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. 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 (on a contract basis).

Current 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 anticipate openings for the following programs, though we welcome applicants for all regions on a rolling basis.


  • Ecuador & Galapagos Summer Program (Spanish proficiency required)
  • Australia Summer Program

FALL 2017

  • South America Semester (Spanish professional proficiency required)
  • Central America Semester (Spanish professional proficiency required)
  • New Zealand & Australia (prior to commencement, Class 2 (NZ) or Light Rigid (Aus) driver license and P Endorsement (NZ) or Driver Authorisation (Aus) required)


  • Southeast Asia Semester
  • South America Semester (Spanish professional proficiency required)
  • Central America Semester (Spanish professional proficiency required)
  • New Zealand & Australia (prior to commencement, Class 2 (NZ) or Light Rigid (Aus) driver license and P Endorsement (NZ) or Driver Authorisation (Aus) required)

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. Email Aaron Agnew, Operations Director at hq@pacificdiscovery.org with a Pacific Discovery Program Instructor Application and 1-2 photos showing you in your 'element' - doing the things you love.
  3. We will be in touch to schedule a Skype interview with you if we are interested in interviewing you for a position.

*Upon reviewing the position description and required skills, if you don’t think you qualify yet, but you are interested in working with us in the future, please send Aaron your resume/CV and a cover letter detailing your experience and interest in the field. We often coach people on what experiences they need to be ready to be a program instructor and then have people return to work for us a year or two down the line. If this sounds like you, also be sure to check out our Instructor Course -- applications are open now for summer 2017!

Katie feeling triumphant whilst doing service work in the Bay Of Islands, New Zealand

“I really mean it when I say you have changed my life.” I pushed myself to new heights, tried new things, and took new risks. I made amazing friends that I shared some incredible experiences with. I came away from the program overwhelmed by the beauty of the countries we visited, and full of a new confidence in myself and a thirst for adventure. Thank you!” Read more Katie Lane, 2009
Boston College