Outdoor Recreation Leadership

Wilde Horse Wind Farm- Summit

The Outdoor Recreation Leadership Certificate is designed to prepare students for a wide range of personal and/or professional opportunities in recreation, outdoor leadership, and education. Students learn both in the classroom and with field-based experiential learning in the forest, waterways, and mountains of the Pacific Northwest Cascades.

This 19-credit certificate program may be completed part-time in as little as three quarters. Students interested in developing a life-long wellness plan that includes outdoor adventure activities may elect to complete this certificate as an area of study in fulfillment of elective requirements for the AAS-T.

The Outdoor Recreation Leadership Certificate previously went by as the Wilderness Skills Certificate but was changed to encompass more areas of the outdoors.

I really enjoyed the Wilderness Skills Program at Bellevue College.  I have learned many new skills as well as amazing destinations for hiking, kayaking, rock climbing, and snowshoeing.  In looking at making a career in this field, there were many opportunities for learning how to design and lead great activities.  Overall, I appreciated the community of students and instructors as well as the emphasis on health and wellness.

-Adam Cypress, Wilderness Skills Certificate Graduate

ORL Recommended Course Sequence

PE 260: NW Fitness Exploration – 2 creditsHLTH 260: Wilderness First Aid Basics – 4 creditsPE 239: Outdoor Leadership – 4 credits
HLTH 250: Wellness - 5 CreditsPE Elective from list belowPE Elective from list below
PE Elective from list belowPE Elective from list below

Choice of FOUR credits throughout certification program:

  • PE 114: Beginning Rock Climbing – 1 credit
  • PE 115: Backpacking and Orienteering – 1 credit
  • PE 116: Snowshoeing – 1 credit
  • PE 124: Intermediate Rock Climbing – 1 credit
  • PE 128: Sea Kayaking & Navigation – 1 credit
  • PE 255: Ski Instructor Training – 2 credits
  • PE 256: Mountain Bike Instructor – 2 credits

Outdoor Recreation Leadership Certificate Info & Requirements

How to Apply

Apply Now

Bellevue College’s Outdoor Recreation Leadership program is an open-enrollment admissions program. All students must still apply to Bellevue College and complete the online Outdoor Recreation Leadership (ORL) application, this will allow program staff and faculty to better support your ORL journey. Please note, by completing the online ORL application, you are applying to the ORL program only. 

Who is this certificate for?

Students may complete the Wilderness Skills Certificate Program in preparation for:

  • Entry level employment in the growing adventure education field
  • Completing a Washington State Physical Education Teaching Certificate
  • Completing the Health & Wellness, BAS degree at Bellevue College
  • Transferring and completing a Recreational Leadership Degree at another institution
  • A lifetime of educated PNW outdoor recreation and leadership

Where do outdoor adventure leaders work?

  • City Recreation Departments
  • University Outdoor Programs
  • Summer Camps
  • Residential Camps
  • Boys/Girls Clubs
  • Church Education Centers
  • Adventure Equipment Sales
  • Adventure Outfitters
  • Employee Fitness Programs

FAQ for Outdoor Recreation Leadership Certificate Program

Many students chose to take 1-3 classes and not the entire program.  Each class is structured as a standalone course, while the combined certificate provides all of the needed skills and certifications for employment opportunities.

The core competency courses have at least one day a week on campus, while most electives courses meet 1-2 times on campus and the rest of the time are off site outdoors.  Becoming an outdoor leader cannot be done behind a desk alone!

No previous experience is required.  All core and elective classes are intended for a beginners and intermediate audience.  You will finish each course with the skills and experience to start leading these adventures on your own.

All ORL courses require student to provide their own transportation to offsite adventure locations.  Students are provided with opportunities to connect with other student to arrange carpooling to reduce the overall carbon footprint of the course.

Most course equipment is provided or available for rent; kayaks, snowshoes, bikes, backpacking gear and more.  Each student is required to provide their own clothing and ten essentials for each off campus adventure.  Each course will provide specific training on the activity specific requirements

Tuition rates and more detailed information can be found on the Bellevue College Tuition & Fees website.

There may be financial aid options available for students such as grants, loans, and scholarships. you can learn more on the Financial Aid website.

Yes. You will first need to apply to Bellevue College General Admission. Once you are an active Bellevue College student, you can apply to our ORL certificate program. Please visit our application page for more instructions.

For questions, please email: wellness@bellevuecollege.edu

There is a recommended course sequence of taking classes during Fall, Winter, and Spring to complete this 19-credit certificate program. However, students are open to start taking classes during any quarter and they can complete the certificate at their own pace.

Last Updated December 15, 2023