Frequently Asked Questions


(To learn more about each Frequently Asked Question click the + to show the answers)


What does a field guide do?

Safety is the first responsibility for Field Staff. Field Staff learn to allow the natural consequences provided by the wilderness to unfold, while maintaining both physical and emotional safety. They work with therapists and administrators as a team to maintain a therapeutic environment for our clients.

A typical day begins at 8 AM when students rise and gather to prepare breakfast. With staff supervision, clients eat, perform hygiene and complete camp chores associated with breaking camp in preparation to hike. Staff plan the day’s hike and lead the group to their planned destination. Field Staff then supervise clients as they set up camp. Evenings are generally spent working on hard skills such as learning to make bow and drill fires or doing other aspects of the client’s phase work. The dinner process is much the same as breakfast with hygiene being performed and each client preparing their own meal.

At some point during the day staff lead group discussions on a variety of topics, from providing feedback and processing of the day’s events to topics designed to provoke contemplation of, or insight to, therapeutic goals. While often done at night, these groups can be held at any time during the day .

Field Staff also call in to base twice each day to report plans, locations, group needs, etc. They also communicate with base through written reports and paper work to track client’s physical wellbeing along with therapeutic status and observations.

Are there requirements to be a Field Guide?

State law requires that Field Staff be at least 19 years of age and Lead Instructors must be at least 21 years of age. We prefer applicants to be within 6 months of their 21st birthday but accept younger staff as circumstances allow. To reach the highest levels of responsibility and compensation you must be at least 21 years old. Field Staff must also be drug free and able to pass a pre-employment drug screening along with annual physical exams and a Background Criminal Investigation (BCI). Field Staff must also have a high school degree or equivalent along with current certifications in CPR and First Aid.

What will my work schedule be like?

While most wilderness programs have an 8-day-on shift then 6-day-off shift schedule we run a 4-day-on, 3-day-off schedule. The weekday shift starts at 8 AM Monday morning and ends around 7 PM Thursday night. The weekend shift starts at 4 PM Thursday and ends around noon on Monday. The shorter shift also tends to “drain your batteries” less allowing you to do the things you enjoy on your off time rather than sitting on the couch for several days “recharging”. Staff rotate between the two shifts on an 8-week cycle. During the 8 week cycle each staff will work one double shift (7 days), have one week off (7 days), and work 4 weekend shifts and 4 weekday shifts.

What gear do I need and what gear is provided?

At the end of the internship staff are able to choose between the same gear package we provide our students or the cash value of that package ($400). We also have pro-deals to help you purchase gear at or near wholesale prices. A list of required gear will be provided to you. Gear used by the group is provided by the company.

What about food?

We provide our Field Staff with the same food we provide our clients. This is a simple diet designed by our nutritionist to provide needed nutrients and calories. Staff and clients prepare their own meals individually.

Why is an internship required before I can be staff?

State regulations require that you have 24 days of field experience before you can be counted in the staff to student ratios. During this time you are expected to learn safety and procedure protocols along with experiencing and learning the hard skills you will help teach our clients. There is a checklist of tasks for you to complete in order to complete internship. During the internship you will learn to make and carry a survival pack along with learning skills like making fire with a bow and drill. Our Lead Instructors and even our clients will be happy to help you accomplish all you will need to do. After you complete your internship you will be able to use your own backpack. We are certain you will find the internship to be challenging, rewarding and fun.

How will I be compensated?

Field Instructors can expect to earn at least $35,000 in their first year if they sign a 12-month contract (see below) and meet advancement qualifications on time. Below is the breakdown of compensation for each level. In addition to the compensation listed below, field staff earn an additional $30.00 per day any time the student to staff ratio exceeds 1 staff to 3 students (1 to 4 is the maximum).

Internship – We provide a stipend of $2000.00 for the internship. This is usually paid in installments during the internship as specific goals are met. Field staff are offered a gear package with a value of $400 at the end of internship. They have the option of taking the gear package or having a $400 gear stipend added to the final internship pay.

Assistant Field Staff (AFS) – AFS are paid $135 per day. This is based on 40 hours of regular time and about 20 hours of overtime each week. If more hours are worked the average per-day pay increases proportionately.

Field Staff (FS) – FS are paid $150 per day. With 40 regular hours and 20 overtime hours this averages $150 per day on your 4-day shift.

Lead Instructor (LI) – LI pay starts at $170 per day. Lead instructors also have the opportunity to increase their pay to $200 per day in two stages that take about 3 months per stage. Each stage increases pay by an average of about $15.00 per day.

All field staff sign a night time sleeping agreement as provided for in the Fair Labor Standards Act. This agreement provides that staff are not paid during the 8 sleeping hours with the understanding that should a staff be unable to sleep due to supervision needs they are to be paid for those hours they were unable to sleep.

We also offer Length of Stay contracts to our staff. These contracts are available to staff willing to commit to certain lengths of time as a Field Guide. The time commitment helps us better plan our staffing needs. In return we offer contract completion bonuses in appreciation of the commitment you make to us.

Current Length of Stay contracts are for 9-months and 12-months. The 9-month contract has a completion bonus of $1000 while the 12-month contract doubles the completion bonus to $2000. Other benefits such as paid time off and free gear are included when you sign a length of Stay contract. Staff are able to sign additional contracts upon completion of their current contract as long as their performance and conduct reviews are positive.

Other benefits include dental and vision plans along with our Concierge Medical Services. We also offer pro and wholesale gear deals to our staff!

Is this seasonal work?

No. We operate year round. We require our staff to commit to at least 6 months of employment and give preference to applicants who can commit to 9 months and longer. With the amount of time it takes us to train our staff, shorter terms of employment make it difficult or impossible to meet state regulations for required field time to lead a group.

Where Is STAR Guides located?

Our offices are located in beautiful St. George Utah. The physical address is 377 E. Riverside Dr. Bldg B, St. George, UT 84790. The wilderness we use is located about 40 minutes northwest of our offices. The area is rich with recreation opportunities, including close proximity to Zion National Park.

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