Wilderness EMT (WEMT) Training and Certification

Training as a wilderness emergency medical technician (WEMT) can prepare you for expeditions, rescue efforts and medical emergencies in the backcountry. Check the prerequisites for enrolling in WEMT training programs, and explore what you'd study as a trainee. Review the requirements for certification in WEMT. Find out if online training options are available for this field. Schools offering Fire & Emergency Services degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Wilderness emergency medical technicians (WEMTs) assist with rescue efforts and medical emergencies in the wilderness. Training consists of basic emergency care and can be partially completed online.

Classes Wilderness rescue, environmental medicine, body systems, patient assessment, oxygen administration, backcountry medicine, wilderness protocols, toxins
Training Takes up to a month to complete and consists of classroom time and hands-on experience
Certification Issued by the National Registry for Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT); standard EMT license; CPR certification

What Are the Prerequisites Before Beginning a WEMT Training Program?

Some WEMT training programs require you to have a standard EMT license as a prerequisite. Others want to you have at least a CPR certification. You may also be asked to undergo a background check and provide health records, such as a TB test and immunizations. You will want to be prepared for work outdoors in all weather conditions and be in good physical shape.

What Topics Will I Study While in WEMT Training?

You can expect to study a range of topics, from basic emergency care to building an impromptu litter for carrying a victim. You'll build skills and knowledge in the following areas:

  • Backcountry safety and rescue
  • Traumatic injury
  • High-altitude sickness
  • Remote environment accidents and rescue
  • Hypothermia
  • Lightning related injuries
  • Backcountry communications
  • Dehydration
  • Infectious diseases
  • Heat and cold exposure
  • Cold water immersion
  • Splinting

What Will My WEMT Training Entail?

Wilderness EMT programs can take up to one month to complete and are usually composed of two major components: classroom time and hands-on experience. In the classroom, you'll talk about what the human body can incur in the backcountry or on the open water, learn how to handle various medical situations and be taught how to treat the injured when you're first on the scene. You will also spend a block of time outdoors developing skills in hands-on labs. These include simulated emergencies in challenging country locations where you and your classmates will act as victims and rescuers. You'll learn not only emergency treatment measures, but also how to get a victim out of the wilderness as quickly and safely as possible.

At the end, you may take a written test on your classroom studies and a practical test on your outdoor lab work. Once you complete the course, you'll be eligible for WEMT certification.

What Is WEMT Certification?

WEMT certification proves you have the knowledge and abilities to carry out your work. The National Registry for Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) issues the exam online, which has been adopted by most states as the standard (www.nremt.org). Some states issue their own exam. Your certification will be valid for 2-3 years, depending on which state you work in. After that, you must follow a re-certification process to affirm your qualifications as an emergency medical professional, either through continuing education or a re-certification exam.

Is WEMT Training Available Online?

You can do part of your classroom training online. The texts and requirements are largely the same as with the classroom-based course. All you generally need are access to the Internet and a computer and the ability to download texts, PDF files and videos. You can access all your reading materials and tests, and you may study at your own pace. As with the normal classroom-based course, you'll participate in practical, hands-on training offered at various training locations. You can earn credit towards re-certification through online courses as well.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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