Field Staff Job Description and FAQ’s
Interested in becoming a member of our staff? Contact our recruiter at:
RedCliff Ascent Recruiting
757 S. Main St
Springville, UT UT 84663
Phone: (435) 592-4422
Fax: (435) 878-2860
The above address is for recruiting inquiries only. Please direct any other inquiries to our corporate office.
Apply to RedCliff Ascent
You may also fill out our online application if you decide you are interested in becoming a member of our team.
Below are some of the questions that are frequently raised by people interested in working for us at RedCliff Ascent. Simply click a question to show or hide the answer.
- What do Field Instructors do?
- Field Staff are responsible to insure student physical and emotional safety (not necessarily comfort) without interfering with the natural consequences provided by the wilderness. Field staff work with program administrators and therapy teams to ensure therapeutic experience for students. Accurately communicating student progress through both written and verbal reports is necessary.
- What are the requirements to become a Field Instructor?
- Field instructors must be at least 21 years of age. They must be able to pass an annual physical examination, pass pre-employment and random drug screening tests and pass a Federal Criminal Background Check. They must have a high school degree or equivalent and have a current CPR & First Aid certification. Finally, our staff must be patient and love the outdoors.
- Where can I get the certifications?
- CPR and First Aid certifications can be obtained through The Red Cross or American Heart Association. Any training that exceeds these basic requirements will be to your and our benefit. The Wilderness Survival certification can be obtained through one of the many Outdoor Survival schools (For a substantial fee) or through one of the free training courses offered by RedCliff Ascent. These courses are available to you when hired.
- What is a BCI?
- “BCI” stands for Background Criminal Investigation. The state of Utah requires all employees of all State-Licensed programs pass a background criminal check. For individuals who have lived outside of the State of Utah in the last 5 years, an extra screening involving fingerprints is required. BCIs’ are renewed annually. The screenings, conducted by The Office of Licensing for the State of Utah, check for felony and misdemeanor convictions that a person may have on their record. This is a preventative measure the state uses to protect the youth in all licensed programs operated within the State. Any conviction will require a letter of explanation and will be reviewed by a board within the Office of Licensing. Convictions of a violent or sexual nature will result in the application being denied.
- What are your Field Instructors like?
- Our Field Instructors range in age from young adults to grandparents. The male/female balance fluctuates, but is usually around 50/50. Regardless of the diversity, our staff share a deep appreciation for the outdoors and enjoy being a factor in the progress of struggling teens.
- Is this year-round work?
- Yes! RedCliff Ascent operates year-round. While student populations decrease in winter months, we still need and hire staff for this time. We have employees who work full-time, year round and who have been with us for several years.
- Do you accommodate seasonal work or college internships?
- We need at least a 6-month commitment from new employees. We do support college internships, but because of rigorous scheduling and logistical obligations, there is limited time available for handling paperwork and other internship requirements. With Internships, we are generally not able to accommodate Graduate Program Internships. Make sure RedCliff is aware of and agrees to do oversight for the internship requirements you may need.
- How does the 8 on/ 6 off schedule work?
- Shifts begin and end on Wednesdays. Staff coming on-shift are expected to be packed and ready for an in-service meeting at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday morning. Staff returning from the field are required to attend an out-service meeting before beginning their 6-day weekend. Staff remain in the field for the entire 8 days.
- Are there scheduling options other than the 8 on/6 off?
- No. Staff change over is too challenging logistically to do more than once weekly. Almost all wilderness programs follow the 8 on / 6 off schedule for this reason. (Some programs even follow a 15 on / 6 off schedule!) We do have stand down staff on call for justifiable emergencies and shortages, but other than that, employees cover their scheduled shifts. Arrangements can be made to accommodate time off with enough prior notice. RedCliff’s approach to vacations and time off is one our employees find very workable.
- What are your students like?
- Our students are from all over the country and from a variety of backgrounds. Their problems vary from poor-grades and low self-esteem, to chronic substance abuse and gang affiliation. While all of the youth in our program are unique, wilderness is the common thread we use to treat them. Research shows that wilderness programs are most beneficial for specific segments of adolescent and young-adult populations. Our Students are carefully selected to ensure their, and our staff’s, safety.
- What if I decide to move there, will it be hard to find a place to live?
- No! Though many staff live within 45 miles of our Enterprise Utah field office, others travel from Salt Lake City or Provo (an approximate 4 hour drive) every other week. Cedar City and St. George, the closest cities, have a wide range of housing and educational options. Feel free to visit the following links to the St. George and Cedar City chambers of commerce, and southernutah.com
- What is the compensation package?
Internship: $100 per day for three 8 day shifts.
(24 days of work, minimum)
Plus a bonus $200 (One time bonus for completion of internship)
Instructor: From $110 per day up to $129 per day.
$25,000 - $27,000 Annualized earnings.
(With contracts and bonus)
Assistant Head Instructor: From $115 per day up to $138 per day.
$27,000 - $29,000 Annualized earnings.
(With contracts and bonus)
Head Instructor: From $120 per day up to $144 per day.
$28,000 - $30,000 Annualized earnings.
(With contracts and bonus)
Senior Instructor 1: From $130 per day up to $157 per day.
$31,000 - $33,000 Annualized earnings.
(With contracts and bonus)
Senior Instructor 2: From $135 per day up to $162 per day.
$32,000 - $34,000 Annualized earnings.
(With contracts and bonus)
There are bonuses and gear stipends that all combine to make RedCliff’s pay scale very attractive. Our staff move up through the levels of instructors at their own pace. Most are able to achieve the highest level in about 18 months.
- Internship: $100 per day for three 8 day shifts.
- How valuable is my previous experience in this field?
- Very valuable! Though you will be expected to complete our training (7 days) and internship (3 shifts) regardless of previous experience, you may be eligible for an increased wage that will be determined by our Staff Services Director.
- Are there any other benefits available?
- Pro-Deals are available to our Head Instructors or after signing an eight month or 12 month contract with us. We recognize buying needed field equipment is expensive. To help decrease this burden, we offer core gear items through our staff store. In addition to the gear discounts, opportunities for bonuses are available through contract completion and participating in our risk-management incentive program. Also, you will be working with other outdoor enthusiasts who often team up for adventures on the 6-day weekends.
- Are there insurance benefits?
- Yes. Medical and dental insurance benefits are available once you become a Head Field Instructor. You will have 30 days from the date of your promotion to sign up, and at that time you will be able to choose from the company’s options. We now have a Health Savings Account option that is worth examining. Becoming an HI depends on several factors including longevity with RedCliff, previous experience in the industry, and completion of an advancement checklist.
- What is the Trek or Continuous Flow Expedition Model (CFE)?
- A CFE or Trek Model is one in which the program participants are always in the wilderness and on the trail. Field Instructors change shifts out in the wilderness and remain with the students in the field. Each student’s length of stay is contingent upon their individual progress. While enrolled in the program, students do not spend any time indoors.
- Who owns your company?
- Redcliff Ascent is owned by its founders and has been since its inception in 1992. It is now the largest adolescent behavioral healthcare provider in the State of Utah, but is considered a medium size program.
- Do you have career opportunities within your organization?
- Yes. Career opportunities may exist in both field and non-field positions. The current administration is primarily comprised of people who were all field staff at one time. These opportunities are generally contingent upon commitment, longevity of employment and quality of work performed. If career opportunities did not arise while working at RedCliff Ascent, you would be well trained and prepared for positions elsewhere in the industry.
- What about gear?
- You will be expected to purchase and maintain your own gear. You can view a list of the required gear here. Through our staff store and pro-purchase programs, you can acquire the highest quality gear at extremely competitive rates. Gear stipends are provided to Head Field Instructors beginning at six months, and are increased based on longevity. We’ve worked hard to develop field-appropriate gear and will continue to make it accessible to our employees.
- Where are you located and how do I get there?
- From Cedar City: At Cedar City take exit 59 which is Hwy 56 all the way to Beryl Junction and turn left at Beryl Junction. From St. George: At St. George take Bluff Street exit and stay on Bluff all the way to Enterprise. Map.
- Does RedCliff hire married couples?
- Redcliff is very interested in hiring married couples! However we cannot guarantee that both people will be hired. Our experience indicates that healthy couple teams have considerable positive influence on our groups. Though mitigating circumstances sometimes require that couples work separately (in different groups but on the same shift), they usually work together after internship.
- Does RedCliff offer employment contracts?
- Redcliff Ascent offers a 12 month contract that is available to field guides after completing the internship. Employees under contract have access to our pro-purchase program, paid vacation, and a $2000 bonus upon completion. There are also 8 month contracts designed to help students continue educational pursuits without trying to straddle week-on week-off schedules with school (8 months is the same time frame as a summer away from school and the following Fall Semester at school – approximately May through December). Those under 8 month contracts have access to the pro-purchase program and receive an $1350 bonus upon completion.
- What is the weather like in the area of operation?
- Our field is roughly 500 square miles of Great Basin Desert terrain. If you are searching the Internet you might find information on the Indian Peaks range. Indian Peak is the tallest in our field and is often hiked. Many parts of the field are heavily forested with Pinion and Juniper trees with Ponderosa Pine, Scrub Oak and Mountain Mahogany in the higher elevations. Field elevations range from 5000 to 9500 feet. The weather is very unpredictable. Summer temperatures can reach as high as 100 degrees Fahrenheit with nights in the upper 40's. Occasionally, winter nights can fall below 0 with days in the teens. Normally, however, deep winter days hang around freezing. The dry desert climate lends itself well to hiking and camping.
- What does a day in the life of a Field Instructor consist of?
- Most guides are attracted to the autonomy provided them to decide how the week is to be structured. Typically, however, days begin with getting the students up at 8 am, getting breakfast started around the fire pit (they cook their own meals and manage their own food) and doing call-in (using the radio to let base know how your group is doing and where you will be going that day). After breakfast is finished, pots are cleaned, and packs are packed, the guides map a hiking course and head out. Distance and route are sometimes altered by the students needs. When a destination is reached a campsite is selected and the students and guides dig needed holes, raise shelters and gather wood. If there is time left in the day, students are provided time to work on phase-work (written portion of programming) and staff are available to help the students learn to create friction fires, build primitive implements and traps, or help them to process the written curriculum. As the day closes, guides call base again at 4:30 pm to report on the groups’ status and location. After call-in, the group gathers around the fire pit for dinner. After, or during, dinner the group processes the activities of the day, writes journal entries and poems, set goals for the next day and prepares for bed. Before bed the guides administer medications prescribed to the students and everyone retires to their sleeping bags.
- What can I expect during training?
- During the first half of training potential guides experience the program much like the students. They are blindfolded on the ride out to the wilderness to prevent them from “seeing the way out”, and metaphorically “starting a new life”. They are expected to memorize and abide by the rules including calling numbers while away at the latrine, completing camp set-up and break-down chores, and working on friction fires and phase work. Hiking is an integral part of training as it is imperative that guides have the physical stamina to keep up with the students on hikes. After the first few days of training focus transitions from learning what the students experience to the policies and procedures of the program as well as the skills a guide must have to be successful in the wilderness. Training lasts seven days in the field directly and two days in the classroom; total of nine days inclusive.
- What do Field Instructors teach?
- Primitive Skills, Hard Skills, Soft Skills…Field Instructors teach students to create friction fires, build primitive deadfall traps, plant identification and use, stone tool manufacturing and a myriad of other hard-skills. Most important to these skills is the Instructor's responsibility to metaphorically process the lessons each skill teaches. For example, creating fire with friction is difficult. It requires a basic knowledge of indigenous plants, the patient processing of raw materials, following directions, and physical strength and stamina. Often, adolescents struggle with one or more required steps in the fire-making process and tend to poorly handle the frustration and anger associated with the inevitable initial defeat. Some kids might swear and break some of their equipment while others might cry and refuse to try again. Hard-skills serve a valuable therapeutic role by flushing out these unhealthy coping patters. Instructors are expected to patiently help students to recognize and eventually alter dysfunctional coping patterns. Instructors also help students with written phase-work and other program-required tasks.