Qualifications - Starting a Career as an Activity Instructor?

orange square This is a difficult question to answer, yet one we get asked all the time. The quick answer is that some National Governing Body (NGB) awards are more useful than others in that there are more jobs associated with them, but the type of instructing you wish to undertake will determine which is the most valuable to you, meaning there isn't really a simple answer to the question. Let's try to answer in more detail. The majority of people who become Activity Instructors can be loosely divided into three camps.


sailing boat training

Multi activity instructors

This is a popular way for people getting started in adventure industry. Often the bigger companies realise that they can struggle to get enough qualified applicants, so instead they are looking for people with potential. They will then train you up to meet the standard required to act as an instructor at their centres. Clearly people who do already have some qualifications may stand a better chance of gaining employment, but even if you have no previous experience, this type of instructing can still be within your reach.

Generally the types of activities associated with multi activity centres include open canoes and kayaks, climbing and abseiling, archery and rifle shooting, as well wide games, obstacle courses and outdoor pursuits as obscure as frisbee golf. Clearly you are not going to be applying form many jobs in the future where you will be boasting about how you are qualified to teach the wacky stuff, but if as part of your training you pick up some canoe or climbing qualifications, then these can certainly help you advance a career in outdoor activity instructing. Another great qualification that you will always get at a multi activity instructor, and should really do off your own back if you are serious about teaching outdoors, is first aid. There are different options, but something like the ITC Certificate in Outdoor First Aid is an HSE approved award.

More information about multi activity career training.

Land based activity instructors

While it is possible to get recognised qualifications in a wide range of terra firma adventure activities, probably the most popular would be related to walking and climbing and come in the form of WGL (Walking Group Leader), CWA or CWLA (Climbing Wall and Climbing Wall Leader Award), SPA (Single Pitch Award) and ML (mountain leader Award). Many of these lead on to more advanced mountaineering courses, allowing you to teach people in progressively more hostile or challenging environments.

More information about climbing/mountaineering career training.

Water based activity instructors

If you are happiest on the water then you should be thinking about canoeing, sailing or even windsurfing awards as the most valuable. The British Canoe Union offer a series of qualifications starting out with UKCC Level 1, while the Royal Yachting Association offer the Dinghy Instructor as their starter qualification. Windsurfing is actually very popular, especially if you are hoping to teach around the coast or even around the Mediterranean.

More information about Paddlesports and Sailing career training.


Triathlon coaching pathway

Triathlon coaching pathway

Inspirational Olympians and Britain's prominence in the sport of triathlon in recent years have resulted in a huge increase in interest, both in people wishing to take part in the three disciplines, and in those looking to coach the new influx of newcomers. British Triathlon is the national governing body, with further divisions for England, Wales and Scotland. In this article we give you a background to the sport, and talk about how to get involved in coaching at local club level and at national level.

Triathlon coaching pathway >>

Highest Salaries

Highest Salaries

Perhaps you want to spend a season working in outdoor adventure as a way of filling the time between college and university, or on a temporary basis before you start working towards that 'proper' job that your parents want you to get. Or maybe you are serious about getting on and making as much money as you can, which still enjoying a career in outdoor adventure. If you are wondering which roles are going to give you the highest disposable income then take a look at this article as we bring you details of eight well paid jobs.

Highest Salaries >>

Multi Activity Career Guide

Multi Activity Career Guide

You probably went on a residential activity holiday when you were at school; most children do. Getting a job as one of those idolised instructors is actually easier than you may think. Hundreds of thousands of school kids every year means lots of centres and each one requires plenty of instructors. For young people, the wages are pretty good considering the alternatives, and when you factor in the training, experience and qualifications you can achieve in a single season... So how do you get involved? We discuss the different options for starting out, and offer some valuable inside tips on passing a selection weekend.

Multi Activity Career Guide >>