Outdoor Education and Leadership, Undergraduate Certificate

Department of Geography, Planning, and Recreation

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

The Parks and Recreation Management (PRM) Outdoor Education & Leadership (OEL) emphasis/minor/certificate is a program that has incredible partnerships, integrated curriculum and allows for a more student-centered approach to learning. This innovative and unique program spans the gap between a traditional educational program and an experiential learning opportunity where students walk away with the real-world skills and certifications needed to excel in the field of Outdoor Education and Leadership.

  • To receive an undergraduate certificate (at least 15 units) at Northern Arizona University, you must complete a planned group of courses from one or more subject matter areas with a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0.

    Please be aware that federal financial aid is not available for some certificates, if the certificate is pursued and completed as a stand-alone certificate (i.e., not completed concurrently with a degree program). See the "Details" tab for additional information.

In addition to University Requirements:

  • Complete individual plan requirements.

Students may be able to use some courses to meet more than one requirement. Contact your advisor for details.

Minimum Units for Completion 18

Purpose Statement

The Outdoor Education and Leadership (OEL) certificate prepares and certifies students for careers in experiential education, risk management, environmental ethics, and programming within the private, non-profit, and public sectors of outdoor-leisure services. Students establish a background in program assessment, budgeting, planning, pedagogical design, teaching/leading/facilitating, and risk management as it relates to all sectors of outdoor-leisure services. Coursework provides students with professional preparation focusing on concepts and philosophies involved in organizing outdoor programs, designing experienced-based curricula, and safely facilitating educational and transformative nature-based experiences. In successfully completing this certificate, students will earn nationally recognized certifications in wilderness medicine and environmental ethics. Students will have the ability to integrate the full spectrum of skills through a hands-on project where they will plan, assess, budget, and enact a multi-week field expedition. This program is well suited for students who wish to gain leadership skills while working in an outdoor environment.  Students who complete this certificate will be able to design, plan, assess, and safely execute outdoor-based programs and events for a wide variety of groups.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Make critical decisions related to injury and illness prevention, assessment, treatment, and evacuation of patient(s), through application of wilderness first responder training, in response to medical and outdoor emergencies, while in wilderness and other remote backcountry settings.
    •  As measured by the PRM 216 Final Written exam and Hands-On Patient Assessment Evaluation and the PRM 431 Final Field Evaluation.
  • Implement the basic hard and soft skills necessary to competently lead others in outdoor environments of the Southwest with a focus on canyon terrain. 
    • As measured by the PRM 431 Final Field Evaluation.
  • Develop experiential curriculum lesson plans and effectively deliver to a pre-determined audience in a wilderness environment. 
    • As measured by the PRM 352 Lesson Planning Assignments as well as the Field Micro-teach and Field Nugget Teach.
  • Lead Leave No Trace Trainer Courses and Awareness Workshops within the standards of the Leave No Trace Master Educator certification. 
    • As measured by the PRM 411 LNT Action Plan, written research paper, and delivery of an LNT principle in the field.
  • Engage in an in-depth case study of an outdoor non-profit organization and for-profit company. 
  • As measured by the PRM 452 Program Field Trips Assignments and Program Field Trips Case Studies Assignments.
  • Finally, given the above measures, students will have developed a personal signature leadership style that is situationally appropriate for effectively leading others in a backcountry setting.

Certificate Requirements
  • This certificate may be pursued and completed concurrently with a degree program or as a stand-alone certificate. Under both circumstances, federal financial aid can be used for this certificate.

  • Students enrolled in this plan may not enroll in or pursue the following due to the number of overlapping units:

Additional Information
  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also successfully complete. For prerequisite information, click on the course or see your advisor.