Survival Specialist

Model self-reliance and survival skills in extreme situations.
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Quick Stats


What do Survival Specialists do?

A Survival Specialist is a Soldier who’s been trained in the U.S. military’s Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) program, which trains elite military personnel to survive in uncertain or hostile environments. That includes emergency situations where they’re cut off from support and supplies, as well as combat situations that place them behind enemy lines.

In other words, while “surviving” the workday for most people means getting through the staff meeting without falling asleep, making their morning commute without screaming expletives at the car in front of them, and not spilling coffee on their favorite shirt at lunch, “surviving” the workday for Survival Specialists isn’t a figure of speech. It’s their job description. Literally.

As a Survival Specialist, typically known as a SERE Specialist, you therefore teach SERE survival techniques to Soldiers in the Air Force, Army, Navy, and Marines. Naturally, your curriculum includes four components: “Survival,” “Evasion,” “Resistance,” and “Escape.”

“Survival” involves, for example, how to build shelters, fabricate makeshift tools and weapons, find and preserve water, and hunt, trap, and forage for food. “Evasion,” on the other hand, involves how to avoid capture by enemy forces by covering your tracks and hiding. “Resistance,” meanwhile, involves how to resist interrogation, exploitation, and indoctrination as a prisoner of war. And finally, “Escape” involves how to plan and execute an escape from captivity.

Although most of your students are military personnel, you might also teach survival skills to civilians who need them — especially if you’re a retired SERE Specialist. In that case, you might teach private survival courses to the likes of Police Officers, Firefighters, and Park Rangers.

Forget rush hour, staff meetings, and irate customers: Your job is surviving famine, drought, and war!


Should I be a Survival Specialist?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Team Player: You're able to listen, communicate, and work with tons of different people.
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.

  • Also known as: Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear (Cbrn)Specialist, Cryptologic Support Specialist See More

    How to become a Survival Specialist

    Survival Specialists generally graduate from high school and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate or Associate’s degree to increase your chances of finding a good job. Check out these schools offering Survival Specialist-related education!
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