Student's Frequently Asked Questions

Certification and Recertification:

How can a certified graduate replace a lost WMAI certification card?

You can purchase a new card online from our bookstore at any time. Please visit the online bookstore here to order a new card.

You may also request a digital PDF version of your card for free.  Please email with your full name as it appears on your card, along with the following information about the course you took: Dates, Sponsor Name, Course Location(city/state) & Instructor Name.

What certification materials do students recieve?

Graduates receive a certification card, patch, & sticker.  WMAI graduates or their employers may call or email us any time to obtain verification of certification by email. 

How long does my certification last; how do I recertify?

 WMAI certifications are valid for three years. WMAI WEMT, WFR and WAFA graduates may recertify by taking any of the following WMAI courses: a 24-hour Open Recertification course, a 36-hour Wilderness Advanced First Aid course, or a 36-hour Bridge course.  Once a certification has expired, students must take the full course over again. We recommend a full course at least once every six years. The Bridge course will advance a WMAI WAFA graduate to a WFR.  The 24-hour Open Recertification course is open to graduates of other wilderness based first aid programs that are at least 64 hours in length (see below). 

Can a certification be extended? Is there a grace period?

 Certifications are never extended beyond their expiration date.  There is no grace period. Certifications are valid for three years, and must be recertified before they expire. Graduates are expected to track their expiration dates and recertify in a timely manner.  We will e-mail out a reminder to graduates about 4 months prior to their expiration date.  If you want to assure that you receive one, please inform us of your current e-mail address.

Does WMAI recognize non-WMAI training for recertification purposes?

 No, WMAI does not accept letters of successful completion or verification from other organizations.  To receive a WMAI certification card, you must recertify in a WMAI course 

Can non-WMAI students get recertified through WMAI?

WFR recertification candidates must have passed an eligible course. To be eligible, the course should have been a wilderness-based first aid training course that was at least 64 hours long and completed within 3 years of the proposed recertification option. Most but not all WFRs are eligible. Any exceptions to these conditions must be verified prior to the course by contacting the Wilderness Medical Associates office. Proof of current certification is required at the start of the course. Students without proof of certification or approval from WMA International will not be eligible for WFR certification. Only WMA International trained WEMTs are eligible for WEMT recertification through this course.

Upon sponsor registration, sponsor will send learners the course ID number and password to access their online pre-course materials two to four weeks prior to the first day of their course. Learners should complete the study guide in preparation for the course. It was designed to familiarize learners with the essential points in the curriculum. Instructors will collect it at the beginning of the course but it will not be figured into the final grade.

Learners must be at least sixteen years old to participate in the three-day Open Recertification course. Those under age eighteen will require the written consent of a parent or guardian.

If I have a OEC certification can I take a recert course and get a WFR?

Yes, WMA recognizes a OEC certification as equivalent to a WFR 

General Questions:

I took my original certification in the USA. I am recerting in Canada. Is this the same curriculum?

Yes. All Wilderness Medical Associates International courses use the same curriculum. There are some visual differences in the certification received. Please contact the office for clarity. However, regardless of country, the Wilderness Medical Associates curriculum and instruction is the same worldwide on all seven continents. Recerting can be done at any country in the world where a course is offered.

What is wilderness medicine?

The provision of medical care complicated by the following factors:

  • Time – Although sometimes translated into chronological time, in essence it is when access to definitive care is delayed by logistics, distance or hazard and as a result can increase risk to the patient and/or rescuers. Time delays may also compel properly trained practitioners to initiate hospital-level care in the field if doing so would reduce risk and improve outcome.
  • Equipment – Remote locations can also have an impact on equipment and supplies needed and used. Weight, size, functionality and appropriateness for the particular environment are also important considerations. Utility in the emergency department or in an EMS vehicle does not make equipment appropriate for many environments or tasks. And, if you don’t have what you need, improvisation may be the only solution.
  • Environment – Traditionally, this aspect of wilderness medicine is thought of in terms of meteorological or atmospheric extremes –hot, cold, wet, dry, altitude. Any of these can cause a problem, make a developing one worse or pre–existing one unstable. But environmental extremes are only part of the equation. Disasters, armed conflict and mass casualty incidents can also make assessments difficult, treatments complicated and evacuations problematic. These can be issues of place rather than location.

Is CPR included?

CPR is included on all of our standard core curriculum courses. This is not a pre-requisite. WFR graduates earn an equivalent to healthcare provider level CPR that includes adults and children, airway management, oxygen administration, and AED use. WFA and WAFA graduates earn the equivalent of adult CPR with AED training. Although both levels receive a WMA certification good for 3 years, some jurisdictions and employers may require CPR certification on a yearly basis. All WMA CPR courses are based on the 2015 American Heart Association/ILCOR guidelines and any published updates.

How much does a WMAI course cost?

Course fees are set by the course sponsor, not by WMAI. Call or email the sponsor directly to get this information.  You can find sponsor contact information at the course schedule link on the web under Host: Contact Info.

Who accredits and recognizes your curriculum?

 As an international organization we attempt to acquire accreditation wherever possible. Oftentimes we are engaged in setting the standard of practice in various fields and geographies.  The curriculum is accredited by the Canadian Federal Government and numerous provincial Canadian workplace safety organizations. In the United States, WMA is a partnering consultant to the Wilderness Medical Society.  Internationally, Wilderness Medical Associates is recognized as the leader and standard in medical and first-aid certifications used for remote workplaces.

With respect to recognition, the certification is recognized internationally, across a variety of industries. Ask a potential employer if they’ll recognize your certification and what level will give you the most visibility on your resume for the work that you want to do.

What are the differences between a Wilderness EMT and a Wilderness First Responder?

 The WFR course is designed for outdoor leaders and travelers who will be taking part in trips or expeditions far from the beaten path. Most students have little or no prior medical training or experience as caregivers. The WFR course provides graduates with a comprehensive introduction to practical medicine and a solid foundation from which to make treatment decisions about routine and complicated medical problems when sophisticated medical care is far away.

The EMT/WEMT is an EMT–Basic course plus the WEMT Upgrade (see below). As a result it is a considerably longer and more comprehensive than the WFR. The EMT/WEMT is designed for outdoor professionals who require an EMS credential for a job or who are looking to have a leadership position as an outdoor professional (e.g., park service, exploration, disasters, relief work, ski patrol, aid stations). The wilderness portion covers the same ground as the WFR but goes further. It will focus more on the appropriate selection and use of EMS technology and medications as well as complex decision making.

Can I use my VA/AmeriCorps Education Award to pay for my course?

WMAI is not an education institution, and therefore we are not able to collect these types of payments.  We do not collect payments from students at all, this is handled through the individual sponsors hosting the course.  Therefore you can check with the sponsoring organization if they are able to accept these types of vouchers for our courses, but we can not at the WMA office.

Continuing Education:

What continuing education credits are available?

 EMS practitioners can receive Continuing Education Hours (CEH) through Continuing Education Coordinating Board for EMS (CECBEMS) on the WAFA, WFR, Bridge, Open Recert,  WEMT Upgrade and WALS courses.  Physicians, Physician Assistants, and Nurses can earn Continuing Medical Education (CME) and Contact hours from the WALS® course. 

What Credits are associated with a WALS® course?

Physicians and PAs: 36 hours of Category I credit.  These American Medical Association-approved CMEs are awarded through Wilderness Medical Society upon successful completion of the Wilderness Advanced Life Support™(WALS®) course.

Mainpro-C and Mainpro-M1 credits. Check with our office for each specific course.

Nurses:  36 Contact hours.  These credits… approved upon successful completion of the WALS course

EMS practitioners: 36 hours of CEH from CECBEMS See above.  There is no charge for filing.  We can also help for states and jurisdictions that do not use CECBEMS and/or NREMT. 

What are CECBEMS CEHS and what do I need to do to recieve them?

 CECBEMS is a national organization that reviews and accredits the awarding of EMS CEHs. These credits can be earned by EMS professionals and used for maintenance and recertification in many but not all states.  Although CECBEMS hours are accepted by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT), they may not be recognized by all states who use the NREMT as their recertification option.  Because it is nearly impossible to stay abreast with each state’s requirement, we urge all students to check with their state or local EMS office.  WMAI has an EMS file containing recertification topic lists for a number of states that have their own specific requirements.  For all others, we will make every effort to assist you.  

How do I get my CEHS and how soon?

Before the end of the course, each student wishing CEH credits must complete the CECBEMS roster.  Among other things, make sure that you have your State License# with its expiration date and NREMT# with its expiration date.   The WMAI office will handle all the CECBEMS submissions.

It is important to check with your state to assure that you know what they accept and in what format.  Ultimately this is your responsibility.  Our office will do its best to assist you.

How do I get a CME/Contact hour certificate?

 The instructor will have nurses, PAs and physicians fill out a sign-in sheet during the course and then complete a separate course evaluation at the end.  You will receive a certificate verifying the CME/Contact hours at the end of the course. 

Paramedic -- Which course is best for me, WALS or WEMT Upgrade?

The WEMT Upgrade is more than a WFR for EMS practitioners.  It is designed particularly for people who are already trained medical professionals, including EMS practitioners, nurses, PAs and even some physicians.  Rather than teaching basic medical skills and knowledge, we focus on the enhancement of old skills and their use on non-traditional missions (e.g., SAR, expeditions, disasters, tactical, off-road).  We emphasize leadership in medical management taking into account appropriate technologies, packaging and evacuation.  Each student will have opportunities to decide the urgency of care and evacuation by weighing the risks versus the benefits in turn dictated by the underlying medical problem, environment, and both medical and technical capabilities. As with all of our courses, there will be case study assignments, practical skills labs and simulations, all spiced with lively discussions.

Practitioners signing up for the WALS course generally have the highest level of medical experience.  Past students have come from a wide range of medical specialties and missions including SAR, USAR, FEEMA, DEMAT and all branches of the military.  Many act as medical control or as the medical team leader involved in a variety of medical missions.  By looking at the topics in more depth and from the perspectives of our participants, we try to understand the value and limitations of advanced level treatments and the importance of basic skills in the field.  Like all of our courses we devote time for theory, case study based discussions, practical labs and field exercises.  Although there is a set curriculum, the WALS has a seminar feel to it. The instructors will try to make adjustments to meet student background and interest.

Are WMA Courses Coast Guard Credentialing Approved?

Currently the only WMA courses that are Coast Guard Approved are the Wilderness First Responder(WFR), Wilderness First Aid(WFA) and Offshore Emergency Medicine(OEM) run through Sea Education Association(SEA).  Courses run through other sponsors are not currently approved. 

Does advanced training put emergency responders at greater risk of getting sued?

Medical practitioners are at greatest risk of being sued when they fail to get permission and/or when they render care inappropriately, negligently or incompetentlyWe believe that medical professionals/EMS practitioners who actively seek the most relevant education available and then use the knowledge and skills properly are better protected against medical liability than those who avoid such training. 

WMA really cares about the students. They don't just toss info at you and expect you to regurgitate it. They make sure you know it and can use it, without apprehension when you really need it.

~ Sheridan Mountain Campus WFR Student