Outdoor Instructor Training Courses

Would you like to have the best job in the World?

15 Activities | 16-23 Weeks Training| up to 30 Qualifications

Active Outdoor Pursuit’s Outdoor Instructor Training courses in Scotland are designed for enthusiastic outdoor people who want to make their dream of a career as an outdoor instructor a reality. Get up to 30 qualifications in 15 outdoor activities over 16 to 23 weeks.

The Outdoor Instructor Training Course is based in the Cairngorms National Park in the Scottish Highlands. Due to the location, you have access to some of Scotland’s finest mountains, lochs & rivers right from the doorstep. This is without a doubt the perfect place to learn the skills and train to become a professional outdoor instructor.

About the Outdoor Instructor Training Course

The Outdoor Instructor Training Course in Scotland provides those seeking a career in the outdoor industry to the widest range of qualifications in adventurous outdoor activities. Our highly experienced and friendly outdoor instructors provide you the skills, knowledge, training and qualification courses. 

We are so confident in our course that if you can find another that delivers the outcomes and assures the same genuine, long-term career development prospects for a lower fee, we will match the price!

We are aware of how challenging and time consuming this process can be. But rest assured, the course will knock down barriers and guide you through the various complex National Governing Body Schemes. All the while inspiring you on your journey to become an outdoor instructor. All this is during an intensive 16-23 weeks of training, practice and assessments.

The course will make you a skilled, professional & employable outdoor Instructor with real career development prospects  For those with different goals, the course will equip you with the skills and confidence to travel and venture into wild & remote places throughout the world.

Can I do the Outdoor Instructor Training Course?

The Outdoor Instructor Training Course is aimed at people who are passionate about outdoor activities. As well as those who and enjoy sharing their experience with others. You must be at least 17 years old to take part however, there is no upper age limit. This may be your first training course since leaving school or college or it may be a radical change in your career or lifestyle. In either case, this course will have a significant impact on your life. As It will open new doors and create new opportunities to work as a professional outdoor instructor. Even more important is that you are highly motivated and prepared for the challenges.

Read what past candidates have to say about our courses!

A very detailed review on the steps James took to becoming an outdoor instructor (you might want to put a coffee on).

Aviemore & Cairngorms Outdoor Instructor Training Course

Why Choose our Outdoor Instructor Training Course?

Our Outdoor Instructor Training course in Scotland is unique. Because it offers the outdoor industry’s most sought after and prestigious NGB qualifications in land, rock, snow & water. Furthermore, we guarantee that no other Outdoor Instructor Training course in Scotland or the rest of the UK offers such a wide range of activities and internationally recognised qualifications. Due to this, gaining these qualifications assures you of year-round employment prospects.

Given that we are based in the heart of the Scottish Highlands there is no better place to train. It’s most outdoor instructor’s dream location and the outdoor professionals ideal training ground. As a result, many of our students have relocated here over the years because they fall in love with the area. As well as its potential for adventures and employment. We did and we know you will love it too!

Another huge bonus of Active’s outdoor instructor training course is that we offer all students, that successfully complete the course, a position on our 15-month Outdoor Instructor Development Programme. In short, this means a job here in Scotland with continued training opportunities. As well as industry experience, and the chance to gain further senior qualifications that will enhance you career prospects exponentially.

In order to further enhance your employability all year round, we offer 2 optional Snowsports modules. In short, a trip to the American Rockies and a trip to Austria.

Knoydart Canoe expedition

While on the Outdoor Instructor Training Course in Scotland:

The Cairngorms Adventure Centre will be your home. Owned and operated by Active Outdoor Pursuits our centre is a busy Residential Outdoor base open all year. For example, the Centre provides activities to Schools, DofE, Adventure holidays, expeditions and many other Adventure Training Courses. Because of the stunning location in Scotland it is the best situated place for any Outdoor Instructor Training Course in the United Kingdom.

Students can have shared or private rooms within the centre as well as a dedicated lounge and kitchen within the staff apartment. In addition, a washing and drying room is available and a large storage area for all outdoor equipment.

Where are we?

Our base is located in Newtonmore just 12 miles away from Aviemore and is situated within the magnificent Cairngorms National Park in the very heart of Scotland.

While you are here?

You will get to know our Outdoor instructional team some of whom live on-site, learning first hand each day from their experiences. In addition, each of Active’s outdoor instructors and managers began their career as our Outdoor Instructor Training Course students. As such, we recommend you talk to them directly for an account of their experience and how it has helped them establish their careers in the outdoor industry.

Most of your outdoor instructor training will take place around this area, but we will make forays to the west coast or to the far north. Within 30 minutes of the Centre, you can access around 50 Munros, three of which you can walk to from the doorstep.

We have some of Scotland’s finest rivers for canoeing and white water rafting, including the Rivers Spey & Findhorn. Also, we are 35 minutes from Cairngorm mountain Ski area and 45 from Nevis Range.

Getting here:

  • Air – Daily flights to Inverness from throughout the UK & Ireland.
  • Train – Trains direct to Newtonmore from London, Glasgow, Edinburgh & Inverness.
  • Bus – Direct bus links from across the UK to Newtonmore.
  • Bus – Shuttle from Inverness Airport to Inverness Bus & Train Stations.
  • Car Hire from Inverness, Glasgow and Edinburgh Airports.

Dates & Price

  • 16 week  Outdoor Instructor Training Course in Scotland £5,595.00.
  • Accommodation (SC) £1,095.

The current 2020 Course dates are as follows:

  • July 28th 2020 – November 15th 2020.
  • October 27th 2020 – March 28th 2021.

July 27th 2021 – November 14th 2021

October 26th 2021 to April 1st 2022

There are additional optional modules to extend the duration of the course. While you can find out more information about these further down the page, the costs are below.

  • Ski Development module £995.00.
  • Ski Instructor Module £3,695.

An amazing Equipment Deal

As an Active trainee on our Outdoor Instructor Training Course, you have access to our amazing Pro deals. Generally, these deals can save you hundreds, if not thousands of pounds on clothing and equipment from top brands.

Although we provide equipment for the Outdoor Instructor Training Course, we recommend you start building up your own. For example,  buoyancy aids, helmets, harness, walking boots, sleeping bags etc. In addition if you wish, you can also purchase larger items like skis, bikes, canoes, kayaks etc..

Most students will invest between £500 to £1,000 in essential kit but each person has different requirements.  As such, we will provide you with a list of the personal equipment you require. As well as providing recommendations, prices and options for you to consider.  With this in mind, we advise that you order the kit with us in advance of your start date, so you have all your nice new specialist equipment ready for starting your new adventures!

Detailed Equipment PDF clearly describing everything that you will need and what we can provide.

outdoor instructor training kit

Outdoor Instructor Training, Qualifications & Careers

Active’s Adventure Activities Outdoor Instructor Training Courses are full time learning & development courses.  With this in mind, at least 5 days training is provided each week. During the course, you will also have opportunities to shadow and assist our outdoor instructors on additional activity sessions. Most importantly however, you will train in up to 15 activities and gain up to 30 qualifications or training courses.

Almost every Active trainee has a job secured before the end of their course. Either with us, or at one of the many Centres and Adventure Companies worldwide. But, for those who go on to complete our Instructor Development Programme there may be senior instructor and management job prospects. For the most part, our trainees go into well paid senior or management roles with secure careers. Instead of working for years in low paid seasonal jobs with baseline qualifications and few tangible career prospects.

In addition to the practical coaching you receive, you will have your own coaching mentor. Therefore, you will have opportunities to discuss your progress, identify your strengths and areas which need further development. As well as offer you career advice for the outdoor industry.

Outdoor Instructor training walking

How to Become an Outdoor Instructor?

  1. Contact us to discuss the instructor course.
  2. Visit our training centre in Scotland.
  3. Undertake an outdoor activity while visiting.
  4. Meet our instructors, managers and directors.
  5. Discuss any questions you might have with us.
  6. Fill in a booking form and sign up for the Outdoor Instructor Training Course.

Applications are open for the 2020 Outdoor Instructor Training Courses in Scotland. We welcome potential candidates to contact us for an informal chat through the course details. We also welcome you to visit us at the Cairngorms Adventure Centre, located smack bang in the heart of Scotland. This will give you the opportunity to meet instructors who have completed previous adventurous Outdoor Instructor Training Courses.

During your visit you are welcome to stay over and accompany our team on activities. This experience will give you a detailed insight to Active and what life as an outdoor instructor is all about. Once you are booked on to the Outdoor Instructor Training Course, you can join us on free activity sessions to get you valuable experience before your course begins.

Instructor training course climbing ben

Get Up to 30 Qualifications in 15 Activities

  • SRA (Scottish Raft Guide Training course) level 1-3.
  • Core Coach Training course.
  • Sheltered Water Canoe & Kayak Coach Training or Assessment courses.
  • Canyoning instructor training.
  • Gorge-Scrambling instructor training.
  • White Water Safety and Rescue Training course.
  • FSRT (Foundation Safety & Rescue Training) course.
  • Canoe Open Water Leader Award.
  • Stand up Paddleboard (SUP) Module.
  • Canoe, Sea Kayak & White-Water Kayak Award standards.
  • Start, Discover & Explore Award standards in canoe and kayak.
  • Canoe & Kayak White Water Leader skills
  • Sea Kayak Tidal Leader skills
  • Mega Stand up Paddleboard training.
  • Ducky leader training.
  • Rock Climbing Instructor training or assessment course.
  • Summer Mountain leader training or assessment course.
  • British Cycling MTB Level 2 preparation (see course upgrade modules).
  • Mountain Scrambling.
  • PSIA Level 1 Ski Instructor qualification course.
  • PSIA performance awards levels 1-9 depending on outcome.
  • UK Snowsports awards for snowboarding levels 1-9 depending on outcome.
  • Intro to Ski touring day.
  • Winter skills training & navigation day.
  • DofE supervisor training on water and land.
  • Outdoor First Aid Certification.
  • John Muir training.
  • Expedition training on water & land.
  • Being a professional instructor and professional responsibilities.
  • Risk assessment in the Outdoors.
  • Adapting your coaching.
  • Beyond ITC (career opportunities, applying for jobs, what to expect, CVs etc..)
  • Driving and towing trailers + responsibilities and maintenance.
  • Child and vulnerable adult protection in the workplace.
  • Coaching matters module.

All of the professional qualifications that you will gain on the course have been selected because they are the outdoor industry’s most sought after and prestigious NGB qualifications on land, rock, snow & water. We also incorporate workshops to provide you with additional crucial skills & a wider knowledge of the industry.

Outdoor instructor Training Course Upgrade Modules

Snowsports performance development module

Cost: £995.00.

This highly recommended additional module for the Outdoor Instructor Training Course is available to students on the summer & winter Courses.

In December, we leave Scotland to spend two weeks developing your ski or snowboard skills. While based at 9,600 feet in Breckenridge, Colorado you’re in one of the most perfect and snow assured ski resorts in the world. The ski area is huge, with 5 peaks and 2,908 skiable acres and 187 runs suitable for all abilities. While here, your training will take you step by step through the American (PSIA) Performance Awards. In order to  establish good technique, basic coaching skills as well as piste and mountain awareness. Most importantly, these awards form part of the pathway to becoming a qualified ski instructor.

The Aim of the module

Our aim on this module of the Outdoor Instructor Training Course is to develop your skills through ongoing teaching, feedback and guided-discovery. Because of this, half of each day is lesson based, the rest of the time you are free to explore the mountain. This helps promote confidence, awareness and technique, gaining the most of your time on the snow. While training in Breckenridge we will stay at Grand Timber Lodge. Located at the foot of Peak 8 one of the main slopes, the luxury Lodge has the perfect combination of convenience and comfort.

Joining this module gives you an opportunity to join a Ski Touring day when back in Scotland.  In additions, the course fee of £995.00 includes equipment rental, training and self-catering accommodation. Specifically, in a slope side luxury resort (with swimming pools, hot tubs, sauna, steam room, gym).

Not included:

Flights and transfers £650 approx. Lift Pass £430 approx.

PSIA Ski Training & Ski Instructor Qualification

Cost: £3,695. Price includes the Snowsports Performance Development Module.

Add an internationally recognised ski instructor qualification to your Outdoor Instructor Training course. During the additional 7 weeks of this module you will work on developing your personal and coaching skills as well as shadow our instructors. Then you will work in our Scottish ski school to achieve the pre-requisites for the PSIA Level 1 course. The PSIA level 1 is an internationally recognised ski instructor qualification.

During the 2 weeks of February break when the Winter Outdoor Instructor Training Course students are off, you will assist our ski school lessons in Scotland, shadowing and gaining coaching hours for your Level 1 assessment in Austria.

Finally, at the end of the Winter Course, (early April) you will head to the Austrian Alps for a further 2 weeks of training and completion of the PSIA Level 1 course.

In addition, we highly recommend that you also use the 2 week Christmas and New year break to do some personal ski practice – either in Scotland or abroad.

The course fee includes:

  • Snowsports equipment rental (if required).
  • Training and assessor fees.
  • Snowsports Performance Module in Colorado.
  • Self-catering accommodation in USA & Austria.

The course fee does not include:

  • Flights and transfers USA: £600 approx. Lift Pass £420 approx.
  • Flights and transfers Austria: £250 approx. Lift Pass £300 approx.
  • Lecht (Scotland) Lift Pass: £180 approx.
  • PSIA Membership & Certification: £120 approx.

learn to ski with ski lessons in Scotland

Climbing Development Module Spain


In January we again leave Scotland to fly off to the Javea region of sunny Spain, where we stay in a luxurious villa for three weeks. While here, we will be situated right in amongst some of the best climbing spots the world has to offer. As a result, this truly is one of the best places to develop your climbing. What’s more, this module is included in the winter Outdoor Instructor Training Course. Due to the fact that the weather is more favourable for climbing here during the winter course.

We have also made this as a stand-alone module specifically for summer Outdoor Instructor Training Course members. Because these students have already achieved their RCI training, they may want to join us for the 3 weeks in Spain. While here, they will increase their climbing experience, as well as get shadowing and group experience preparing them for RCI assessment.

In addition, this module can also provide valuable experience and insight for those aiming towards the MCI Award. If you already have your RCI Qualification then why not work towards the next step? If this is the case, then you can easily obtain valuable logbook experience teaching, scrambling and on long multi-pitch routes.

Included in the cost:

  • Rock climbing training (RCI training or assessment Prep).
  • 1 day mountain scrambling and 1 mountain walk.
  • Accommodation.
  • On course transport to venues.

Not included in the cost:

  • Flights, tolls & transfers £150 approx.
  • Meals.

Outdoor Instructor Training Course

Mountain Biking Level 2 Preparation

Cost: Free

We offer this upgrade module free of charge to those individuals who are interested in mountain biking and who bring their own bike with them. If you opt in to this module, then during your time on the Outdoor Instructor Training Course we will incorporate two days of training where we will look at the progression towards the MTB level 2 leader training. Most of the preparation for a MTB level 2 training is biking that you can easily do yourselves in your own time. As such, we would only do a couple of days where we look at some of the more technical aspects which require coaching and instruction to improve upon.

It is important to note, that we do not include the MTB level two training as part of the course, but that if this is an activity you wish to become an instructor in we will help you to further you own ability and standard so that you can work towards this course after you finish the Outdoor Instructor Training Course.Outdoor Instructor Training Course Mountain Biking

Private Accommodation

Cost: £950.

Should you prefer a private room in Scotland while on your Outdoor Instructor Training Course, we can provide one. However, this price does not include private rooms in Spain or Colorado. But these may be available on request and a price offered if they are.

Morning after a snowhole

Check Our Outdoor Instructor Training Course Video below:

Included In the Outdoor Instructor Training Course

  • Accommodation.
  • Expert coaching / instruction 5 days per week.
  • On course transport to venues.
  • Pro deals on outdoor clothing and equipment.
  • A position on our Instructor Development Programme.
  • Fees for formal NGB training and assessment courses.
  • Use of most centre equipment in personal time.
  • Personal mentoring, offering advice and support in your general development and career prospects as an outdoor instructor.
  • Opportunities on days off to shadow our instructors on activities and expeditions.
  • 3 weeks rock climbing, scrambling & walking in Spain (winter course).
  • Take part on any activity sessions from the moment you book your course.

Not Included in The Outdoor Instructor Training Course

  • Personal membership and certificate fees for National Governing Bodies.
  • Flights, transfers & tolls on international trips.
  • Insurance (personal & travel).
  • Snowsports lift passes.
  • Meals.

During the outdoor instructor training course in Scotland, most students choose to self-cater. Generally forming groups to share the duties, this allows for a low & cost effective food budget! As such, all the accommodation we use on the course has self-catering facilities. But, Some people opt to eat out and we have lots of options to fit a variety of budgets in all the locations we are based. In addition, we often make social events of eating out during the Course with students and instructors trying out local cuisine!

What are my career prospects after the Outdoor Instructor Training Course?

The Outdoor Adventure Industry is firmly established and is a growing industry sector in the UK and throughout the world. Following the successful completion of the outdoor instructor training course, there is a multitude of exciting career options open to you. Markedly, the chance to continue with Active as an Instructor as part of our Instructor Development Programme (more information).

Can I visit the Cairngorms Adventure Centre?

Certainly! We recommend all who are interested in applying for one of our Outdoor Instructor Training Courses to come and visit us in Scotland. While here, we will arrange for you to meet the Course Director or Manager. As well as chat to our instructors who have all completed one of our Training Courses. Coupled with a visit, we recommend that you join one of our activities (FOC) to see how wonderful it is to live the Active lifestyle!

Do I need to have my own equipment?

Of course, you should have some of your own equipment at the start of the course and we can advise you on what is appropriate. While on the course, you will be able to borrow kit from us for the duration of your Outdoor Instructor Training Course. However, we advise students to have good quality outdoor gear that is appropriate for professional use. As well as to consider that when you start work you will need to be suitably equipped. In addition, Active have close links with some of the top outdoor equipment brands, with pro equipment deals available to students.

After finishing your course, do you offer a job to your graduates and help them to find one?

Generally, we offer a place on our Outdoor Instructor Development Programme to the vast majority of people who have completed our Outdoor Instructor Training Course.  In summary, this is a 15-month programme of which the first 3 months is voluntary. Thereafter, follows a 12-month apprenticeship where accommodation is provided. During this programme, you would be working for Active Outdoor Pursuits as an instructor. 

While on the IDP Scheme, you will gain experience in all aspects of an outdoor centre.  As well as working with groups and leading your own sessions, you might be asked to get involved with catering and maintenance. In any case, you can find out more information by clicking on this link.  Of course, not everyone chooses to sign up to this; because many have other goals once they have completed the Outdoor Instructor Training Course. Regardless, we will support all graduates with help and advice to ensure they achieve their goals.

I’m a girl and most Outdoor Instructors I know are male. Is there space in the outdoor industry for women?

Certainly, there is absolutely space in the outdoor industry for women. Even more, lots of talented female outdoor instructors, guides and coaches have come through our Outdoor Instructor Training Course / Instructor Development Programme.

Are we Insured?

Indeed, we are in fact insured with AIM – one of the largest and most well know activities insurance companies.

Environmental Considerations

Outdoor activities can have a serious impact on the landscape, flora and fauna. Because of this, an important aspect of this training course is to raise people’s awareness of the impact we have. In addition to how this can be kept to a minimum while we work and play outdoors. During the Course, Active promote and operate “Leave no trace” policies in all its activities.

We are acutely aware that many people make a living from the countryside. As such, we take a pro-active approach to ensuring good working relationships with other land users.

In truth, we feel privileged to live and work in such an amazing place in Scotland. Not only that, but we also want to share it with you while on your Outdoor Instructor Training Course. As such, we will take you to places of breathtaking beauty and splendour. During which, there will be great adventures, which you will cherish for life. Overall, this is your opportunity to train in a world class venue.

Additional Information

Here you will find additional PDF’s or links with important documents on our Outdoor Instructor Training Course in Scotland. In addition, if you have any questions or require further information, then get in touch and we will happily help.

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