Jobs in the Outdoor Field
Outdoor Industry, Parks, Forest Service, Conservation, Guiding, Environmental Non-profits, Environmental Education, Camps, Wilderness Therapy, Outdoor Programs, Outdoor Schools, Wilderness Leadership
Over the last several years, there has been a significant increase in the number of new websites (and enhancements to existing websites) which provide outdoor job listings. In the not too distant past, you had to join an organization or pay a fee for a newsletter to obtain job listings, but that's changed. All of the sites below are free.
To help provide some order to list below, I have separated available jobs into several categories. Under each category, I've listed the primary job site links associated with that category. While this may help narrow things down, you should realize that there is still quite a bit of overlap, and if you're looking for a particular type of outdoor job, you'll want to check links in some of the related categories as well.
Types of Jobs: Outdoor Equipment Sales Reps, Customer Service, Product Design & Development, Management, Product Testing
The Outdoor Industry has two main professional organizations: Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) and the National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA). The Outdoor Industry Association is the most appropriate choice for the type of jobs covered here. The National Sports Goods Association doesn't appear to provide much career information, and what is available isn't of much interest from an outdoor/wilderness industry standpoint. Additionally, you'll find, below, that I have included other key websites with job listings in the industry.
OutdoorIndustryJob.com. Good website with jobs in the snowsports, bicycle, fitness, fishing/hunting industries.
Bicycle Industry Jobs. Bicycle related jobs in manufacturing, retail, and sales.
Fishing Industry Jobs. This site includes all sorts of jobs in the fishing industry including manufacturing, retail and sales.
Hunting and Shooting Jobs. Hunting and Shooting Industry jobs.
Park, Forest and Conservation Jobs
Types of Jobs: Forest Service Recreation Specialists, Crew Leaders for Conservation Work, Park or Forest Ranger Positions, Interpreters for Park, Historical/Cultural Sites, and Commercial Tour Companies.
The main professional organization associated with parks and general recreation programs is the National Parks and Recreation Association (NPRA). They have an exceptional career center which is frequently updated with new listings. For jobs with the Forest Service, BLM and other federal government entities, USAJobs.gov is main place to go. It covers all sorts of federal jobs, but you can filter for outdoor related positions by using "Recreation" as the search word.
Student Conservation Association. Has paid crew leader jobs in which you supervise a group of volunteers which build hiking trails, construct bridges, plant trees, and assist with other conservation projects. Note that much of this website is about volunteer opportunities, and you'll want to click on the "Work At SCA" Link (very bottom of their webpage on left) to get a listing of currently available paid positions.
Northwest Youth Corps. This is very similar to the Student Conservation Association, above, in that it has paid crew leader jobs.
Recreation & Parks Jobs (Government Entities). City, county, state recreation and park jobs.
Empowering Parks. A guide to uncovering permanent job and seasonal employment opportunities at national and state parks, recreation areas, and campgrounds throughout the U.S.
USAJobs.com. Main website for information on Federal jobs. Type in the search word "Recreation" to find outdoor jobs.)
Outdoor Guiding Jobs
Types of Jobs: Guiding for Mountaineering, Bicycling, Whitewater River Running, Canoeing, Sea Kayaking, Hiking, Backcountry Skiing and Boarding.
The guiding industry has a number of state and national associations, but information on jobs are sparse at those sites. Much better information is available from the following:
Backdoor Jobs (Adventure Jobs). Backdoor.com is a good, all-around site for finding outdoor positions. If you are on the home page, you can reach guide related jobs by clicking on the "Adventure Jobs USA" or "Adventure Jobs Worldwide."
Adventure Jobs. AdventureJobs.com includes a wide variety of outdoor jobs. Included are a significant number of guiding jobs, but they are not categorized on a separate list, and you'll need to page through the listings and pick out those that interest you. You'll find job listings for bicycling, climbing, mountaineering, snow sports, trekking, backpacking, water sports, fishing and the environment.
Coolworks (Guide Jobs). Coolworks is another all-encompassing site for the outdoor job market. This link takes you to outdoor guiding positions, but you can reach other outdoor related jobs from their home page.
Canadian Guide Jobs: CA.indeed.com. The Canadians have long supported and nurtured an outdoor guiding industry. Indeed.com has a decent listing of available jobs. This site covers all sorts of jobs, so when you use the search feature, type-in "Outdoor Guide" as your search words.
Indeed.com (US Version). Indeed.com also has a list of guide jobs available in the US. Same as above, type in "Outdoor Guide" as your search words.
Hiking Guide Jobs (SimplyHired.com). SimplyHired.com has a list of hiking jobs.
Kayaking/Rafting Jobs (SimplyHired.com). SimplyHired.com also turns up a list of kayaking and rafting guide jobs.
Canoe Guide Jobs (SimplyHired.com). Another list found on SimplyHired.com includes canoeing and related jobs.
Backroads Employment Opportunities. Backroads offers bicycling, walking and multisport vacations around the world.
Bicycle Industry Jobs. In addition to jobs in manufacturing, retail, and sales, this site also includes guiding position.
Fishing Industry Jobs. Many of the jobs on this site are related to the fishing product business, but it also includes guiding jobs.
Hunting Industry Jobs. Similar to fishing jobs (above), many listed here are product related but also include guiding jobs.
Work Anywhere. This site has information on international positions. In the search box, choose "Treking & Guiding" for the "Job Type." You can also indicate what country or select "Anywhere" to what positions are available throughout the world.
Types of Jobs: Environmental Education or Working for Environmental Non-profits on Wilderness, Land Use, Energy and and other Environmental Issues. Positions available for these jobs include Management, Fund Raising, Research, Lobbying, etc.
Mostly these jobs (except for environment education) are indoor jobs, but a career with an environmental non-profit can be a very rewarding profession. You'll find lots of like-minded, outdoor oriented individuals working on the staffs of such organizations. Moreover, you'll be making significant contributions to protect outdoor resources: fisheries, wildlife, rivers, and wilderness.
Eco.org. The purpose of Eco.org is to help job seekers connect with employers who care about the environment and have green jobs to fill.
EcoEmploy.org. This site includes a hodgepodge of environmentally related jobs.
Backdoor Jobs (Environmental and Outdoor Education). As mentioned above, Backdoor is a excellent, all-around site for outdoor jobs. If you are on the home page, you can reach environmental education and other green jobs by clicking on the "Environmental and Outdoor Education" link.
United Nations - Environmental Jobs. These are jobs throughout the world dealing with the environment. You might also want to explore other types of positions available through the UN. They take place in all corners of the earth.
Types of Jobs: Camp Counselors, Activity Coordinators, Camp Directors
The most important professional association for camps is the American Camping Association. They host an employment center on their website which lists both summer and full time time jobs. Additionally, below, I've also included Coolworks.com which also lists a healthy selection of camp jobs.
Coolworks (Camp Jobs). As noted above, Coolworks is an excellent site for outdoor jobs. This link takes you to camp positions, but also find that they have a wide range of other outdoor related jobs which you can reach from their home page.
Camp Manager Jobs (SnagAJob site). Another job site similar to Indeed. You can also enter searches for other types of outdoor oriented jobs.
Camp Management Jobs (Simply Hired). Still another job site. As with Indeed and SnagAJob, you can enter various search words to trigger a list of jobs.
Types of Jobs: outdoor field instructors, wilderness therapy guides, field mentors, adventure therapy support staff, and residential outdoor youth counselors
This category consists of two segments which are often confused:
1) Wilderness Therapy
2) Recreational Therapy
Wilderness therapy programs are outdoor-based and designed to help turn around the lives of teens and/or young adults struggling with behavioral and emotional problems, including substance abuse, depression, attention deficit, and others.
Recreational therapy, on the hand, works with people with disabilities. Recreational therapists often work indoors in clinical settings, planning and directing recreational programs. It's a profession similar to occupational therapy, and likewise requires a special degree and appropriate recreational therapy coursework. Although not plentiful, there are some recreational therapy jobs in the outdoors. For example, the C.W. HOG program at Idaho State University has employed recreational therapists. Here's a listing related recreational therapy jobs: RecreationTheapy.com
The jobs listed below are primarily related to wilderness therapy. Working for a wilderness therapy employer has three advantages for outdoor education majors. Firstly, most of the jobs are year-round positions. Secondly, you'll start at a higher salary if you have completed an outdoor education degree - and if you possess a Wilderness First Responder certificate. And lastly, you'll be working outside in remote areas. Your responsibilities will include leading groups on multi-day trips into the backcountry where you'll teach camping, survival and general life skills.
Backdoor Jobs (Wilderness Therapy). Backdoor.com includes a wide range of outdoor jobs and appears in a couple of other categories above. They also have one of the best listings for therapeutic jobs. This link will take you directly to the wilderness therapy positions.
Wilderness Therapy Jobs (Indeed). Indeed's listing of wilderness therapy positions.
Redcliff. Redcliff is an example of a wilderness therapy employer and often needs to fill a number of positions each year. This link takes you directly to their employment information page.
New Vision Wilderness Therapy. New Vision is another wilderness therapy employer. You can also turn up other company specific position openings by doing a Google search for "Wilderness Therapy Jobs."
Outdoor Schools & Programs
Outdoor Programs, Outdoor Schools, Wilderness Leadership Courses, Team Building and Challenge Course Programs
There are two primary organizations associated with outdoor programs and schools. These include the Association of Experiential Education (AEE) and the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education (AORE). Primarily, these organizations serve non-profit programs and count students and professionals among their membership. As may be evident from their choice of names, the Association of Experiential Education (AEE) is fairly broad in scope. Outdoor programs are just one of many different types of organizations included under the AEE umbrella. On the other hand, the Association of Outdoor Recreation specifically caters to the outdoor field and serves students and professionals who work in academic departments, non-academic university outdoor programs, city recreation departments with outdoor components, military recreation programs, Outward Bound schools, and other non-profit schools and programs.
Association of Experiential Education Jobs Clearinghouse. The Association of Experiential Education has a Jobs Clearinghouse. You can choose from a variety of positions, designate the industry that you're interested in, and you can narrow down the search to specific states.
Outdoor Education Jobs. This is a Google forum group that posts several jobs each month. It's worth a look.
Project Adventure Jobs. Project Adventure came about in the early 1970's by borrowing Outward Bound learning principles and other experiential education concepts and applying them to a public school environment. Leaders in the organization went on to publish series of books of "new games," initiatives and team building activities which became standard references in the field. You won't find a lot of job listings on their site but it's worthwhile to check from time to time.
Adventure Jobs. AdventureJobs.com is a great all-around resource and includes job listings for bicycling, climbing, mountaineering, snow sports, trekking, backpacking, water sports, fishing and environment.
Association for Challenge Course Technology. The Association for Challenge Course Technology sets minimum standards for the installation, operation and inspection of challenge courses. Their website includes a list of challenge course jobs, and if you are interested in this aspect of outdoor education, you'll want to check it out.
Outward Bound. Outward Bound is the oldest non-profit, wilderness based school. They have several regional centers and hire on a frequent basis. Outward Bound positions are generally seasonal in nature but the experiences gained from working at one of the Outdoor Bound schools can often lead to other positions in the field.
National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS).
Army Jobs. The military has quite a number of outdoor programming jobs. These are civilian jobs. You do not have to be a service member. The pay and benefits are very good, and opportunities are available for positions throughout the world. When you use this website, type in "Outdoor Recreation" or "Recreation" as your search word.
Wilderness First Aid Courses
Wilderness First Aid has become the de facto standard for individuals working in the outdoor field, and consequently, there is considerable demand for instructors. Being a wilderness first aid instructor is not a full time job, but it can provide supplemental income. There are three wilderness medicine organizations. One is SOLO Wilderness Medicine. There's nothing on their website about becoming an instructor, so I'll concentrate on the two remaining organizations:
A List of Professional Associations related to the outdoor field are found here: Professional Associations
This page was created for the Outdoor Methods website. Outdoor Methods is a course for Outdoor Education Majors and Minors at Idaho State University.