Tertiary Programmes

How would you like to spend your days in the outdoors, leading exciting activities like abseiling and tube-rafting, whilst enabling young people to grow and develop?  This is the amazing life of an outdoor instructor.  If you would like this to be YOUR future, this is where you start…..

Certificate in Outdoor Adventure Skills and Leadership (Level 4)

This is a one year course that will teach you how to explore all outdoor environments – mountains, bush, rivers – whilst staying safe by assessing and managing risk.  You will learn what equipment to use, how and when.

You can then go to the next level by applying for:

National Diploma in Outdoor Recreation (Instruction) (Level 5)

This one-year course will get you to build on your Certificate skills; develop confidence in your leadership abilities; gain further experience in assessing and managing risk, both for yourself and those in your care; become a professional instructor!

Our tertiary courses are based at OPC Tongariro.

Tertiary Prospectus 2014

Course Dates and Prices

New Zealand / Australian Application

International Application Guidelines

International Application

OPC programmes differ from most other tertiary programmes because we are a full-time outdoor centre and design our programmes around the real needs of the industry. The benefits of learning within a working centre are huge. Students have the chance to fully understand how a centre is organised and run and to learn from a vast range of current instructors.

All of our qualifications are based on the OPC values, so personal development and the development of leadership and facilitation skills are just as important as acquiring the technical skills needed to safely work with other people in the outdoors. Group sizes are small which allows for this development to take place in a supported environment through learning skills, teaching skills and having adventures together.

Play Hard While Developing a Career!

34 Week Programme (February to November) – Level 4

Gain skills and experience in rock climbing, kayaking, mountaineering and bush craft as well as foundation outdoor skills in navigation, risk management, weather interpretation, leadership and facilitation. The foundations for a career in the outdoors.

Upon completing this course students will have met the Unit Standard requirement to qualify for the award of the National Certificate in Outdoor Recreation (Level 4).

OPC also encourages international students to apply for the tertiary programmes – See above for application form.

Course Outline

Assessment for the Certificate in Outdoor Adventure Skills and Leadership is based on NZQA Unit Standards. The course will include 4 week long modules of rock climbing, kayaking and mountaineering as well as shorter periods of other skills including:

View Activities

  • Navigation
  • Weather Interpretation
  • Sea Kayaking
  • Bush Survival
  • River Rescue Skills
  • Environmental Education
  • White Water Kayaking
  • Mountain Skills
  • Risk Management
  • Expedition
  • Leadership in the Outdoors
  • Outdoor 1st Aid
  • Adventure Based Learning
  • Work Experience
  • Rock Climbing Skills
  • Effective Communication

What makes this course unique?

  • The opportunity to study in one of New Zealand’s leading outdoor centres and observe current instructors in practice. The course will contain at least two weeks of working alongside an OPC instructor with a school group.
  • A wide range of instructors so you can always expect an expert in the field you are learning about.
  • Training focused on industry needs directed at both the outdoor education and adventure tourism career fields.
  • The opportunity to progress to the second year National Diploma in Outdoor Recreation.

Student entry requirements:

  • Be a minimum of 18 years of age
  • Demonstrate a keen interest in a variety of outdoor pursuits as indicated by records of personal recreation
  • A mature, professional attitude and the necessary communication skills for working with clients as part of a team
  • A good level of physical fitness
  • Be water confident

Take The Next Step! Become an Instructor!

35 week programme (February to November) – Level 5

Skills Active Risk Management Award

Pre Hospital Emergency Care (PHEC)

If you have a solid base of technical skills in the outdoor already and want to instruct others, this course could be your path to a career you love. You will further your personal skills in rock climbing, kayaking, mountaineering and bush craft as well as focussing on teaching these skills to others and facilitating the outdoor education experience with students.

Course Outline

Assessment for the National Diploma in Outdoor Recreation (Instruction) is based on NZQA Unit Standards. It also closely follows the assessment criteria for awards administered by the New Zealand Outdoor Instructors Association (NZOIA). Modules are delivered in a way that students learn the technical skills but also how to teach these skills and work with groups in the outdoors. Topics include:

View Activities

  • Navigation
  • Weather Interpretation
  • Sea Kayaking
  • Bush Survival
  • River Rescue Skills
  • Environmental Education
  • White Water Kayaking
  • Mountain Skills
  • Risk Management
  • Expedition
  • Leadership in the Outdoors
  • Outdoor 1st Aid
  • Adventure Based Learning
  • Work Experience
  • Rock Climbing Skills
  • Effective Communication
  • Caving
  • Work Experience
  • Avalanche awareness
  • 1st Aid (PHEC course)
  • Facilitation skills

What makes this course unique?

  • Study in a leading outdoor pursuits centre gives you the chance to see how a centre works and to gain a reputation and reference from a well respected centre. .
  • You will gain about 40 days of instruction experience at OPC working alongside a range of different instructors and learning from their many different skills and styles.

Student entry requirements:

  • Be a minimum of 19 years of age
  • Have completed OPC’s or another first year tertiary outdoor education programme, or have equivalent skills and experience. Applications from people with good outdoor skills and life experience are always welcome
  • Evidence of work experience in a leadership position
  • A mature, professional attitude and the necessary communication skills for working with clients as part of a team
  • A good level of physical fitness
  • Be water confident