Wilderness Survival Instructor Training & Certification
This program is the most intensive survival instructor training available. It is meant for people that have little to no experience but want to learn and are interested in becoming a wilderness survival instructor, or people that already have skills and experience that want to either enhance those skills or test themselves during a realistic and challenging course, and everyone in between.
This course is not just about being able to perform skills. This is about being able to perform and teach these skills on demand in a variety of conditions, often under stress, in many different environments. Expect to be challenged both mentally and physically during this course. You will be required to learn skills to a higher level and also be trained and evaluated on your ability to instruct those skills.
Instructor Candidates who successfully complete this training will receive a certification from the Pathfinder School LLC. This certification is meant to be an endorsement of the level of training you have completed to earn it. It does not mean that you will be selected to run a school that is affiliated with the Pathfinder School LLC, nor does it guarantee that you will be selected to work at the Pathfinder School LLC or any of its affiliates. This course is designed to facilitate the training you need to start your own unaffiliated school, but with a certification from a globally known and recognized survival school that can afford your school and training the validity that comes with that.
The course is broken down into modules so that they can be taken as your schedule and the training available permit. The course can be taken relatively consecutively, or pieced together over time. Regardless of how long you take to complete the course, there is an expectation of personal “dirt time” to ensure that you are ready for the next phase of your training. The standards will not change to accommodate longer times between phases, you are still responsible for the skills.
Instructor Candidates will be training alongside regular students during this course and will often be given additional duties, training, and deliverable tasks to further develop them as instructors during training. Regular students will be held to an 80% standard to earn their patch. Instructor Candidates are expected to perform at a 90% level to be considered successful (although they will still earn a patch in the course at 80%), and will also be given additional instruction and tasks to complete.
All phases are required to be completed with the exception of WFA/WFR if the Instructor Candidate already has a current and valid certification (that is still current at the time of graduation). Please contact the Pathfinder School to arrange for getting credit for that module (both for completion and reduction of tuition).
Basic Level Courses
This course is taught at both the Pathfinder School (main) in Jackson, Ohio and the Pathfinder Northeast branch in the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate New York. This will be the foundation that every other module will build upon. This course will teach woodland-specific skills, and be heavy on basic survival skills including fire craft, survival shelters, water procurement, first aid, land navigation, tool safety and use, and survival signals.
For all Instructor Candidates, the Basic Level Course must be completed prior to attending any other course. If you chose to skip this course and have completed Intermediate or Advanced Level courses within the system, you will still need to take this course. B
Intermediate Level Courses
This course is taught at both the Pathfinder School (main) in Jackson, Ohio and the Pathfinder Northeast branch in the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate New York. This course will build upon the foundation laid at the PF Basic Course, with a heavier focus on replacing gear reliance with more self- and nature-reliance. More emphasis will be placed on pioneering and bushcraft skills, and some primitive skills will be introduced to include the bow drill friction fire.
For all Instructor Candidates, this Intermediate Level Course must be completed prior to attending any other Intermediate or Advanced Level Course.
This course is taught at the Pathfinder Northeast school location in the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate New York. This course will teach mountain-specific skills, and will build upon primitive backups to the techniques already learned including fire craft, shelters, water and food procurement. It will also introduce some valuable mountaineering skills. Due to the nature of the weather in the mountains, axe skills will be dialed in further, and given the steep terrain land navigation will be heavier on using the Terrain Association method.
This course is taught at the Pathfinder Northeast school location in the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate New York. The Winter Survival Course prepares the Instructor Candidate for operating and teaching in cold weather environments and tests skills in a more extreme environment. Candidates will learn new cold weather-specific skills as well as continuing to refine skills already learned in previous phases including fire, shelter, water and food procurement, and tools.
Although it is an Intermediate Level Course, the conditions are more extreme than any other module. Instructor Candidates must have completed the Basic Survival Course and the Pioneer/Scout Intermediate Course at a minimum to be allowed to attend the Winter Survival Course. No exceptions.
Advanced Level Courses
This course is taught at both the Pathfinder School (main) in Jackson, Ohio and the Pathfinder Northeast branch in the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate New York. This course will continue to push students towards more self- and nature-reliance with even more emphasis placed on pioneering, bushcraft, and primitive skills.
This course is taught at the Pathfinder Northeast school location in the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate New York. This course will be heavier on primitive skills than any of the other modules. Additional Primitive fire craft, shelter craft, water and food procurement, and primitive weapons and tools will be the focus to continue to round out the Instructor Candidates skillset.
This course is taught at a number of locations through a number of different schools. Taking students into the backcountry is an incredible responsibility. The more remote the location, the farther away from medical treatment they are. Instructors often have the primary responsibility for the safety and welfare of their students and must be trained to handle those situations until a higher level of care can be reached. Anything less is irresponsible.
Due to the highly varying nature of these programs nationwide, we can only give credit for those certifications from other schools that we are familiar with. The Off-Grid Medic (Mark DeJong) offers a WFR course that has been specifically tailored to coincide with the Pathfinder School LLC system and is most recommended. Additionally, we recognize NOLS WFR certifications. Any other certification is at the discretion of the Pathfinder School LLC cadre and is considered on a case-by-case basis. Regardless of where the certification has been obtained, in order to receive credit it must be current and remain current at the tie of graduation.
Instructor Candidates who have completed all the other phases are eligible to attend and complete the final evaluation before becoming certified. Instructor Candidates will be required to both perform and instruct skills that have been taught throughout all the other modules during this eval in order to prove proficiency in all tasks under stressful conditions. Although all tasks and skills may not be evaluated during this phase, the Instructor Candidate is responsible for any or all of them at a moments notice.
This Final Eval may be combined with On-the-Job Training (OJT) at the discretion of the cadre.
Instructor Candidates who have successfully completed all phases will be presented their certifications at the next available graduation date.
It is expected that Instructor Candidates continue to pursue dirt time between phases as each phase builds on the previous and the responsibility to be able to perform each skill continues from phases to phase.
Tasks will be expected to be completed at an Instructor level, not a student level.
This is a Certification Course. All Instructor Candidates must successfully complete each module to receive a certification. Recycles may be authorized for a particular module dependent upon the circumstances and is at the sole discretion of the Pathfinder School LLC cadre. Voluntarily withdrawing from a phase (quitting/tapping out) will not be afforded a recycle or refund.
Physical injuries that do not allow an Instructor Candidate to continue will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Medical recycles are at the sole discretion of the most senior medical staff for that phase.
Recycles will be at an additional cost to the Instructor Candidate. The cost will vary depending on the phase, but will be on par with the daily rate of the entire course.