Wilderness EMS Upgrade Course

Advanced wilderness medicine class for professional rescuers, or those wanting to join teams operating in austere environments. Todays teams include EMT’s, Paramedics, Nurses, and Physicians-we will explore what it means to add the wilderness designation to each of our certifications and identify what practices improve outcomes for our patients and make our rescues safer and more successful. Participants will receive a Wilderness EMS Certification from Wilderness Medical Associates, and 45 hours CME hours.

The class will be taught at a group campground in Moab, the specific location to be announced. Camping will be available on site or hotel accommodations are plentiful nearby in Moab.

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.


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

Certification as a Wilderness EMS is valid for three years and is contingent on current regional or national registration as an EMS provider such as a EMT or paramedic. Other medical professionals will be awarded a course completion certificate. The course is registered for 45 hours of continuing education credit through the CAPCE. CPR recertification can be added by request and at the discretion of the instructor.

Do I get a WEMT Certification?

In the wilderness medical industry, most companies offer a WEMT certification with a completion of a standard WFR. WMA has always had a stand alone class for professional rescuers, and only completion of this class awards a WEMT certificate. The WEMS upgrade was created as the definitive course for any certified medical provider to learn the skills appropriate to wilderness environments. EMT’s upon completion can claim Wilderness EMT certification and will be given upon request a letter to document that a WEMS certification exceeds the industry WEMT standard.


Within three years, graduates may recertify the WEMS certification with a WMA 24-hour Open Recertification Course.


The class will be taught at Big Bend Group Site A, one of the loveliest camping spots near Moab, on the banks of the Colorado River. It is 15 minutes from downtown Moab. Camping is available on site for tents, vans, and campers. Cost for camping is $15 a night per person. Information on the campsite can be found at: https://www.recreation.gov/camping/campsites/98321
If camping is not your thing there are all levels of lodging available in nearby Moab, along with great restaurants.

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

Moab, Utah



Client to Guide Ratio

Up to 12 to 1


Intermediate to advanced


October 6-10, 2022


Price Includes

  • Paramedic (NREMT-P) or Physicians Assistant (PA-C) instructor
  • 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.


  • Course is open to EMT’s, Paramedics, RN’s, PA’s, Nurse Practitioners, and Physicians.

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.