NOLS Earns American Gap Association Accreditation

After nearly a year of evaluation, the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) earned accreditation with the American Gap Association (AGA) last month.

The AGA holds the official standards for gap year associations in the U.S., as recognized by the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission. The organization evaluates gap year programs meticulously based on these standards.

“Accreditation by the American Gap Association represents a commitment to the highest standards in safety, quality and integrity,” the AGA website states. “These organizations have demonstrated the highest caliber of risk management and are the best place to start your Gap Year search.”

NOLS is the first wilderness-focused accredited member of the AGA.

In an email announcing NOLS’ accreditation, AGA Executive Director Ethan Knight noted, “NOLS has addressed all of our questions beyond satisfaction!”

“NOLS has shown a prodigious excellence in education, ethics, and most importantly, safety,” Knight said. “Any student would be lucky to join a NOLS gap year program whether domestically or internationally, and we at the AGA are proud to benefit from associating with such a high caliber of programming.”

NOLS pursued accreditation out of a strong belief in the quality of a NOLS education and the applicability of a NOLS course to the goals of a gap year. The stamp of approval from the AGA will provide confidence to students seeking adventure, education and leadership in their gap year. NOLS offers courses all over the world, and all courses are approved for academic credit. Learn more at

 About NOLS

Since legendary mountaineer Paul Petzoldt founded the school in 1965, more than 254,000 students have graduated from the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), the leader in wilderness education. Whether through field-based courses offered in some of the most awe-inspiring locations in the world or classroom-based courses, the school provides transformative educational experiences to students of all ages. Graduates emerge as active leaders with lifelong environmental ethics and outdoor skills. To discover the NOLS experience or to bring a course to your business or organization, call (800) 710-NOLS (6657) or visit