. As the others have said skip the degree and go straight for quals if you just want to be an instructor.
jack_44 - on 22 Apr 2013
Thanks for the advice, certainly helped. And good luck with the ML highclimber.
annieman - on 23 Apr 2013
In reply to jack_44: Some really good points here on getting experience and NGB's.

Another part of working in the Outdoors is to have a range of skills to see you through the winter months. Full time, year round positions are very rare these days.

Going all the way with the teaching options will mean that you can go on supply during the cold and wet months.

Good luck.
Stav on 23 Apr 2013
In reply to annieman:
experience and aptitude are key. Variety and adaptability rate higher than individual quals - but quals are oftne needed as a starter.

Teaching quals will help later in your career and open more doors to a longer career.

Get the experience and focus on the relevant qualifications (and experience). Good luck (sincerely) finding "The Holy Grail"; the permanent, year-round outdoor job tha pays the bills and leaves you enough time and money to still enjoy the outdoors yourself.
Just dropped a job that could have been close to that in favour of freelancing and finding new opportunities as the job was getting stressful and going in the wrong direction.
sailingneil on 23 Apr 2013
In reply to jack_44: from my experience gaining NGB instructor qualifications will get you far more work than a degree. As someone who is involved in the employment process for outdoor instructors, I am far more interested in people's tickets as this actually allow.them to run sessions unlike a degree.
Rich W Parker - on 23 Apr 2013
In reply to jack_44:

you may well be aware of the ever increasing numbers of people engaging in outdoor work. Mountaineering in the UK is almost saturated with Instructors, meaning that it's now quite difficult for those wishing to make a full time living all year round. Some might say impossible.
A while back I did some freelance work on an Outdoor type degree course and was quite surprised to hear that many of the students wanted to take their degrees, plus whatever else by that time, and work as freelance outdoor instructors. An expensive and roundabout way of not really getting there. It seemed to me that 'Outdoor Instructor' had become the default career of choice for those who liked to do those sports: I like climbing therefore I'll be an Instructor or Guide. I think that's the right choice for someone who loves their activity and who also loves people and teaching them. Arguably there are far better and more lucrative job choices for those that are just really into climbing, for example.
Echoing others comments though, Mrs Fuzz is an all round outdoor instructor with quite high level certs and is rarely if ever short of work.
Good luck.

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