Wilderness emergency medical technicians work in outdoor and rural areas as first responders to emergencies. Those seeking these positions can become either a wilderness first responder or a wilderness EMT. Certification is required for these positions and is similar to EMT certification requirements.
Wilderness emergency medical technicians (WEMTs) practice emergency medical care in rural and remote locations, such as forests, deserts or other outdoor areas. Preparation and licensure for WEMTs is typically the same as it is for urban EMTs, though WEMTs may require some specialized training and assessment.
|Required Education||Training programs at the appropriate EMT level: basic, intermediate, and paramedic; some programs lead to certificates; paramedic programs resulting in associate's degrees are available|
|Certification||Certification required in all states; most states require passing National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) exams|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||24% for all EMTs and paramedics*|
|Median Salary (2015)||$31,980 for all EMTs and paramedics*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Wilderness EMT Salary Information
While there is no salary information available specific to Wilderness EMTs, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the median annual salary for all emergency medical technicians and paramedics was $31,980 as of May 2015 (www.bls.gov). A technician's location, skills and employer also factor into possible earnings. Those working for state governments made the highest average salary of $59,890, according to BLS data. Wilderness EMTs often require more medical training than their urban counterparts, since institutional medical services aren't readily available.
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Wilderness EMT Career Information
When pursuing a career of this type, it is important to differentiate between the classification of a Wilderness First Responder (WFR) and Wilderness EMT. A WFR provides a basic first-aid assessment and has a rudimentary set of medical skills. A WEMT typically has a greater knowledge and higher performance level for emergency procedures. Some WEMTs could also seek training and become licensed as nurses, paramedics or physician's assistants to complement the requirements of the profession.
Recreational Career Options
A certified WEMT has a wide range of outdoor career options, such as adventure camp counselor, rafting guide, coastal life guard, ski patrol or expedition crew member. Many wilderness leadership positions require applicants to hold this certification.
Public Service Career Options
Search and rescue organizations require WEMTs on recovery teams. They typically treat wounds and injuries, administer medication and assess medical situations in remote locations. WEMTs must be familiar with proper procedures for securing and moving injured people long distances. State parks and recreations departments also employ certified WEMTs both seasonally and year-round.
The state of Alaska, due to the terrain and weather conditions, requires the Wilderness EMT certification for some of its scientists, such as avalanche projectors. Arctic and Antarctic science stations also hire Wilderness EMTs for the duration of a study or project.
Wilderness EMTs can work in a variety of outdoor careers such as life guard, ski patrol or expedition crew member. EMTs and paramedics have a job growth outlook much faster than the market. Their median salary is around $32,000.