Job Opportunities

AOA was founded with a few goals in mind, among them was the idea that the business could become a place where guides and outdoor enthusiasts could build their love of the outdoors into a sustainable career. This remains an integral part of the our company ethos. Working in the outdoor industry (like any business) can have its ups and downs. There will be challenges and hard work, but the reward is real and tangible. We get outside, we adventure together, we shape the future of this business with our ideas and feedback and we watch as our guests discover and learn from the wild places we love. Every employee has an opportunity to contribute to the AOA community, whether a bike mechanic, operations team member, sales staff, guide, or CFO.

Our team is comprised of about 50 staff working at our headquarters in Scottsdale managing the marketing, sales, reservations, administration and operational sides of the business, and about 80 guides spread across 2 teams, single-day tour guides working in Scottsdale/Phoenix and multi-day tour guides who operate trips across the American West.

Learn more about what our departments do below.

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.

Multi-Day Guides

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

Job Requirements

  • 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

Employment Requirements:

  • 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:
    • Hiking
    • Camping
    • Backpacking
    • Road Cycling
    • Mountain Biking
  • Clean driving record
  • Clean background check
  • Willingness to relocate to operational area

Ideal Candidate:

  • 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

Job FAQ

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.

 

 

Multi-Day Tours Operations Team

Members of the Operations Team have the responsibility of preparing all the physical items that are sent out on the various guided trips that AOA offers.

What is the job like?

The job is very hands-on and detail oriented. We operate out of a warehouse, so the work environment is very interactive. Days can be physically taxing as we are on our feet all day performing various tasks to ensure that all the gear and food for the trips is well prepared and that the guides will have everything they need to provide our guests with the best possible experience. The tasks that we complete daily are focused on managing details, and often managing those details in a fast-paced environment.

These tasks include, but are not limited to packing meals, washing dishes, gathering necessary gear, and cleaning vehicles before they depart on a tour. To accomplish all the required tasks on time and to a high standard, we have put together a strong team of 12 individuals to create a fun, fast-paced, collaborative working environment.

Expectations

A key requirement for this job is flexibility. While schedules are often consistent and predictable, situations manifest that require improvisation and change. Some days the work takes longer (or shorter) than expected, so being able to work late or come in early is invaluable. The work itself often changes with some frequency which requires all members of our team to be adaptable and capable of maintaining focus through a variety of changes or setbacks. Interaction with others is essential to being able to coordinate all the necessary details, so employees need to be able to effectively communicate with other members of the team. The ideal candidate for this job is someone that can be counted on consistently. The Operations Team is responsible for a massive amount of details, large and small, so having someone that can be given a task and trusted fully to get it done and done well is paramount.

Why Work in Operations?

This job is perfect for someone who wants to work in a positive, interactive, and fun environment. Members of the team have the opportunity to interact with many amazing people who share a passion for the outdoors. Another advantage is the opportunity to be close to the outdoor industry without having to spend all your time on the road guiding trips. It provides an opportunity to work in an active environment while staying close to home. It is also a great place for those that do need a more flexible work schedule to fit into their life.

Job FAQ

Q: What are the regular work hours?

A: Within the Operations Team there are Full-Time positions and Part-Time Seasonal positions. In general, the full-time staff work five days per week on an 8am-5pm schedule, with start/end times adjusted as needed to meet the needs of the warehouse. Over the course of the year, these positions average approximately 40 hours per week, with some weeks during peak season eclipsing 50 hours; while allowing for shorter weeks during our slower months.

Schedules for the part-time positions are often more individualized. With proper communication and planning, schedules can accommodate a variety of commitments and responsibilities outside of AOA. Available scheduled hours during peak operational seasons of May, June, September and October can be in excess of 50 hours per week, or as little as 20 hours per week. During our slowest months of November through March hours can be very slim or non-existent for some part-time staff. Many of our part-time staff take the opportunity during these months to find additional employment to supplement their income.

Q: What is the compensation and benefits package like for an Operations position at AOA?

A: AOA’s Part-time Operations positions are entry-level by nature, and are compensated as such. A benefit such as health insurance is not included, but industry benefits such as pro-purchase pricing on outdoor brands, subsidized climbing gym membership, complimentary AOA gear rentals*, and more are perks of employment with AOA. Individuals in part-time positions who show a good attitude, ambition, and a strong skill set often find opportunities for advancement within the company.

*as our inventory allows: mountain bikes, road bikes, kayaks, paddleboards, camping equipment, etc.

Full-time positions are paid a competitive wage based on relevant experience and skill set. These positions are eligible, in addition to the perks listed above, for AOA’s employee benefits package including comprehensive medical with optional dental and vision insurance, SIMPLE IRA pre-tax retirement plan with employer match, short term disability insurance.

Q: Do I have to guide/ be in the outdoors to get the job?

A: No. While we expect our staff to share an appreciation for the outdoors, previous guiding or outdoor industry experience is not required, nor is guiding a requirement of the positions within the Operations Team. We look for individuals who desire to be a part of a team and enjoy working behind the scenes, someone who wants to combine their personal passions for the outdoors with their job in order to create the experience of a lifetime for our guests.

Q: Can I guide part-time and work in Operations part-time?

A: Since the peak seasons for the Operations Team coincide with the peak seasons for guides, it is difficult for members of the Operations team to do both. When we hire for positions within the Operations Team, guiding/field time is not guaranteed.

Q: How do I apply for a job with the Operations Team?

A: Please email your cover letter and resume to hr@aoa-adventures.com. Please kindly state in your cover letter a few reasons why you are interested in working for AOA and specifically why you want this job, so we can get to know you better.

No Operations positions available

Single-Day Tour Guides

What is the job like?

As an AOA tour guide you will take guests out on mountain bike, hiking and river tours in and around Scottsdale Arizona. The position requires strong customer services skills and the ability to communicate effectively with other guides and guests alike. A guide must be knowledgeable about the desert. This means you will need to answer questions on topics such as climate, geology, animal life, and outdoor etiquette and safety. The job itself is exciting and rewarding. It is hard work, but you get to work with a skilled team of behind the scenes staff members as well guides who love and enjoy the outdoors.

Why do this job?

Working as an outdoor guide gives you the opportunity to be outdoors with a flexible work schedule. To be a successful 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 learning opportunities as an outdoor guide are never ending. You have the chance to learn from other, more experienced guides who have wisdom and tips to offer and you get to do what you love.

What is required of the employee?

An AOA guide must be professional and dedicated to the job. Dedication means making sure you are on time to work and able to perform the tasks for the tour. All of our guides have to be able and willing to drive a large van or truck and have a clean driving record.

In order to guide you have to have a minimum of a current cpr & first aid certification and a first aid kit on your first day at AOA. You must have a clean background check and good references. This job includes on the job training, however, the more experience you have starting out as a guide the better. This position starts at minimum wage with the expectation of a raise upon the completion of training and a good performance review.

Work schedule flexibility and good communication are key to being a guide. If you are able to communicate quickly and effectively and have a flexible work schedule, you will be invaluable as a guide at AOA.

Job FAQ

Where is AOA headquartered?

AOA is located in beautiful, urban, Scottsdale, Arizona in a 12,500sqft building. Our purpose-built headquarters regularly houses over 40 office staff, and supports over x multi and single day tour guides. (Link to image of new building?)

What do I need to become a guide?

We require that all of our guides have a CPR + First Aid Certification, First Aid Kit, and if they are looking to guide cycling tours they should have the appropriate bike.

Is this a contract or direct-hire position?

All of our guides start as part-time employees. As they gain more experience, there is room for more hours.

How much work can I expect?

All guides start as part-time employees. However it is possible to work full-time hours in season.
The hours each guide gets per week will vary on tour availability, guide availability, and guide experience. Some of our guides only work an occasional tour, and some work up to 40 hours a week.

Do I have to guide all activities?

No, you can be a guide in whatever areas you prefer! Some activities can be taught if interested and willing to learn.

What is the guide schedule like?

Day Tour guides may work 6-12 hours in a given day.

How much notice do I get to be scheduled?

We work hard to schedule guides with enough notice, typically about 2 weeks prior to the tour. Sometimes there is need for last minute work. It is not a requirement to accept last minute tour bookings, but greater flexibility will result in more hours.

When is “the season?”

Our “season” in the desert is from October to the end of May. This is the time of year when we are busiest.

How often do you hire?

We have two hiring events per year, September and January, but we are always open to talking to talented people!

Will I have the opportunity to guide in places like Havasupai, Grand Canyon, or Yosemite?

No, AOA has 2 guide teams, Day Tours and Multi-day Tours. If you are interested in guiding in those places, you should apply to join the Multi-day tours guide staff. The Day Tour guide staff only guides in the Phoenix metro area.