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Adventure Tourism & Outdoor Recreation

Why Choose ATOR at SWCC?

Do you want to explore your passion for the outdoors, gain leadership experience, and learn in a hands on, experiential environment? Join the Adventure Tourism & Outdoor Recreation program at Southwest Virginia Community College to gain the outdoor skills and nationally recognized credentials to land your dream job in the tourism & outdoor recreation industry.

What will I study?

The Adventure Tourism and Outdoor Recreation curriculum prepares students to be entrepreneurs in the tourism, parks, and recreation industries, and the program is designed to prepare students to work in or operate a small business in the tourism industry. Course work will include small business management, accounting, payroll, marketing, communications, technology, and outdoor recreation courses related to their discipline of interest.  The difference from other small businesses and entrepreneurs from this type of entrepreneur is the focus on outdoor recreation activities which could range from bed and breakfasts to an outfitter providing guided hiking, biking, kayaking or climbing trips.

This curriculum provides an entry-level credential for those interested in working in an outdoor recreation, parks/recreation, adventure tourism, or trail related job. Outdoor recreation activities are available in most areas, and visiting state and national parks is popular regardless of the state of the economy. State, national and other park services employ many employees in various types and classifications of jobs. At the heart of outdoor recreation activities, an integrated trail system and waterway infrastructure is necessary for adventure tourism and outdoor recreation activities such as hiking, biking, kayaking, canoeing, and ATV riding.  The adventure tourism and outdoor recreation curriculum embraces the relationship between entrepreneurship, tourism, hospitality, parks, and outdoor recreation.  Add additional skills with stackable credentials or preparation to transfer to continue your education.

Upcoming Activities and Events

Adventure Weekend: September 16-17

Leave No Trace Trainer: September 29-October 1

First Aid/CPR/AED: October 20

Wilderness & Remote First-Aid: October 21-22


Student Spotlight: Zachary Mondrage and Brandon Senter

Zack Mondrage Student Spotlight

For Zachary Mondrage and Brandon Senter, hearing of the new Outdoor Recreation program at Southwest Virginia Community College (SWCC) was the opportunity they’d been waiting for. Both having a history of working in the coal industry, they were intrigued hearing of an opportunity for re-training while embracing their passion…the great outdoors.

Brandon Senter had spent the last 18 years working in surface mining for different companies, the latest being Alpha Natural Resources before he was laid off. Zack had spent time working as an underground coal miner before becoming a park ranger with Break Interstate Park. Upon seeing advertisements for the program highlighting trail design and maintenance classes with guaranteed interviews with Spearhead Trails upon completion, both Brandon and Zack made their choice to attend SWCC due to it being close to home and having a program of great interest to both of them.  Zack said, “I chose to attend SWCC because it is my local college and they offer fast track classes and programs. It is a very ‘work’ oriented college which I like.”

Click here to read more about Zachary Mondrage and Brandon Senter as well as view previous Student Spotlights.

Career Possibilities

There are a variety of career opportunities in this field – the only limits are your own!

Potential careers include:

  • Outfitter
  • Park Ranger
  • Wildlife Officer
  • Camp Director
  • Environmental Interpreter
  • Park Manager

Get Started! Apply Now

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For more information, Please contact us by:

Phone: 276-964-7277
Email: ator@sw.edu

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