For More Info Call:  503-946-3404

Oregon Instructor Development (Ages 18+)

Course Details

    Location: Oregon
    Activities: Backpacking, Rock Climbing, Mountaineering, Rafting
    Tuition & Fees: $6795
    Financial Aid Available: Yes

The Northwest Instructor Development Course in Oregon is an extraordinary expedition that combines beautiful environments and challenging activities with an intensive educational curriculum emphasizing the skills needed to work in the field of outdoor and adventure education. Designed specifically for individuals interested in pursuing instructional, guiding, or teaching positions, this semester course offers fifty days of in-depth learning in mountaineering, snow camping, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, and first aid, while simultaneously exploring group dynamics, experiential education theory and methods, and wilderness activity management. 

Available Courses

  • Available DatesCourse LengthAgeCourse Number
    4/4/2016 - 5/23/201650 daysWOQL-671Reserve Your Spot TodayLearn More

  • Questions? Call (503) 946-3404 for more information.

How to Enroll

Steps to becoming a Northwest Outward Bound course paricipant:
Step one: Complete the online enrollment by clicking on Reserve Your Spot Today (above), or call to enroll (866-467-7651 or 503-946-3404)
Step two: You will receive a personalized Registration E-Mail from your Course Advisor within 48 hours.
Step three: Complete the paperwork that we have directed you to on this website.
Step four: We may need a couple of weeks to review your enrollment packet and approve your participation.

Enrollment Packet & Course Information


Enrollment Packet Deadline Policy: All applicants must adhere to the due dates listed in their Registration E-Mail. If you are unable to meet the requested deadlines, please be sure to contact your This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Otherwise, your spot on the course will be opened up to another student.

Instructor Development Application

Physician Exam Form

Admissions & Enrollment Policies

Note: Supplemental Forms may apply if we need more specific information about you. Refer to your Registration e-mail to determine which supplemental forms are required for your enrollment packet.


This section contains details that are key to the specific course you have enrolled on. This information will come in handy when packing, planning, and preparing for the adventure you have chosen. Please read these documents CAREFULLY and contact your This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you have any questions.

Gear & Footwear

Travel Information


Course Description

Odin WFR syllabus

Instructor Development Course Curriculum

Attending Outward Bound

Course Preparation & Physical Fitness

Information on Completing & Returning Forms

Supplemental Forms & Scholarship

Refer to your Registration E-Mail to determine if any of the following forms are required for your enrollment process. AGAIN, note the DUE DATE in your Registration E-Mail.

The Northwest Outward Bound School offers financial assistance in the form of Needs-Based Scholarships. The scholarships typically do not exceed 1/2 of the base cost. In order to receive an award offer, you will have to enroll in your chosen course, go through the enrollment and medical screening process and be officially cleared to participate on the course. There is a $500 deposit that must be paid at the time of enrollment, which is refundable if your scholarship award does not meet your needs. Please note that all scholarship applicants are reviewed on a case-by-case basis and awards are strictly based on need and scholarship money availability. The application form is available below. Please contact Skye Clifford (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) if you have any questions regarding the Needs-Based Scholarships, and/or other questions regarding financing for your course.

Need-Based Scholarship Application

Course Description

Northwest Outward Bound School offers two distinct types of long-format (50 days +) courses: semester courses and instructor courses. Instructor courses are specifically designed for students that want to explore a career in outdoor education, whereas semester courses are designed for students looking for a long Outward Bound course that maximizes the depth of the experience. While both course types teach numerous technical and human skills, the instructor courses add a layer of educational skills. Instructor course students spend significant time learning experiential education theory and are required to utilize their educational learning in a formal educational practicum where they design and implement a multi-day outdoor education experience for other students. Instructor courses also include a 9-day wilderness first responder course. If you have any questions, or are having difficulty choosing between a semester and instructor course, please call your course advisor.

After pickup and transportation from the Redmond Airport (RDM) in Oregon you begin the Northwest Wilderness Course with a course overview, introductory activities and classroom lessons. Lessons and workshops throughout the course will include topics such as Outward Bound philosophy; adventure and experiential education, teaching styles and techniques, group dynamics, group facilitation and debriefing practices. A large component of the course also addresses leadership theory, which encompasses conflict resolution, judgment and decision-making, risk management, course planning and logistics design. This phase incorporates an essential focus on judgment and risk-management.

The Northwest offers stunning course areas, and a reputation of expertise in training instructors that makes it an ideal location for a 50-day instructor course. During this course, students will have the opportunity to learn and master whitewater rafting, rock climbing, mountaineering, first aid and backpacking in some of the most renowned course areas in the United States, while building the human and educational skills necessary to be an effective instructor.

All the while students are gaining their own Outward Bound experience by working in a team, pushing personal limits, and exploring personal values. Students will also have the opportunity to explore how to structure this experience for others in the future. They will even have the chance to practice their skills with some students from youth organizations in the Northwest.

At the end of the course students will leave with Wilderness First Responder certification, basic skills and experience in sea kayaking, light weight backpacking, mountaineering, rock climbing, wilderness travel, and state-of-the-art training in safety management and educational programming.

Please see the detailed syllabus provided by the Wilderness Medicine Training Center Inc. for more information.

Also be sure to check out the February 17, 2014 Outward Bound Blog post by Nadia Lubeznik. Nadia is an alumna of the 50-day Northwest Wilderness Instructors Course, and subsequently, has worked as an Outward Bound instructor at Northwest Outward Bound School, Hurricane Island Outward Bound School, and Outward Bound Australia over the last six years.

Workshops (Ongoing)
Workshops include sessions on Outward Bound philosophy: adventure and experiential education, teaching styles and techniques, group dynamics, group facilitation and debriefing practices. It will also include leadership theory, which encompasses conflict resolution, judgment and decision-making, risk management, course planning, and logistics design.

River Skills I
This initial river expedition will focus on whitewater rafting skills such as river safety, strokes, ferries, eddy-turns, peel-outs, rapid swims, river reading, rope throws, river/rapid classification, rescue concepts, hydrology and group management. This expedition will also focus on establishing important group cohesion and communication skills that will serve as a foundation for the entire course. The course area will be the Deschutes River.

Rock Skills I
The next several days will focus specifically on skills associated with technical rock climbing. Topics will include knots, anchors, movement over rock, top roping, belaying, belay escapes, harnesses and other equipment, site assessment, and management and facilitation skills. Students will have ample opportunity to actively climb and improve their personal skill with various types of climbs including bouldering, face climbs, cracks, and multi-pitch. The course area will be Smith Rock and rock sites at the Odin Falls basecamp.

Wilderness First Responder & CPR
Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certification is recognized as the standard level of expertise in backcountry first aid. Our WFR certification will be taught by professionals from the Wilderness Medical Training Center at our Basecamp in Redmond, Oregon. Get your certification and develop the following skills: patient assessment through the knowledge of body systems, equipment improvisation, trauma, backcountry/environmental medicine, toxins, and not to mention wilderness protocols and rescue.

Rock Skills II
After a well-deserved break day, you will head back to the rock to continue with your development of technical rock climbing skills. Topics will pick up where Rock Skills I left off. Course area will be Smith Rock and rock sites at the Odin Falls basecamp.

Mountaineering/Snowshoeing/Snow Camping/Backpacking Skills
Head for the hills as the focus turns to the development of backpacking and mountaineering skills.  During our spring course you will be on snowshoes and snow camping the entire time.  The Fall course will have less snow on the ground. Topics will include group travel, gear selection and usage, map & compass navigation, cooking, weather/hazard assessment, third class travel, snow/glacier travel and camping, group management, and facilitation skills. You will have an opportunity to complete a major summit climb, dependent on weather and group dynamics. The course area is in the Central Cascades.

River Skills II
The final expedition of your course will take you to another river to continue focus on whitewater rafting skills. Topics will pick up where River Skills I left off. The course area will likely be the Lower Salmon, Owyhee or another alternative river, depending on conditions.

Your course draws to a close with a trip back to basecamp for evaluation and how to conclude a course. This will essentially tie students experiences together as you discuss culmination experiences. You will also discuss metaphorical necessities on an Outward Bound course, clean-up, and complete a personal challenge event. Each student will complete a final individual development plan prior to completing the course. Transportation to the airport is provided at the conclusion of the course.

NOTE: Instructor courses are designed for those with a serious interest in a career in outdoor education. They are not interchangeable with our semester courses.

Course Area

The Deschutes River in Oregon is a wild and scenic river that flows from the Oregon Cascades to the Columbia River and then to the Pacific. A popular river for both whitewater rafting and fly fishing, the river is spring fed, which results in unusually constant water flow and cold water even in the summer. Bordering one-third of the Lower Deschutes is the Warm Springs Reservation.

Courses travel 97 miles over rapids as high as Class IV. The environment is very dry and arid desert, which equals very hot summers. Wildlife in the area includes ospreys, bald eagles, deer, bighorn sheep, rattlesnakes and waterfowl such as mergansers and mallard.

The Central Cascades is home to the Three Sisters, Mount Washington and Mount Jefferson Wilderness areas. Four 10,000+ foot glaciated volcanoes are present in this course area with a total of eight major volcanoes. Courses will attempt to climb at least one peak in the area.

The west side of the range is lush, and the east side is more dry. Snow travel is definite on the Spring course and a possibility on the Fall course. Peaks include: Broken Top, South Sister, Middle Sister, North Sister, Mt. Washington, Three Fingered Jack, Mt. Jefferson and The Husband.

Smith Rock is a world-renowned climbing destination that attracts climbers of all abilities from around the world. It is widely considered one of the top sport climbing areas in the country. Smith Rock is a uniquely beautiful area that commonly graces postcards and calendars. The Crooked River lazily winds its way through the canyon, cutting a path through the cliffs and spires. Towards the west, the snow-capped volcanoes of the Cascade Range rise on the horizon, above the flat checkerboard of irrigated plains. One of the most striking features is Monkey Face, a prominent spire that takes the shape of a monkey's face. Given the dry and temperate climate, rock climbing is feasible year round.

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