Work with Adventure Treks

We are hiring for summer 2024 field instructors!

I absolutely loved my staff team; I’ve never felt closer to a group of people in a professional setting. We worked together so well and had so much fun. I am most proud of how I handled stressful situations and how much I bonded with students. – Jordie Beresin

Want to change young people’s lives? You’re in the right place.

Adventure Treks hires people who are passionate and enthusiastic about working with students ages 13–18 in the outdoors. On our programs, you’re not only an integral part of a close-knit instructor community, but you’re also a role model who will make a lasting impression on your students.

In our 31 years of providing life-changing, community-based outdoor adventures, Adventure Treks has earned a reputation as one of the most professional organizations in the industry. In addition, Adventure Treks has the highest instructor (and student!) return rate of any comparable program—our staff create such strong bonds with each other and their students that our instructor tenure averages 4–5 seasons (though many have been with us for much longer).

Our instructors lead trips in California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Alaska, British Columbia, North Carolina, and Peru. But being an Adventure Treks instructor isn’t just about visiting beautiful wilderness areas—rather, it’s about empowering young people to create a supportive and respectful group of peers; bringing joy and fun to every day and activity; and experiencing and growing through both type I and type II fun throughout your adventure.

Through activities like backpacking, mountaineering, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, whitewater kayaking, canoeing, sea kayaking, mountain biking, and ice climbing, Adventure Treks instructors help our students grow in self-confidence, leadership and active followership, collaboration and teamwork, resilience, and environmental awareness.

Adventure Treks instructors often say this is the most rewarding job they’ve ever had.

Read instructors’ frequently asked questions here

I feel so grateful for the personal growth I gained this summer… it feels exponential. I feel I have more power to choose my attitude, fewer blind spots, and so many invaluable experiences. – Kyle D’Ambrosio

Middle and high school summer program positions

Job description

Course size is generally 20–24 students with 5–6 instructors. Groups may be smaller than that, but we will always maintain a 4:1 ratio of student to instructor. The outdoor skills that instructors teach include backpacking, rock climbing, mountaineering, mountain biking, canoeing, cooking, orienteering, Leave No Trace concepts, and general environmental education. Other specialized skills like whitewater rafting and kayaking will be taught in conjunction with outfitters.

On each program, the instructor team works closely together to coordinate all aspects of the trip, including instruction in all outdoor activities, risk management, driving 15-passenger vans and towing U-Haul trailers, managing group dynamics, planning menus, purchasing food, laundry, coordinating with outfitters, turning in blog and photo updates, maintaining equipment, and handling medical issues. Instructors receive additional ongoing support from the director team.

Minimum requirements
  • At least 21 years old
  • Bachelor’s degree, advanced degree, or degree in-progress strongly preferred
  • Wilderness first responder and CPR certifications (must be completed by June 2024)*
  • Experience working with young people
  • Experience in outdoor education and leading wilderness programs
  • Genuine interest in students’ personal growth, ability to teach them outdoor and life skills, and enthusiasm for having fun with them
  • Proficiency in multiple outdoor skills
  • Expertise in Leave No Trace principles
  • Clean driving record with no major infractions
  • Ability to maintain high energy and a positive mental attitude with little to no time off and limited personal time
  • Must be authorized to work legally in the United States

We do host two full WFR courses in Toledo, WA, in May and July, and a recert course in May. You can view details about those courses here.


Personal and professional skills learned at Adventure Treks are applicable to many different careers for years to come.

  • Leadership and responsibility: Responsible for being a role model to 20–24 teenagers and running a safe and fun trip, including balancing a trip budget
  • Communication: With your students, co-instructors, trip leader, parents, and Adventure Treks directors
  • Resilience and adaptability: Positively overcome adversity and creatively solve problems
  • Decision-making: Confidence in safe, quick, and intentional decisions
  • Strong work ethic: A challenging yet fulfilling job
  • Relationship-building: Creating strong connections and building an inclusive community
  • Feedback: Ongoing opportunities to provide and receive constructive feedback to students, co-instructors, and trip leader

Additionally, instructors will have:

  • The opportunity to be a teacher, mentor, and friend to highly motivated students
  • Multiple seasons of employment (spring and fall opportunities are also available in Costa Rica and North Carolina)
  • Dynamic work environment
  • Highly organized and well-planned adventures
  • A focus on year-round personal and professional growth, including career resource webinars and reimbursements toward professional development
  • Competitive salary
  • Outdoor experiences throughout the United States

We’re pleased to offer competitive compensation: Salaries for new instructors start at $4,000–$4,200, dependent on experience, hard skills, education, and certifications. Instructors also receive:

  • Travel reimbursements 
  • Certification reimbursements for returning instructors
  • Professional development scholarships and reimbursements for new and returning instructors
  • All-inclusive employment: all accommodations, meals, outfitted activities, group equipment, and transportation to and from the trip’s locations are included while on course
  • Pro-deal access to hundreds of outdoor brands
Program salary and benefits comparison
Adventure Treks Moondance Adventures Wilderness Adventures ARCC Overland Summers
Starting base salary $4,200-$4,300 $2,300 (average, not starting) $2,600 $1,600-$5,000 $2,500-$3,000
Travel reimbursements Up to $500 Not publicly shared Not publicly shared Not publicly shared 50% (max of $250)
Certification reimbursements Yes* Not publicly shared Seasonal bonuses for additional certifications Not publicly shared Up to $250
Professional development opportunities and reimbursements Yes** Not publicly shared Not publicly shared Not publicly shared Not publicly shared

*Adventure Treks provides up to $200 in WFR recertification reimbursements for returning instructors. Alternatively, returning staff may participate in our WFR recertification course for free (taking place right before orientation).
**Adventure Treks provides multiple opportunities to apply for professional development scholarships. We also provide PD reimbursements for both new and returning instructors for specific courses each year.

I loved my staff team and the beautiful places we got to experience. The best part of each trip would be the students and seeing them grow and accomplish things. I feel so proud to help facilitate students’ growth during really challenging activities and see them succeed, when when they didn’t think they could. – Liz Hertz

Adventure Treks student internships

Are you an Adventure Treks alumnus who wants to help provide the same incredible experience to students that your Adventure Treks instructors gave to you? For former AT students who are not yet 21 and who have completed either one of our Leadership Adventure Semester or Leadership Summit programs, and who are actively involved in their university’s outing and outdoors clubs or have similar working experience, we offer limited student intern positions.

The responsibilities of an intern vary slightly from those of an instructor, but like all staff, they work hard, have fun, create lasting connections, and have a powerful impact on our students’ lives. Interns must have a current wilderness first responder certification and attend our staff orientation in June.

One of my greatest moments at AT was when a student contacted me after the trip to tell us how confident she felt after having been put in a leadership role, and how impactful that was to her. It made my whole summer. – Matthias Kelderman

How to apply

Adventure Treks is committed to building a diverse community that is inclusive of people from all backgrounds to reflect the world we live in. Adventure Treks does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, genetics information, socioeconomic status, medical condition, or any other consideration made unlawful by federal, state, or local laws.