Find the Best Survival Skills Schools Near You
Are you willing to trust just any instructor with your life?
If you haven’t thought about it, do.
The skills survival skills instructors teach can, in an emergency, be the difference between surviving or not.
At the very least, tips from a knowledgeable instructor can save you costly, energy-zapping, psychologically-draining mistakes in the field.
Training is what often makes the difference in handling an emergency
well or poorly.
If you've learned practical survival skills from a
competent instructor and a have a plan for dealing with the unexpected
in place, you've got a big leg up on the general population.
Survival experts take on a massive responsibility with their students. The skills taught may save someone’s life. Everyone should take it very seriously.
7 Questions to Ask Before You Sign Up for Any Survival Skills Class
- What is their area of expertise? This is a basic, preliminary query and should be the first one you ask when vetting an expert’s, or school’s, credentials. If you’re interested in, say, jungle survival, but the instructor focuses on the desert environment, move on. No sense wasting each other’s time and your hard-earned money.
- What are their credentials? Just like there are doctors who train other doctors, there are survival teachers who train other teachers. For example, if an instructor trains our military (particularly the special forces), you know you’ll learn some useful skills.
But don’t be afraid to dig a little deeper. If an expert instructed the military a while back and only for a short period, this should raise a red flag. Though not an automatic disqualification (there could be a reasonable explanation why their services were no longer required), recent, long-term and continuous teaching experience is best. Of course, you’ll pay a premium for this level of quality. Only you can decide if it’s worth it.
- Do they practice what they preach? Cody Lundin (of Discovery Channel’s Dual Survival) is a great example of a “method” survivalist. A recognized expert in primitive desert survival skills, Cody is famous for going everywhere barefoot (and has for over 20 years) in order to stay in close contact with his environment. Idiosyncrasies aside, Cody lives in the Arizona desert and routinely uses many of the techniques he teaches in his personal life. It’s this kind of commitment that inspires trust in his methods.
- Do they provide references? Interviewing past workshop attendees can help you evaluate an instructor's chops. Ask questions like, what did they find to be most useful about the experience? The most problematic? Would they attend another workshop? If not, why?
Remember, one student’s opinion may not be enough. Employers ask for multiple references for a reason. If possible, talk to several students before going ahead.
- Do they offer a money-back guarantee? Survival skills teachers must have confidence in their methods. If they refuse to offer a guarantee, there’s probably a good reason why.
- Are they insured? Accidents happen even under the supervision of a highly-trained expert. If something happens, you need to be covered. Remember, survival experts have a huge responsibility.
- Are they licensed? While there isn’t any standardized, formal accreditation required to teach general survival skills, many instructors are certified by other organizations (like the AHA and NREMT) to teach certain disciplines, like emergency wilderness medicine.
Additionally, the expert or school is still a business. Those with a business license are less likely to be a fly-by-night outfit. An “A” rating with the Better Business Bureau is even better.
Survival Skills School Directories
Remember that while it is the teacher's responsibility to offer instruction in a disciplined, safe and effective manner, it is your job as the student to do your homework.
There are dozens of experts and schools scattered across the country. If you don’t find what you’re looking for with the resources below, odds are that doing a simple internet search for “survival school (your state)” will offer a number of choices for survival instruction in your area.
Also, don't be afraid to travel to attend a more reputable school. Odds are, the extra hassle and expense will pay off in better training.
Check out these directories for more on survival skills and training:
- Survival World - State by state and country by country breakdown of survival schools. Fairly comprehensive and easy to navigate. A good resource.
- Equipped to Survive - Directory of survival instructors and schools across the U.S. and around the world. Not updated frequently or particularly well organized, but you may find a gem. Includes out-of-business listings.
- Solo Wilderness Medicine - Self-acclaimed “Oldest Continuously Operating School of Wilderness Medicine in the World.” Offers multiple certifications for medical professionals at various locations throughout the U.S. and globe. If you want instruction on emergency amputation with a dull spoon, this is the place.
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