As skilled leaders in outdoor and environmental education and recreation, Outdoor Educators range from university professors to professional guides with a variety of professions in between. With a passion for the outdoors and appreciation for the wilderness, Outdoor Educators are leaders in their field.

Responsibilities of WEA trained Certified Outdoor Educators include:

  • Lead WEA Outdoor Leadership Training Courses, with an approved organizational member host and Certified Outdoor Leader programs with an Accredited Organization.  

  • Create necessary documentation to run multi-day or multi-week expeditions, including planning proper rations plans, route plans and Emergency Action Plans.

  • Provide useful feedback to students throughout a course and after a program is completed.

  • Execute curriculums and lesson plans, assessment/evaluation tools.

  • Take responsibility for risk management in the field for themselves and students.


WEA trained Certified Outdoor Educators have previous outdoor experience with 1-2 years of professional work experience. COEs have IROEL (International Registry of Outdoor Educators and Leaders) portfolios that demonstrate ability to teach using existing curriculum, with proven expertise in WEA 8.x, 9.x, and, where relevant, 11.x standards. Certifying Examiners evaluate Outdoor Educators to ensure competence of program knowledge and curriculum instruction proficiency.


Certified Outdoor Educators are leaders in the outdoors. They have the opportunity to  teach WEA Outdoor Leadership Training Course and Outdoor Leader curriculum with an approved organization. COEs lead trips and teach based on curriculum curated by their employer.

After program completion, Certified Outdoor Educators must maintain professional membership dues with the WEA, as well as maintain an active IROEL account along with Continuing Education Credits necessary to maintain certification.


Assessment of Outdoor Educators is based on their IROEL portfolio. The portfolio includes samples of skills as a leader in the outdoors through a variety of multimedia. Final assessment is based on a specific rubric outline and graded by Certifying Examiner within the WEA program. IROEL portfolios must comply to standards of the WEA 8.x, 9.x, and (perhaps) 11.x standards.


Certified Outdoor Educators continue to expand their knowledge as an instructor, lead research-based education and outdoor initiatives and participate in the community as outdoor subject matter experts.