Instructor FAQs

Below, you’ll find answers to commonly asked questions by prospective staff. However, don’t hesitate to email us or call us at 828-698-0399 with any questions!

What does a summer at Adventure Treks look like?

Each instructor’s summer begins with our mandatory week-long orientation in Washington in June. Everyone will gather to go over the big picture of Adventure Treks, including policies and protocols, traditions, risk management, and how to create the most incredible student experience ever. Then each trip team will head out for a second week to scout the logistics and locations of their specific itineraries, bond as a community, and prepare for their students to arrive. 

Adventure Treks trips spend time in both the front country and backcountry and are fast-paced; it’s not uncommon to experience late nights and early mornings throughout each trip. Instructors must be prepared to maintain high energy and fulfill their responsibilities while supporting students and co-instructors.

Unless an instructor is needed on another trip due to unexpected changes, teams will stay in their contracted trip locations until the end of summer. (Changing staff teams is always a possibility.) Instructors will have several days between each trip to derig, prepare for the next group of students, and have a day to relax and reset.

Once all trips for the season have ended, instructors will converge back in Washington to de-rig and close out the summer.

What is the application process like?

Our application process is very thorough and one that our instructors appreciate. Interested candidates will email a resume and brief introduction to our staffing director, and those who meet our minimum requirements will complete an additional online application. Applicants will have at least three interviews with our directors, and we will contact three to four professional references and perform a background check.

This rigorous process is to ensure that we are a good fit for each other, as we want all of our instructors to succeed at Adventure Treks. We hire on a rolling basis, but we recommend that you submit your resume no later than February to work as an instructor for 2024.

Read more about our application process here.

When do I need to send in my application?

Adventure Treks will begin hiring in October 2023 and will have three application deadlines throughout the year:

  • December 15, 2023
  • February 15, 2024
  • April 15, 2024

Applications will be considered until we are fully staffed, so we encourage you to reach out after April 15 about any remaining opportunities.

When would employment begin and end?

Contracts for new instructors will begin June 9, with variable end dates through August 15 (most ending between August 10–15).

*There are limited opportunities available for shorter contracts; please let us know if you have scheduling constraints. 

Can I apply for a specific trip and choose where I work?

When creating staff teams each spring, the Adventure Treks directors spend hours building cohesive, experienced, and dynamic groups of instructors. There are several determining factors to consider: former experience with Adventure Treks, personality, areas of expertise and hard skills, leadership style, schedule conflicts, etc. When recruiting new and returning instructors, we not hire staff for a specific location; rather, we hire people who would be a great fit and help grow a fantastic community on any of our trips. 

Trip placements are usually finalized in spring, but please know this could change based on any unexpected situations that crop up. In addition, instructors may or may not work with the same age group all summer; it depends on the region and trip location.

What kind of people work at Adventure Treks?

We’re proud that we have a diverse group of individuals who comprise our instructor teams. Adventure Treks is all about accepting and celebrating people for who they are; our instructors come from all over the United States (and sometimes world) and have varied personal and work backgrounds, interests and hobbies, and ambitions in life.

We’re looking for enthusiastic, energetic, and interesting people who have a passion for teaching youth in the outdoors. We’re also looking for people who will live up to our high expectations and standards of behavior. While with students on course, Adventure Treks instructors are not allowed to drink, smoke or use tobacco products, or take illicit drugs.

Can I apply to be a trip leader?

All first-time applicants apply to work as instructors; our trip leaders, who supervise and manage each staff team, are always returning Adventure Treks instructors. It is crucial that trip leaders are seasoned, experienced outdoor educators who are familiar with our program, standards, and policies. Professional development and growth are important to us, and there are opportunities for growth within the company for all instructors. 

Do you offer internships?

For former Adventure Treks students under the age of 21 and who have completed either one of our Leadership Adventure Semester or  Leadership Summit programs, limited Adventure Treks student internships are available. Please click here for details and the application deadline.

For other applicants 21 and older, we do not formally offer internships for field instructors, but if acceptable by an advisor, the instructor role can be applied toward an internship requirement. Please note that writing papers, submitting evaluations, and regular communication with an advisor throughout the summer is not possible due to our remote locations and the demands of running an outdoor adventure trip. The advisor and instructor must agree to our internship policies prior to being hired.

Internships are paid positions, and interns must meet the same minimum requirements, including certifications, as instructors.

What certifications do I need? Do I need them before I apply?

While we prefer new instructors to be wilderness first responder–certified when applying to work at Adventure Treks, it is not required. However, when our instructors arrive at orientation in Washington, they must have a current wilderness first responder and CPR certification (meaning you can obtain your certifications between your hiring and the beginning of the summer). While we do not reimburse new instructors for certifications, Adventure Treks does offer reimbursements toward WFR recertification for returning instructors.

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.

What is the instructor compensation?

Summer 2024 compensation will be posted in fall 2023. Compensation for new instructors for 2023 for a full summer (two to three trips) started at $4,000 to $4,200, dependent on certifications, education, and skills. Instructors are typically assigned to two trips; compensation will scale for instructors who can only work a partial summer season.

Instructors also receive a plethora of benefits, including:

  • Pro-deal accounts with access to discounts on a wide range of outdoor brands
  • Travel reimbursements to and from orientation
  • Reimbursement for wilderness first responder (WFR) certification for returning instructors
  • A focus on year-round personal and professional growth, including career resource webinars and reimbursements toward professional development
What do instructors do between trips? Do we get time off?

Adventure Treks is a seasonal business, which means getting time off for family vacations or other events during your employment is not possible. Having our instructors available during their entire contract is crucial to a program’s success; please consider this before applying.

Instructors will have minimal free time during a trip. When with students on a trip, instructors must keep personal cell phone use to a minimum, as our program is technology-free for students. (Of course, instructors will be able to use phones to play music during van rides, look up directions, take photos of students, and for any Adventure Treks–related business.) We hope you understand that students must come first, and we cannot guarantee free time. 

The time between trips is also busy, filled with closing responsibilities (e.g., derigging gear, sorting food, and submitting finances), writing evaluations for both students and co-instructors, and preparing for the next group of students to arrive.

While these are full days of preparation, we work hard to give instructors up to a day off between trips (as long as all required tasks have been completed). Instructors are responsible for their expenses during this time if they choose not to utilize the campsite and food we provide.

What kind of gear do I need? Will Adventure Treks provide anything?

Instructors are responsible for providing their own personal gear, including a two-person tent; backpacking backpack (we recommend 70–85 liters); daypack (25–35 liters); duffel bag (80–20 liters); sleeping bag (rated to at least 15 degrees); sleeping pad, and personal items like clothing, outdoor accessories, and toiletries. We do provide technical gear for rock climbing, water activities, mountaineering, mountain biking, etc., though you’re welcome to bring your own if you’d like.

We will provide a detailed packing list to all staff upon hiring, and instructors will have access to pro-deals in early spring.

Additionally, Adventure Treks will cover all accommodations, meals on your trip, outfitted activities, group equipment, and transportation to and from the trip locations.

Am I a good fit for this job?

Jam-packed days with 20 to 24 teenagers, bookended with early mornings and late nights, means our instructors perform tiring work. We’re always on the go, and you’re going to be surrounded by students most of the time. (If you need a lot of “me” or downtime, this job probably isn’t for you.) It’s important that you enjoy spending time with young people, from teaching them outdoor skills to modeling healthy habits and life skills to playing games with them. We consistently hear that this is the best job our instructors have ever had—working alongside enthusiastic teenagers and like-minded coworkers, getting to spend the summer outside in beautiful territory, creating long-lasting friendships, having an incredible lifelong impact on a young person’s life… The outcomes of being an outdoor educator are endlessly positive and powerful.

Apply now to work at Adventure Treks