Instructor Qualifications

The richness of our gap year and summer learning adventures is largely attributed to the amazing life experience of our course instructors.

A job with Dragons is challenging, yet infinitely rewarding! Our instructors are empowered with a multitude of responsibilities, requiring a specialized skill set that many applicants possess only after spending considerable time living, working, volunteering or studying in a community within the regions where we work. Our instructors average 28 years old.

What to expect with the application process:

The best time to submit a new instructor application is between October and December. Our peak hiring season is from January to April, when we onboard the majority of our new instructors for summer and fall seasons. We generally begin interviews 4-6 months before course start dates. Our goal is generally to finalize instructor teams at least two months before course start dates. Our application is always open, so you can apply anytime, regardless of which season(s) you’re available to work.

When we invite someone to schedule a first interview, we will send our full pay scale document. After a second interview, we will reach out to three references. After a contract has been sent and accepted, we will conduct a background check. Contracts are issued provisionally, and may be retracted based on the findings of the background check.

Please note that we aim to form teams of instructors whose skills, experience, and personality balance and compliment one another to provide the best experience for our students, communities, and instructors themselves. This means that not being contacted for an interview or not being offered a contract does not mean we don’t value you or what you bring to Dragons, but that we may not have had the right spot for you on a given course or in a given season. We retain all of the application we receive, so you never need to reapply. You can always send along an updated CV/resume as you gain relevant experience after you’ve applied. If you applied more than 2 years ago, we encourage you to get back in touch with us if you are still interested.

Before applying to work with Dragons, you’ll want to review our Job Description & Responsibilities, so that you more clearly understand the ways in which instructor talents are brought to the forefront of both course design and course implementation.

While we don’t expect that every applicant will meet all of the below criteria, the ideal candidate will:

  • Demonstrate unique regional experience and fluency with strong contacts in the places where we run programs (please speak to this in your application).
  • Demonstrate language skills relevant to the program area.
  • Demonstrate experience leading groups and/or working with adolescents.
  • Demonstrate a dedication to the field of teaching and ability to educate the whole student.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of, commitment to, and skills related to teaching social and environmental justice.
  • Exhibit significant experience in a relevant field (i.e. education, guiding, social justice, youth leadership development, place-based learning, non-profits, etc).
  • Possess a Wilderness First Responder (WFR) or Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician (WEMT) certification.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of risk management and competency navigating challenging environments.
  • Demonstrate the capability to instruct a safe, educational, dynamic and engaging course for students with a diversity of identities and perspectives.
  • Demonstrate the resilience, grit, stamina, and self-awareness needed to travel with and facilitate learning for groups for 4-12 weeks at a time.

These are the broadest of our instructor qualifications. As you can imagine, the specialized nature of the work means that there are also many sub-qualifications. The ideal candidate for a job with Dragons needs to demonstrate other talents, including strong interpersonal skills, technical skills, and leadership skills. There are many hats — both collective and individual — that must be worn by the members of an instructor team. The list is exhausting, and a little overwhelming, but don’t worry; we understand that few individual applicants will carry the skill set needed to wear all of them! Some may bring a wealth of local contacts; some may bring a great deal of experience working with adolescents; and some may bring a strong background in wilderness medicine and emergency response. No matter the hats that an individual wears, all are equally valued.

We seek to bring together the most qualified instructor team for every Dragons course.  We aim to contract teams of instructors whose skills, experience, and personality balance and compliment one another to provide the best experience for our students and communities. Most of our instructor teams are comprised of one Course Director and two Instructors. A Course Director is usually a veteran Dragons instructor who is a designated leader for the instructor team who facilitates the instructor team pre-course process and holds additional accountabilities during the course.

Go to Employment Opportunities Instructor Application