Outdoor Leadership

  • Overview
  • Message from the coordinator
  • Degree program
  • Employment
Provides students with the skills and knowledge needed to lead entry-level or above adventure programs and services. Students learn by doing: activities are primarily field-oriented, with hands-on training. The certificate prepares you to design and deliver experiences in five areas: backcountry travel, rock climbing, paddling sports, Nordic skiing, and challenge course work. Certification competencies comply with adventure industry nationally recognized standards. OLP is accredited by the Association for Experiential Education.
The Outdoor Leadership Program has a special admissions process; you must apply to the OLP program in addition to first completing an application for general admission to GCC. For complete requirements, including essential physical eligibility, please see the OLP website.
  • Curriculum documents

    To plan certificate completion, see the course descriptions in the academic catalog which specify the planned semester(s) in which required classes are to be scheduled.

  • This program is intended for completion in two semesters of full-time study over one year. For required course sequencing please contact the program coordinator.

    Course descriptions are available in the academic catalog. Find courses

Student learning outcomes

Students completing a course of study in this program will be able to:

What’s next

Students are prepared to work in outdoor centers and organizations, paddling schools, outdoor schools such as NOLS and Outward Bound, human services organizations, educational institutions that utilize adventure, and a diverse variety of recreational programs and businesses. Students may transfer OLP credits to other multi-year degree programs in Adventure Education or Outdoor Education. Students with previous career skills may combine those with current technical training towards entrepreneurial ventures, counseling, or other specialized fields. Students may also choose to continue studies in outdoor education, adventure recreation, natural or social sciences, and a myriad of related fields.

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Bob Tremblay, OLP Coordinator

It’s hard to change the oil when a plane is in flight. When a program is as intense, complex, and high risk as GCC’s Outdoor Leadership Program, a program review requires a hiatus. For the 2017-18 academic year, GCC has been investing in OLP by taking time to review and strengthen our program.

OLP has been preparing students to enter the outdoor adventure education and recreation industry as qualified professional outdoor leaders for nearly 40 years.  We have now redesigned our program schedule so that our courses can reach more students in more ways, in alignment with trends and developments in the growing outdoor recreation and adventure tourism industry while maintaining our high standards of excellence.

Beginning fall 2018, there are four ways to participate in the Outdoor Leadership Program. Find a way that fits your personal schedule, interests and professional aspirations!

  1. 1-year Intensive certificate program — earn a certificate in Outdoor Leadership in 9 months as a full-time member in our OLP learning cohort
  2. Individual courses — take OLP classes à la carte to best fit your schedule and interests
  3. Credit/non-credit certifications —earn, renew, or update a nationally recognized certification for college credit or non-credit based upon your needs with certification courses including Wilderness First Responder, PCIA Rock Climbing Instructor certification, ACA River Canoe Instructor certification, ACA Coastal Kayak Instructor certification, and ACCT Challenge Course Practitioner
  4. 2-year degree — We are now developing a 2-year option for OLP students to continue their education toward a transferrable associate degree in Outdoor Leadership—watch for more news on this option coming soon!

And there’s even more!

Transfer OLP credits to earn a 4-year degree—we are hard at work creating connections and agreements with several colleges for OLP graduates who want to continue on to earn a bachelor’s degree in adventure education. Towards this goal, we are coordinating our course designs so that they are in alignment with the offerings at these other colleges to ensure maximum transferability of credits for OLP students who desire to continue their education and training to a higher level.

We are excited about all of these changes and look forward to welcoming you to the new OLP at GCC!

Bob Tremblay
Program Coordinator

Associate degree planned for fall 2019! We are now developing a two-year option for OLP students to continue their education toward a transferrable associate degree in Outdoor Leadership. Watch for more news on this option coming soon!

Gainful employment disclosure

The US Department of Education requires colleges and universities to disclose certain information for any financial aid eligible program that “prepares students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation.” At GCC this includes our career-ready certificate programs. This information includes program costs; occupations that the program prepares students to enter; on time completion rate; and for programs with a minimum number of graduates in the most recent academic year: the number of students who completed the program, the number of students who complete the program on time, and the median federal and private loan debt incurred by graduates.

View gainful employment data for the Outdoor Leadership program