Wilderness EMS Upgrade Course

The WEMS Upgrade course builds on the EMS professional’s training and expertise to meet the special challenges of unconventional settings. It is designed for EMS personnel working in search and rescue, disaster response, remote job posts, and on wilderness expeditions. The curriculum emphasizes wilderness medical protocols, appropriate technology, prolonged patient care and the leadership role in managing medical emergencies in the field. This 5-day (45 hour) course will upgrade state EMT certification to Wilderness EMT. Current certification at or above the basic level is a prerequisite for admission. 45 hours of CEHs are available from Maine EMS and 45 Advanced Level CEUs from CECBEMS. All hours can be applied to recertifying state and national registry EMT and paramedic certifications.

Class Format

This course is presented in 45 hours over 5 days. Mornings are devoted to lectures, discussions and quizzes with afternoons devoted to outdoor practical skills and scenarios. Evenings are reserved for study and assignments. Expect rescue scenarios with made-up victims and simulated wounds to prepare you for backcountry emergencies. Sessions may be videotaped for enhanced learning.


All teaching materials are provided by Wilderness Medical Associates International at no additional cost. This includes a book of lecture handouts, our case study workbook, SOAP notes, our textbook, Wilderness and Rescue Medicine and The Wilderness Medical Associates International Field Guide.

Completion and Grades

Successful completion with certification is based on 100% attendance, satisfactory performance on homework assignments and written quizzes, demonstrated proficiency with practical skills and a grade of 80% or better on final written exam. Wilderness Medical Associates International is committed to making reasonable accommodation to any student with special needs.

Certification and CEUs Available

All EMTs and paramedics who successfully complete the WEMS Upgrade course will receive WEMT and Anaphylaxis certification cards from Wilderness Medical Associates International. Other medical personnel who successfully complete the course will receive a wilderness EMT Audit card. Certification and Audits remains valid for three years. Many state and regional EMS offices have approved the WEMS Upgrade course for continuing education credit. Students are responsible for obtaining prior approval and filing all appropriate paperwork with his or her local EMS office. This course is approved by CECBEMS for 45 Advanced Level CEHs. Please contact Wilderness Medical Associates International for support materials.


Within three years, graduates may recertify the Wilderness portion of their certification (provided their EMT license is current) by way of the 36-hour Wilderness Advanced First Aid Course, the 36-hour Bridge Course, or the 24-hour Open Recertification Course. To renew their EMT license graduates must follow the procedures and requirements of the issuing state.

A rescuer in the mountains

Program Overview

Course Description

The WEMS Upgrade course builds on the EMS professional’s training and expertise to meet the medical challenges of unconventional settings.


5 days


Telluride, CO



Client to Guide Ratio

Up to 12 to 1


Intermediate to advanced


There are currently no classes scheduled.


Price Includes

  • Paramedic (NREMT-P) or Physicians Assistant (PA-C) as the lead instructor
  • EMT or great for assistant instructors
  • All instructors are Practicing Medical Professionals, i.e., they have actual patient contact on a regular basis and are not just instructors.

Price Does Not Include

  • Travel to the course site from your location
  • Items of personal nature
  • Individual travel costs, delays, etc.
  • Excess baggage fees
  • Personal clothing or gear
  • Alcoholic drinks and personal snacks
  • Hotels before, during, and after trip
  • Recommended Travel/trip cancelation insurance


  • Bring appropriate clothing for the location and time of year. Remember that, rain or shine, much of our time is spent outside. You will also needs pens, a notebook, and a watch with a second hand. See our Student Handbook and speak with the sponsor for more information.


  • Must be an EMT-B at a minimum

Course Outline

  • Day 1: 10.5 hours  Logistics and Introduction; General Concepts; Patient Assessment System; Critical Body Systems Review; PAS/SOAP Practice; Spine Injury Assessment; Medical/Legal Issues
  • Day 2: 9 hours Test I/Review; Anaphylaxis and Asthma; ALS/BLS Appropriate Technology; Lifting, Moving, Extrication; Litter Packaging and Carries; Scenarios 1
  • Day 3: 8.5 hours  Test II/Review; Pain Management; Soft Tissue Injury; Wound Cleaning and Exploration; Musculoskeletal Injuries; Extremity Splinting, Dislocations; Scenarios 2
  • Day 4: 9 hours Test III/Review; Environmental Medicine; Scenarios 3; Search and Rescue; SAR Exercise
  • Day 5: 8 hours  SAR Exercise Debrief; Expedition Medicine; Scenarios IV; Medical Kits and Medications; Test IV and Course Debrief

Registration & Cancelation

  • Unfortunately, due to extremely high demand we have a very strict registration and cancelation policy. We can not transfer you to an other program. WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND PURCHASING TRAVEL INSURANCE! We recommend the TravelEx Insurance Travel Select plan with the Adventurer Plus Pak upgrade.
  • To reserve your spot on a wilderness medical program a 50% deposit is required if applying more than 60 days out. If your trip/course starts in less than 60 days please submit full payment. 100% off all program fees are due 60 days prior to start date.
  • Program fees are non-transferable. If notice of cancellation is given in writing at least 60 days prior to the trip start date, you will be refunded your full deposit except for a $50 processing fee.
  • If notice of cancellation is given in writing within 59 – 30 days prior to the trip start date, a cancellation fee equal to the deposit amount will be charged. If notice of cancellation is given in writing less than 30 days prior to the trip start date, a cancellation fee equal to 100% of the program fee will be charged.