Discover the Best Outdoor Jobs in Wilderness Therapy

Work in Wilderness Therapy

Currently hiring for the position of:

Wilderness Adventure Therapy Field Guide

Much of Aspiro’s success in the therapeutic industry can be attributed to the caliber of staff that are employed here.

Qualifications to apply:

  • A desire for personal progression
  • Desire to support and encourage others as they progress
  • Comfortable and enthusiastic about promoting morals and values by both word and character
  • Belief in our cause and can fully endorse the Aspiro Adventure model
  • At least 21 years of age by the time you’ve completed your training
  • Can pass a drug screen as well as a criminal background check (mandatory)
  • First-Aid and CPR certifications are required by the time you start your first shift. We offer a discount on certification courses for those who need it

Other qualifications that are desired:

  • Current safety certifications (WFR, EMT, etc.)
  • Related college degree
  • Previous experience working with adolescents
  • 12-month commitment at Aspiro preferred
  • Professional experience: mountain biking, rock climbing, canyoneering, backpacking, snowshoeing, skiing, etc.

Aspiro needs employees that can use their skills to not only provide a safe and fulfilling experience for the students but also provide a therapeutic experience that will help the student learn critical life skills. If you are interested in working as an Aspiro guide, we bring on new field guides for both seasonal and permanent positions:

Summer (seasonal position): Our largest hiring opportunity is for our summer season, which runs from the beginning of May to the end of August. Our number of students greatly increases during this season, and we need extra guides to help support these numbers. Due to the larger number of available summer positions, we hold an intensive Guide Tryout. All tryouts are nine days long and are typically done in the winter and spring months. Participants will engage in various activities that will help us get to know them and hopefully highlight some of their strengths. Hiring decisions are made shortly afterward. Guides hired for seasonal summer employment are required to commit through the end of August.

Fall (permanent position): As our busy summer season winds down, we look towards creating a team of guides that are invested in working throughout the following fall, winter, spring, and summer. This is a 12-month commitment. Because there are fewer spots available for these positions, we sort through applicants on an individual basis throughout the year to find the right team members. Once an in-person or phone interview is successfully completed, we will invite the applicant to come to our volunteer tryout, which lasts nine days. Nothing will provide a more realistic idea of what the job of a Therapeutic Adventure Guide is like than actually participating in our training and spending time with a group of students and veteran guides. Likewise, this will give us a much better read on whether or not an applicant will be a good asset to our team. This is the final step in the interview process, and after reviewing your week, you should know shortly if you’ll be joining the Aspiro family. This process is both effective and necessary in choosing the individuals that line up with our philosophies, culture, and vision. Tryouts for permanent staff will be held throughout the year at different times.

 

Compensation & Benefits

Aspiro seeks individuals at all levels of skill and experience. In order to advance between levels, guides are required to pass off on skills and obtain specific certifications. With the exception of certain time requirements, guides have a lot of autonomy and control in determining how quickly they advance through the organization, and subsequently, what their pay is.

Please contact our HR department for our current starting pay. After a minimum internship period of 3 shifts, guides will get a small raise in their daily salary. Guides can earn a higher income through two routes: performance-based raises and a progression towards leading their own group. In addition, lead guides will be recognized and paid for their in-house certifications in adventure disciplines.  Aspiro also recognizes that guides are not primarily focused on financial rewards.  Guides at Aspiro appreciate the chance to make a difference, build an impressive resume, discover internal advancement opportunities, and experience personal growth in such an intense, challenging environment. Aspiro also provides an in-house Wilderness First Responder course, stipends for professional conferences, health insurance, training in adventure skills, and therapeutic skill-building workshops, as well as other professional development opportunities.

New Employee Training:

Much of the training is provided on the job. However, we strongly encourage guides to become their own teacher and continually strive for knowledge in areas that interest them and will better them as individuals. Additionally, during the tryout, participants go through 80 hours of paid training.

Gear Requirements:

Staff should be prepared for camping in the most extreme conditions. Aspiro operates year-round and runs itineraries from 4,000 ft. to 13,000 ft. in elevation. As a result, it is important to have the right gear. Click Here to see the required gear list.

FAQs About Working in Wilderness Therapy

Our adventure therapy guides are the heart, soul, and foundation of Aspiro. At Aspiro, “adventure isn’t just hanging on a rope off the side of a mountain. Adventure is an attitude that we must apply to the day-to-day obstacles in life – facing new challenges, seizing new opportunities, testing our resources against the unknown, and, in the process, discovering our own unique potential.” It is Aspiro’s amazing guides that model how to do that for our students.

As an adventure therapy guide, you will work closely with Aspiro therapists to facilitate each student’s therapeutic experience as you help them master activities like rock climbing, mountain biking, and skiing in a safe and supportive environment. You will be with our students as they experience the highest of highs and the painful struggles that come during the healing process. You will be their mentor, teacher, role model, and emotional support system. For the time that our students attend Aspiro, YOU will have the greatest impact on their lives.

At Aspiro, we will work with you to maximize your potential while offering professional and personal growth opportunities. Staff training at Aspiro is hands-on and constant. As a guide, you will gain knowledge in all aspects of outdoor recreation along with the chance to learn therapeutic concepts from expert clinicians. While in the field, new guides will work in a team alongside lead staff members who are experienced mentors and facilitators.

At Aspiro, guides work eight days consecutively and then enjoy six days off. The workweek starts on Tuesday and ends the following Tuesday. Each Tuesday, the on-coming staff participate in morning training before joining up with students. Aspiro has both a basecamp and adventure therapy model, meaning students leave basecamp for their adventure itinerary on Wednesday morning and return the following Monday evening.

Guide responsibilities vary depending upon the day’s schedule. They include leading the group through daily routines like eating three meals a day, shelter building, academic assignments, and leading group discussions. They also include providing direct support to students through individual discussions, leading group activities, leading adventure activities, and coaching students through day-to-day challenges while ensuring each student’s safety and well-being.

Guides at Aspiro also get the opportunity to facilitate adventure activities! This is great because the scheduled adventure activity changes regularly and keeps things fresh for guides and students alike. For example, you could be rock climbing in St. George one week and mountain biking in Park City the next.

Aspiro also trains guides on how to facilitate each adventure activity. There are regular, paid training sessions for each adventure activity that guides are highly encouraged to attend. The activities guides facilitate are mountain biking, backpacking, rock climbing, canyoneering, challenge course, and skiing. Aspiro teaches these disciplines to professional industry standards following best practices set by organizations like the AMGA, PSIA, PMBIA, and ACA.

If you choose to work at Aspiro, you will gain specific skills that lead to personal and professional growth throughout your time with the organization.

Professional Growth:

Internal advancements opportunities including:

  • Lead Guide
  • Lead Facilitator
  • Master Facilitator
  • Field Mentor
  • Wilderness First Responder Certification (WFR) through Sierra Rescue Intl. The training is offered free of charge and is highly encouraged.
  • Paid Adventure Facilitation Trainings
  • Mountain Biking
  • Canyoneering
  • Rock Climbing
  • Skiing
  • Navigation

Personal Growth:

Are you looking for a job that gives you purpose and meaning? Are you good at talking with people and genuinely want to help?

Aspiro is a great place to start on that journey. When you devote yourself to others, it is astonishing how much you can learn about yourself. At Aspiro, guides become experts in communication, conflict resolution, and problem-solving. In addition, you will discover a new sense of confidence through leadership, all while working beside supportive team members.

At Aspiro, you are surrounded by like-minded individuals who believe in the power of nature and adventure. They are people who genuinely want to support young people. Becoming a guide at Aspiro means joining a tight-knit community that offers opportunities to create lasting connections. While enjoying your six days off, you can join fellow guides on facilitation trainings or personal adventure trips. Most guides live in Salt Lake City and enjoy exploring desert canyons, climbing throughout the state, mountain biking, traveling, and so much more. Apply today for the chance to join Aspiro’s wonderful community!

If that is the case, then becoming an Aspiro guide is an excellent introduction to that line of work. Guides work directly with clinicians throughout the week to support students on their individual treatment plans and help them reach their therapeutic goals. In addition, many guides go on to graduate school and apply to Aspiro’s Clinical Assistant Internship Program, where you can learn from some of the leading professionals in the industry.

Aspiro accepts both adolescents (13-18) and young adult students (18-25). All Aspiro students are struggling with mental and behavioral health challenges. As a guide, you will get the opportunity to help students struggling with depression, anxiety, ADHD, addiction, and many other complex diagnoses.

Additionally, Aspiro’s Vantage Point program is designed for non-neurotypical students. There are both adolescent and young adult branches of Vantage Point. Guides work interchangeably in all groups at Aspiro based on need and fit but are encouraged to communicate their preference to work in specific groups.

Our guides work directly with clinicians to support students through their individual therapeutic treatment plans. Guides offer insight to clinicians each week on how each student is doing and work to help evaluate them and their needs. In the field, guides help keep students on track with their therapeutic assignments. Guides’ primary therapeutic responsibility is to foster a safe and welcoming environment that encourages vulnerability and growth for students.

While many programs employ wilderness therapy, we knew there had to be more. For years we’ve known direct mentoring, in-the-moment coaching, and repetitive practice are powerful mechanisms for change. In fact, adventure therapy has been a well-documented method with amazing results since the 1960s. With strategic planning and intentional research, we added the concept of adventure therapy to wilderness therapy, thereby fully crafting our model of Wilderness Adventure Therapy (WAT).

If you have any questions, please contact our staff recruiter Sophie MacMillan

Apply Here

If you have carefully read all of the above information and are still interested in applying to Aspiro, please apply below.