Wilderness Medical Associates (WMA) is an industry leader in outdoor and wilderness medicine education. The school offers a wide range of training opportunities for professional and recreational outdoor adventurers alike. But is WMAI the right place to get wilderness medicine training for your needs?
In this Wilderness Medical Associates review, we’ll take a closer look at all of the organization’s course offerings. We’ll also learn more about what makes WMA unique and how their programs can provide you with the skills and experience you need to help others in remote environments.
Related: NOLS Wilderness Medicine Review 2021
What is Wilderness Medical Associates International (WMAI)?
Wilderness Medical Associates International (WMAI) is the parent organization for a collection of different schools that operate under the WMA name. WMA was founded in the 190s by Dr. Peter Goth, who wanted to help Outward Bound instructors be better prepared for medical emergencies in the backcountry.
Since then, WMAI has grown substantially. The organization has a number of locations around the world, including:
- United States
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
Each of the school’s international locations offers something slightly different to students. However, the wilderness medical training and course opportunities at each location follow WMA’s renowned curriculum.
Wilderness Medical Associates (WMA) Course Offerings
Wilderness Medical Associates International offers a slew of different training programs that are designed to prepare students for expeditions into remote environments.
On each course, instructors provide students with opportunities for hands-on skills building so they can learn how to handle medical emergencies in the mountains. With that in mind, here are some of the most popular training course offerings from Wilderness Medical Associates (WMA)
Wilderness First Aid (WFA)
WMA’s Wilderness First Aid (WFA) course is a 2-day training program that offers an introductory look at the world of outdoor medicine. This course is particularly well suited for students that primarily enjoy shorter outdoor trips. It’s also a nice option for anyone that wants to see if they enjoy wilderness medical training before they invest the time in a longer WFR course.
Wilderness Advanced First Aid (WAFA)
Wilderness Advanced First Aid (WAFA) is a 4-day course that provides a slightly more in-depth training than WFA. With this course, participants get more hands-on practice and insight into various medical emergencies that are common outside. That way, they’re ready for whatever they may find on the trail.
Wilderness First Responder (WFR)
If you work in the outdoor industry, or you’d simply like to sharpen your remote medicine skills, a Wilderness First Responder (WFR) course might be what you need. This course is considered the gold standard in the outdoor industry, so it’s a must for people who work in remote environments.
WMA offers both a shortened 5-day and a standard 8 to 10-day long WFR for participants with different work and time constraints. Note that if you opt for the 5-day Wilderness First Responder program, you will need to do some online training before you arrive for the in-person course with your instructors.
Wilderness EMS Upgrade (WEMS)
If you are already a certified EMT or paramedic, WMAI’s Wilderness EMS Upgrade might be what you’re looking for. This 5-day class offers a detailed look at what it’s like to care for medical emergencies in remote environments. Its curriculum is similar to that of a Wilderness First Responder course, but it’s geared specifically toward the professional medical provider.
Wilderness Advanced Life Support (WALS)
While most of WMAI’s classes are designed for lay providers, Wilderness Advanced Life Support (WALS) is specifically for advanced care medical practitioners. This 4-day program uses case studies, scenarios, and other experiential methods to help advanced care providers offer better medical support in remote environments.
In addition to the company’s classic courses, WMAI also offers specialized programs for providers working in unique environments. Each class is designed for a specific type of medical situation and some require previous medical knowledge. Some of the many specialized classes you can find at WMAI include:
- Offshore Emergency Medicine
- Travel Medicine First Aid
- Travel Medicine First Responder
- Conflict & Remote First Aid
- Battlefield Medical Response
- Wilderness First Aid for Field Services
- Wilderness Medical Elective
Geographic Regions Served
WMAI is an international organization with schools across the globe. The organization provides remote medical training in more than a dozen countries, including in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.
As of the time of writing, WMAI does not directly offer scholarships to course participants. However, individual organizations that host these programs may have some financial aid available.
Additionally, some WMAI provider organizations may accept AmeriCorps and GI Bill education awards. However, you need to email the organization directly to see how they can work with you in your specific situation.
Wilderness Medical Associates FAQ
Here are our answers to some of your most commonly asked questions about Wilderness Medical Associates International:
The most popular way to become a wilderness medic is to take a Wilderness EMT course. You can take a WEMT course with SOLO Schools or NOLS, or you can take a Wilderness EMS Upgrade (WEMS) with WMAI to kick-start your career.
Most Wilderness First Responder certifications are valid for 3 years. However, check with your medical training provider for more information about your specific certification.
There is no one best wilderness first aid course as there are many great medical training schools out there. However, WFA courses from NOLS, SOLO, and WMAI are often considered the best in the business.
To teach Wilderness First Aid, you normally need to be at least a WEMT or a WFR with extensive outdoor medical experience. Additionally, you usually need to take an instructor course to get certified by a specific company to provide their training programs.
Wilderness Medical Associates International (WMAI) Review: The Verdict
WMAI is one of the industry leaders in outdoor medicine education. The school provides classes around the world that are designed to help you get the skills you need to help others in austere locales. Whether you’re brand-new to the outdoors, or you’re an experienced medical provider, WMAI has a course that’s well worth considering before your next trip into the mountains.