We pride ourselves in having the best guide staff in the world of outdoor recreation. We welcome both the seasoned working tour leader and the dedicated but inexperienced aspiring guide.
Why Be a Guide?
Working as an outdoor adventure guide means long days, hard work, big income swings from month to month, 50-200 days a year away from home, and constantly putting your customer service skills to the test. Adventure guiding also means having some of the most beautiful, iconic destinations as your “office,” and getting the opportunity to take our guests on a once-in-a-lifetime experience, every week. To be successful as a multi-day tour guide at AOA you need to be well rounded, never satisfied with good enough, passionate about people, passionate about the outdoors, and ready for every day to offer a new and exciting challenge.
The best guide candidates possess the following qualities.
- Positive attitude
- Strong team player
- Drive to continually improve and not settle for good enough
- Ability to seek out learning opportunities
- Ability to work with constructive criticism
- Thorough, accurate, and timely with all projects and paperwork
- Professionalism and dedication to guest satisfaction
- Drive a 15 passenger van and trailer with guests
- Excellent outdoor cooking skills; providing 3 meals a day for groups of 4-20 people
- Lead activities such as hiking or biking daily during a trip
- Provide for the safety and health of a group of people in the backcountry
- Work well with an entire team of guides
- Strong knowledge of the natural and cultural history of the areas we operate
- Be on call 24/7 for our clients while on a trip
- Complete tour related paperwork accurately and on time
- Strong leadership and communication skills with guests of different ages and backgrounds
- Wilderness First Responder (WFR) and Adult CPR certification (necessary by start date)
- Food Handlers certification (necessary by start date)
- Competency in at least two of the following:
- Road Cycling
- Mountain Biking
- Clean driving record
- Clean background check
- Willingness to relocate to operational area
- Meet all employment requirements
- Be over 25 (required by our insurance if driving guests)
- Have 2+ years professional experience in guided adventure travel and/or outdoor education
- Provide a completed Leave No Trace certification
- Have expertise in at least one of the locations we operate in
- Have a College Degree
Q: What is the pay and benefits like?
A: AOA prides ourselves on offering one of the best guiding positions around with not only competitive compensation but some great benefits as well.
- Insurance plans for any guide working above 135 days in field
- 401(k) contribution
- WFR recertification after your first year
- Continuing Education contribution
- Pro deals through AOA
- The best office views ever!
Q: Can I work seasonally?
A: Absolutely. We do hire guides to work during the summer months in locations such as Yellowstone, Yosemite, Rocky Mountains and Utah. A majority of our southwest itineraries are typically busiest from spring through fall. With AOA based in Arizona, we have a unique situation that allows us to run trips during the winter months as well. This allows some of our guides to have a more year round position while others choose to only work a specific season.
Q: What locations does AOA guide in?
A: AOA currently runs trips in 8 states; Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, California, Nevada, Wyoming and Montana. We love sharing the hidden gems of the American West by taking our guests to a variety of public lands and wilderness areas. A majority of our trips run in places like Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Rocky Mountains, Yellowstone, Zion, Bryce, Grand Staircase Escalante, and numerous others.
Fun fact: AOA’s first multi day tours were to Havasupai which is a Native American Indian Reservation in the depths of the Grand Canyon.
Q: How many days in the field will I work?
Guides typically work anywhere from 50 to 150 days in the field depending on the location you are working and whether you are seasonal or more of a year round guide. Senior guides can work up to 200 days in the field with year round positions.
Q: Are there any age expectations/requirements?
A: We prefer our guides to be over 25 years of age, since there are driving restrictions when operating a commercial vehicle if you are under the age of 25. There is no maximum age limit to becoming a guide. This is a question we get all of the time. We encourage and love having experienced, passionate guides, regardless of age.
Q: Are there any physical requirements?
A: While there is no required test of physical fitness, it is important that you are physically capable of doing the job. Our guides frequently need to be able to hike at a pace of 3-4 mph and carry heavy backpacks over long distances with lots of elevation change. They endure long days of work with extended periods of time away from home.
You will be required to pass a Department of Transportation physical that tests your reflexes, balance, vision, hearing, endocrine system and overall health relating to the safe operation of commercial vehicles. (NOTE: A commercial driver’s license (CDL) is not required).
Q: Am I required to have guiding experience to work for AOA?
A: Industry specific experience is preferred and a huge plus, but we primarily hire guides based on their ability to provide exceptional customer service and we believe that this quality can be gained from a variety of work experiences. AOA has developed an extensive training program to help build and hone your guiding skills to meet AOA’s standard requirements.