Go Beyond WEMT Training with Our Wilderness EMS Certification

Wilderness medicine and rescue training for aspiring outdoor professionals

There is a growing need for outdoor professionals who know the special requirements of wilderness medicine. In the fall of 2005, Colorado Mountain College (CMC) Summit Campus embarked on a mission to develop an unrivaled program in the enormously expanding field of wilderness medicine and rescue training. Since then, thousands of students have trained and certified in wilderness medicine and rescue training through our unique Wilderness Emergency Medical Services Program (WEMS Program).

CMC’s WEMS Certification sets the industry standard for individuals who seek specialist-level wilderness rescue and medical training. This certification program was developed by professional wilderness rescuers to provide the most updated, realistic, hands-on training in wilderness rescue medicine. CMC’s WEMS program always has its finger on the pulse of rescue medicine and will provide students with cutting edge scenario-based instruction. The Breckenridge area offers the perfect venue to hone your rescue skills and learn from world class professional rescuers.

The WEMS certification program offers students:

  • A technician level wilderness rescue certification program that goes well beyond a typical WEMT course (total of 15 credit hours or 322.5 contact hours).
  • Courses taught by industry professionals with decades of experience in rescue medicine.
  • The perfect venue for specialized wilderness rescue medicine (high altitude mountains, world class skiing and rafting, multi-pitch crags, local hospital and mountain clinics).
  • Extensive student resources including: patient simulators, online learning platforms, skill videos, conferences, internships and print or e-books for student courses.
  • Top-notch industry standard medical kits, specialty wilderness medicine tools and technical evacuation equipment that is used by the pro’s.
  • A state and nationally approved EMT training center for students who need their EMT.
  • For students interested in outdoor education or guiding the Breckenridge campus also offers an AA in Outdoor Education and a Certificate of Completion in Outdoor Education.

The Wilderness Emergency Medical Services (WEMS) program prepares you to work with organizations such as:

  • Search and rescue
  • Ski patrol
  • Outdoor education & guide/outfitter companies
  • National Park Service
  • Bureau of Land Management

WEMS curriculum

Students can start the WEMS certification program during any semester. Students must simply fill out an application to CMC, and then enroll in the WEMS courses. Many students complete the certification in just over a year (4 semesters), depending on their work schedule and depending on if they already have their EMT certification completed before starting the WEMS program. CMC, Breckenridge campus, has an outstanding EMT program for students who need their EMT certification (national & state certification offered).


The WEMS certification is designed for EMT’s and paramedics. Many students have their EMT before taking the WEMS certification. Other students take the EMT concurrently with the WEMS classes. You must have your EMT before taking the Wilderness EMT Upgrade class. None of the other WEMS classes have prerequisites. So you can start the program with or without having your EMT.

WEMS Program Requirements (12 credit hours):

  • Wilderness EMT Upgrade, 2 credits (45 hours) (prerequisite of EMT for this course)
  • Survival Skills, 1 credit (16 hours)
  • Outdoor Leadership, 2 credits (45 hours)
  • Orienteering, 1 credit (30 hours)
  • Avalanche Level 1, 1 credit (22.5 hours)
  • Alpine Rescue, 2 credits (45 hours)
  • Swiftwater Rescue, 1 credit (30 hours)
  • High Angle Rescue, 2 credits (45 hours)

Program Electives (3 credit hours):

  • Wilderness technical rescue, advanced rope rescue, rock climbing, ice climbing, advanced avalanche courses, survival plants, canyon orientation, mountain orientation, snow orientation, kayaking, backcountry skiing, IV-therapy.

Life after WEMS

  • After graduating our students are likely to be found…
  • Working as a ski patroller and EMT at a local ski area
  • An active team member for Summit County Search and Rescue
  • Working as an EMT in a local mountain clinic to gain more medical experience
  • Working as park rangers in state and federal parks
  • Working as medical and wilderness rescue educators
  • Working as an outdoor educator or guide (raft guiding, climbing, mountaineering)
  • Joining the special forces to become an army medic, ranger or PJ
  • Continuing their education and getting their paramedic certification

All of our instructors offer multi-disciplinary backgrounds with a minimum of a decade of experience in Emergency Medical Services, Search & Rescue, Guiding/Trip-Leading and/or Outdoor Education. Our program remains the standard in Wilderness Emergency Medical Services. Check out our program info, and please call or email any questions!

Download Program Brochure (pdf)

All or part of this operation is conducted on Public Lands and Waters under special permits and agreements from the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
U.S. Forest Service Colorado State Parks