As leaders in the experiential education field, Outward Bound looks to hire staff that have a strong desire to educate youth. Our Instructors are mission-driven, compassionate, diverse, and inclusive. Our staff members come from varied backgrounds; they are 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 diverse as our staff; Instructors must have a strong will and desire to deliver our mission to those who could benefit most from it. Philadelphia youth make up the majority of our student population. We also serve students who hail from all over the country, youth who have risen to leadership roles in their schools and communities, veterans, grieving teens, employees of corporate companies and non-profit organizations, and more. We serve individuals as young as twelve 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 climbing on high ropes courses, backpacking on the Appalachian Trail, canoeing on the Delaware Water Gap, and traversing the city of Philadelphia. 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 priority. As you can imagine, individuals who encompass these skills are the most desirable candidates for field staff positions.

We hire field staff positions every spring, summer, and fall. These can include:

  • Apprentices
  • Interns
  • Instructors

As positions become available, job descriptions will be posted 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 a 40-50 lb. backpack both on and off trail for extended periods of time, sometimes up to 16 hours a day
  • Competency with map and compass navigation
  • Comfort with backcountry living; cooking, camping, Leave No Trace, etc.
  • Personal experience with 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

  • 21 years of age or older
  • Clean driving record
  • Excellent physical condition
  • FBI Criminal Clearance
  • 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.

Upon successful completion of an Apprenticeship or Internship, you may be eligible to work as an Instructor. 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.