What it takes to be qualified to work in the field:

Our awesome instructorsAs leaders in the wilderness based experiential education field, we look to hire staff that, first and foremost, have a strong desire to educate youth.  Our staff and community are mission-driven, tight-knit, diverse and inclusive.  We value a blend of individuals to deliver the Outward Bound mission to the surrounding communities of the Philadelphia Outward Bound School (POBS).  Our staff members come from varied backgrounds; they are traditional classroom educators, wilderness educators, veterans, and much more.  They are individuals who have recently entered the work-force and they are folks who have sought out a work life that is inspiring, impactful, challenging, and fun.  The populations we work with are just as varied as our staff.  The under-served youth of Philadelphia makes up the greatest segment of our student population.  Field staff must have a strong desire to deliver our mission to those who could benefit most from it.  We also serve students who come from all over the country, youth who have risen to leadership roles in their schools, on sports teams, and within other community organizations.  We serve veterans, employees from large corporations, kids as young as ten, and adults of every generation.

Applicants who demonstrate abundant interpersonal competence will be extremely successful.  Outward Bound field staff who thrive most are flexible, humble and open-minded leaders.  They seek out opportunities for growth, are able to give and receive feedback, and demonstrate strong communication skills.  They display proven and sound judgment in challenging circumstances and the ability to learn from mistakes.  Our community and culture is one in which humility, self-awareness, sense of humor, and compassion are nurtured and valued.

We deliver our mission on high ropes courses, backpacking on the Appalachian Trail, canoeing on the Delaware River, and traversing the city of Philadelphia.  Applicants who have technical skills as both a backpacker and as a paddler are of great value.  That said, a proven and sustained ability to work with under-served populations in an urban setting is of utmost importance.  As you can imagine, individuals who encompass these varied factors are the most desirable candidates for field staff positions.

Field staff positions for which we hire yearly can include:
  • Apprentices and Interns
  • Assistant Instructors
  • High Ropes Facilitators
  • Course Directors

As positions become available, job descriptions will be posted to this website under the “Jobs” page.

General Qualifications for Field Staff (dependent and varied based on position)
  • Wilderness First Responder or Wilderness First Aid certified
  • Ability to carry 40-50 lb. backpack both on and off trail for extended periods of time, often up to 10-12 hours a day
  • Competency with map and compass navigation
  • Comfort with backcountry living; cooking, camping, Leave No Trace, etc.
  • Personal experience with extended expeditionary travel
  • Comfortable with basic paddling skills; American Canoe Association Certification and/or Wilderness Lifeguard Certification is considered a plus
  • Capable on high ropes courses
  • Strong facilitation and communication skills
General Requirements for Field Staff
  • Applicants must be 21 years old
  • Clean driving record
  • Excellent physical condition
  • The following background clearances must be provided before employment is offered: FBI clearance, Pennsylvania Access to Criminal History, and Pennsylvania Child Abuse Clearance

In general, the hiring process opens in late fall for the following year.  We hire on a rolling basis and suggest that you apply early.  We hire seasonally; at the start of each season, Apprentices and Interns participate in a New Staff Travel expedition lead by two senior staff trainers. This expedition is an introduction to Outward Bound history and philosophy, technical skills, curriculum planning and delivery, and more. Throughout the expedition, the senior staff trainers will evaluate the broad scope of your abilities, s uch creative lesson planning and delivery, ability to work as a member of a team, ability to give and receive valuable feedback, comfort and capability with challenge, etc.  Upon completion of the course, you will create a development plan with your trainers, which will guide you through your Apprenticeship or Internship.

POBS offers per diem pay rates, housing, and food staples as a part of the compensation package.  While the administrative offices do remain open through the winter months, we do not book a significant amount of winter programming.  Despite that, we strongly suggest and ask for a 2 year commitment should you be selected for a position with Outward Bound.  It takes time to hone and develop the skills to be successful in this field.  Outward Bound is willing and ready to invest in those employees who demonstrate a genuine commitment to the program.

For the hiring season:

If you have read through and understand the complexities to becoming an Outward Bound field staff member, go to the jobs pages, select a position, and apply!  You application will be reviewed and measured against our staffing needs.  Should your qualifications fit our needs you will be contacted for an interview.

For the non-hiring season:

Job descriptions will be listed in late fall/winter for positions in the following year. Please be sure to visit us then to apply.

Thank you in advance for the time and attention you put into your application process.