Instructor Roles

Field Staff Employment FAQs

Are Field Staff paid for during the required training?

Yes! All Field Staff are paid during the entirety of training. Field staff training begins early- to mid-May depending on position and base camp location. Most staff attend 2-3 weeks of training before the summer season begins. 

Do I need to attend the entirety of training?

Yes. All Field Staff are required to attend all of the trainings in-person.

What is basecamp life like?

COBS operates from two unique and beautiful basecamps. The Rocky Mountain Program base camp is in Leadville, Colorado and the Southwest Program base camp is in Moab, Utah. 

The Southwest Program: 
The Southwest base camp is located just outside of Moab, Utah. The charming town boasts access to thousands of river and canyon miles, world-class climbing and mountain biking, and a welcoming community. Our base offers stunning views of the La Sal Mountains to the Southeast and red rock cliffs to the West. We are the smaller of the two bases, which many staff appreciate as it leads to close connections and a strong sense of community.  

Staff housing includes shared rooms that are furnished with two single beds, two closets, and a small chest of drawersThere are also shared community spaces including a large kitchen and outdoor patio area, bathrooms, living room, laundry, as well as outdoor spaces to enjoy.

For staff looking for additional adventures during their days off, there are generally a handful of others around looking to rock climb, mountain bike, cool off in a water hole, paddle or raft the river, or explore the mountains and canyons all in the back yard of Moab. Throughout the summer, Moab holds a weekly farmer’s market and there are plenty of other activities to be had. Pick-up Ultimate Frisbee at the park, weed and feeds at the Youth Garden Project, and a number of festivals including Jeep Week are just a few! 

The Rocky Mountain Program: 

The Leadville Mountain Center is a 15-minute drive from Leadville, situated in the Arkansas River Valley at the base of the two tallest Mountains in Colorado (Mountain Elbert and Mount Massive.) Many of our courses either hike directly out of the LMC basecamp or finish by hiking into basecamp on the trail systems that link the basecamp to the Colorado Trail and the Mount Massive Wilderness Area. These same trails are popular with staff for hiking and running in the summer and cross-country skiing in the winter. Great access to climbing exists in the surrounding areas of Independence Pass and Buena Vista (check out the newly published 40 Minutes From Leadville, a comprehensive guide to climbing in the area that includes many backcountry crags.) 

The LMC has been renovated in recent years with a new bathhouse and 21 charming staff cabins, You can get a sense of what our staff cabins look like here. 

During the summer season, the number of staff on base fluctuates greatly as staff leave and come back from course, you may find yourself having dinner with just a few other people, or as many as 50! Staff who are not on course can be found heading out on climbing trips, at the coffee shop in Leadville, or exploring the Arkansas River Valley in their free time. 

Is there opportunity for professional growth?

Yes! We are committed to investing in our staff's personal and professional growth. Here are some of the pathways to growth you can pursue after your first year on staff:

Professional Development Funds
After one full season of work, all COBS staff are eligible to apply for up to $1,000 in professional development funding every year. Many staff utilize this funding for certifications and trainings that will open doors to more employment. 

Lead Instructor and Course Director Positions 

After their first season of work, Instructors can be promoted to Lead Instructor and Course Director positions, which include a pay increase and an increase in leadership responsibilities. 

Program Leadership

Most of our full-time program staff begin as Instructors and Interns. Working at COBS creates pathways for a career in outdoor recreation and education. 

How do I create an Experience Log?

We encourage you to use our Template Experience Log or reference the examples below. Please note that the Experience Log must be submitted in your application as a PDF file.

Certificates and Trainings:


Whitewater Experience:

Mountaineering Experience:



Canyon Experience:

Rock Climbing Experience:


I am not 21. Can I still work for the Colorado Outward Bound School?

Positions at COBS must be filled by applicants 21 years or older. However, exceptions can be made if an applicant turns 21 by mid-June.


I do not currently have my WFR, WFA or CPR Certifications. May I still apply?

Yes. We are happy to consider applicants without these certifications. If hired, you will be expected to obtain the necessary certifications prior to your start date and let us know when you will be taking your course(s). 

What is the starting wage?

Instructors are paid a starting wage of $105/day and receive free housing and food during the summer season. Instructors are eligible for pay increases after their first season of employment.  

Can I work part-time?

We strongly prefer candidates who have the ability to work full-time throughout the summer season. All new Field Staff at the Rocky Mountain Program are required to commit in a full-time capacity. At the Southwest Program, exceptions can be made for New Instructors applying for rafting positions. 

Can I bring significant others, family members or pets to basecamp?

No. Pets are not allowed at any base camp. Friends and family are welcome to visit and stay for a short time on base if there is space in housing and it has been approved by a program administrator in advance. 

May I send a paper application, technical experience log or references?

No. All application materials must be submitted electronically through our website.

I have some questions about the application process – is there someone I can call?

Yes! You can reach out to our hiring team at [email protected] or by calling (720) 765-7634. You can expect someone to respond within a week.

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