Beat the Summertime Blues with a Whitewater Rafting Guide Job


When you were a child, summer was probably your favorite time of year. Summer meant days spent running through the woods or swimming in the creek, mountains of PBJ sandwiches and partially melted ice cream, and doing whatever you wanted. For a college student, however, summertime is the season to work as much as possible and pocket some much-needed cash.

Instead of doing construction, flipping burgers, or lifeguarding, try something fun this year for a change. Especially if you live somewhere like Colorado where there are many opportunities to learn how to be a whitewater rafting guide.

Before You’re Hired

Whitewater rafting jobs don’t often require a lot of preparation until you get into the training program. Before you start looking for rafting jobs, however, there are a few things you can do to improve your chances of getting hired.

Get CPR and First Aid Certified
While some rafting companies will provide CPR and first aid certification classes for potential employees, this isn’t always the case – and you usually have to pay extra for these classes if you need them. If you already have the certification when you apply for a job, most prospective employers will immediately consider you more than applicants who aren’t yet certified.

Know What Employers are Looking for
Most companies will want to meet every applicant in person. When it comes to rafting guide jobs, your attitude is usually more important than your credentials. Employers want a fun and energetic guide with a can-do attitude. You have to be willing and able to work with other people because all of the guides should be part of a unified team. And most importantly, you have to demonstrate that safety is always your top priority.

Take a Training Course
The whitewater rafting training course is a very intensive course that usually requires your full participation every day for two to three weeks. It is also a lesson in the work that you will be expected to do every single day when you are hired. If you can’t handle the training course, this isn’t the right job for you.

Many companies looking for rafting guides will offer the training course to applicants, or even require you to train with them as part of the application process. When you start looking around for a training course, this is a good time to also keep your eyes out for the company or companies that you might want to work for. You may get a job and get trained all at once.

Once You’ve Got the Job!

Whitewater raft guide jobs are, guides almost unanimously agree, among the most fun jobs you could possibly have. As long as you practice good work ethics and keep safety a priority, you can keep coming back to the river year after year.

What Exactly Does a whitewater rafting guide do?
Full-time whitewater raft guides can typically expect to do two to three trips per day, ranging anywhere from one hour long to several. Your goal will be to give your group the best experience possible, so you will have to be ready to do what your rafting group wants to do. You might spend a few hours simply floating down the river, or you might take them on a high-energy rafting experience complete with body surfing and flips. Though you may take the same route dozens of times a week, you can be sure that the job will never become boring or tedious.

Work/Life Balance
Even for a full-time whitewater raft guide, it is usually possible to keep a healthy balance between your work and your social life. You will be working every weekend, but you can expect to have just about every evening open. And unlike many other occupations, there is no homework involved. You can spend the day getting paid to help people have fun – and to have a lot of fun yourself – and spend the evening doing what you want, knowing that tomorrow will be another great day at work.

After the Whitewater Rafting Season is Over
Depending on your financial situation, you may simply be able to go back to school when the rafting season ends. If not, many rafting guides go back to their jobs as teachers or take on a winter seasonal job – working as a ski instructor is a popular winter vacation for raft guides. But you can do whatever works for you. Even if you find a year-round profession, you can still do whitewater rafting part-time during the summer, as many guides do.

The Bottom Line

If you are looking for excitement, adventure, and a way to stay active while you work, becoming a whitewater rafting guide could be the job that changes your life. This is definitely not the “fun environment” that your local fast-food restaurant promises. This is a chance to work with a team of people you will actually like, who have interests and goals similar to yours, right on the edge of exhilaration every single day. Start looking for whitewater rafting jobs for the chance to literally change your life.