Certificate in Adventure Sports Coaching

Saint Michael's College loves to find ways to challenge you. First, we challenged students to explore the outdoors, through rock climbing, mountain biking and more. Now, we are challenging students to become leaders in their field of adventure sport through the Certificate in Adventure Sports Coaching (CASC).

The CASC is accessible to all Saint Michael's College students (undergraduate and graduate). The certificate program is also open to community members who hold an undergraduate degree and are interested in expanding, or consolidating their professional credentials. The program is portfolio based and combines nationally recognized certification, academic course work and practice with a focus on professional competency.

Watch the video for some information about the program.

Students who enter the program will be expected to complete a semester long Mountain Leadership Course, Wilderness First Responder Certification, obtain two National Body Awards/Certifications, complete The Coach as Educator course, and develop a professional portfolio.

For more information about the Certificate in Adventure Sports Coaching, contact: 

Todd Johnstone-Wright '96, Director of the Adventure Sports Center


Fall and/or Summer

Mountain Leader Course (MLC) is required for all candidates interested in the pursuing the CASC. This training focuses on the principles of planning and preparedness as it relates to adventure sport, core outdoor leadership skills, and addresses the general fitness and essential eligibility criteria required of adventure sport professionals.

The MLC is 70 hours and can be completed during the fall semester or during a 10 day intensive summer program.

The Coach as Educator (4-Credit)


This course will explore the discipline of sports pedagogy and the role of coach as educator. Sports pedagogy is an academic field of study concerned with learning, teaching, and instruction in sport and physical education. Students in this course will gain invaluable knowledge and experience on the many dimensions of coaching sports. 


Professional Portfolio Course (one credit)

Candidates must complete a web based Professional Portfolio Course to complete the CASC program. This portfolio is designed to provide evidence of the candidate’s learning and practice while enrolled in the CSAC program, and can be shared with future employers.

Each portfolio consists of the following evidence:

  • Professional Credentials/Certifications/Award
    *Minimum of two current National Body Awards
    *Wilderness First Responder/Wilderness EMT
  • Coaching Philosophy 
  • Academic Work 
    The final project from the Coach as Educator Course
  • Reflective Practice 
    *Reflective piece on the OSL (1,000 words)
    *Two reflective pieces on national body award training/assessment. (1,000 words each)
    *Final reflection on the CASC (1,000 words)
  • Session Planning
    *10 exemplar session/lesson plans, from at least two different disciplines. 

In addition, candidates are encouraged to include any additional evidence of their learning.

Professional Portfolios are reviewed by a panel at the end of the Fall and Spring semesters.   

National Body Awards/Certifications

Candidates pursuing a CASC are required to complete two national body awards/certifications.  These awards represent the minimum requirements to work professionally and autonomously in adventure sports and/or outdoor pursuits.   

Examples of National Body Awards:

  • American Canoe Association Level 2 Instructor (Canoe, Coastal Kayak, Stand Up Paddleboard, or Whitewater Kayak)
  • American Mountain Guide Association Single Pitch Instructor
  • British Canoeing Level 1 Paddlesports Instructor 
  • International Mountain Bicycling Association Level 1 Instructor 
  • Professional Ski Instructors of America/American Association of Snowboard Instructors Level 1 Instructor
  • Leave No Trace Master Educator

Many national body awards/certifications are offered annually, at a subsidized rate, through the Adventure Sports Center.  Alternatively, candidates can pursue awards through other providers based on their schedule and/or use current awards as evidence toward completion of the CASC. 

Skills Development 

Before taking a national body award training course, students must be at a high level personal readiness. Much of the individual skills development and competency required for national award training courses can be done through the Adventure Sports Center, the costs associated with this developmental programming (including equipment) is included in the CASC fee/s.  


Wilderness First Responder

Wilderness First Responder (WFR) is the industry standard for adventure sports professionals responsible for managing injury and illness in remote and/or austere environments. Candidates can complete a Wilderness First Responder through SOLO (Stonehearth Open Learning Opportunities), Wilderness Medical Associates (WMA) or National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). The Saint Michael's College Adventure Sports Center offers a subsidized, 8-day SOLO WFR annually. 

*Candidates who hold a current Emergency Medical Technician certification can complete a 5-day Wilderness EMT certification course in lieu of WFR.

First Year
Inclusive Course Fee Per Course Fee ASC Student Instructor
Outdoor Skills and Leadership (fall) $900.00 $300.00 $150.00
Outdoor Skills and Leadership (summer)   $375.00
Discipline Specific Skills Development $300.00  
Wilderness First Responder   $600.00 $350.00
Second Year
Discipline Specific Skills Development $300.00  $30.00 per session  $0
The Coach As Educator   *included in tuition *billed per credit  
Professional Portfolio Course *included in tuition *billed per credit  

National Body Awards are hosted annually by Saint Michael's College at a discounted rate for undergraduate students and students enrolled in the certificate program but are not included in the fee structure. 

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