Black Hills State University will offer a new Certificate in Adventure Education this fall, preparing students to be outdoor professionals who can plan and deliver quality education experiences. The South Dakota Board of Regents approved the certificate offering in June.
Dr. Christine McCart, assistant professor of Outdoor Education at BHSU, says there is increasing demand, driven by insurance policies and professional standards, for training and certification for leaders of quality outdoor experiences.
“As the only Outdoor Education academic university program in South Dakota, we can provide this service to our citizens in a strong way. Those who complete this certificate will promote connection to the natural world and manage risk according to professional standards, while promoting the benefits of adventure education,” says McCart.
The Adventure Education Certificate requires the completion of 12 credits at BHSU including courses in outdoor technical skills (such as rock climbing, orienteering or backpacking), management of outdoor programs, and a wilderness first responder course.
This certificate can stand alone, or be combined with academic programs to enhance employability.
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Those who may be interested in the certificate include employees at area programs and camps or in corporate teambuilding, along with students enrolled in tourism and hospitality, psychology, sociology, human services, and exercise sciences programs.
Outdoor recreation opportunities continue to grow within South Dakota, with recreation generating $586 million in the state in 2017. McCart says one specific sector of recreation is the indoor climbing industry, which is experiencing growth and needs qualified staff.
McCart says adventure skills taught via the certificate are used in conjunction with counseling and therapy, fitness, physical education, and conservation. In an era of technology, adventure education assists with youth social and physical development challenges during school or in camps.