There are a lot of terms in use these days with regard to outdoor and survival personalities, and every so often an argument seems to break out as to who is an expert and who isn’t.
Some of these titles are bestowed by tv networks or other media outlets, while others are self-bestowed by instant experts. Regardless of where they come from, here’s a short list of terms and how we define them at the Jack Mountain Bushcraft School. Your results may vary.
Expert – 10,000 hours of accumulated experience in a specific field or task. The number isn’t an absolute, but it must be high enough so that there’s no question the person has spent many years at focused, dedicated study and practice.
Professional – Person gets paid to do it.
Full-Time Professional = That’s all the person does to earn a living, so they’ve achieved a reasonable level of success.
Master – Professional with 10 years of documented field experience with a minimum of 400 hours per year. This is how the state of Maine now has it set up when you want to upgrade your guide license to Master status, although their number of documented hours per year are slightly lower.
I’m not a fan of big egos, but false modesty doesn’t rate a whole lot higher. I am a big fan of objective assessment systems. Hopefully this will define the terms as we use them and add some clarity to waters that are often so muddy that nothing can be seen through them.