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Published March 31, 2021
The University of Wyoming’s Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources recently launched an innovative, online course for aspiring outdoor guides or enrichment for early-career guides. The noncredit, self-paced course is offered over two six-week periods this spring.
Faculty at UW and industry leaders have been designing the course for the past two years.
“We assembled and consulted with leaders in the guiding industry and federal land management agencies statewide to develop and test the course,” says Dan McCoy, degree coordinator of the outdoor recreation and tourism management program and associate lecturer in the Haub School. “We wanted this course to be something useful for the guiding industry to supplement or enhance training opportunities statewide.”
The certification course consists of high-quality videos, quizzes, short assignments and knowledge checks. The course follows a competency-based model, whereby students learn and apply skills that are necessary and relative to outdoor guiding with clients. The course is relative to a broad range of outdoor guiding, such as hunting, fishing, rock climbing, rafting, wildlife viewing, cycling, hiking, snowmobiling, ATVing (all-terrain vehicle), horseback riding, skiing and tour operators in national parks.
McCoy says UW was approached two years ago by Jason Williams, owner and CEO of Jackson Hole Wildlife Safaris.
“He was lamenting the fact that there was no guide training program and, given the importance of the guiding industry in the state, he thought it would be good to develop one,” McCoy says. “We are very thankful to have great partners statewide on this important project.”
The course will be offered twice this spring and should take students about 32 hours to complete. The dates of the courses are April 12-May 21 or May 17-June 25. Additional courses will be offered seasonally in alignment with different guiding industries’ needs. Enrollment is limited to 30 participants, and the first course already has 14 students committed. The course costs $325, and employers who enroll 10 or more guides qualify for a discount.
The certification currently does not have an expiration, though guides are encouraged to remain active in the field and to take continuing education.