How to Become An Outdoor Activity Instructor

Is 2019 the year you will achieve your perfect work/life balance and become an outdoor activity instructor? If you’ve decided to ditch the desk-job and follow your appetite for adventure, this guide tells you everything you need to know.


First, what types of outdoor activity instructor are there?

Activity instructors can be loosely grouped into three main areas:

  • Water-based activities
  • Land-based activities
  • Multi-activity instructors

There are a vast number of potential activities that you can lead. For example, from paddle boarding to becoming a Duke of Edinburgh Award instructor. Just follow your passion, and you could enjoy your work time as much as your downtime

Next, what qualifications do I need to become an outdoor activity instructor?

The qualifications that you need to become an instructor will depend on what activity (or activities) you want to get involved with.

Some large outdoor activity centres may be willing to take you one without any qualifications as they will give you the necessary training.

For other jobs, or if you want to work for yourself, you will need to hold specific qualifications. These should be from the National Governing Body (NGB) relating to your activity. For example, if you want to become a sailing instructor, you’ll need to complete training courses from the Royal Yachting Association (RYA).

  • If you’re planning to become a water-based instructor, you’ll also need to be able to swim and hold a life-saving qualification.
  • Many employers will request that you have undertaken recent first aid training too. If you want to work for yourself, first aid training is invaluable.

Is there an age limit to becoming an outdoor activity instructor?

To get certain relevant qualifications, you need to be 18 years or older. In other cases, you can gain qualifications from the age of 16 years old. There’s no maximum age set, but you will need to prove that you are fit and healthy to lead your chosen activity. there are other considerations too. For example, to drive a minibus you’ll need to be at least 21 years old.

How much do outdoor activity instructors earn?

The National Careers Service estimates that outdoor activity instructors earn from £12,000 to £30,000. The top earners are highly experienced instructors or managers. Furthermore, as a little extra perk, food and accommodation may be included with your package.

Business basics for outdoor activity instructors

You’ll need to decide if you want to work for someone else – for example, join the team at an activity centre such as PGL – or if you’d rather be your own boss.

If you decide to work for yourself, there are some business basics you’ll need to consider. You’ll become self-employed, and you’ll need to file your own self-assessment tax return each year. If numbers aren’t your thing, you can use an accountant to do this for you.

There are also other essential pieces of paperwork you’ll need to get in order, including essential insurance.


What insurance will I need for my outdoor activity business?

Getting the right insurance is crucial. You need to make sure you have the right level of cover for the risk you face. But securing the best price on this cover is also important if you want to make a profit.

Insurance to consider

  1. Public liability insurance

Public liability insurance pays out if any member of the public makes a claim against you for injury or damage to property. This includes claims made by someone you are instructing. It pays your legal fees and any compensation that is awarded.

  1. Professional indemnity insurance

Professional indemnity insurance is another essential for activity instructors. This covers you from any legal claims brought against you by a customer who claims they have been injured because of the advice you gave them. For example, if someone is injured

  1. Employers liability insurance

If you run an outdoor activity centre or you employ any members of staff, even if they are family members, you must have employers liability insurance by law. Without it, you can be fined.

  1. Premises cover

If your business has any buildings, for example, a climbing wall, a hostel, a shop, or a café, you’ll need business premises insurance. This covers you against the risk of fire, flood and other types of damage to the building. Don’t forget to insure contents too, for example, computers, cash machines, sofas in waiting areas etc.

  1. Equipment cover

Equipment cover is explicitly designed to cover your expensive specialist equipment against damage, including accidental damage. Most business contents insurance has a set limit for individual items. So if you have things like mountain bikes, paddle boards, windsurfing equipment, dinghies, canoes etc. it’s very likely you’ll need to take out additional equipment cover.

  1. Income protection and critical illness cover

If you work for yourself or your business relies on you being fit to work, it may be prudent to take out some form of income protection insurance. This is especially important if you have dependants. Income protection and critical illness cover can help you to pay essential bills if you fall ill or are injured and are unable to work.

Do I need outdoor activity insurance if I work for an employer?

Your employer should hold the relevant insurance that covers you against claims but don’t leave it to chance. Make sure you check what is and isn’t included. For added peace of mind, you can always take out your own insurance.

Finally, how to get the best price on outdoor activity instructor insurance

To secure the best price on outdoor activity instructor insurance you can count on, look for a tailor-made package. That way you will make sure you don’t pay for anything you don’t need. It’s worth shopping around by calling up as many different insurance companies as you can. Or get an independent insurance broker, like Park Insurance, to do this for you.

Our experienced team understands the specific needs of outdoor activity instructors and the risks you will face. We can advise you on the different insurance products that you need to consider. We’ll then check what cover is available that matches your needs. Finally, we’ll negotiate hard on your behalf to get the best price. Call us on 0117 955 6835 or fill in our simple online form to get a free quote today.