As leaders in the wilderness based experiential education field, we look to hire staff that have a strong desire to educate youth. Our staff are mission-driven, tight-knit, diverse and inclusive. Our staff members come from varied backgrounds; they are traditional classroom educators, wilderness educators, outdoor enthusiasts, veterans and much more. 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 will and 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, large corporations, kids as young as 12 and adults of all ages.

Applicants who demonstrate professionalism, commitment, and interpersonal competence will be extremely successful. Outward Bound field staff are also 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 but also the ability to learn from mistakes. Our community and culture is centered around humility, self-awareness, sense of humor and above all, compassion.

We deliver our mission on High Ropes courses, backpacking on the Appalachian Trail, canoeing on the Delaware Water Gap and traversing Philadelphia's parks and urban center. Applicants who have technical skills as both a backpacker and as a paddler will be highly competitive. That said, a proven and sustained ability to work with underserved populations in an urban setting is of utmost importance. As you can imagine, individuals who encompass these skills are the most desirable candidates for field staff positions.

We hire many field staff positions yearly. These can include:

  • Apprentices
  • Logistician
  • Assistant Instructor
  • High Ropes Facilitator
  • Course Director

As positions become available job descriptions will be posted to this website under the “Careers” tab.

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

  • Interns must be 18 years old
  • Instructors and Logistics staff must be 21 years old
  • Clean driving record
  • Excellent physical condition
  • Background clearance including the following must be provided before employment is offered:
    • FBI Criminal Clearance via Fingerprints
    • Pennsylvania Criminal Clearance
    • Pennsylvania Child Abuse Clearance

Details of application, hiring and training

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. The strongest applicants will be offered conditional employment and invited to participate in an Outward Bound field training delivered in our course areas and instructed by our Senior Staff Trainers in early to mid March. This training is used to evaluate your abilities in:

  • Creative lesson planning and delivery
  • Ability to work as a member of a team
  • Ability to give and receive feedback
  • Comfort and capability with back country living

Upon completion of the course, a formal assessment will be made of your skill set by the Program Directors and Staffing Manager who will determine where you might fit best in our program. The next steps include an extensive training in late March. The training touches on all facets of the program.

Philadelphia Outward Bound School offers a 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.