Climbing Center Student Staff Positions


Climbing Center staff are the primary facilitators of climbing related programs and services. All positions are part-time. Positions involving Open Climb have regular weekly shifts while staff hired to work private group events will work as-needed. All Climbing Center Staff roles have large customer service and risk management components which are vital to maintaining a welcoming and inclusive environment while providing a fun and exciting experience through climbing. Ideal applicants are passionate, dependable, safety-minded, and eager to share the joy of climbing with others.

The Climbing Center has outlined the following general employment progression. Depending on climbing experience and formal training, applicants may be qualified to start at any role in the progression and staff at each role have the knowledge, experience, & training to perform any of the previous roles. Internal training provided as-necessary.

Desk Staff  >  Groups Staff  >  Floor Staff/ Climbing Instructor


Hiring concluded for Fall 2021

Start Date: August 30, 2021
Training will take place August 26 & 27 (all day)

Duration: 16 weeks

Hours: 4-8 per week

Location: GVSU Allendale Campus, Climbing Center 

Application Deadline (Fall '21): Sunday, August 8, 2021

Climbing Center Roles

Desk staff are the front line for welcoming people to our facility, introducing them to the expectations (& climbing in general), and preparing them for a great climbing experience. 


  • Participant check-in, facility orientations, rental gear fit/ adjustment, monitor/ respond to email and phone correspondence, assist with regular equipment inspections, and general facility supervision. 


  • Minimum of 1 semester climbing experience
  • Qualified belayer at GVSU

Preferred Qualifications

  • FIT 128 - Intro to Rock Climbing

Groups staff facilitate private group experiences at the Climbing Center.


  • Participant check-in, facility orientation, climbing gear fit/ use, group belays, facilitating team-building activities, lead debriefs/ reflection, post-event communications.


  • Minimum 2 semesters (~6 mo.) climbing
  • Qualified belayer at GVSU

Preferred Qualifications

  • At least 1 semester climbing at GV

Floor staff/ climbing instructors supervise daily climbing operations, assist participants with their climbing needs, and instruct technical climbing skills.


  • General climber supervision (proper use of equipment), assist participants in need (incl. belaying for, recommending climbs, & technique advice), primary responder in event of injuries on the wall, assist with regular PPE inspection, instruct technical climbing skills (within level of training).


  • Minimum 1 year active climbing with at least 1 semester at GVSU
  • Climbing Wall Instructor certification (PCIA or equivalent)

Preferred Qualifications

  • Own personal harness, climbing shoes, & belay device
  • Attendance of technical skill workshops such as Lead Climbing or any of the Confident Outdoor Climber series
  • Any leadership/ supervisory experience

Route setting is an unpaid position at the Climbing Center that does not require formal employment status. It is a Qualification similar to belaying or lead climbing. Route setting is taught via a mentorship-style development program with new participants being accepted each Fall. 


  • 1 year climbing experience
  • Ability to comfortably and confidently climb at the 5.9 level minimum in our gym.


  • Own personal harness and climbing shoes


  • Commitment to mentorship/ active setting for a full academic year
  • Commitment to assist with ALL aspects of setting including route teardown and hold washing
  • Assistance with setting for at least 1 competition (may participate in other). This includes IM Bouldering league

email if you are interested in becoming a route setter.


Pay for the Desk Staff role starts at Step A, Class 3 of Student Employment's established wage rate schedule ($10.37 as of Jan. 2021)

Outdoor Adventures Anticipated Hiring Timeline


Application Period


Estimated Start


May - Mid-July

Late August

End of August


August - Mid-October


Early January


December - Mid-February


Early May



Training Offered/ Required

Desk Staff

Climbing Wall Management - Internal (includes Professionalism, fundamental equipment (inspection & use), Belay standards, backup belays, ground anchors, general wall supervision, waivers, facility orientations, and emergency action plans)

New Hire Orientation - Internal (includes University and department-specific policies, procedures & systems vital to employment and job function.

Adult CPR, FA, AED w/ BBP - American Red Cross curriculum

Campus Security Authority/ Clery Act training - Internal

Groups Staff

All Desk Staff trainings plus

Rescues - Internal

Group Operations & Facilitated Experiences - Internal

Floor Staff/
Climbing Instructor

All previous trainings plus

Climbing Wall Instructor Certification - PCIA


Q: Do I need to be a crazy strong climber to get hired?
A: Strong, no. Experienced, at least a little. Climbing is a service profession. It's all about your ability to provide an amazing experience for participants and no part of that involves showboating on the wall. While there are some benefits to climbing well; having knowledge of the equipment, systems, & how to move on the wall efficiently will be more helpful in assisting participants and recognizing risky behaviors and correcting them effectively.

Q: Are there any trainings I should take to better my chances of getting hired?
A: Any formal training you can take ahead of applying is helpful. Our technical skill workshops meet, if not exceed industry standards for content and quality. By participating, you are showing an interest in best practices, advancing the respect of climbing as a sport, a dedication to personal development, and familiarizing with programs and services we offer. If we had to list one specifically, the Climbing Wall Instructor certification is very comprehensive and offered once per semester.