Becoming an Outdoor Instructor

Becoming an Outdoor Instructor Explained

At Active, we have been investing in instructors and developing some of the highest trained professionals for more than two decades. Many top-end instructors have come through our Outdoor Instructor Training Programme – which is a great way to gain a foothold in the industry, increase your knowledge, skills and gain qualifications which are not only usable but sought after by every company out there.

We run two training courses during the year, a summer one and a winter one. With additional optional modules, our courses range from 16 weeks long, to the longest which lasts 23 weeks. During this time, you work towards training and assessment in many different activities and live on site at The Cairngorms Adventure Centre.

It is a tricky industry to make a start in, like many nowadays, but with Outdoor instructor training courses like the one we provide you are investing in your own future. Our course includes self-catered accommodation as well as everything you would expect from a course (see the full details here). It is full time five days a week  – with a couple of days each week to develop yourselves, recuperate, or take part in additional opportunities, particularly on the summer course. You will be living and training in one of the best places to train in the UK with people who are dedicated to the outdoor career path – learning from some of the best and most qualified individuals in their fields.

The cost of courses if you do not undertake an outdoor instructor training programme really add up to quite a lot when you consider the time, the fuel, accommodation and the fact you might be teaching yourself instead of having first-hand professional knowledge being passed down and taught to you. We have made a wee breakdown of the courses that you do as standard on our instructor training programme so you can see just how much each course would cost as a standalone (average costs).

Outdoor Instructor training

Summer Mountaineering Courses


Outdoor First Aid


Summer ML Training


RCI training


Level 2 MTB training


DofE supervisor training


Scrambling Training


John muir training

Free – this is offered free in many places so that people can continually develop and improve outdoor education and respect for the environment which can be passed down through generations.



Paddlesports Courses


Core Coach Training


Sheltered Water Coach Training


Sup Module




White water Rafting + WWSR


Gorge Scrambling training


Canyoning training


Duckie training


Mega Sup Training


Canoe Award training


Sea kayak Award training


White Water Kayak Award training




Outdoor Pursuits Instructor Training Course

Breakdown of Becoming an Outdoor Instructor

The total cost of taking the courses and assessments covered in our programme, if you took them as standalones, would (on average) come to £3,918.00 – additionally, each course has a significant amount of prior experience required that would require even more expenditure … and that is why we recommend courses like our Outdoor Instructor Training Programme which provide this experience together with the tuition and assessment.

For example, the SML training needs a minimum of twenty quality mountain days: if you were to take 20 days and travel to the mountains (which would be even harder if you were in a full-time job), it all adds up and takes a while … but you get them as part of our course.

If you opted for the Snowsports Development Module and Ski Instructor Assessment, then the total cost of doing these on your own would also be substantially higher than taking them as part of Active’s Instructor Training Programme.

Obviously, there are many other courses out there, and it depends on what you want as an outcome as to which course you choose. But If working in the outdoors as a professional, with true career development in the mountains, rivers and on the snow is what you are after, then there is no better course which offers the same experience or qualifications.

That being said, other courses do look at things like bush-craft or coasteering, surfing and caving. The course you choose has to be right for you, and the qualifications you gain obviously depend on the location you choose. For example, if you opt to do a course at the coast then you will not be near the mountains and will probably not do things like the SML (probably the most sought after qualification from any outdoor centre around the country)  or skiing etc, but you might do things like surfing or coasteering in their place. As such, you should carefully consider the course that will get you year-round employment and establish your career.


If you have read this far, and are interested in finding out more, then take a look at our webpage, drop us a quick enquiry or give us a ring. We will be happy to discuss and answer any questions that you might have about our course and how it compares with any of our competitors you might be looking at. At the end of the day, we want you to make the right choice for you and your career in the outdoors!

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