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outdoor leadership training course (oltc)

The OLTC both broadens and deepens the student’s engagement with the WEA 6+1 Educational Components in preparation for serving as an outdoor leader. To the greatest extent possible, students are immersed in an experiential training process through student-led field instruction, Leader-of-the-Day opportunities, trip planning, and more. While the OLTC is a training course and does not result in a certification, successful participants may be designated as WEA Outdoor Leader Apprentices. 


Because the OLTC is a leadership development course, students must have a baseline of backcountry experience (10 days minimum) prior to starting the course, either personal or professional. In other words, the field section of the OLTC cannot be the student’s first overnight experience in the backcountry.

The OLTC course requires a minimum of 10 field days, five of which must be consecutive. Each student must have one full day in a solo or shared leader-of-the-day role.  Course content will include in-depth training on all elements of the WEA 6+1 and student teaching with direct feedback on that teaching. Organizations can add more days and traditional classroom hours to the minimum time requirements as desired.  The field portion of the OLTC is also led by a WEA Certified Outdoor Educator. Course costs vary by provider, location, and activities.


The WEA Outdoor Leadership Training Course is NOT a certification program. Participants do not receive formal certification, rather a certificate of completion. However, the attending COE may also award the status of Outdoor Leader Apprentice to deserving students. This designation recognizes those individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to ongoing development and a baseline readiness to assist in applying the WEA 6+1 to a field experience. There is no renewal of this certificate – the next step in the WEA Training Structure is the Certified Outdoor Leader. 


The process of assessment in the OLTC is primarily formative in that the results of the evaluation are intended to encourage continued growth and development to achieve the full COL. Students can still be assessed by self, peers, and the instructor team according to the the WEA standards of acceptable performance for effective outdoor leadership (WEA 6+1). 

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Wilderness Education Association, Inc.
151 NC Highway 9, Ste B, Box 136
Black Mountain, NC 28711

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