Outdoor animator

Outdoor animator article illustration


Outdoor animators are responsible for planning and organising outdoor activities. They may at times be involved in aspects of administration, front office tasks and tasks related to the activity base and maintenance of equipment. The workplace of an outdoor animator is mostly €œin the field€, but can also take place indoors.

An outdoor animator is a professional who leads outdoor activities and events, such as games, sports, hikes, and nature explorations, for people of all ages and backgrounds. Outdoor animators work in various settings, including summer camps, resorts, community centers, and youth organizations. They design and implement activity programs that are safe, enjoyable, and educational, aiming to engage participants in outdoor recreation and learning.

To become an outdoor animator, one must have a passion for outdoor activities and a strong interest in working with people. While a degree in recreation, physical education, or a related field is desirable, it is not always necessary. Employers may prefer candidates who have certifications in specific activities, such as first aid, CPR, lifeguarding, and rock climbing. Additionally, experience in coaching, teaching, or leading outdoor activities is highly valued.

Duties of an outdoor animator may include:

  • Planning and organizing outdoor activities and events, considering factors such as weather, terrain, equipment, and safety protocols.
  • Instructing and guiding participants in various outdoor activities, ensuring that they understand the rules, techniques, and risks involved.
  • Encouraging participants to develop their skills, confidence, and teamwork abilities, providing feedback and support when needed.
  • Monitoring and maintaining equipment and facilities used in outdoor activities, ensuring that they are in good condition and safe to use.
  • Ensuring that all participants follow safety protocols and guidelines, responding promptly and appropriately to any emergencies or incidents.
  • Communicating with supervisors, colleagues, and participants about the progress, challenges, and feedback related to the outdoor activity programs.
  • Maintaining accurate records of attendance, accidents, incidents, and equipment use, as required by the employer or regulatory authorities.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to outdoor animator:

climbing teacher
canoeing teacher
outdoor activity instructor
ski teacher
kayak & canoe instructor
quad bike teacher
outdoor activities trainer
ski instructor
quad bike instructor
outdoor instructor
kayak and canoe instructor
riding teacher
outdoor adventure instructor
rafting teacher
paddlesports instructor
riding instructor
climbing instructor
outdoor recreation instructor
rafting instructor

Working conditions

Working conditions for outdoor animators vary depending on the specific job and setting. They may work part-time or full-time, depending on the season and demand for outdoor activities. Work may be done in various weather conditions, including extreme heat, cold, rain, or snow, and may require long hours of standing, walking, or carrying equipment. Outdoor animators may work with diverse groups of people, including children, adults, seniors, and people with disabilities, requiring them to adapt to different communication styles and learning abilities.

Minimum qualifications

Outdoor animators need a high school diploma or equivalent qualification. A degree in outdoor education, recreation, or related fields can be advantageous. Additionally, relevant certifications such as Wilderness First Aid and CPR are necessary. Some employers may require a minimum amount of experience leading outdoor activities. Internships, volunteer work, or summer camp counselor roles can provide valuable experience in this field.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Outdoor animator is a Skill level 3 occupation.

Outdoor animator career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to outdoor animator.

assistant outdoor animator
outdoor activities coordinator
specialised outdoor animator
activity leader
mountain guide

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of outdoor animator. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of outdoor animator with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

legislative drafter
circus artist
radio producer
child care coordinator

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of outdoor animator.

  • Empathise with outdoor groups: Identify the outdoor activities permitted or suited in an outdoor setting based on the group’s needs.
  • Manage feedback: Provide feedback to others. Evaluate and respond constructively and professionally to critical communication from colleagues and customers.
  • Manage groups outdoors: Conduct outdoor sessions in a dynamic and active way
  • Evaluate outdoor activities: Identify and report problems and incidents according to outdoor programme safety national and local regulations.
  • Research outdoor activities: Describe and interpret the culture, history, natural and geography of the working place. Describe and interpret international designations such as specific areas of conservation. Identify and locate information about activity equipment.
  • Assess risk in the outdoors: Elaborate and accomplish risk analysis.
  • React acordingly to unexpected events outdoors: Detect and respond to the environment changing conditions and their effect on human psychology and behaviour.
  • Animate in the outdoors: Independently animate groups in the outdoors, adapting your practice to keep the group animated and motivated.
  • Communicate in an outdoor setting: Communicate with participants in more than one language of the European Union; handle a crisis following guidelines and recognise the importance of proper behaviour in crisis situations.
  • Monitor use of outdoor equipment: Monitor the use of equipment. Recognise and remedy inadequate or unsafe use of equipment.
  • Manage outdoor resources: Recognise and relate meteorology to topography; apply the principal of ‘Leave no trace’.
  • Structure information: Organise information using systematic methods such as mental models and according to given standards in order to facilitate user information processing and understanding with respect to the specific requirements and characteristics of the output media.
  • Implement risk management for outdoors: Devise and demonstrate the application of responsible and safe practices for the outdoor sector.
  • Monitor interventions in the outdoors: Monitor, demonstrate and explain the use of equipment according to the operational guidelines issued by manufacturers.
  • Give feedback on changing circumstances: Respond appropriately to changing circumstances in an activity session.
  • Plan self-organisation: Identify the necessary tasks and prioritise them in order to develop an individual schedule and perform the work in an autonomous way, ensuring that the requirements are met.

ISCO group and title

3423 – Fitness and recreation instructors and program leaders

  1. Outdoor animator – ESCO
  2. Featured image: By Photo: Sgt Russ Nolan RLC/MOD, OGL v1.0
Last updated on April 27, 2023

What do you want to do with this job?

You will be brought to the forum page

Requires a business account

Requires a business account