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Wilderness Survival Instructor Training & Certification Program


Wilderness Survival Instructor Training Course

This program is the most intensive survival instructor training available. It is meant for people that have little to no experience but want to learn and are interested in becoming a wilderness survival instructor, or people that already have skills and experience that want to either enhance those skills or test themselves during a realistic and challenging course, and everyone in between.

This course is not just about being able to perform skills. This is about being able to perform and teach these skills on demand in a variety of conditions, often under stress. Expect to be challenged both mentally and physically during this course. You will be required to learn skills to a higher level and be trained and evaluated on your ability to instruct those skills.

Instructor Candidates who successfully complete this training will receive a certification from the Pathfinder School LLC. This certification is meant to be an endorsement of the level of training you have completed to earn it. It does not mean that you will be selected to Instruct at Pathfinder School Courses although our selection comes from this pool. This course is designed to facilitate the training you need to start your own unaffiliated school, but with a certification from a globally known and recognized survival school that can afford your school and training the validity that comes with that. 

The course is broken down into various classes so that they can be taken as your schedule and the training available permits. The course can be taken relatively consecutively or pieced together over time. Regardless of how long you take to complete the course, there is an expectation of personal “dirt time” to ensure that you are ready for the next phase of your training. The standards will not change to accommodate longer times between phases, you are still responsible for the skills.

Instructor Candidates will be training alongside regular students during this course and will often be given additional duties, training, and deliverable tasks to further develop them as instructors during training. Regular students will be held to an 80% standard to earn their patch. Instructor Candidates are expected to perform at a 90% level to be considered successful (although they will still earn a patch in the course at 80%).

All phases are required to be completed except for WFA/WFR if the Instructor Candidate already has a current and valid certification that is still current at the time of graduation. Please contact the Pathfinder School to arrange for getting credit for those.

Bundle Package which includes Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced Courses, and a Final evaluation by our Staff during a higher-level course. The other required class listed in the graduation requirements below will be additional, as well as any associated gear.

Note: After purchasing the Bundle Package, the student will be required to contact Larry Catt at to sign up for your Basic, Intermediate, and Advance class that will best accommodate their schedule (see the current school calendar here).

Contact Dave Canterbury for further course and program information at

Graduation Requirements:

Instructor Candidates who have successfully completed all following, with a 90% or higher, will be presented their certifications and become eligible for instructor status (eligibility status does not guarantee a position at the Pathfinder School). Classes will be expected to be completed at an instructor level, not a student level.

  • Basic Class
  • Intermediate Class
  • Advance Class
  • (2) Elective Courses (such as Rope Clinic, Medicinal Plants, Bushcraft 101 or Navigation Intensive)
  • 40 hours of OJT (on the job training)
  • Certified in Wilderness First Aid
  • Certification as a Wilderness First Responder
  • Final Evaluation at higher-level course by Pathfinder Staff.

It is expected that Instructor Candidates continue to pursue dirt time between classes as each class builds on the previous and the responsibility to be able to perform each skill continues from class to class.

If an instructor candidate does not pass any course with the required minimum of 90%, then that class can be retaken but the candidate will be responsible for the cost. Voluntarily withdrawing from a class (quitting/tapping out) will not be afforded a recycle or refund.

Physical injuries that do not allow an Instructor Candidate to continue will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Medical recycles are at the sole discretion of the most senior medical staff for that class.

Pathfinder School Instructor Base: Ohio, US

  • David Canterbury
  • Shawn Kelly
  • Kevin Baxter
  • Matt Mercer
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