How to Become an Instructor

Canteen with JHU sticker

The Experiential Education program is hiring! We are looking for students that are passionate about the outdoors, adventure, learning, and teaching. See below for more information on the program and the application and training process.

We are looking for motivated students to become leaders for the Johns Hopkins Experiential Education program. Even if you do not consider yourself outdoorsy, either Experiential Education program, Outdoor Pursuits (OP) and/or the Johns Hopkins Outdoor Club (JHOC), will teach you the skills you need to be competent in the outdoors. Our priority is to find people who can bring a variety of experiences and backgrounds, are excited about working with others, enjoy learning, and want to learn skills to be effective teachers of outdoor skills.

Both of our outdoor groups offer instructors the opportunity to lead trips throughout the school year and the ability to apply to become an Outdoor Pre-Orientation leader. Listed below is a brief description of each group and the different trips you can lead throughout the school year. If you have questions please e-mail and we will direct you to the appropriate person.

Instructor Opportunities

Listed below is a brief description of each group and the different trips you can lead throughout the school year.

Office of Experiential Education

The Office of Experiential Education (EE) encompasses Outdoor Pursuits (OP) and the Johns Hopkins Outdoor Club (JHOC). All outdoor instructors are trained through the EE program no matter which organization they are a part of. It is important to note that being an outdoor instructor is a HUGE investment of your time and the program’s resources. Being an EE instructor is not just an activity, it is a job. It requires a lot of training and can be extremely rewarding. The EE instructor program is a 3-4 year program (depending on your current year in school) and will require a substantial portion of your time at Hopkins (see the training requirements below). Much of this training is subsidized by the EE program and you will be taught the industry standards for being an outdoor instructor. EE instructors are held to a high professional standard while leading for the EE program. If you are committed to the journey of becoming an outdoor instructor and facilitating great outdoor experiences for others, please apply!

Outdoor Pursuits

Outdoor Pursuits began offering outdoor trips in 2002 to expand the variety of trips offered to the JHU community and to develop a more formal outdoor leadership program. Students who are selected as instructors will pay a subsidized cost for their own training. OP instructors are paid for trips so those who are continually involved in the program can offset their training costs and even earn a little bit more throughout their years as an instructor. Financial assistance is available for students that are unable to completely pay for their training. OP instructors are required to lead at least one trip per semester, attend any in the field training and EE instructor meetings throughout the year. OP instructors are expected to dedicate time to improve their leadership skills both in the field and on campus. Generally, OP instructors are hired for one primary specialty; however, there is opportunity to cross-train in other specialties if you would like.

Johns Hopkins Outdoors Club

JHOC is a student-run club that was founded in the early 1970s. Since JHOC is a student club, JHOC leaders volunteer their time and are not paid for leading JHOC trips or performing club related duties. All JHOC trips are free to the student body. JHOC leaders receive the same training as Outdoor Pursuits instructors but their training fees are covered by University funding. JHOC has around 30 members and runs approximately 18 trips each semester. JHOC leaders are expected to lead a minimum of two trips per semester. JHOC instructors are not assigned a primary specialty and many choose to train in multiple specialties. JHOC offers trips in unique specialties such as caving mountain biking, and rappelling, and also holds frequent community events that encourage people to get outside. Although we encourage all leaders to go through certification training, we sometimes accept instructors who do not receive certifications. These leaders have equal duties and responsibilities in the club. For more information on the club visit the JHOC website.

Outdoor Pre-Orientation

Outdoor Pre-Orientation (Pre-O) is a wilderness-based trip for first-year students designed to help create connections with peers and university life before starting college. Pre-O instructors come from both JHOC and OP programs and are paid to facilitate Pre-O each year. Pre-O instructors need to complete Wilderness First Responder, Hopkins Outdoor Leadership Training, and must be in good standing with the EE program.

Instructor Application Process

Attend OP or JHOC events

All OP and JHOC programs are listed in Campus Groups. Besides our regular assortment of workshops, this year we have specific workshops geared toward students interested in becoming instructors. We have Instructor Development workshops where you can learn basic outdoor leadership skills and Instructor Meet Ups and Hangouts for getting to know instructors.

For the OP and JHOC program schedule check out our Campus Groups Events Page.

Fill Out an Application

Fill out the online application form. Filling out the application will take time but you are able to return to it and make changes without having to resubmit an entire different one. Please save the your applications URL to be able to edit it later.

Attend a Short Interview

We will be holding 20 minute interviews March 16-19th. You can choose available times at the end of your application. Zoom meeting links will be emailed out March 15th.

Becoming an Outdoor Pre-Orientation Instructor

Once you are selected as an EE Instructor, if you are interested in becoming a Pre-O Instructor there will a separate hiring process. More details to follow.

Instructor Application

Applications open February 6th and are due by March 15th at 9am.


Hiring and Training Important Dates

Feb 8,16,24 and March 4, 8pm-9pmBecoming an Instructor Information Sessions (Virt.)
March 7, 7pm-8pmGeneral all EE Inst. Meet up (Virt.)
March 15, 9amApplications Due
March 16-19 Interviews (Virt.)
March 25Notifications
March 31, 8pm-9pmNew Inst. Training 1: Intro to EE (Virt.)
April 6, 8pm-9pmNew Inst. Training 2: Intro to Risk (Virt.)
April 15, 8pm-9pmNew Inst. Training 3: Navigation (pick up resources at office)
April 18 New Inst. Training 4: Campus Orienteering Course
April 2, 8pm-9pmNew Inst. Training 5: Leadership (HOLT intro) (Virt.)
May 15-23 Very tentative WFR. If unable to do it we will move it to Intersession 2022 (In-person)

Instructor Requirements

Due to the pandemic, much of our training for Spring 2021 will be virtual with potential for some local in-person training later in the semester. We are hoping to host the Wilderness First Responder Course for new instructors at the end of the semester but that is extremely tentative (the alternative option will be next intersession). Our extended overnight trainings (WIC, TRIC, HOLT) will be adapted and moved to next Fall 2021 and Spring 2022.

 WFR1HOLT2JHU/EE Van Cert. 3WIC4TRIC 5DSC Skipper Cert.6EE meetings7
Outdoor Pursuits



Fly Fishing


Sea Kayaking

Whitewater Kayaking






Mountain Biking


  1. Wilderness First Responder (WFR) is a 9 day first aid and CPR class that occurs over January Intersession. You will have to take a 2 day re-certification every 3 years.
  2. The Hopkins Outdoor Leadership Training (HOLT) is a 10 day wilderness leadership course in May that begins right after final exams.
  3. In order to drive on EE trip, if you possess a valid driver’s license, you must take the EE and JHU van certification the beginning Spring Semester
  4. The Whitewater Kayaking/Canoeing Instructor Course (WIC) is a 5 day training that occurs on the first half of Spring Break
  5. The Top Rope Climbing Instructors Course (TRIC) is a 5 day training that occurs on the second half of Spring Break
  6. The Downtown Sailing Center (DSC) Skipper Certification is a 1 hour exam that a sailing instructor will take in their Spring Semester
  7. New Instructor Training Meetings will begin meeting once a week from October to November with one weekend overnight. EE training meetings will begin in the Spring Semester of your first year