Exceptional Program Instructors are central to the success of a Pacific Discovery program, as we rely on our field staff to provide a safe and transformative experience for our students.

Pacific Discovery values its staff – they are among the best paid in the gap year field – and are well-supported while running programs.

Being a program instructor for Pacific Discovery is a tremendous opportunity in terms of career development and personal growth. We invest in our instructors through comprehensive training, goal setting, access to expert consultants, and ongoing professional development tracks over the an instructor’s tenure with us. With 70 (semester) and 30 (summer) field-days each program, instructors gain deep experience in facilitating expedition and journeys on the job. They are empowered to bring their own flavor and approach to the role, allowing them to develop a personal teaching philosophy and voice.

As one of the oldest organizations in the field, yet still a small intimate team, instructors' level of exposure and insight is unparalleled. From training and support with issues of mental health to a robust and dynamic curriculum you’ll learn to teach, you could move from this role to outdoor education, student affairs/higher education, wilderness therapy, guiding, tourism management, or an administrative role in international education with ease.

It is no easy job, though – a Pacific Discovery program instructor is a leader, mentor, and facilitator. Working with a co-instructor, they are responsible for a group of up to 14 students (gap year and university students, aged 18-24 years) throughout 10-week semester programs and 4-week summer programs. This is a 24/7 role for the duration of the program with no scheduled time “off”. We look for passionate educators who are well travelled, comfortable with the varied components of the role, and empathetic and approachable to students and partner organizations alike.

As Program Instructor, your main focus is to ensure that programs run safely and smoothly while supporting students to have a transformational experience. The role encompasses:

  • student safety and welfare;
  • mentoring and role-modeling;
  • coordinating travel logistics;
  • budgeting and payments;
  • building relationships with in-country partners; and
  • facilitating experiential education elements – program curriculum and group reflection, service-learning projects, group dynamics, and in-country interpretation around environments, culture, history, sustainability.

If you believe you have the passion and experience to be a program instructor, please carefully read the detailed position description and required skills to consider applying. Preference is given to applicants willing to commit to instructing for two years / 4 consecutive semester seasons (on a contract basis).

Current Job Openings

We generally plan and recruit for Program Instructors up to 12 months in advance, so please contact us now if you are interested in a future position. We currently have openings for the following programs, though we welcome applicants for all regions on a rolling basis.


Now seeking applicants who are:

- New Zealand and Australian Nationals or those with the legal right to work in these countries

- Instructors with their New Zealand 'P' license

- Fluent Spanish speakers

- Over the age of 25

Application Process

If you would like to be considered for a future position as Pacific Discovery Program Instructor, please:

  1. Read the Position Description and Required Skills thoroughly.
  2. Download the Pacific Discovery Program Instructor Application
    1. Download it to your own device.
    2. Fill out and save as a PDF file. DO NOT fill out the form online. 
    3. Email info@pacificdiscovery.org with your completed application PDF and 1-2 photos showing you in your 'element' - doing the things you love.
  3. We will be in touch to schedule an interview with you.
Review Pacific Discovery - Western USA
Ilana exploring Bryce Canyon National Park

“While traveling the Western United States, I saw the scenery change from the warm desert to beautiful mountains. As the scenery changed, my perspective on the world around me grew and my connections with those around me grew as well.” Ilana Scheer, 2021
Western US Semester Program

Review Pacific Discovery - Costa Rica
Horse riding in Costa Rica

“Over the course of my 6 week trip to Costa Rica I learned so much about respecting other people’s cultures and being a global citizen. This trip changed the way I look at important issues at home and in my own life such as consumership and sustainability. I highly recommend this program to anyone who is looking to enrich their knowledge and experience traveling in a foreign country. It’s a trip I will always appreciate and never forget!” Sofia Romo, 2021
Costa Rica Mini Semester

Review Pacific Discovery - Hawaii
Surf kayaking in Hawaii

“I had the trip of a lifetime! I made great friends and had experiences that I will take with me wherever I go in life. I feel that I really grew as a person. I can now step out of my comfort zone without second guessing it and am so much more confident. ” Being able to have such an incredible experience during a pandemic was inspiring and I am beyond grateful for my 70 days in Hawaii with Pacific Discovery. I would 100% recommend the program to anyone wanting to have a life-changing experience and wanting to make life-long friends in an incredible setting. Thank you PD!” Read more Camryn schwartz, 2021
Hawaii Semester Program