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Raft Guide Employment & Training Opportunities

Raft Guide Training Group 2016

Thanks for your interest in employment as a Whitewater Rafting Guide with Outdoor Adventure Center! We are accepting applications for employment, internships and trainees for the upcoming Spring, Summer and Fall.

For Experienced Guides

If you have already completed a Raft Guide Training program or a Kayak Instructor Certification program please fill out and submit an application for employment. Jobs & Internships at Outdoor Adventures In addition to your completed application, please send a river log and copies of your certifications to [email protected]. Questions? Call 425-883-9039.

Raft Guide Requirements – Washington State

In order to work as a commercial rafting guide in Washington State, you must first successfully complete a comprehensive training program that includes at least 50+ hours of instruction. You must also be 18+ years of age and certified in First Aid and CPR. View our training program.

For Raft Guide Trainees and Beginning Guides

We are currently accepting applications for Raft Guides for the upcoming season. If you desire employment with Outdoor Adventures, please sign up right away to ensure your spot in our spring Raft Guide Training program. This course is designed for beginning whitewater rafting guides (no experience necessary) and experienced paddlers (rafting, kayaking, canoeing, etc) who have not yet completed a raft training program (including recreational and out-of-state boaters). We are in search of outstanding individuals with a strong work ethic and commitment to the outdoor industry who are looking for a thorough training to become outstanding guides. Outdoor Adventure’s guide training course is extensive and exceeds training requirements in Washington State. We are eager to invest in you if you can dedicate the time and energy required to develop your skills, and commit to 2 seasons with us. Our whitewater raft training program is not for everyone, but it may be the most rewarding and memorable summer job you will ever have!

Interested? Great! We can’t wait to hear from you! Please register for class so we can send you a detailed confirmation packet.

Register for Training online: Whitewater Raft Guide School or call 425-883-9039

What does Whitewater Raft Guide Training look like? Now available… weekend training option!

The initial week of training includes at least 50 hours of instruction, as well as basic rescue training and LOTS of on-river time. You will learn to;

  • Maneuver a raft downriver safely
  • Read water currents
  • Navigate currents, eddy lines and rapids
  • Avoid obstacles and hazards
  • Rig your boat
  • Use basic safety equipment
  • Instruct your paddlers
  • Interact professionally with guests
  • and lots, lots more!

Outdoor Adventures offers a reduced rate to our campground during training, and provides transportation from our facility to and from the river, high quality equipment, and an excellent team of instructors who are dedicated long-term OA staff members. Our training staff dedicate themselves to long days and miles of river time to provide you with a unique and effective learning experience. On-river training will be supplemented with classroom clinics covering topics such as river features, guest relations, equipment maintenance, liability and accident prevention, emergency protocols, conservation, basic rescue procedures and much more. Written and practical tests are yet another tool we utilize to inform us of your overall progress and competency.

While WA State requires successful completion of a 50-hour training program, it has been our experience that rafting guide trainees usually do not attain the professional skills or technical knowledge required in that short amount of river time. You can expect to accrue more than 100 river hours before we are comfortable certifying you to work above class II. For prospective guides who wish to be employed by Outdoor Adventures or work on rivers rated above class II, you can expect to complete additional training prior to employment. This includes… your initial training program, follow-up skill-building weekends, and supplementary training classes in Swiftwater Rescue and Wilderness First Aid which are not included in your Raft Guide Training fees.

All prospective Outdoor Adventure guides need to remember that participation in  the whitewater raft guide job training program does not necessarily guarantee employment. The hiring of trainees from the training class will be based on training performance and growth, ability to perform essential job skills, work ethic, and ability to work in a team setting. Due to the time and monetary investment we are both putting into training preference is given to those able to commit to 2 seasons with Outdoor Adventures. Upon completion of your 50+ hour initial training program, a conference will take place between you and your trainers. At this time we will discuss the strength of your guiding skills, growth and overall performance, as well as the possibility of obtaining a full time or part-time guiding position with Outdoor Adventures.

Our training is a physically and mentally demanding program which will require focus and commitment. You should plan on investing your full time and energy into this training program in order to be successful. Please be aware that your level of physical fitness may affect your success in training, so the more prepared you are the better off you will be.

Please note that while you are training for our white water rafting jobs, you are not considered to be an employee and are not eligible for workers compensation. Therefore, we strongly suggest you have your own health insurance so that you are covered for the duration of training. Since you will not be paid to train with us, all funds necessary for living expenses should also be secured in advance of training. In addition to the $495 training fee (and any subsequent programs such as first aid and swiftwater rescue), you should also be prepared to purchase some personal rafting gear in preparation for season. The cost of these materials can range from $300 to $400, depending on what you choose to buy. More information regarding costs and detailed equipment lists will be made available to you prior to/during training.

White water rafting jobs are paid by the trip and first year guides are paid $65 per trip. First year white water guides generally earn $2,300 or more in wages; an additional $1,000 in gratuities is common for first year guides who work the full season. Senior guides can make $9,000 or more per season in wages alone, not to mention gratuities.


Due to the conservative nature of our clientele, as well as the fact that we are a family-oriented business, we require that you observe the following rules: Drugs and underage drinking will not be tolerated. Alcohol is not to be consumed on company time or prior to your performing duties for the company. There is no smoking or chewing allowed on company property or while working an Outdoor Adventures trip. Staff housing/camping spaces may be available for a seasonal fee. If hired, all employees and guides must read and sign our Employee Handbook which outlines company policies and procedures.

Apply to become an Outdoor Adventures Whitewater Guide!

We begin reviewing applications in January. Raft Guide Trainees are selected after a review of their applications, resumes, references and phone or personal interviews.