Employment at CFI

Apprentice Naturalist Educator

Position status: Now Hiring
Type: Seasonal Full-time
Pay: $300/ two-week pay period during 5 weeks of training then increased to $840/two week pay period for rest of season
Benefits: - Free housing in Moab
- Food during CFI Programs
additional benefits listed below.
Schedule: Priority given to applications received before Nov. 27th. Hiring completed by January 20th, Interviews done on a rolling basis
Note: The position runs from approx, March 4 to October 28, 2022

Why Work for CFI?

Canyonlands Field Institute provides quality outdoor education on the Colorado Plateau to inspire care of wild places and renew the human spirit. We believe in empowering students of all ages and backgrounds to deepen their connection to their surroundings. Through inclusive educational experiences, CFI seeks to build knowledge within practices of science, artistic expression, and Social and Emotional Learning. We are creating a team of educators with diverse life experiences who are committed to providing opportunities for all types of learners. By joining our educational community, you can help us promote the growth of caring leaders and empowered students who can effect positive change in our world.

Purpose of Position

As a key member of the field instructor team, Apprentice Naturalist Educators strive for excellence in the delivery of educational programs, both on land and river, in line with the strategic goals, mission, vision, and values of Canyonlands Field Institute.

This Apprentice Naturalist Educator training program is a paid professional development program for outdoor educators beginning their career of connecting people to, and fostering care for, the natural environment. Based in Moab, Utah, the position focuses on teaching school and youth groups at our Professor Valley Field Camp and on multi-day river trips. Apprentices learn research-supported teaching practices, coach Social Emotional Learning, promote Equity and Inclusion at CFI, and learn technical boating and river running skills. 

Key Areas of Responsibility

The following duties are normal for this position. The omission of specific statements of the duties does not exclude them if the work is similar, related, or a logical assignment for this position. Other duties may be required and assigned by supervisor.

  • 60% Teaching and Guiding on overnight programs
  • 20% Support Staff duties (e.g. facilitation of meals, driving, cooking, rigging and de-rigging trips, gear maintenance, and completion of manual labor tasks)
  • 10% Lesson planning and curriculum development
  • 10% Assisting with office duties such as marketing, development, and registration

With Training, Apprentice Naturalist Educators will build the skills to:

  • Teach groups of up to fifteen 1st-12th grade students or adults as needed
  • Facilitate team building, leadership, and Social-Emotional Learning activities
  • Captain paddle rafts of up to 10 participants and row gear boats through up to class IV sections of river
  • Direct participants in set-up of river camps, assist in cooking and serving of meals
  • Work closely with the program managers to develop lesson plans and materials
  • Support programs by: Rigging, De-rigging, Scouting, Driving, Food Shopping, Cooking
  • Maintain organization and cleanliness of all CFI equipment, including teaching materials, gear, etc.
  • Maintain high standards of risk management
  • Follow Risk Management policies in all activities
  • Assist with marketing materials, potential grant writing and other office needs
  • Operate a van or truck with a trailer

Desired Qualifications

  • A positive, growth mindset with the goal of improving as an educator
  • Effectively interact with people of diverse backgrounds and different levels of experience
  • Have an interest in, respect for, and ability to work with children
  • Desire to creatively develop science and education curricula and lesson plans
  • Willing to receive and provide feedback to improve CFI and grow as an educator
  • Multi-task efficiently while managing a high-volume workload in a fast-paced, changing environment

Required Experience and Certifications

  • Lived experience working with youth outdoors and/or Bachelor’s or Associate’s degree
  • Ability to work a flexible schedule, including days, nights, and weekends, for up to 10 consecutive days in a row
  • Minimum of 21 years of age and clean driving record for three years to qualify for CFI insurance
  • Available to work the complete season (March 7, through October 28)
  • Current Wilderness First Aid (WFA) [ Wilderness First Responder preferred] and CPR certifications, from an approved vendor, or proof of enrollment in a course to be completed prior to the first day of employment
  • Ability to pass a comprehensive background check.
  • Maintains a clean driving record, passes and keeps current a DOT physical exam at own expense.


  • $300/2-week pay period during first month of training (March 7 – April 4)
  • $840/2-week pay period after training through end of contract (April 4 – October 28)
  • Free shared co-ed housing 
  • Initial training will include one day off/week. Afterward, there will usually be two days off/week. May and September are exceptionally busy. Schedules will vary due to assigned river launch dates and bookings by groups. During the summer months, staff can schedule time off in advance using their accrued leave.
  • 2 pre-scheduled weeks off in June and August
  • Meals during overnight programming and day programming where meals are included for clients
  • Mentorship and professional development in technical boating, guiding, teaching, and facilitation
  • $200 gear or certification reimbursement paid upon completion of season [if gear or certification are a barrier to applying for this position please contact us]

To apply, please submit to education@cfimoab.org:

  • cover letter
  • resume
  • three references: name, email, phone. At least two should be employment-related

Candidates will be contacted for interviews.