Assistant Instructors

Assistant Instructors

Standards We Seek

Individuals interested in joining the school’s instructional staff usually possess a full resume of experience leading wilderness expeditions for programs with similar missions to Outward Bound. We seek staff who are committed to education, have strong facilitation skills, and have a background teaching either in or out of the classroom.

In our Rocky Mountain programs successful candidates additionally have personal and institutional mountain climbing, rock climbing, and backpacking experience.

In our Southwest River and Canyon programs, successful candidates additionally have personal and professional multi-day whitewater rafting experience.

Criteria for Assistant Instructors

•    All instructors must be 21 years of age or older.
•    Wilderness First Responder (minimum 72 hour course) and CPR certifications required.
•    Swiftwater Rescue Certification or equivalent (Southwest Program only).
•    Understanding and alignment with of Colorado Outward Bound Mission & Principles.
•    One or more seasons of experience leading groups on wilderness expeditions.  Experience backpacking on and off trails and good navigation skills.
•    Ability to facilitate the development of a group toward successful performance.
•    Ability to lead inexperienced students in wilderness locations for extended periods, evaluating student performance and managing risks.
•    Experience planning, organizing and implementing personal expeditions and reflect a commitment to exploring and enjoying the wilderness as a personal priority.
•    Instructor candidates must be in excellent physical condition. They will be required to have the stamina and energy to safely lead others during travel through difficult terrain, in challenging weather and after long days.
•    Ability to teach expedition skills to a mastery level.

Technical Skills

We are seeking people who have outdoor technical skills that match our course environments.  All field staff must enjoy and feel comfortable in remote outdoor settings, with solid experience in the primary activities of at least one of our course areas.  Extended backpacking, mountaineering, climbing, river, and canyoneering trips are the most common way our staff have developed their technical expedition skills. Whether it’s building solid anchors in remote alpine terrain or setting up a haul system to pull a wrapped raft off a rock deep in canyon country, our staff are expected to be fluent in the technical systems that allow us to safely travel in these beautiful areas.

Minimum skills to work in Utah:

• 500 river miles on Class III or higher as the person primarily responsible for the raft.

Minimum skills to work in Colorado:

• 20 5.6 trad routes led
• 20+ expeditionary days
• Experience on snow, ice axe/crampon use preferred

Risk Management

The ability to assess and respond to risks is a critical component of being a Colorado Outward Bound Instructor.  Whether reading the clouds during a mid-morning summit attempt on a 14’er, scouting a class IV rapid or checking hot spots on a student’s feet, risk management is part of everything we do.

Risk management includes understanding the social, psychological, and physical challenges of group travel in the wilderness and learning to use and manage these risks in such a way that students are both supported and challenged.  Judgment is learned from experience, and we are looking for people who have experience traveling comfortably and safely through the mountains, deserts, and rivers of the West.

Educational and Leadership Skills

At its heart the Colorado Outward Bound School is an experiential model; we seek educators who can teach the way our students learn, who can assist in interpreting the experience for student transference, and who have patience, enthusiasm and energy. We look for leadership experience at other outdoor organizations, in education, and/ or in public service. Most importantly, we look for the qualities of compassion, commitment and charisma.

Interpersonal Skills

Field staff at COBS are passionate about their work with students and are skilled at finding ways to offer leadership to and build rapport with students from diverse backgrounds. We are looking for staff who have communication skills, including:
•    Ability to listen and articulate ideas
•    Ability to organize lessons and teach effectively
•    Ability to inspire others to a higher level of motivation
•    Ability to give and receive honest feedback
•    Ability to work effectively with people from diverse backgrounds

Application Process

The Colorado Outward Bound School screens and selects new applicants yearly. The majority of our hiring takes place in December and January, and new staff join us for training in May.

We will only accept applications for open positions.

You will find the documents needed to proceed with your application process below. All documents should be submitted via the online application. The application process is time consuming, so we have attached the required documents so you can see what we will be requiring when the hiring process opens.

You should be able to upload these documents to your online application. If you are unable to do so, you can send your documents to and we will upload them for you.

Please do not call us regarding employment.

Ready to Apply?

Step One

Download and fill out the following documents:



Technical Experience Log

Step Two

Then complete your Online Application and submit your documents by following the instructions below:

Assistant Instructor (Southwest Program) – position filled for 2017 season, please check back in January 2018

Assistant Instructor (Rocky Mountain Program) – position filled for 2017 season, please check back in January 2018

The Colorado Outward Bound School is committed to equal employment opportunities for all, without discrimination on the basis of race, color, creed, national or ethnic origin, sex or sexual orientation, age, religion, and disability.

photo by Katie Grauel