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Join Our Team

 Come work for North Carolina Outward Bound Schooland help others discover their potential

“At best, the instructor demonstrates a craving for adventure, a zest for life, a love of the world, and a joy in meeting and overcoming adversity. The desire to serve others is the master motive – helping all kinds of people discover they can do so much more than they think they can. The ability to laugh at oneself, to retain composure under stress, to deal openly with conflict - these, too, are vitally important qualities. The impact of Outward Bound may be even greater for staff than it is for students as the fun, fatigue, caring, and mutual support in the community of the school is shared over an extended period of time. As we search for 'right relationships' with self, the environment, and the human family, NCOBS offers meaning and satisfaction for all who work, play, lead, and serve together in this elemental setting of mountains, valleys, rocks, trees, cities, streams and rivers."  

- John Huie & Mike Fischesser, Former NCOBS Director and Program Director         

Who We Hire

As a leader in wilderness-based experiential education, our instructors are accomplished outdoor educators, with extensive experience and training in technical and facilitation skills. NCOBS offers a diverse selection of courses in scenic and remote wilderness areas. Our instructors must be equally diverse and have a sincere interested in the growth and development of others on a personal, group and societal level. 

NCOBS field staff are dedicated, skilled individuals who choose service, education and adventure as a career. Our field staff are the heart and soul of every course; their leadership, talents and insights add depth to the course experience. Field staff return to work for the school because of the students’ lives they touch, the friendships they build with co-workers and the mentoring, development and inspiration our community provides.

In our efforts to recruit and hire field staff from all walks of life, we believe that solid group facilitation, life experience, enthusiasm, and teaching skills are as valued as personal technical ability. Some field staff have worked previously in outdoor education before joining us at Outward Bound, while others come straight from college or from other careers.

Our Commitment to Diversity

NCOBS is committed to equal opportunity for its employment, without discrimination on the basis of race, color creed, national or ethnic origin, gender identity or sexual orientation, age, religion, disability, marital or parental status, status with respect for public assistance or veteran’s status. People of color are strongly encouraged to apply.

Standards We Seek

Individuals interested in joining the school’s instructional staff usually possess a full resume of experience leading wilderness expeditions for programs with similar missions to Outward Bound. As a minimum, successful candidates have personal and institutional climbing experience; lead climbing/guiding experience is especially valuable. Similarly, successful candidates also have whitewater canoeing experience; and again, individuals who are active paddlers and own their own boats are valued. We seek staff who are committed to the process of educating, possess strong facilitation/interpersonal skills, and have a track record of teaching experience, either in or out of the classroom.

For our at-risk programs, based in Florida, we seek candidates with some different qualifications. While many of our staff come from outdoor education backgrounds and may have canoeing expertise, group management skills play a large role as well. A majority of our at-risk staff come from backgrounds in social work or psychology, and have experience working with at-risk youth.

Outdoor Technical Skills Our course areas are incredibly diverse. We seek the same diversity in the technical skills of our instructional staff. We need individuals with a variety of the following skills: backpacking, backcountry navigation, rock climbing, mountaineering, flat and whitewater canoeing, and sea kayaking. All field staff must appreciate and feel comfortable in remote outdoor environments, with solid experience in the primary activities of at least one of our course areas. Extended backpacking, paddling or climbing trips are the most common ways our staff have developed their expedition skills. Most importantly, we look for and will build upon a subtle, yet important skill: outdoor judgment, -the ability to make sound, safe decisions under challenging circumstances. Support Staff and Interns are not required to have the above technical skills, though outdoor experience is valuable to the positions. 

Teaching, Communication and Character NCOBS hires people who are compassionate, sensitive, careful listeners and articulate communicators. These are mature and humble folks who can convert the Outward Bound experience into lessons in life and who are genuinely interested in the growth and development of others. Previous experience in facilitating group dynamics is desired, especially for those working with adolescents. 

Minimum Certifications Required Wilderness First Responders (WFR) and current CPR for Assistant and Instructors. Note: Additional certifications are sometimes required and depend on course activity. 

Leadership We look for leadership experience at other outdoor organizations, in education and in public service. Most importantly, we look for leadership qualities of character, empathy, commitment and charisma. Field staff at Outward Bound are passionate about their work with students and are skilled at finding varied ways to offer leadership to and build rapport with a group of students of any age. 

Physical and Emotional Stamina Applicants must be sufficiently fit to participate in all course activities and maintain ample energy, strength, and focus to assist students with physical and emotional obstacles. Outward Bound courses challenge instructors with 18-mile hikes, all-day and into the night paddles, sometimes uncooperative students, changing weather and separation from friends and family. 

Time Commitment Summer is our busiest time at Outward Bound. Almost all of our field staff begin with work at one of our summer to fall programs, most of which run May through October. Our training program is extensive and skills learned build on one another. To really blossom as an Instructor requires a commitment of two or more summers.

Baseline Skills

General requirements include:

  • Age of 21 years or older
  • Current first aid certification at the level of Wilderness First Responder, including Adult CPR
  • Excellent physical condition

Professional experience in one or more of the following areas:

  • Teaching
  • Counseling
  • Group Leadership

Communication skills, including:

  • Ability to listen and articulate ideas
  • Ability to organize lessons and teach effectively
  • Ability to inspire others to a higher level of motivation
  • Ability to offer and receive open feedback
  • Ability to work effectively with people from diverse backgrounds

Backpacking skills (required for backpacking courses)

General outdoor skills, including:

  • Ability to carry 45-60-pound pack on and off trail for up to 12 hours a day and sometimes longer
  • Personal backpacking experience
  • Competence with map and compass navigation, ability to navigate in whiteout and dark conditions preferred
  • Knowledge of managing mountain hazards and variable weather
  • Backcountry cooking and camping skills
  • Familiarity with Leave No Trace backcountry practices
  • Experience with multi-day expeditionary travel
  • Ability to run seven mountain miles in 75 minutes

How to Get Qualified

We are committed to giving applicants feedback in areas they can work on to improve their skills. In the event you are not selected for employment, this information will be offered to you. We do not believe the kind of leaders we are seeking can be turned out of an instructor course without previous skills, training, and experience that compliment such a course. In some cases we may recommend a particular course to assist you in becoming a more attractive candidate to us in the future. We may also recommend you to other employers.

Application Process

NCOBS screens and selects new applicants once a year for our programs in North Carolina. Our primary staffing process begins in November, and we are usually fully staffed by February, so getting your application submitted early in the hiring season is strongly recommended. However, due to the changing nature of our field staff and student enrollment, we may hire qualified candidates outside of these timelines.

Once we have received your completed application and references, we will begin reviewing your file and contact you regarding interviews. Face-to-face interviews are recommended. However, due to the geographic diversity of applicants, we conduct many interviews by phone or Skype as well.

If you are currently working as an Outward Bound Instructor in the USA and would like to be considered for instructional work at North Carolina Outward Bound School, it is not necessary to complete a new application. To apply for instructional work, please send a current resume including your specific OB course work along with a copy of one OB instructor evaluations and contact information for 2 references to: Staffing Department, 2582 Riceville Road, Asheville, NC 28805 or After downloading, printing and completing the application, please mail your completed application to:

North Carolina Outward Bound School 
c/o: Staffing Coordinator
2582 Riceville Road
Asheville, NC 28805

*Note that this is not an online application.  You must save it to your own computer and then fill it out.  If you prefer to email your completed application, please send it to

     Applications will be reviewed starting in November, and you will be contacted via e-mail to let you know that we have received your                information. Applications will only be reviewed once we receive a completed application as well as 3 letters of recommendation.  If, after a      reasonable time you have not heard from us, please feel free to call at (800) 850-7823 x 2194.

Contact Us


Listed below are positions North Carolina Outward Bound is currently hiring. Position may include, but are not limited to Instructors, Assistant Instructors, Specialists and Support Staff in the field and Administrative Positions that are in the administrative offices in Asheville or Charlotte, NC or in Atlanta, GA.

Mail applications back to (unless otherwise noted in the listing):

North Carolina Outward Bound
c/o: Staffing Coordinator
2582 Riceville Road
Asheville, NC 28805

or e-mail to:


Available Positions

No staff positions currently available

Internship Overview

North Carolina Outward Bound offers internships designed to provide an understanding of Outward Bound philosophies and operations, as well as an opportunity to develop technical and interpersonal skills to work with students in a wilderness context. The internship begins with a 14-day wilderness expedition in one of our Western North Carolina course areas. This is followed by a week of in-base training focused on the technical and risk management skills needed to support Outward Bound crews in the field. Interns will be involved in a variety of course support roles including service projects, driving, logistics, rock climbing, ropes course and general base camp maintenance. Additional training and skills development days will occur intermittently to support individual development.

Length of Internship Program

The 2011 Internship Program will run from May 16 to July 31, 2011. Our Internship Program runs once a year.
The Program begins with a 14-day wilderness immersion which will contain specific trainings that include, but are not limited to: diversity, driver orientation, judgment, and curriculum development. After the wilderness expedition, Interns will spend approximately 50% of their time focusing on logistical support of crews in the field; another 25% of their time will be spent in direct contact with North Carolina Outward Bound crews; and the final 25% of their time will be spent doing specific professional development. The Staffing Coordinator and Associate Program Directors will be intentional in placing our Interns at the base camp that will offer the most challenge and potential for advancement based on the skills the intern brings to the position.

The Next Step

Interns may be offered support or instructional work after the internship. Many current instructional staff started their Outward Bound careers in an intern program (historically called the Apprenticeship). Work offers will be made based on job performance during the internship, previous experience and current staffing needs.

All staff and interns working for North Carolina Outward Bound School must be of 21 years of age or older. Preference will be given to applicants with Wilderness First Responder certification.

To apply, please download an Instructor application from our website, and send with three references to:

North Carolina Outward Bound
Staff Development Manager
2582 Riceville Road
Asheville, NC 28805

North Carolina Outward Bound will respond upon receipt of your application and at least one reference. Please be patient as this can take a few weeks. Competitive applicants will be granted an interview which may be conducted in person or over the telephone. Hiring for 2009 will begin in November and conclude in March.

If you have any questions, please email



What kind of staff do you require?

New staff should plan on attending a two week field-based introductory training beginning in early May. New Staff Training is designed to simulate the student experience, providing new instructors with a clear picture of our course curriculum and the expectations of how to run an NCOBS course. Two weeks of All Staff training follow, focusing on Local Operating Procedures, emergency call-out protocol, techniques for program delivery, building community and diversity training. Training days are not paid, however staff accrue field credits for their participation, assisting them in moving up the pay scale.

How do I get the required certifications?

We encourage as many staff as possible to be WFR certified, including Interns and Support Staff. Nationally recognized certification providers include:

Landmark Learning (
Wilderness Medical Associates (
Wilderness Medical Institute (

What if I do not currently meet the requirements to be considered as an Assistant Instructor?

Some applicants will be considered for our summer Internship program. The Internship is designed to provide a greater understanding of Outward Bound philosophy and operations, as well as an opportunity to develop technical and group facilitation skills. The Internship begins in early May with a 14-day group expedition, facilitated by senior staff trainers. Interns then participate in seasonal training along with the rest of our field staff, followed by a week of in-base training specifically focused on the technical and risk management skills needed to support Outward Bound crews in the field. Interns are then involved in a variety of course support roles including rock climbing, ropes course, service projects, driving, logistics and general base camp maintenance throughout June and July. Additional training and skill development days occur intermittently to support individual development. Room and board are provided for the duration of the internship. Interns receive a stipend of $400/month for their w ork in June and July. Depending upon the level of commitment and performance, internships may lead to a position as an Assistant Instructor or Support Staff.

Other applicants may be considered to begin working for the school as Support Staff; coordinating and executing the behind-the-scenes logistical needs to support students and staff in the field. Come join our vibrant working community at one of our beautiful NC mountain base camps and begin gaining skills toward becoming a field instructor. Please send a resume and cover letter to be considered for a Support Staff position.

Many folks looking to transition into a career in experiential education participate in our Outdoor Leader Course. This 45-day course is designed for people who are interested in getting into the field of outdoor education and would like to develop technical, leadership and teaching skills. We offer this course in the spring, summer and fall. Alumni from this course are often hired as Assistant Instructors after one season of trip leading experience at another organization.

Go outside! Explore remote wilderness areas to hone your navigation and outdoor living skills. Spend more time rock climbing and paddling to increase your technical competency. Take a Wilderness First Responder course to gain the medical certification required of most outdoor education programs. Gain teaching experience with adolescents through volunteer programs and other work opportunities. Spend a season leading wilderness trips for a summer camp to gain experience managing groups and facilitating outdoor adventure experiences.

Is there a required miniumum age to be an instructor?

All Outward Bound staff, including Interns, must be 21 years of age or older.

What age group would I be working with?

During the summer, the majority of work we do at North Carolina Outward Bound School is with youth aged 14 to 17. We are always looking for talented folks who are interested and excited about working with adolescents. We also offer 4 and 8 day adult courses year round, as well as international semester courses and Outdoor Leader courses for students over 18.

What benefits are provided to field staff?

  • Room and board at one of our base camp communities
  • Professional Equipment Purchase Program
  • Worker’s Compensation, year-round Accident Insurance ($100 cost) and Health Insurance Reimbursement Program for staff with personal coverage (average reimbursement $600)
  • Instructor Development Fund – Available twice annually to support training opportunities and professional development outside of NCOBS.
  • Instructor Expedition Fund – Available twice annually to support personal expeditions that inspire and challenge staff while building skills and judgment.
  • Wilderness First Responder Reimbursement- Available to staff after their initial hire into the school.

What is the salary range?

The top of our instructional pay scale is $128/day; starting salary for Assistant Instructors is $60/day. Starting salary for Support Staff is $50/day. See our instructor salary information.

What are Specialist positions?

Staff working in technical specialist positions support our 3-day climbing and whitewater progressions on multi-element courses. Criteria for becoming a Climbing Specialist include: climbing log listing 30+ climbs led on traditionally protected multi-pitch routes, 10 of which are rated at 5.8 or higher. Criteria for becoming a River Specialist include ACA instructor certification in tandem open boat canoe and Swiftwater Rescue certification. Hiring for specialist positions includes a field based assessment. Staff hired into the school as technical specialists also work as field instructors.

NCOBS provides in-house opportunities for ongoing professional skill development. Additional Instructor Development Funds can be utilized to support non-NCOBS training to assist instructional staff in gaining the skills to work as technical specialists.

How long does it take to become a Lead Instructor?

The role of the Assistant Instructor has been designed to allow individuals who are new to our school an opportunity to become oriented to the expectations of the job, and to demonstrate the skills required to take on the full responsibility for the emotional and physical safety of our students and the overall quality of NCOBS courses.

The amount of time it takes to move from Assistant Instructor to Lead Instructor varies widely from individual to individual and depends mainly on how much experience one has in similar leadership roles prior to starting at NCOBS. Folks commonly move up during their second summer season of work. Individuals with significant prior experience may progress more quickly.

Is there year-round employment?

Many of our instructional staff work in the field year round, alternating between work at our various base camps depending upon the time of year. The majority of field employment is offered seasonally, with instructional staff receiving work agreements arranged specifically course by course, while support staff and specialists are offered seasonal work with a start and end date. North Carolina programs run March – November, Florida and Bahamas programs run November – March and Patagonia programs run late October to mid-March. Annually we hire about a dozen of our instructional staff to fill the position of Salaried Instructors. They deliver a variety of programs, working 130+ days in the field throughout the year.

Can I bring my pet?

Unfortunately, due to the extended time spent in the field by our new staff, we cannot accommodate their pets.

What is the difference between Group Education Programs (Schools & Groups) and Open Enrollment programs?

Group Education Programs (GEP) are courses typically 4 to 8 days in length and serve already intact groups. We partner with schools, colleges and organizations to offer powerful learning experiences focused on the educational objectives and developmental needs of a specific population. The shorter length course requires really crafting the experience as an educator to reach our clients’ desired outcomes, while maintaining the mission and philosophy of North Carolina Outward Bound School.

Our Open Enrollment courses draw a diverse range of people from across the country and abroad. Students participate in programs that range from 4 to 78 days in length, where we use the wilderness as the classroom for building technical outdoor skills, inspiring personal growth, developing leadership and teamwork. Expeditions run April to October in North Carolina and November to March in Florida and Patagonia. Our summer programming takes place in western North Carolina, where students age 14 -17 participate in multi-element programs 8, 14 and 21 days in length.

What is the Unity Project?

The Unity Project’s goal is to empower communities of young people to initiate compassionate social change. The Unity Project is a collaboration between North Carolina Outward Bound School and high schools across the Southeast. In a high school, twelve students representing the diversity in their student body are brought together. They embark on a rigorous 9-day wilderness expedition. During this time, students develop personal qualities needed to be leaders of compassionate social change. They also build a learning community in which issues of diversity and social justice can be positively addressed. This community of twelve offers a model from which students can analyze their community back home and imagine a more inclusive and equitable future. Upon returning to their high school, students organize and participate in community projects that apply their new skills and initiate relevant social change.

How is North Carolina Outward Bound connected to Outward Bound Wilderness?

In 2002, there were 5 Outward Bound wilderness schools, all united under the umbrella of Outward Bound USA. In 2003, Colorado Outward Bound School and Pacific Crest Outward Bound School merged to become Outward Bound West. In 2005, Hurricane Island Outward Bound School and Voyageur Outward Bound School joined Outward Bound West and became Outward Bound Wilderness.

At this time, North Carolina Outward Bound decided to remain an independent school. We have not merged with OB Wilderness; however we often work collaboratively as sister schools. We (NCOB staff and Board of Directors) collectively decided we could best serve our students and staff by maintaining control of our destiny as a smaller educational community. One of our goals in remaining an independent Outward Bound school is to focus on what we do best and deliver that with excellence.

How is North Carolina Outward Bound connected to Outward Bound Atlanta?

Outward Bound Atlanta was established in 1990 as an integral part of North Carolina Outward Bound School, focused on serving the youth of Atlanta and surrounding areas. It delivers experiential education programs to both public and private school students at critical junctures in their academic careers, providing them with the tools and skills needed to succeed in and, ultimately graduate from high school. Programs include high and low ropes course elements, team and character building initiatives, and our Atlanta Public School Transitions program. Transitions combines a North Carolina wilderness expedition with service projects throughout the school year focused on compassion, diversity awareness and appreciation, and taking responsibility for one’s immediate surroundings.

Where are your base camps located and what are they like?

Our North Carolina mountain base camps are located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of the southern Appalachians. Surrounded by mountains, steep gorges, granite outcroppings and a multitude of rivers; they are in prime locations for both Outward Bound work and play. Cedar Rock and Table Rock base camps provide staff with shared cabin housing, a staff bath house, community space and a central kitchen with a phenomenal cook. There is an internet connection and multiple computers for staff use. Phones are available for use outside of business hours. Cell phone service is patchy at best.

Table Rock is located just south of Boone, North Carolina, perched on the edge of the Linville Gorge Wilderness Area. Cedar Rock is located just outside of Brevard, North Carolina and south of the Shining Rock Wilderness Area, in Pisgah National Forest. Both base camps house roughly 60 staff at the peak of the summer season.

Outer Banks* courses take place just outside of Harkers Island, North Carolina. This small mobile sea kayaking program runs out of a small coastal house rented during the season, situated in the unique barrier islands ecosystem. Instructors share kitchen and living space. There is good cell phone service and wireless internet connection is available.

*As of 2009, North Carolina Outward Bound is not running any Outer Banks courses, but we hope to re-open this course area in the near future.

Sunset Island is a quick paddle or ferry ride across the mouth of the Barren River from Everglades City, Florida. Once an active fishing lodge in the 1940s, the base camp now houses about 20 staff members who run GEP canoe expeditions in 10,000 Islands and Everglades National Parks throughout the winter. Shared housing, community space and kitchen are provided. Several computers are available for staff use; there is a wireless connection and decent cell phone service.

Our South American base camp is located outside of the city of Puerto Varas in southern Chile, on the shores of lake Llanquihue in the heart of the lake district of Patagonia. The base camp houses up to 8 staff, with community space and a modest kitchen. Wireless internet is provided and public transportation is just a minute’s walk away. In addition to supporting our programming, the Llanquihue base serves as a great jumping off point for instructor adventures.







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