hike in meadow
Study Outdoor Education in the Colorado Rockies
Colorado mountains and rivers are your classroom
Become a leader in the land you love! Our epic location in the heart of the Rocky Mountains will challenge you with high peaks, raging rivers, steep canyons and steep descents. Seasoned outdoor professionals will guide you to build the skills you need to be a confident outdoor leader.
A career in Outdoor Education is your chance to make a difference—in the environment, with youth, and all who can benefit from what the wilderness has to teach.
What Will I learn?
At Colorado Mountain College, you'll get the best of both worlds: the groundwork of a liberal arts education coupled with theoretical and hands-on outdoor leadership experiences. Build a solid foundation for your future, whether you choose to get a job or pursue a higher degree.
We offer both an Associate of Arts (AA) degree and a certificate. Depending on your goals and interests, the shorter certificate program might be right for you.
Where can I go from here?
Our program prepares you for a job or further study upon graduation:
- Pursue a degree in education, business, environmental science or recreation law
- Counsel at-risk youth in outdoor therapy programs
- Become an advisor for Outward Bound or NOLS
- Manage a region of the Student Conservation Association
- Teach via Experiential Education at an environmental primary school
- Work with city parks and recreation teams
- Direct outdoor programs in public schools.
Graduates are prepared to enter the outdoor, adventure and recreation fields including:
- Retail sales
- Resort recreation
- Military or community outdoor recreation
- Technician positions with federal agencies such as the Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management.
Colorado Mountain College Outdoor Education program graduates often transfer to four-year institutions to pursue a bachelor's or graduate degree in outdoor education, adventure and recreation, teacher and school counselor certification, and anthropology, philosophy and environmental sciences.
Graduates have gone on to attend Colorado universities, and out-of-state institutions such as the University of New Hampshire, Alaska Pacific University, the University of Washington and Western Washington University.
“The outdoor program gave me a great foundational knowledge and set of skills to build upon and start a career in the outdoors. The staff is some of the most qualified and student-centered staff that I have experienced. They are there for their students first and want to see them succeed. I am still great friends with the OUT staff at CMC.”
Chad Mickschl continued his education after the Outdoor Education program by receiving a B.A. from Lake Forest College and Avalanche Level III certification. He has worked as a mountain guide, avalanche forecaster, and outdoor education instructor. Currently, Chad’s occupations include teaching snow-related courses at CMC’s Spring Valley and Leadville campuses, traveling around Colorado as a teacher of avalanche safety courses through the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education, and working as an Avalanche Rescue Technician for Flight for Life. He works for the Bureau of Land Management as a Recreation Technician during the summer.
“Throughout my professional and personal experiences, I have utilized the leadership, teaching, technical and interpersonal skills which I learned in the Outdoor Education program. These skills and knowledge have allowed me to excel in the fields of experiential education and leadership development.”
Michael Whigham transferred to the Recreation program at Western State College in Gunnison, Colorado, where he graduated Cum Laude. He later returned to CMC and served as Interim Assistant Professor, Adjunct Faculty and Director of Teambuilding programs, as well as maintained employment with NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School). Michael received a M.S. in Environmental Education at Antioch New England graduate school.
“The perfect synthesis of technical outdoor skills and teaching methodologies, the Outdoor Education program at CMC gives its graduates the necessary tools needed to become an effective instructor in the field and in the classroom. By providing direct wilderness experiences, the program at CMC made me a lifelong environmental advocate and has inspired me to become an active participant in the effort to create awareness of our collective responsibilities to learn about and protect the earth.”
John Guerrerio currently teaches English in a high school in Brooklyn, NY. He also manages two websites and writes regularly on the topics of energy and environment. During the summers, he is an instructor in the Wilderness Education Experience, a two-week program that brings high school students from NYC to CMC for an experience that hopes to inspire environmental advocacy in youth.
“CMC’s Outdoor Education program gave me the knowledge and power to strive ahead in my higher educational goals and life’s experiences. My degree in outdoor education provided valuable knowledge that transfers to my current profession as an environmental scientist.”
James Skurupey instructed and assisted with outdoor education courses while completing his bachelor’s degree at the University of Colorado at Denver. From there, he obtained a position with the Bureau of Land Management as a recreation technician and wildlands firefighter. Currently, he is pursuing a M.S. degree in Environmental Science at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand.
“My instructors were extremely passionate about the courses they were teaching. The leadership skills and sense of place I developed through CMC play an integral role in my work. I now see those educators as more than just teachers, I consider them mentors for life.”
Amy Marino graduated from the Outdoor Education program in 2009 and transferred to Prescott College, where she earned a bachelor’s degree. She is now pursuing a master’s degree through CSU at the Walking Mountains Science Center, with the help of a National Science Educator Fellowship. She works as a program coordinator for the Vail Youth Foundation.
“The Outdoor Education Program at CMC made a great impact on my motivation, confidence and personal growth. The curriculum offered me the ability to gain skills in leadership, teambuilding, interpersonal communication, wilderness survival and first aid.”
Eva Altermatt plans to continue her education at Fort Lewis College in Durango in the fall of 2011 with a major in Exercise Science and a minor in Adventure Education.
“Attending school at CMC under the guidance of Dr. Bruce Kime, has been one of the more significant parts of my life concerning my development as a student, outdoor enthusiast and human being in general.”
Jesse Lamb is a graduate of Colorado Mountain College Spring Valley Campus as of May 2010 with an Associate of Arts in Outdoor Education. While in school, he began volunteering with the Colorado Division of Wildlife through the Hatchery department and eventually accredited himself enough to land a seasonal position for the Colorado Division of Wildlife in Glenwood Springs.
“As a student at Colorado Mountain College, I have found the career field that will continuously provide excitement and adventure for myself. The Outdoor Education program gives students extensive resources to grow personally and infuses individual leadership values; with far out field courses to practice and apply a wide range of skills.”
Emily Geraci was raised in the mountains and has been enjoying the fresh air for as long as she can remember in Alaska and Colorado. Backpacking, rock climbing and snowboarding have become lifelong favorites of hers. After graduation from Colorado Mountain College with an Associate of Arts in Outdoor Education she plans to move to Durango and continue her education at Fort Lewis College, in hopes of earning her Bachelor’s degree in Earth Science to teach in secondary education.
“Colorado Mountain College is where I first found my love for the outdoors. This school showed me what I was capable of. Before CMC, I didn’t know there was world of opportunities just waiting there for me.”
Tyler Vaughan is currently involved in a Bachelor’s Program in Social Science at Ashford University. He is now a faculty Instructor in the Outdoor Education Program, teaching rock climbing and assisting on other outdoor courses.
“The CMC Outdoor Education Program has given me confidence and skills that will help me for the rest of my life, far beyond any rapid or peak.”
Bobbie Robinson is currently involved with multiple recreation agencies working as a guide and instructor helping with many areas of outdoor related adventure and education. She is also an EMT, planning on continuing with paramedic school and finishing a degree in Biology.
Hands-on, in the field learning with CMC's Outdoor Education Program
Wilderness trips in Colorado and beyond are part of your learning experience at Colorado Mountain College. To be a leader in the outdoors, you must know how to navigate through a challenging terrain. That's something you won't learn in the classroom alone. Colorado Mountain College takes you through some of the most spectacular landscapes in the Rocky Mountain West and beyond.
At Colorado Mountain College you will get hands-on experience in:
- Outdoor leadership
- Backcountry travel and appreciation
- Rock and ice climbing
- Horse packing
- Biology, ecology and geology
- Ethics and anthropology
- Avalanche awareness
- First aid, CPR and safety
From rafting down a desert canyon to trekking up and over one of the state's many 14,000-ft. mountain peaks, you'll push yourself and learn to lead others along the way.
All or part of this operation is conducted on Public Lands and Waters under special permits and agreements from the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife.