Outdoor Education

Overview of Outdoor Education as a College Program

Outdoor education programs operate under the arm of the trades or vocations department at colleges and universities. Outdoor education is any form of learning that incorporates outdoor activities into a curriculum, and encourages students to bond through teamwork and learn more about their environment. Graduates of an outdoor education program coordinate this type of education through schools or various programs.

Outdoor Education Curriculum

Outdoor education degrees teach students the knowledge required to succeed as outdoor educators. The curriculum can vary depending on the institution coordinating the program but most of the classes are similar. Some of the courses taught in an outdoor education degree program include:

  • Wilderness travel
  • Personal training
  • Sport liability
  • Recreation leadership
  • Health and fitness
  • Teaching methods
  • Nutrition
  • Environmental studies
  • Facility design
  • Curriculum design

Education Levels Available for an Outdoor Education Degree

Outdoor education degrees are generally available at a few levels of the educational system. The amount of time a student spends in school depends largely on their career goals. Degrees in outdoor education are available at the Certificate, Associate's, and Bachelor's degree levels.

The Certificate program usually requires a one-year commitment to complete. Associate's degrees in outdoor education generally require two years to finish. A Bachelor's degree in outdoor education takes about four years to complete.

Skills Developed through an Outdoor Education Degree Program

An outdoor education degree grants students knowledge that will help them in their future. Many of the skills that are acquired are for their careers, but a number of them can also aid students in their personal lives. Some of the skills that an outdoor education degree instills are:

  • Project management skills to coordinate outdoor education activities
  • Ability to develop a curriculum for students of different skills
  • Understanding of proper nutrition and the right diets for different fitness goals
  • Ability to teach students the concepts and principles of outdoor education
  • Understanding of the processes that shape the environment
  • Communication techniques for peers, superiors, and students
  • Exposure to exercise routines and fitness concepts
Where to Obtain an Outdoor Education Degree

Outdoor education degrees are available through many different colleges, universities and educational programs. They can be earned at community colleges as Associate's degrees. Bachelor's degrees in outdoor education are generally attained through four-year colleges and universities. Outdoor education degrees can be also be procured online. Online outdoor education programs are tailored for students that want to work during their studies or desire higher levels of flexibility in their educational pursuits.

Career Opportunities for Outdoor Education Majors

The outdoor education degree program prepares students for a number of careers that present many opportunities. Graduates can find employment as outdoor educators, recreation workers, foresters, or park rangers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for foresters was $53,750 in May 2008 and the profession is expected to grow 12 percent from 2008-2018. Outdoor educators work as teachers in schools, typically as gym teachers, and this profession earned a median salary between $47,100 and $51,180.

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