The Most Demanding Wilderness Guide & Instructor Certifications Available Anywhere
Jack Mountain Bushcraft School certifications are based around our existing courses. They’re not vanity certifications. They’re objective skill assessments that consist of strict documentation standards and additional research and academic work that demonstrate a comprehension that goes far beyond just being present for a course. They are physically and intellectually challenging and require significant documentation, physical labor and academic work. They are designed for those wishing to become industry professionals, not for those with a casual interest or the intellectually lazy.
Professional Training: Instructor & Guide Certifications
Length: 4 Weeks
Course: Wilderness Canoe Expedition Semester
Our canoe certification has 2 levels: one for still water and one for river travel. Both levels consist of general canoe knowledge, paddling, poling, lining and rescue.
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Length: 2 Weeks
Course: Boreal Snowshoe Expedition
Our winter certification, takes place during the Boreal Snowshoe Expedition. Live below zero on snowshoes. Physically challenging.
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Length: 6 Months
The XI Certification requires the other three certifications and additional distance learning and research. In addition to our stringent requirements, the candidate must pass the state exam to become a Registered Maine Guide. Redesigned for 2020.
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Jack Mountain certificate holders are the best-trained in the industry. They demonstrate documented, tested, certified competency.
If you’re looking for a cool patch that says you lit a bow drill fire and spent a night outside, look elsewhere. If you’re looking to distinguish yourself from the herd, work really hard for extended periods of time, and achieve an experience level that will put you among the top 2% of people working in the outdoors, read on.
These days it seems everyone is an expert, an instructor and a guide. They simply declare it on social media and it is so. In the internet-driven world things like experience and demonstrated competence have taken a back seat to having a lot of followers on Instagram, having the right knife, the right gear, etc. Maybe we’re just from the old school, but this modern crap has never held much sway with us.
Similarly, everyone has an instructor and/or guide training program. Two things about this stink like an old fish. First, the programs are generally pretty short. How can you learn a skill, then learn to be an effective instructor of that skill, in a few days? I don’t think you can. Second, the people who often run these programs are recent graduates themselves. They have limited, if any, field experience, let alone a decade or two as a guide or instructor. You can’t teach someone to be something you’re not. The lack of deep experiences makes these programs analogous to online diploma mills where the goal is to push as many people as possible through the program, regardless of the educational outcomes.
Our approach is a bit different. We have over two decades of full time, year round experience running long-term programs. We have strict standards, which translates to everyone not achieving the certification. We want to have a clear path to being a recognized instructor that is standards-based.
Unlike other schools, the process is slow here. It takes time to really learn things. The minimum time it takes to receive the Journeyman certification is 9-weeks. For the Expedition Instructor (XI), it is 6 months to a year.
We’ll Never Be As Popular As The Easy-To-Get Instructor Certification Schools
Because it’s hard and takes a long time. But while their certificate holders will suffer from imposter syndrome, ours can confidently reflect on their vast experience.
In short, our certifications mean something to us. We don’t just hand them out to everyone who has taken a course. They can’t be purchased; they have to be earned. And along with the certificate, what is also earned is respect in our community of professional guides and instructors. Others who have achieved the same thing know how much work goes into it, and by achieving it you join an elite group.
Cheaply won is cheaply held.
Documentation-Based Vs. Reputation-Based
Our certifications are designed to be documentation-based instead of reputation-based. What does this mean? The role of the school is to verify that all of the work in the documentation has been successfully completed and the tests have been successfully passed. The work is all documented. It isn’t a secret black box that relies on the reputation of the school for validity; the work stands on its own.
Consider two people being interviewed for a job. In their separate interviews, they are both asked if they know how to make a bow drill fire. The first person answers the question by stating that they are a graduate of school X and learned how to make bow drill fires there. They are relying on the reputation of school X to impress their potential employer. The second person, when asked, refers to their training documentation portfolio, explains that they have made 25 bow drill fires using various combinations of materials under various weather conditions. They show the interviewer the documentation. This person is using the documentation of what they have actually done to demonstrate their skill. They may also explain that they are a graduate of school Y, but their of experience is more descriptive of what they can do than simply the reputation of school Y.
How Do We Compare To The Herd?
How do we compare to the competition? Our basic course and related certification is 9-weeks. An internet-popular instructor training program is less than four weeks in total, broken up into a handful of 4-day workshops. Can you learn some things in four weeks? Yes. Can you learn to be an instructor? No. Most of our instructors have said that it took them over a year, usually two to get through the curriculum. So if you’re in a rush to get a piece of paper, definitely go with our competitors. To succeed here you have to be striving toward excellence and be in it for the long haul.
We’re Training The Next Generation Of Industry Leaders
We’re not offering vanity certifications. We’re training the next generation of industry leaders. If you’re interested, do some research. Compare us to the competition, ask around, see what people have to say. If it seems like we’re a good fit, get in touch with us.
For more information on the individual certifications, click on the ‘Certifications’ tab in the menu at the top of the page.