Wilderness Medicine and Rescue Semester

Wilderness Medicine and Rescue Semester


  • Medical Certifications include NREMT, WEMT
  • Wilderness Certifications of Training: Rock Rescue, Leave No Trace Master Educator, and either Swiftwater Rescue or Recreational Avalanche Rescue 1
  • 90 days (21 classroom days, approximately 56 field days)
  • Designed for the motivated and disciplined student
  • Hands-on emergency room rotations during the WEMT certification
  • Professional preparation in outdoor leadership, wilderness medicine, and rescue
The Wilderness Medicine and Rescue Semester is a unique blend of wilderness skills, medicine, rescue, and leadership.

The course is designed for those who aspire to be members of a search and rescue team, lead wilderness trips, learn risk management for whitewater, assist with rock rescue, or work on an urban ambulance. If this is how you want to spend your time, then this semester will help you achieve those goals.

The semester starts with an intensive four-week Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician (WEMT) course, followed by nine field weeks of backpacking, a rock climbing and rock rescue camp, and either river travel and rescue or winter travel with avalanche rescue. The semester is woven with themes of leadership, expedition behavior, communication and decision-making, as well as wilderness evacuation, swift water, and rock rescue skills.

This demanding semester will challenge you in both traditional and wilderness classrooms. The days are long, and the expectations are high. The rigors of this semester will provide you with the theoretical and practical foundations for a career in outdoor recreation, medicine, and rescue.

NOLS' Wyss Wilderness Medicine Campus in Wyoming is the home for the classroom, scenarios, and clinical rotations of the WEMT course. A three-week backpacking expedition through the red rock canyons of southern Utah (spring and fall semester) or the Wind River Range (summer semester) focuses on fundamental wilderness skills, leadership and wilderness evacuations.

The rock climbing section (spring, summer, fall) will include basic skills such as bouldering, belaying, and knots as well as rock rescue skills and continued themes of leadership and environmental studies. A multi-week river expedition through Utah's scenic river canyons will introduce you to river canoeing (spring) or kayak/raft (summer) and swiftwater rescue skills. A winter camping expedition and avalanche rescue seminar conclude the fall semester.

The climbing and rock rescue, river travel and river rescue or winter travel and avalanche rescue skills are taught in the framework of a NOLS field expedition. If your interest is purely rescue skills, you should seek training with other providers. If your interest is learning medical and rescue skills in the context of a NOLS expedition, this is the semester for you.

Certifications: Wilderness and Urban Emergency Medical Technician, Leave No Trace Master, Basic Swiftwater and Rock Rescue, Swiftwater Rescue (spring and summer), Recreational Avalanche Rescue 1 (fall).

Required WEMT prerequisites due 45 days before the course begins.


Location NOLS Rocky Mountain
Tuition $16,500 Learn about Financial Aid
Equipment Deposit $700
Minimum Age 18
Duration 90 Days
Types Outdoor Educator and Semester & Year
Start/End Lander, Wyoming
Fly in/out Casper, Wyoming
College Credit
  • 19 Credit Hours
  • 9 Hours WEMT
  • 2 Hours Environmental Studies
  • 3 Hours Leadership Techniques
  • 2 Hours Skills Practicum
  • 3 Hours Risk Assessment
Learn about College Credit
High School Credit
  • 2 Carnegie Units
  • 1 CU Physical Education
  • 1 CU Leadership
Learn about High School Credit

“The most rewarding aspects of this course were opportunities for personal growth, practice with group dynamics and team building and getting to know an amazing crew of NOLS instructors.”

-Lauryn H.