Bachelor Degree in Outdoor Education


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Program Description

Bachelor Degree in Outdoor Education

Are you interested in a career where you can help others and the outdoors? The Outdoor Education program at B.H.S.U. will equip you for education positions in parks, nature centers, zoos, aquaria, eco-tourism programs, camps, wilderness programs, and much more. The Outdoor Education major combines studying natural history, education methods and outdoor adventure. This program incorporates highly qualified faculty from many disciplines including: interpretation, environmental education, experiential education, physical education, biology, botany, geology and mass communications. They will work with you to meet your goals, including national certification and placement into top graduate programs. B.H.S.U. is uniquely situated in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota. After a day of classes and studying, you can mountain bike scenic roads, cross country ski on miles of groomed trail, hike beautiful mountain paths, fly fish in scenic Spearfish Canyon, rock climb our world-famous Needles or Devil’s Tower, down-hill ski at Terry Peak or Deer Mountain, or watch the plentiful wildlife.

Explore the Outdoor Education Minor

Are you interested but don't want to major in Outdoor Education? Black Hills State University also offers an Outdoor Education minor. This minor enhances student employability and educational effectiveness in the related fields of biology, business, education, psychology, and tourism and hospitality management. A student's major fulfills the content area expertise, while the Outdoor Education minor provides students with research-based education in best practices for non-formal education in outdoor settings. Gain hands-on, real-world experience in the Outdoor Education program at B.H.S.U.. You can sign up for the Outdoor Education major or minor in the College of Education office, located in Jonas 203. Then contact Outdoor Education Coordinator, Chris McCart, to be signed up for the D2L Outdoor Education Program site and to schedule an advising meeting.


The Outdoor Education program will prepare you for education positions in non-traditional education settings. Common jobs include:

  • interpretive park rangers in state and national parks
  • naturalists in nature centers
  • educators for zoos and aquaria
  • information and education program coordinators for natural resource agencies
  • adventure programmers with youth programs
  • guides with wilderness programs

Our recent graduates are working as naturalists at nature centers, as program coordinators at camps, as youth program wilderness guides, as outdoor retail business owners, as hunter and fishing education coordinators for state wildlife management agencies, in city recreation departments, as outdoor education coordinators with schools, in youth programs with the YMCA, and more.

Are you looking for advanced certification?

Here at B.H.S.U., there are numerous and growing opportunities for certification from national organizations. You can earn the Wilderness First Responder certifications through a partnership established with the National Outdoor Leadership School, or earn the Certified Interpretive Guide certification through a partnership with the National Association of Interpretation.

Interested in going on to grad school?

With a degree in Outdoor Education, you can also go on to graduate school in many of the related fields of environmental education, interpretation, outdoor education, experiential education, natural resources management, leadership studies, and more. If you are considering this option, you should meet with an advisor to select the appropriate electives and complete an undergraduate research project.

Last updated Feb 2018

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About the School

BHSU Vision Black Hills State University will be recognized as an innovative, high-quality University in the Black Hills region, the state, the nation, and the world. We, at Black Hills State Universi ... Read More

BHSU Vision Black Hills State University will be recognized as an innovative, high-quality University in the Black Hills region, the state, the nation, and the world. We, at Black Hills State University, are committed to: Scholarship We engage in the scholarship of research and creative activity to contribute knowledge and art to the community, the state, the region, the nation, and the world; we engage in the scholarship of teaching by using relevant and cutting edge practices to prepare students for the future; and, we engage in the scholarship of service by accepting leadership roles in society and making meaningful contributions to the profession and to the general public. Read less
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