Alberta Essentials Level Program

This program is geared towards individuals who already have some outdoor leadership experience or training and are looking to expand their current skill set with the intention of working in the outdoors. Upon the successful completion of this program, participants will also be able to participate in the Training Academy Mentorship Program to support their career goals for one year after the start of their program. Depending on prior experience, Essentials level participants may be eligible to pursue employment as an assistant or intern guide/instructor, including positions at Outward Bound Canada.

Access vs. Intensive Format

We know that you have a busy life with many different responsibilities. So, in order to make this program more accessible, we are offering two different formats: Access or Intensive.

The Access format splits the program up into two sections over the course of some months and the Intensive format is a continuous model. All meals and accommodation will be provided during any overnight programming.

Centre-based Learning Workshops

Some additional workshops that you can look forward to include:


[Closed for Registration]

  • Kananaskis Field Experience Centre – Connect Charter, Kananaskis, AB (June 4-16)
  • Canmore, AB (June 16-17)
  • UofC Barrier Field Research Station, Kananaskis, AB (June 28-July 2)

*Note: Transportation will be provided from Calgary Airport.


[Closed for Registration]

June 5-July 2, 2024 (*includes Outdoor Journey)
*Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.

outdoor journey STARTING location

Outward Bound Canada Rockies Office, Canmore
*Note: Transportation will be provided from Calgary Airport.

outdoor journey dates
  • Option 1: June 13-27, 2024
  • Option 2: September 5-19, 2024

*Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.



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Outdoor Journey

Take to the great Canadian outback of the breathtaking and world-renowned Rocky Mountains as you spend a series of nights under the stars with highly seasoned and skilled professional guides. During this outdoor journey, our expert-level guides will share with you their real world experience, teaching you the ins-and-outs of terrain management; navigation (map and compass, along with a host of other navigational technologies); and (most important of all) group management. 

Slightly more difficult than the Foundations journey, a key component of the Essentials journey will be understanding how to load and manage a pack through undulating terrain and long days, learning how to be one with your pack in all types of weather!


Through this program, participants will have the opportunity to pursue some of the following certifications, depending on their region:

  • Wilderness First Responder (WFR) (80 hours) or Wilderness Advanced First Aid (WAFA) (40 hours) 
  • Sea Kayak Guides Alliance Assistant Overnight Guide certification (AOG)
  • Outdoor Council of Canada Field Leader
  • Wilderness Mental Health First Aid (offered as an online module in the Spring and Fall)

*Please Note: WFR, Assistant Overnight Guide and Paddle Canada Advanced Skills or Instructor Courses are only available on a limited basis upon the completion of the Essentials level program, and are based on the individual’s need and career objectives.

View Certification Options

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Have a burning question? We probably have the answer for you! Check out our Frequently Asked Questions page to learn more.


Virtual Information Sessions

Join us for our next virtual informational session to learn all about our programs, certifications and ask any questions that you might have!

Coming Soon