COVID-19 Response and Reopening

About Outdoor Leadership

Outdoor LeadershipAre you a lifelong learner? Is environmental stewardship a passion of yours? Do you want to develop personal growth and leadership in others? Do you seek out challenges, adventure and opportunities for growth? Do you love the outdoors? Then combine all of these attributes to obtain a degree in Outdoor Leadership.

The two-year degree program is designed with a unique focus on the foundation, philosophy, concepts and theory behind the sought-after skill of leadership. You’ll also put those theories into practice in a strong field-based curriculum.

"We offer both the theory of leadership as well as the technical resources, which we are lucky enough to have in our backyard." - Jessica Russell, Outdoor Leadership faculty member

Students begin the program in the fall term with classes taken in sequence. It is recommended to take general education courses before taking these intense core Outdoor Leadership courses. Talk with our dedicated and caring advisors for more information.

This is now the only Outdoor Leadership program in the community college system in Oregon, focused on developing professionals for the outdoor education and recreation industry.

Degree Options

The degrees in Outdoor Leadership are designed to provide students with a balanced curriculum of college courses, along with an intensive period of outdoor professional development. The Associate of Arts, Oregon Transfer (AAOT) is  currently the recommended process for most students. It is accepted by all Oregon Universities, with Outdoor Leadership serving as the bulk of required elective courses. As for transfer to OSU-Cascades, the AAOT is now the preferred degree, as the OL courses act toward lower division requirements for OSU's Bachelor of Science in tourism, Recreation and Adventure Leadership degree

Classes May Include

In addition to general education requirements, you may be taking such courses as: outdoor living skills, wilderness advanced first aid, psychology of risk and adventure, facilitating group experiences, resource interpretation, interpersonal communication and outdoor recreation leadership.

Students are able to take advantage of co-op work experience by working with local outfitters at the end of their second year. Collaborations include Deschutes National Forest, Bend Park and Recreation District, Sun Country Tours, Smith Rock State Park and Oregon Adaptive Sports.

Potential Careers

COCC’s Outdoor Leadership program prepares you for a career in outdoor education, adventure education, wilderness therapy, and tourism and leisure enterprises. Other career opportunities include recreation programmer, natural resources manager, community recreation/recreational sports director, rafting/mountaineering guide, travel and tour director, resort manager and camp director.