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Outdoor Education

Get an inside look at CWC's Outdoor Education program

Outdoor Education and Leadership

Associate of Arts Degree

Develop skills in outdoor education and be completely immersed in the wilderness with this program. Hike, bike, raft, climb and ski in Wyoming's expansive terrain and develop skills for a career as a leader in the outdoors. Take advantage of CWC's world class location that adjoins the nation's first national forest and be only a two-hour drive from Jackson Hole, Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park. Learn through field-based expeditions in the remote wilderness area in and around the Wyoming Rockies.

CWC’s Outdoor Education and Leadership is unique in four ways

  • Outdoor Education Center at Sinks Canyon with student housing
  • Focus on experiential education and partnership with the NOLS
  • Outstanding faculty
  • World class location in the foothills of the Wyoming Rockies

As part of the program, there is an option to spend up to one full semester taking wilderness-based courses with the NOLS. NOLS offers these educational expeditions at remote, pristine locations in the U.S. and abroad. To receive college credit for NOLS courses, enroll concurrently in the appropriate corresponding course at CWC. For more information on NOLS offerings visit the NOLS website. 

Discover Alpine Science Institute Housing

Bike Instructor Certification Logo

Intro to Environmental Science 4
Leading Adventure Programs 3
Introduction to Outdoor Education 3
Outdoor Education Practicum 4
Foundations of Recreation & Tourism 3
Wilderness First Responder OR Wilderness EMT 4-9

Students must choose 4 credits from the following list of Expedition courses listed below

Outdoor Educator 1-5
Outdoor Leadership Instructor 1-5
Outdoor Education & Leadership 1-5
Mountaineering 1-5
Wilderness Backpacking 1-5
Combined Expeditions 1-5
Winter Expedition 1-5
Rock Climbing 1-5
Water Expedition 1-5
Environmental Ethics & Management 1-5

Students must choose 3 PEAC course from the following list of approved courses

Skiing & Snowboarding 1
Cross Country Skiing 1
Introduction to Outdoor Rock Climbing 1
Whitewater Rafting/Rescue 1
Outdoor Multi-Sport 1-3
Indoor Rock Climbing 1
Mountain Biking 1
Water Safety/Lifeguard Training 1
Wilderness Navigation 1
Backcountry Skiing & Snowboarding 1
Alpine Climbing and Rescue 1


Students must choose seven (7) additional credits from the PEAC courses above or from the following list of approved courses:

Intercultural Communication 3
American Indians in Contemporary Society 3
Indians of the Wind River 3
History of U.S. Indians 3
Intro to Archaeology 3
Petroglyphs & Primitive Art 3
Digital Photography I 3
Survey of Astronomy 4
The Earth: Its Physical Environment 4
Introduction to Meteorology 4
Introduction to Climatology 4
General Biology I 4
Life Science 4
Global Ecology 3
Intercultural Communication 3
Communication and Conflict 3
Human Relations 3
Personal Growth Group 1
Counseling for Helping Professional 3
Introduction to Group Counseling 3
Addictions Assessment 3
Counseling Diverse Populations 3
Theories of Counseling 3
Foundations of Education 3
Human Life Span Development 3
Outdoor Educator 1-5
Outdoor Leadership Instructor 1-5
Outdoor Education & Leadership 1-5
Mountain Environments 4
Avalanche Lvl 1:Dsn Mkng Avlnch Terrain 1
Mountaineering 1-5
Wilderness Backpacking 1-5
Combined Expeditions 1-5
Winter Expedition 1-5
Rock Climbing 1-5
Water Expedition 1-5
River Rescue Certification 1
Environmental Ethics & Management 1-5
Avalanche Lvl 2:Anlz Snwpk & Aval Haz. 2
Introduction to Geographic Info Systems 4
The Earth: Its Physical Environment 4
Physical Geology 4
Historical Geology 4
Environmental Geology 4
Indians of the Wind River 3
Wilderness EMT 9
Human Potential Seminar 1
Drugs and Behavior 3
Human Biology 3
Human Anatomy 4


Writing Level I 3
Writing Level II 3
American and Wyoming Government 3
Arts 3
Humanities 3
Mathematics 3
Oral Communications 3
Social Sciences 3
University Studies 1








Total Credit Hours: 60

More Information

CWC Outdoor Education enjoys a truly world class location, adjoining the nation’s first national forest. We are a 2-hour drive to Jackson Hole, Grand Teton, and Yellowstone National Parks. Just out the back door, Sinks Canyon State Park is a stunning outdoor playground which serves as a gateway to the Wind River Mountains. Sinks is home to Limestone, Sandstone, and Granite rock climbing, a cave system, mountain bike and ski trails, and some of the best fly-fishing in the country.

Sinks Canyon conveniently borders both the sub-alpine and high desert ecosystems where elk, pronghorns, cougars, and coyotes can be spotted. At CWC our students develop leadership and outdoor adventure skills with wilderness as a key part of their college experience.

  • Jen Adams sits in a canoe on a lake

    Alumni Testimonial

    So many of the basics that we learned in class have helped me as a trip leader and continue to help me now as I'm managing trip leaders in the field. I think specifically what helped me the most was being able to learn the theory and then put it into practice.”

    Jen Adams: Wilderness Trips Coordinator - Chewonki Foundation

  • Will Polanksy is an outdoor ed alum. He is holding a fish he caught in a lake

    Alumni Testimonial

    The biggest thing that I took away from Darran's classes was that leadership is something that has to be crafted and then nurtured. Like anything else in life, if you don't stay consistent using your skills your perceived ability to use that skill may become diminished. I've tried to consistently use the leadership skills that were crafted at CWC and can proudly say that I still use them today. ”

    Will Polansky: Paramedic/Firefighter


Learn practical skills so you can be ready to handle medical emergencies in the wilderness. 

This comprehensive program of classroom education, practical skills, scenarios and full-scale mock rescues prepares the student to test for certification as an EMT and a Wilderness EMT. This program fulfills all DOT requirements for certification as a basic EMT. Successful completion of both courses and both written and practical examinations will certify the student as a National Registry of EMT’s Basic EMT and Wilderness EMT. Prerequisite: Acceptance by Wilderness Medicine Institute (WMI) of NOLS.

Wilderness First Responder 4
Wilderness EMT 9
Total 13

This program is designed to provide outdoor leaders, instructors, guides, environment, health & safety professionals, rangers and wilderness and foreign travelers with the knowledge needed to deal with emergencies in remote settings. The curriculum covers standards of care for urban situations with additional protocols for remote situations. Special topics include but are not limited to: CPR considerations (when not to start and when to stop), wilderness wound and burn management, clearing patients of spine and head trauma, athletic injuries, realigning fractures and dislocations, improvised splinting techniques, patient monitoring and long-term management problems, up-to-date information on all environmental emergencies, common simple medical problems, plus advice on drug therapies. Emphasis is placed on prevention and decision-making. Certifications upon successful completion include Wilderness Medicine Institute (WMI) Wilderness First Responder and the American Heart Association’s CPR. All levels of prior training are welcome. Prerequisite: Acceptance by WMI of NOLS.

Wilderness First Responder 4
Total  4

Get to know your instructors!

Darran Wells

Professor of Outdoor Education and Leadership

Darran Wells grew up racing mountain-bikes with his father in Houston, Texas.

Stacy Wells

Adjunct Professor of Outdoor Education and Leadership

Stacy Tostrup Wells has been teaching professionally in the outdoors for more than 20 years.

Jacob Urban

Adjunct Professor of Outdoor Education and Leadership

As an undergraduate professor, guide, program director, corporate trainer and business owner, Jake has been teaching in the outdoors for more than 20 years.

Let the adventure begin

If you have an interest in anthropology, environmental science, geospatial information systems technology (GIST), or outdoor education you can begin your studies and career on top of the Rocky Mountains as part of the Alpine Science Institute at Central Wyoming College.  

Student on glacier