Some people just aren’t cut out for a desk job. They would prefer for their office to reside in a wider, more open space; notably, the outdoors. Individuals who wish to pursue a career that allows them to work outside can do so while earning a degree. Most people don’t realize that many colleges offer degrees such as outdoor education and outdoor recreation to interested students. Can you imagine what it would be like to learn about your passion every day? For many students, college is about earning a degree doing something they wouldn’t mind having as a career. However, for the majority of those in outdoor studies, nature and the environment is their passion, and they thrive in their outdoor courses.
These degrees can be applied in areas such as resort recreation, summer camps, nature centers, military/community recreation, private guide service, adventure travel agencies, and outdoor and mountaineering retail environments. Specific companies may include Outward Bound, YMCA, YWCA, Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts of America, and Armed Forces. These careers are especially prominent in areas such as Colorado, where outdoor tips are becoming increasing popular with residents and visitors alike.
The goal of many of these programs is to ensure students are equipped to take on a variety of recreational and survival outdoor activities such as whitewater rafting, search and rescue, survival, canoeing, mountaineering, and wilderness second-aid. Some of the best programs also allow students to earn certification and special training in addition to their degree. Example areas include outdoor emergency care, search and rescue technician, avalanche safety, swiftwater rescue, and wilderness first responder.
Both Outdoor Education and Outdoor Recreation degrees focus on many of the same topics. However, outdoor education combines recreation activities with other outdoor aspects such as wilderness survival and environmental awareness. Outdoor recreation focuses more on the managerial aspects of leading groups through different activities. Some specific positions available with this degree are camp director, health club manager, director of recreation and parks, recreational therapist, and activity specialist.
One of the most helpful pieces of advice in looking for an outdoor program is to search in the area in which you will reside after graduating. While a student’s mindset may not be the same after completing a program, this is still an important aspect to consider. In these programs, students will be receiving a lot of hands-on experience outside their school’s campus. Many excursions will take place in collaboration with local rafting companies, mountaineering places, and federal or state parks.