Wilderness Medicine


Credit: Jared Steinman

Over 30 Years of Wilderness Medicine Education

NOLS offers wilderness medicine courses that will prepare you to recognize, treat, and prevent injuries and illnesses that are common in the outdoors. 

You’ll learn NOLS’ industry-leading, data-informed wilderness medicine curriculum and build new skills through hands-on practice scenarios. 

NOLS Wilderness Medicine 30th Anniversary

Why Choose NOLS Wilderness Medicine

Students attentively gathered around an instructor giving a hands-on lesson, about medicine.

Your Wilderness Medicine Instructors

NOLS wilderness medicine instructors are expert educators with years of medical and wilderness leadership experience. They are, first and foremost, intentional educators. With backgrounds ranging from veterans of the U.S. Navy to National Park Service Rangers, outdoor educators, flight nurses, and more, they bring real and deep experiences to teaching the recognition, treatment, and prevention of wilderness emergencies.

Immersive Wilderness Medicine Curriculum

Developed by NOLS staff who are industry experts and experienced practitioners, our curriculum is field tested by our expedition instructors and informed by decades of injury and illness data. These help us prepare students to respond to the most likely incidents that happen in the wilderness.
Three students practicing Wilderness Medicine assessment techniques in the field

Learn Essential Wilderness Medicine Skills

Develop wilderness medicine skills like how to assess and respond to injuries, illnesses, and accidents in the wild, emphasizing improvisation with limited resources. Key topics include wilderness first aid, CPR, wound management, splinting, and patient evacuation techniques. Our courses emphasize teamwork, critical thinking, and decision-making, ensuring that you are prepared to provide effective medical care when conventional help is distant or unavailable, fostering confidence in outdoor adventures.
Course participants work in the snow to treat a patient with an arm injury during a NOLS Wilderness Medicine scenario.

Develop Risk Management Skills

These courses approach risk assessment and mitigation from a patient-focused, wilderness medicine perspective. You will learn to recognize potential medical complications, make informed decisions, and prioritize patient wellbeing. Through hands-on scenarios and practical exercises, students not only develop proficiency in wilderness medicine but also gain the ability to adeptly manage medical risks in various environments. This preparation equips you with the competence and confidence to navigate the unpredictable medical challenges posed by remote wilderness settings.

NOLS Wilderness Medicine

Find A Course

Find Your Wilderness Medicine Course

Wilderness Medicine for Outdoor Enthusiasts

The 2-day Wilderness First Aid course will give you a fun, hands-on introduction to managing common injuries, more serious emergencies, and everything in between. No previous experience required.
Student assessing a patient's eyes in the field

Wilderness Medicine for Outdoor Professionals

For those who work or aspire to work in the outdoors, a wilderness medicine certification is the credential employers value. Courses include the 10-day Wilderness First Responder and our intensive, 26-day Wilderness EMT. These are the industry standard for professional guides, trip leaders, search and rescue team members, and more.

Wilderness Medicine for Medical Professionals

NOLS courses for medical professionals (PA, RN, EMT, MD, etc.) offer CMEs and are designed to help you adapt your urban medical knowledge to remote settings. In the wilderness, you may have minimal access to equipment and your ability to improvise is crucial to your patient’s well-being.

Wilderness Medicine for Veterans & Active Duty

Wilderness medicine certifications are credentials employers value and will prepare you to respond to emergencies in remote, resource-limited environments

Wyss Campus

Designed for Wilderness Medicine Education

You’ll enjoy the rugged landscape of rural Wyoming both for its beautiful views as well as the opportunity to manage real-life terrain and weather conditions during simulated medical scenarios. 

Specifically designed for teaching wilderness medicine, students enjoy two indoor classrooms, easy access to outdoor practice space, cabin-style housing, and delicious on-campus meals.

The Wyss Campus facilities combine cutting-edge, environmentally friendly design with sweeping views of the striking red rock formations of Lander’s Red Canyon. From solar power and composting toilets to geothermal heating and cooling, this is an outstanding example of how to minimize human impact on the land. Join a group of motivated students to learn how to respond to medical emergencies—at home and in the backcountry.

Learn more about earning a Wilderness EMT certification