How to Become an Outdoor Adventure Guide?

Do you have a passion for the outdoors? Are you good at working with people? And are you able to keep your cool in stressful situations? If you answered yes to all these questions, you might just have what it takes to become an outdoor adventure guide.

We will talk you through the process of getting into the outdoor guiding industry, so you can spend the majority of your days outdoors… and get paid to do so!

 

What is an Outdoor Adventure Guide?

Let’s start at the beginning - what exactly is an outdoor adventure guide? By definition an outdoor adventure guide is someone who guides and instructs outdoor activities, like hiking, rock climbing, rafting, kayaking, canyoning, skiing, caving or mountain biking. 

However, it's a versatile job and comes in many different forms. Some only take on half-day jobs in their own backyard, others prefer to travel to an exotic location for a couple of months to guide an entire expedition. Some work for adventure tourism companies, others operate their own small businesses. 

How to become an outdoor adventure guide

 

What Does an Outdoor Adventure Guide Do?

Some of the responsibilities of an outdoor adventure guide include:

  • Planning the outdoor activities
  • Assessing the risks involved, taking into account the weather and customer abilities
  • Gathering the equipment and supplies needed, and ensuring that the equipment is safe
  • Instructing and demonstrating for individuals or groups taking part in the activities
  • Providing a positive customer interaction
  • Responding to emergencies by providing first aid and taking appropriate action
  • Taking care of equipment after use
  • Organizing transport, food and accommodation if necessary
  • Keeping logbooks and carrying out other administrative work

 

How Do I Become an Outdoor Adventure Guide?

1. Pick your field and build your skills

An outdoor adventure guide is usually a specialist in a certain area. Do you gravitate towards a specific outdoor activity, like climbing, mountaineering or skiing? Focus all your energy on perfecting those skills, and become an expert in that field. Most businesses would rather hire a highly proficient rock climber that is terrible at rafting, than someone who is ‘just okay’ at both.

How to become an outdoor adventure guide

 

2. Get certified

To work in the outdoor industry, you will need some qualifications or certifications depending on the activity and environment you will be instructing. A backcountry skier needs an Avalanche Certification, a rock climber needs a Rock Leader Qualification, a rafter needs a White Water Rescue Certification, and so on. Do some research in advance and contact employers to find out what certifications you will need for your chosen field. 

Aside from these activity specific qualifications, an International Wilderness First Aid Certificate will generally come in handy as it is a requirement for most outdoor jobs. A Guiding Certification will also be a valuable asset because it shows that you have also been trained in leading groups and are able to cope with different group dynamics.

Pro-tip: The Adventure Guide Program is a great way to gain industry recognized certifications in both hiking and rock climbing or canyoning, a Wilderness First Aid and Water Rescue Certificate, while travelling to some epic locations!

 

3. Gain knowledge

Don’t limit your knowledge to your chosen discipline. Customers tend to rate their outdoor experience higher if a guide is able to talk about the area in which he or she is guiding, so learn a bit about the local fauna and flora, history and geology. Especially if you intend to guide in a specific national park, it will pay off to do some research and get to know the landscape better. Local tourism companies will be impressed if you apply for them with this wealth of knowledge!

 How to become an outdoor adventure guide

 

4. Get experience

Like in any type of job, hiring managers in the outdoor tourism industry look favorably upon previous experience. They will be more interested in qualified guides with intensive outdoor experience, so it’s likely they will ask about your personal and professional experience in a job interview. 

If you don’t have any professional experience yet, it’s a good idea to make a list of personal trips to prove you have the necessary skills for the job. Track all your personal outdoor adventures in a logbook that mentions the activity locations and durations.

Pro-tip: The Outdoor Instructor Program is perfect for those wanting to go into outdoor guiding. It combines training and qualifications with an internship and quality outdoor industry experience. You end up with an impressive adventure guiding resume!

 

5. Get a guiding job

Now that you have all the knowledge and skills required to become an outdoor adventure guide, it’s time to start networking, building your resume and applying for outdoor jobs! Make sure your resume mentions all relevant experiences, including certifications and major trips you have done. 

Once you get your first job interview, make sure to not only focus on your technical skills, but also highlight your soft skills and passion to instruct others. Hiring managers are always on the lookout for guides with strong conflict resolution and communication skills that can remain calm under pressure. 

Pro-tip: Pure Exploration has programs running year-round to worldwide locations, like Iceland, Nepal and New Zealand. We are always on the lookout for qualified Technical Instructors that ensure our programs run smoothly and safely. Check out the job opportunities here!

How to become an outdoor adventure guide

 

Want to know more?

We created a Guide to Guiding to help people who are considering becoming an adventure guide with some quick tips and advice on what the best plan of attack is.

You will learn about:

  • Common questions about becoming an adventure guide
  • The benefits of an immersive internship vs. traditional training organization
  • A day in the life of a hiking guide in New Zealand – hear what it’s really like!
  • Adventure tourism and travel industry research trends
  • Some words of advice from people who have recently trained as adventure guides

 

 


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2021-07-31

Adventure doesn't get much cooler than this... ❄️❄️❄️. Take a plunge on our Swift Water Rescue section of the New Zealand Adventure Guide Program this January. . . . . . . #adventurer #adventure #travel #nature #wanderlust #explore #adventuretime #explorer #travelphotography #photography #hiking #travelgram #traveler #naturephotography #adventures #mountains #outdoors #camping #travelblogger #instatravel #wanderer #photooftheday #traveller #forest #outdoor #landscape #traveltheworld #hikingadventures

2021-07-30

Join us on a climbing adventure and walk away with Rock Leader qualifications which could take you to a career you have always wanted in the outside sports world! . . . . . . #adventurer #adventure #travel #nature #wanderlust #explore #adventuretime #explorer #travelphotography #photography #hiking #travelgram #traveler #naturephotography #adventures #mountains #outdoors #camping #travelblogger #instatravel #wanderer #photooftheday #traveller #forest #outdoor #landscape #traveltheworld #hikingadventures

2021-07-29

Sunrises. On our 12 week programs we will treat you to some of the most incredible ones you have ever seen. That orange and pinky glow that hits the peaks of the mountains is magical. This is a shot captured by one of our students in Patagonia. We are just going to leave it here so you get travel envy... . . . . . . . #landscapephotography #x #naturelovers #beautifuldestinations #travelling #traveling #amazing #ig #beautiful #wildlife #hike #adventureseeker #adventureisoutthere #adventuretravel #exploretheworld #instagood #naturelover #exploring #getoutside #discover #outdoorlife #exploremore #offroad #adventurethatislife #adventurelife #bushcraft #summer #trekking #neverstopexploring #roadtrip

2021-07-28

Our instructors are born adventurers. They live and breathe the outdoors. As well as being certified to lead groups in mountainous terrain they have teaching skills that are second to none. To be able to pass off such technical knowledge takes heaps of experience and all of our instructors are more than capable of it, they live for it! . . . . . . . #landscapephotography #x #naturelovers #beautifuldestinations #travelling #traveling #amazing #ig #beautiful #wildlife #hike #adventureseeker #adventureisoutthere #adventuretravel #exploretheworld #instagood #naturelover #exploring #getoutside #discover #outdoorlife #exploremore #offroad #adventurethatislife #adventurelife #bushcraft #summer #trekking #neverstopexploring #roadtrip

2021-07-27

What is a true adventure? We have thought about it a lot in HQ and there isn't really an answer. It varies from person to person. It might be exploring a new city, pushing your limits physically or mentally or just finding a new walk in the area you live in. What we do on an Adventure Guide Program is explore unknown areas, learn new skills, push ourselves and embrace the outdoors. Our destinations are New Zealand, Nepal, Mexico, Slovenia and Italy, Patagonia and Iceland . . . . . . . . #landscapephotography #x #naturelovers #beautifuldestinations #travelling #traveling #amazing #ig #beautiful #wildlife #hike #adventureseeker #adventureisoutthere #adventuretravel #exploretheworld #instagood #naturelover #exploring #getoutside #discover #outdoorlife #exploremore #offroad #adventurethatislife #adventurelife #bushcraft #summer #trekking #neverstopexploring #roadtrip

2021-07-26

As a true adventurer you should be skilled to deal with many situations. This includes injuries in hard to reach places. On this program we will ensure you come away knowing how to deal with any scenario that you might face. As well as either a Wilderness First Aid or Pre Emergency Hospital Care qualification we will also run through other scenarios you will face in the outdoors! . . . . . .

2021-07-25

Not only do we explore on this 12-week Program, we also get involved with communities in the countries we travel too. This could be playing football with the local kids in Nepal, shopping at local markets in Mexico or carrying out some conservation work in New Zealand. . . . . . #pureexploration #adventuretravel #adventureguide #adventuretravel #gooutdoors #spendmoretimeoutdoors #agp #elp #expedition #globalexpedition #globaladventure #hiking #climbing #rockclimbing #nztravel #nzmustdo #patagonia #Nepal #peru #nz #personaldevelopment #hikingculture #earthoutdoors #liveforthestory #outside_project #wildernessculture #roamearth #mountainstories #travelstoke #liveyourbestlife

2021-07-24

We are all exploration. Do you ever look out of the window when driving and wonder where a path leads to or see a peak that you wish you could climb. This is what we do on our Adventure Guide Programs. We aren't all about qualifications but more discovery and getting off the beaten track. . . . . . . #adventurer #adventure #travel #nature #wanderlust #explore #adventuretime #explorer #travelphotography #photography #hiking #travelgram #traveler #naturephotography #adventures #mountains #outdoors #camping #travelblogger #instatravel #wanderer #photooftheday #traveller #forest #outdoor #landscape #traveltheworld #hikingadventure

2021-07-23

Welcome to MEXICO! We are excited to launch a Mexico Adventure Guide Program for this October. Only know Mexico for its white beaches and Mayan temples? There's so much more to it! Central Mexico is any adventure travelers' dream with its steep mountains, large pine-oak forests and an immense diversity of plants and animals. This 12-week comprehensive course in one of the world’s best climbing spots will give you 100% confidence to navigate, hike, climb and guide in the outdoors. This is adventure travel as it should be. #pureexploration #adventuretravel #adventureguide #adventuretravel #gooutdoors #spendmoretimeoutdoors #agp #elp #expedition #globalexpedition #globaladventure #hiking #climbing #rockclimbing #nztravel #nzmustdo #patagonia #Nepal #peru #nz #personaldevelopment #hikingculture #earthoutdoors #liveforthestory #outside_project #wildernessculture #roamearth #mountainstories #travelstoke #liveyourbestlife

2021-07-20

Top tip for a Tuesday - Prepare for all weathers when out hiking or climbing. The mountain weather can change dramatically and that extra layer or waterproof might just save your life! Packing the right equipment will be one of the skills you will gain during our Programs. . . . . . #landscapephotography #x #naturelovers #beautifuldestinations #travelling #traveling #amazing #ig #beautiful #wildlife #hike #adventureseeker #adventureisoutthere #adventuretravel #exploretheworld #instagood #naturelover #exploring #getoutside #discover #outdoorlife #exploremore #offroad #adventurethatislife #adventurelife #bushcraft #summer #trekking #neverstopexploring #roadtrip

2021-07-19

To become a global adventure guide, you will embark on a remarkable journey of learning, experiences and coaching. Our destinations diverse and spectacular outdoors will be your classroom, with lessons on leadership, technical skills, group dynamics and group psychology, hiking, rock climbing, and strategies to help in every area of life. . . . . . . . #pureexploration #adventuretravel #adventureguide #adventuretravel #gooutdoors #spendmoretimeoutdoors #agp #elp #expedition #globalexpedition #globaladventure #hiking #climbing #rockclimbing #nztravel #nzmustdo #patagonia #Nepal #peru #nz #personaldevelopment #hikingculture #earthoutdoors #liveforthestory #outside_project

2021-07-17

Training outdoors doesn't get much better than this. . . . . . #adventurer #adventure #travel #nature #wanderlust #explore #adventuretime #explorer #travelphotography #photography #hiking #travelgram #traveler #naturephotography #adventures #mountains #outdoors #camping #travelblogger #instatravel #wanderer #photooftheday #traveller #forest #outdoor #landscape #traveltheworld #hikingadventures #love

2021-07-15

Experience remote Argentina on our 12-week Adventure Guide Program. Incorporating climbing, hiking, trekking, first aid and activities such as horse riding. We love visiting this area due to the incredible mountains and vast landscapes. . . . . . . . #adventurer #adventure #travel #nature #wanderlust #explore #adventuretime #explorer #travelphotography #photography #hiking #travelgram #traveler #naturephotography #adventures #mountains #outdoors #camping #travelblogger #instatravel #wanderer #photooftheday #traveller #forest #outdoor #landscape #traveltheworld #hikingadventures #love

2021-07-14

Our Nelson, New Zealand Adventure Guide Program not only takes in some of the New Zealand Great Walks but also has you kayak across the blue waters surrounding the coast of Nelson. Just a couple of places remaining for our September Program. . . . . . . #newzealand #nz #travel #auckland #nature #photography #queenstown #nzmustdo #wanderlust #love #travelphotography #adventure #southisland #roadtrip #instagood #mountains #landscape #travelgram #photooftheday #beautiful #purenewzealand #instatravel #explore #wellington #beach #naturephotography #hiking #picoftheday #sunset #newzealandguide

2021-07-13

Becoming a whitewater rescue technician is no easy feat. Braving the waters in Nepal overlooked by our experienced instructors will take you from zero to hero when faced with any water crossings out in the field. Our Nepal Program in September still has a few spaces on it with the borders opening this month! We can't wait to have another cohort out there this year! . . . . . . #pureexploration #adventuretravel #adventureguide #adventuretravel #gooutdoors #spendmoretimeoutdoors #agp #elp #expedition #globalexpedition #globaladventure #hiking #climbing #rockclimbing #nztravel #nzmustdo #patagonia #Nepal #peru #nz #personaldevelopment #hikingculture #earthoutdoors #liveforthestory #outside_project #wildernessculture #roamearth #mountainstories #travelstoke #liveyourbestlife

2021-07-12

Not only do you get to climb in some epic locations on Program but also you can play around in your off time in a few of our accommodation spots. Pretty cool that you can climb while having breakfast, lunch and dinner right? . . . . . . . #landscapephotography #x #naturelovers #beautifuldestinations #travelling #traveling #amazing #ig #beautiful #wildlife #hike #adventureseeker #adventureisoutthere #adventuretravel #exploretheworld #instagood #naturelover #exploring #getoutside #discover #outdoorlife #exploremore #offroad #adventurethatislife #adventurelife #bushcraft #summer #trekking #neverstopexploring #roadtrip

2021-07-12

What can you expect from an Adventure Guide Program (apart from experienced instructors, first aid courses and qualifications to take you to a career in the outdoor industry)? Epic landscapes and rewarding climbs are available everyday! . . . . . . . #landscapephotography #x #naturelovers #beautifuldestinations #travelling #traveling #amazing #ig #beautiful #wildlife #hike #adventureseeker #adventureisoutthere #adventuretravel #exploretheworld #instagood #naturelover #exploring #getoutside #discover #outdoorlife #exploremore #offroad #adventurethatislife #adventurelife #bushcraft #summer #trekking #neverstopexploring #roadtrip

2021-07-09

@mikeleowatt has been documenting his recent Nepal Program experience with us. His blog is now on part 4 where he retells the story of his descent through the Nepalese mountains. This story celebrates the conquering of the highest peak but also talks of teamwork during the journey back to base. . . . . . . . #adventurer #adventure #travel #nature #wanderlust #explore #adventuretime #explorer #travelphotography #photography #hiking #travelgram #traveler #naturephotography #adventures #mountains #outdoors #camping #travelblogger #instatravel #wanderer #photooftheday #traveller #forest #outdoor #landscape #traveltheworld #hikingadventures #love

2021-07-08

Kevin Jorgeson and Jacob Cook attempt the second ascent of the Tom Egan Memorial Route, which contains one of the most excruciating crack climbs in the world, known for reducing fingertips to shreds. We can guarantee your fingertips won't be in this bad shape after our Programs but we can guarantee you will come out qualified as a rock leader. Check the link in the bio to watch this epic ascent. . . . . . . #pureexploration #adventuretravel #adventureguide #adventuretravel #gooutdoors #spendmoretimeoutdoors #agp #elp #expedition #globalexpedition #globaladventure #hiking #climbing #rockclimbing #nztravel #nzmustdo #patagonia #Nepal #peru #nz #personaldevelopment #hikingculture #earthoutdoors #liveforthestory #outside_project #wildernessculture #roamearth #mountainstories #travelstoke #liveyourbestlife