Specialised outdoor animator

Specialised outdoor animator article illustration


Specialised outdoor animators plan, organise, and safely deliver outdoor animator activities. They may also support one or more assistant outdoor animators, and be involved in aspects of administration, front office tasks and tasks related to activity base and equipment maintenance. They work with demanding clients, in terms of either their particular needs, abilities or disabilities or at the higher levels of skill and hazardous environments or conditions. The workplace of a specialised outdoor animator is mostly in the field and with the participants/clients, but, in some specific situations/activities, it can also be indoors.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to specialised outdoor animator:

outdoor education specialist
outdoor personal development tutor
skydiving instructor
scuba diving instructor
outdoor education instructor
special needs outdoor instructor
outdoor instructor for disabled people
paragliding instructor
personal instructor

Working conditions

Specialised outdoor animators spend most of their time outdoors and work in various weather conditions. They may work in remote locations, and their work hours may vary depending on the program schedule. The work can be physically demanding, requiring the ability to hike, climb, and paddle for extended periods.

Minimum qualifications

A degree in outdoor recreation, adventure education, or a related field is a good foundation for a career as a specialised outdoor animator. However, many employers may require additional certifications in specific outdoor activities such as rock climbing or kayaking.

Additionally, practical experience leading outdoor activities is critical to becoming a specialised outdoor animator. Many professionals start as assistants or volunteers in outdoor education programs or summer camps before progressing to leadership roles. Developing strong communication, leadership, and problem-solving skills is essential for success as an outdoor animator.

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.

Specialised outdoor animator is a Skill level 3 occupation.

Specialised outdoor animator career path

Similar occupations

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

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

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of specialised 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 specialised 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 specialised 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. Specialised outdoor animator – ESCO
  2. Featured image: Photo by Pass Horizon on Unsplash
Last updated on April 26, 2023

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