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Join the Adventure Tourism Industry at College of the Rockies
adventure tourism

Join the Adventure Tourism Industry at College of the Rockies


Interested in studying at college but tired of sitting in a classroom all day? Consider the Adventure Tourism Business Operations program at College of the Rockies, where you’ll spend your time building hands-on experience in the wilderness of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Soon, you’ll be able to work as a guide, help others achieve their own adventurous goals, and even kickstart your own tourism business. Keep on reading to find out more!

About College of the Rockies

College of the Rockies_logo

College of the Rockies (COTR) is a public community college located in the Kootenay Rocky Mountains of southeastern British Columbia, Canada. With approximately 2,500 students across six campuses, the College boasts numerous programs focused on trades. Some of these programs include University Studies, Business, Health, Fire Services Training, Kinesiology, Tourism, and Office Administration. 

COTR’s main campus is Cranbrook, and its regional campuses include Creston, Fernie, Golden, Invermere and Kimberley. Cranbrook is the hub for their administrative departments, student services and trades programs, while their regional campuses include courses relating to the health and education sector. The College’s promise to its students is that they will offer students lifestyles and learning opportunities that match their spectacular setting!

Advantages of Studying at COTR

  • Smaller class sizes and a more intimate setting
  • Easy to meet people and make new friends
  • Personalized instruction
  • Up-to-date technology
  • Support services that are available to students at all times
  • Staff and instructors who are dedicated to helping students achieve their goals and add  to the student experience at the College 

Adventure Tourism Business Operations

COTR’s Adventure Tourism Business Operations program is a one-year program that allows students to gain hands-on experience in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Although the program’s main focus is adventure, instructors will also help students develop business skills that are necessary for working in the tourism industry. Students will also learn other skills relevant to entrepreneurship, marketing, sustainability and business training so that they will have the relevant knowledge to be able to start their own tourism business. 

The program includes the following categories of study: 

  • Classroom learning
  • Lab work
  • Field trips
  • Hands-on work
  • A six-week practicum

Learning activities include, but are not limited to: 

  • Avalanche safety
  • Rock climbing
  • Mountaineering
  • Whitewater kayaking
  • Backcountry skiing
  • Backpacking
  • Canoeing 
  • Sea kayaking

Upon completion of the program, students will earn a one-year certificate. Students also have the option to add another 10 months to earn the full 2-year diploma, and either option (certificate or diploma) will count as credits toward a degree in tourism. 

Admission Requirements for the Certificate and/or Diploma

To apply for the Adventure Tourism Business Operations program, you will need to have completed the following:

  • Secondary school graduation or equivalent
  • A minimum of 65% in either English 12, English Studies 12, English First Peoples 12, ENGL 090, or equivalent
  • Recommended: Minimum 60% in either MATH 080, MATH 082, Foundations 11, Pre-Calculus 11, Essentials 11, Applications 11, Principles 11, Computer Science 11, Computer Science 12, Foundations of Math 12, Pre-Calculus 12, Geometry 12, or equivalent

English Language Proficiency Requirements:

  • IELTS Academic: Overall 6.0 with no band less than 6.0(Direct entry academic program requirements)

COTR limits the program to persons 19 years of age or older, with the following exception:

  1. The applicant must reach 19 years of age before the end of Semester 1 (i.e., must turn 19 years of age before December 31)
  2. Must undergo an interview with the instructor, who will determine eligibility
  3. Must provide letters of reference attesting to competency

Tuition & Fees

One-year Certificate 

For international students, the approximate total tuition is $12,693. 

Two-year Diploma

For international students, the approximate total tuition is $24,893. 

Total fees include tuition, miscellaneous fees related to applications and programs, health and dental fee, and insurance. 

Textbook fees are not included. First-year Certificate program textbook costs are estimated to be around $800. Second-year Diploma program textbook costs are estimated to be around $450. 

Tuition fees do not include living expenses. Students must arrange a meeting with an advisor if they are looking to find a dormitory on campus. 

Students must also purchase equipment that is required. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Mountaineering boots
  • Outerwear (eg. Gore-Tex jacket or pants)
  • Insulative layers
  • Sleeping pad
  • Headlamp
  • Overnight pack
  • Sunglasses and goggles
  • Personal first aid kit
  • Watch or altimeter
  • Etc. 

The full list of program requirements can be found on the official COTR website.

Why Choose the Adventure Tourism Business Operations program? 

With COVID-19 slowing down in many areas of the world, tourism is starting back up again. According to the UNWTO, tourism is the world’s fifth fastest-growing industry, and it is forecast to grow far into the future. A growing industry means that more and more skilled workers are needed all over the world. In other words, it is an industry of the future! By taking either the certificate or the diploma, students give themselves the skills and knowledge to be a part of this growth! 

Those who earn the certificate can pursue entry-level careers such as:

  • Lodge assistant interpreters
  • Ski patrol
  • River rafting guide assistants
  • Camp counsellor
  • Office managers
  • Service drivers and guides
  • Assistant camp program directors
  • Small business operations

Those who earn the diploma can pursue careers such as:

  • Entrepreneur
  • Mid-management positions in the tourism industry
  • Recreation or program coordinator
  • Assistant guide
  • Activities instructor 

Both programs include relevant training material and BC provincially-endorsed programs’ standards. Certifications include: 

  • Adventure Tourism – BC Standards and Certification for the Tourism Professional
  • Marine Radio Operator License
  • Commercial Recreation Management Plan
  • Wilderness First Aid
  • Business Plan Development 

Source: College of the Rockies’ Adventure Tourism Business Operations Certificate & Diploma
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