Assistant Program Instructor
North Cascades Institute

Entry-level Instructor position available at North Cascades Institute!

Beautiful work location inside North Cascades National Park


Assistant Program Instructor

North Cascades Institute
Diablo Lake, Washington
$11.00 / hour
No experience required
Start Date:
Job starts in about 2 months (Jun 12, 2018)


North Cascades Institute is seeking motivated candidates to be summer Assistant Program Instructors at its Environmental Learning Center (ELC), located on the shores of Diablo Lake in North Cascades National Park. Primary duties will include shadowing and co-teaching natural history educational programs for youth and adults, assisting with Learning Center operations, and participating in Institute events, staff meetings, and program debriefs. The Assistant Program Instructor will work under the supervision of program staff and graduate students. This position is designed to provide job training as well as the practical application of learned skills. Assistant Program Instructors will receive continuous support from supervisors and mentors who will observe, advise, and assist as needed. The goal is to provide a system of training, support, and experience to help Assistant Program Instructors along their career paths towards a career in environmental education, conservation, or related fields.

This is a paid, full-time, seasonal position starting June 12, 2018 and ending September 3, 2018. Assistant Program Instructors should expect to work five days (approximately 40 hours) each week, some of which may include evenings, weekends, and holidays. There is some flexibility with scheduling - including end dates. There is also some flexibility in responsibilities based upon individual skills, interests, and medical certifications.


The work location for the Assistant Program Instructor is at the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center. The Learning Center is located in the heart of the North Cascades National Park near Diablo, WA, and serves as a hub for a small network of trails along the shores of Diablo Lake. This region of North America has been visited by native tribes for over 9,000 years and continues to be a meaningful location for thousands of visitors each year. Opened in 2005, the Learning Center is a collaboration between North Cascades Institute, the National Park Service, and Seattle City Light, the public utility that owns and operates the hydroelectric project that includes Diablo Lake and provides electricity to the residents of Seattle. The Learning Center is approximately 20 miles from the nearest gas station and post office, and 60 miles from towns with full amenities.


Teaching and Program Development (75%):

Shadow and teach lessons and activities for ELC programs such as Family Getaways, Base Camp, Skagit Tours and Adult Programs. Work with a mentor to develop and evaluate teaching methods. Assist with creation and maintenance of educational programming and materials. Assist with program support for Youth Leadership Adventures. Perform other duties as assigned.

Training and Evaluation (15%):

Attend training prior to working with ELC programs. Training will be specific to position and will include such topics as group facilitation techniques, risk management, natural and cultural history, and program logistics. Attend weekly check-ins with supervisor and/or mentor, end-of-season debriefs, and exit interview. Participate in peer observations and feedback.

Administrative and Operations (10%):

Assist with facility operations and gear maintenance while under the supervision of staff; attend weekly meetings and participate in hands-to-work. Support programs in the field and assist with program setup and cleanup.


Adult Seminar: classes and field excursions (Year-round)

Since 1986, North Cascades Institute has been providing hands-on learning adventures for adult learners. Classes and field excursions explore a wide variety of topics including wildlife biology, art, geology, poetry, botany, photography, forest ecology and recreational activities.

Base Camp (Year-round)

Base Camp offers visitors to the North Cascades a flexible, affordable program option. Visitors may choose to stay one or more nights and participate in a variety of guided activities or choose their own adventure.

Family Getaways (Summer)

During the summer months, NCI provides opportunities for families to explore the wonders of the North Cascades together. The Family Getaways program takes place at the Learning Center campus and has quickly become a favorite summer retreat. Program Instructors deliver hands-on activities and lessons that engage generations of participants!

Conferences and Retreats (Year-round)

The Environmental Learning Center is the perfect place to host group events such as educational retreats, meetings, conferences and celebrations of all kinds. Guests enjoy the lodges, delicious, locally sourced meals and daily field trips led by Program Instructors. Proceeds from these revenue generating programs directly support youth education.

Skagit Tours (Summer / Early Fall)

Skagit Tours provides participants with an inside look at the relationship between humans and the landscape of the upper Skagit River. Participants embark on a tour of the region by bus and boat, learning about the natural history, hydroelectric projects, early European settlement, and pre-contact use of the landscape. Tours range from 1-5 hours long.

Youth Leadership Adventures

Each summer, North Cascades Institute brings diverse groups of high school students into the backcountry of the North Cascades on 8 or 12-day outdoor leadership and field science expeditions. During courses, students canoe, backpack, and develop skills in leadership, public speaking, stewardship and climate science. Trips are led by Program Instructor, Interns, and Graduate students, and are supported by an Assistant Program Instructor and Administrators from the Environmental Learning Center.


Successful candidates will have a commitment to the mission of North Cascades Institute and the organization’s effort to promote diversity, equity and inclusion throughout the Institute’s culture, work and partnering relationships to ensure that the Institute and its programs are welcoming, relevant and accessible.


  • Ability to work with people from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and ages
  • Ability to feel confident working in an outdoor educational environment
  • Enthusiasm for learning and teaching about the natural world
  • Willingness to live in a remote area
  • Ability to lift and carry 30 pounds
  • Ability to talk and instruct while backpacking and hiking over uneven terrain
  • CPR/First Aid Certification (more advanced certifications preferred)
  • Must be 18 years of age or older at the start of employment to apply
  • Final offers of employment are contingent upon the successful completion of a background check that may include employment history, national criminal background check, national sex offender registry search and a driving history check


  • Demonstrated commitment to equity work and culturally relevant institutional change
  • Ability to teach and model culturally responsive skills and practices
  • Experience on a Youth Leadership Adventures trip or similar outdoor youth leadership program
  • Completed an internship in outdoor/environmental education or have at least one season of experience teaching or leading in this field
  • Wilderness First Aid or Wilderness First Responder and CPR Certification
    • NCI can support Assistant Program Instructors in attending a Wilderness First Aid training (2-day course) in/near Seattle in May or June.
  • Experience living in a small, tight-knit, rural community
  • Some coursework or experience in environmental/outdoor education or environmental science


This is a temporary/seasonal, full-time, non-exempt position, eligible for overtime pay. The wage is $11.50 per hour and benefits include sick leave, holiday pay and a 2-day Wilderness First-Aid training (if needed). Housing can be provided for the duration of the position for $200/month. Housing is a shared room either at the Environmental Learning Center or in the neighboring towns of Diablo or Marblemount. Meals are provided when programs are in session; otherwise, staff are responsible for providing their own food. Assistant Program Instructors are responsible for their own health insurance. Given the remote location, personal transportation is required. Pets and smoking are not allowed in housing, during programs, or on the Institute’s campus.


April 27th, 2018 (priority; open until filled)

North Cascades Institute is committed to building a culturally diverse workplace and strongly encourages applications from candidates who are persons of color. We believe that having a diverse staff that reflects the communities we serve is essential to providing culturally inclusive programs.


The Institute does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender, gender expression, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, military, genetic information, ancestry, marital status, age, citizenship or any other basis prohibited by law in any of its policies or programs.


The Institute’s mission is to inspire and empower environmental stewardship for all through transformative educational experiences in nature. Since 1986 we have helped connect people, nature and community through science, art, literature and the hands-on study of natural and cultural history. Our goal is to help people of all ages and backgrounds experience and enjoy the mountains, rivers, forests, people and wildlife of the Pacific Northwest – so all will care for and protect this special place. The Institute is committed to innovation and excellence in environmental learning and leadership in the nonprofit community. We believe that sustainable communities are built on healthy environments, vibrant economies, and social equity.

North Cascades Institute ( is a respected, national leader among U.S. environmental education organizations. The Institute is in sound financial health with a $3 million budget and strong reserves and more than a decade of Four-Star ratings with Charity Navigator.The Institute was also voted “Best Place to Work” in 2013 Bellingham Alive- Best in the Northwest Annual readers’ poll. This is a wonderful opportunity to join North Cascades Institute at a time of exciting growth.

How to Apply

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