National Geographic Student Travel, together with Putney Student Travel, seeks extraordinary people to work as trip leaders, instructors, and program assistants on our student travel programs. If you are interested in working with us, please familiarize yourself with the different program types on this website, review the Eligibility and Requirements and Application Details sections on this page, then submit a full application to Putney Student Travel using the link below.
Putney Student Travel manages the interview process and hires all Trip Leaders for National Geographic Student Travel programs. Putney Student Travel begins reviewing applications in November and holds interviews through April, or until all positions are filled.
Successful candidates must be able to motivate and engage students in a wide range of situations and settings and have a demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Leadership on all programs requires extensive interaction with and mentoring of students ranging from 9th through 12th grade. As a result of hiring people who already have what it takes to facilitate safe, engaging, and meaningful programs we are able to grant our leaders a high degree of independence and responsibility. Excellent personal leadership skills and the ability to problem-solve and handle multiple ongoing tasks are crucial. Successful candidates have the ability to inspire, lead, mentor, empathize, educate, set boundaries, enforce rules, and collaborate as a team with their co-leader(s). Working as a co-leadership team is paramount to the success of any program, and the size of each team varies. Groups of 18 students or less are led by a two-person leadership team, and groups with 19 or more students may have a leadership trio.
We have a code of conduct that our students read and sign in order to participate. We expect our leaders to enforce these rules throughout the program, and live by them as well.
Our returning leaders agree that some of the most important skills necessary to lead a successful program include abundant energy, good judgment, flexibility, passion for and knowledge about the destination and program themes, patience, resiliency, and a deep desire to work with youth.
It is impossible for all candidates to embody everything on this list, which is why we hire holistic leadership teams. Candidates are encouraged to apply even if they do not meet all of the criteria. Our most successful candidates meet some combination of the following criteria:
Every year we receive thousands of applications from candidates interested in spending their summer working alongside our students. Since these positions are in such high demand, we are able to hire knowledgeable and passionate team members.
Trip Leader Applicants must meet the following requirements:
Extensive experience traveling/studying/living in the program destination(s) preferred.
Program Assistant Applicants (hired for University Workshops and Photo Workshops) must meet the following requirements:
For Expedition and University Workshop Leader Positions:
For Photography Workshop Leader Positions:
All applicants offered a position are required to complete a background check. For programs where you will be responsible for driving students, this includes a driving report. All leaders must submit a background check every year.
Applications are accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis, but we encourage you to apply early in the cycle (November-March). Candidates with the skills and qualifications we seek for available positions will be invited to interview via a video call and/or may be offered an interview in person at our offices in Vermont. We appreciate your patience during the hiring process as we take a holistic approach to put together leadership teams for each program. We are proud to have a high percentage of returning leaders each year and we give preference to those leaders. First-time leaders can expect decisions about leadership opportunities beginning in March until all positions are filled. A more exact decision-making timeline will be clarified during your interview as circumstances may differ.
The health and safety of our leaders and students is our top priority. We continue to monitor the changing COVID landscape and have developed robust health policies and safety protocols that are particular to each destination. Depending on program destination requirements, leaders may be required to self-quarantine before their contract starts, schedule pre-departure testing, and participate in testing throughout the program. More specific guidelines will be provided throughout the hiring and onboarding process. All leaders are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by staff training in June, 2024.
All leaders are required to attend an intensive training in Putney, VT. During training, leaders participate in active and engaging discussions, seminars, activities, and workshops. If your schedule conflicts with these dates please reconsider applying for a position.
Many programs require that one or more leaders travel to the destination up to one week in advance of the program start for preparation. These pre-trip days are compensated as part of the contract.
We believe in fairly and equally compensating our leaders for their time and experience. In addition to offering competitive stipends, we cover all reasonable domestic and international travel to and from training in Vermont as well as to and from your program destination(s). While under contract, we also cover all other program-related expenses, such as accommodations, activities, and food. Stipends are calculated based on level of education, years of related experience in teaching or leading similar programs, language fluency, skills relevant to the program theme(s) (professional photographers, wildlife biologists, etc), and advanced medical training above basic First Aid and CPR. Returning leaders also receive a pay bump for up to four years of leading.
Before submitting your application below, please carefully browse our website and familiarize yourself with the program categories, destinations, and itineraries for which you are most qualified.
In your resume and applicant statement, be sure to highlight your language abilities as well as time spent in countries outside of the U.S., specifically the countries where you are interested in leading programs. Please also elaborate on your experience working with students in a teaching or leadership capacity. Please highlight any experience that would make you an effective and inclusive instructor of your chosen On Assignment focus.
Please apply for the programs for which you are the most qualified. Check back in late November for all 2024 leadership applications!
Putney Student Travel is an equal opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating a safe, supportive, and inclusive environment for our students, leaders, and staff, regardless of their sex, gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, or other protected class.