Medical jobs that work in the wilderness

Meili

Forum Ride Along
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so i want to work in rural places and see the world and wilderness, and i want to help. like as a paramedic or emt or even as a veterinarian
Any job suggestions?
 

PotatoMedic

Has no idea what I'm doing.
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Become a doctor and work for Doctors without borders!
 

NomadicMedic

Pot or Kettle? Unsure.
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Most wilderness jobs are volunteer and require a fair amount of experience as a provider before you can work in an austere environment.
 

Summit

Critical Crazy
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Few of these have a primary medical role.

SAR volunteer
Ski Patrol (EMT, seasonal job, unless you go to the southern hemisphere during northern summer)
Outward Bound or NOLS instructor (WFR)
College outdoor education instructor (WFR or WEMT)
Wildland firefighter BLM/USFS (EMT)
Wilderness ranger USFS (WFR or EMT)
Paramedic for a FD or ambulance service that occasionally supports the local SAR team
Paramedic for an event medical service that does wilderness events like adventure races, trail races, mountain biking (this will be very part time and very low paying)
NPS Park Ranger (Paramedic)
Wildlife field research biologist
Environmental technician/scientist/engineer (in increasing order of difficulty and pay) work for a mine/oil/gas/water
Go to medical school and do your residency in pulmonary critical care medicine or emergency medicine with a fellowship in wilderness medicine
 
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CALEMT

The Other Guy/ Paramaybe?
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Wildland firefighter BLM/USFS (EMT)

Unless you get on a specialty job (ie fireline medic) you'll just be an engine slug. Even then those require a separate certificate... S-223 if I recall right.

OP, look into your local sheriffs department. Most of the time local SO handles SAR operations. Maybe they hire dual role paramedics? I know the sheriffs department in the next county to me (San Bernardino) hires paramedics for SAR ops. What that requires I have no idea.

Edit: Also for the fireline medic you'll want a variety of wildland certs... L-180, S-190, S-290, S-230, and a basic fire academy.
 

DesertMedic66

Forum Troll
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Unless you get on a specialty job (ie fireline medic) you'll just be an engine slug. Even then those require a separate certificate... S-223 if I recall right.

OP, look into your local sheriffs department. Most of the time local SO handles SAR operations. Maybe they hire dual role paramedics? I know the sheriffs department in the next county to me (San Bernardino) hires paramedics for SAR ops. What that requires I have no idea.

Edit: Also for the fireline medic you'll want a variety of wildland certs... L-180, S-190, S-290, S-230, and a basic fire academy.
SB Sheriff uses Paramedic, RN, and Doctors. They want all your usual certs but the position is volunteer only.
 

that guy

Forum Ride Along
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AMR has a "reach and treat" team here for calls in the Mt. Hood area. Pretty sure it's staffed by medics only. Would be a fun gig for outdoors types
 

WyoRecast

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AMR has a "reach and treat" team here for calls in the Mt. Hood area. Pretty sure it's staffed by medics only. Would be a fun gig for outdoors types
I know this is a fairly old reply, but I just joined today so I can chime in here in case a future reader comes across this thread. The RAT team is NOT medic only. It has a preference for medics, but basics and intermediates work it, too. I was a basic on the RAT team, which allowed me to do the SAME thing they did, outside of the particulars of patient care (which is sometimes just a small part of a RAT callout, if at all). In fact, all levels of RAT members, B, I, or P, have to take the same exact protocol test. So, as a basic, I had to know all of the drug calculations and indications/contraindications of each med, including the expanded scope meds (hypertonic saline, flumazenil, versed for relocations, ancef, and analgesic limits), so it wasn't super easy. But, overall, it is a great "gig for outdoors types," so if you're interested, go for it!
 

Zombie Killer

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I know this is a fairly old reply, but I just joined today so I can chime in here in case a future reader comes across this thread. The RAT team is NOT medic only. It has a preference for medics, but basics and intermediates work it, too. I was a basic on the RAT team, which allowed me to do the SAME thing they did, outside of the particulars of patient care (which is sometimes just a small part of a RAT callout, if at all). In fact, all levels of RAT members, B, I, or P, have to take the same exact protocol test. So, as a basic, I had to know all of the drug calculations and indications/contraindications of each med, including the expanded scope meds (hypertonic saline, flumazenil, versed for relocations, ancef, and analgesic limits), so it wasn't super easy. But, overall, it is a great "gig for outdoors types," so if you're interested, go for it!
Hey WyoRrecast, this forum has been a wealth of information. I had stumbled across this forum nearly a decade ago. I made a career from commercial HVAC sheet metal installer, to a test technician for a very well known telecommunications company. With these career jumps, I've some how came back wanting to finish what I had a true passion and interest in. I'm 38 now and wanting to pursue this line of work...more specifically what you have experience in. I was trying to see if I could IM you, but that option isn't available yet. I'm guessing that's because you only have a few posts. Would love to pick your brain some time.
 

RedBlanketRunner

Opheophagus Hannah Cuddler
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Few of these have a primary medical role.
All the same, a very good list. Consider updating it? It could be added, some of those jobs have EMT as a plus for applicant consideration, or mandatory.

Incident a friends kid, an SO related a while back. Local had a heart attack in a parking lot. Two vacationers jumped on it and had a save. Turned out they were both volunteer FFs EMT trained. The locals were so impressed the women's club and folks at the grange pooled the money and had all their volunteer FFs and SOs EMT certified.
 
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CCCSD

Forum Asst. Chief
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Thanks guys. I sent an email to management. The policy I read in our Operating Guidelines does not specifically list a protocol for stopping at a still alarm with a patient on board, only a vague policy that reads stop, contact dispatch for additional units/fire/police, etc and treat the patient up to your scope of practice.
Link? Proof?
 

WyoRecast

Forum Probie
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Hey, I am definitely new to the forum. I'll answer any questions you have, but I'll start by saying that the RAT team is a specialized component of the Clackamas County EMS system, and very, very few agencies offer that service at the private level. I don't know of any others that do what the RAT team does. American Medical Response, which is the largest private ambulance company in the US (and maybe the world, too, but I'm not sure) is most definitely a for-profit company, but it still manages to spend more than $1mil/year on the RAT team, even though the team sees much fewer patients than the regular 911 system - so, it's obvious that despite the huge expense and cut into AMR's profit, it still pays for the service. All RAT medics and EMTs do the same job as any other ALS crew (running traditional calls every day), but they do it in a more rural area of the county (particularly east county and the west side of Mount Hood). It also covers the ski resorts, which operate year-round on that mountain. So, response times and transport times are considerably longer (that's the reason why there is technically no limit to the amount of pain medication that the RAT crews can use for patient care during extended transport and scene times). I've been on quite a few RAT callouts (wilderness calls) and they were all interesting in their own ways. I have been on a call that lasted 14 hours, and I never even saw a single patient (that particular young man was killed in a terrible way, so it was a recovery, which the RAT team generally doesn't participate in unless under some circumstances).

There is quite a lot of hoop jumping to get onto that particular team, from start to "finish," but since it's the only one, you'd be better off if you understood the hoops. On another note, there is technically a RAT team in Josephine County (also for AMR), but they do far fewer callouts and the team is small. On a positive note, I know for certain that Clackamas County's RAT team is ALWAYS looking for people who will stick with it long-term, because there is a high turnover. I can also explain the high turnover, but it's definitely nothing to sweat. It's certainly not because the job sucks, because it doesn't - I just think medics jump into it and they don't tend to recreate enough as a general personal hobby, so the job loses its romantic draw.

There was a documentary made about the RAT team while I was in the RAT academy, so I will look for that and post it up here. It was done by Oregon Field Guide, and it shows quite a bit of insider stuff that can help you see what the RAT team is about, at least partially.

Ask any question, and I will answer it. I understand the career change pathway. That's actually why I decided to join this forum. I myself am a science teacher in a Wyoming public school, which is a long way from my previous career in EMS. I intend to go back to school and, hopefully, push myself away from teaching.

Good luck and ask away!
Hey WyoRrecast, this forum has been a wealth of information. I had stumbled across this forum nearly a decade ago. I made a career from commercial HVAC sheet metal installer, to a test technician for a very well known telecommunications company. With these career jumps, I've some how came back wanting to finish what I had a true passion and interest in. I'm 38 now and wanting to pursue this line of work...more specifically what you have experience in. I was trying to see if I could IM you, but that option isn't available yet. I'm guessing that's because you only have a few posts. Would love to pick your brain some time.
 

Ronfyre

Forum Probie
13
1
3
I have read about a number of EMT trail guides that offer guided hikes and back country trips that I have looked into in the past. Maybe not a full time gig, but a side gig that could supplement what you do for the "day job". Could get you that wilderness experience you are looking for, and put EMS skills to use (hopefully rarely ;)).

R
 

Zombie Killer

Forum Probie
11
0
1
Hey, I am definitely new to the forum. I'll answer any questions you have, but I'll start by saying that the RAT team is a specialized component of the Clackamas County EMS system, and very, very few agencies offer that service at the private level. I don't know of any others that do what the RAT team does. American Medical Response, which is the largest private ambulance company in the US (and maybe the world, too, but I'm not sure) is most definitely a for-profit company, but it still manages to spend more than $1mil/year on the RAT team, even though the team sees much fewer patients than the regular 911 system - so, it's obvious that despite the huge expense and cut into AMR's profit, it still pays for the service. All RAT medics and EMTs do the same job as any other ALS crew (running traditional calls every day), but they do it in a more rural area of the county (particularly east county and the west side of Mount Hood). It also covers the ski resorts, which operate year-round on that mountain. So, response times and transport times are considerably longer (that's the reason why there is technically no limit to the amount of pain medication that the RAT crews can use for patient care during extended transport and scene times). I've been on quite a few RAT callouts (wilderness calls) and they were all interesting in their own ways. I have been on a call that lasted 14 hours, and I never even saw a single patient (that particular young man was killed in a terrible way, so it was a recovery, which the RAT team generally doesn't participate in unless under some circumstances).

There is quite a lot of hoop jumping to get onto that particular team, from start to "finish," but since it's the only one, you'd be better off if you understood the hoops. On another note, there is technically a RAT team in Josephine County (also for AMR), but they do far fewer callouts and the team is small. On a positive note, I know for certain that Clackamas County's RAT team is ALWAYS looking for people who will stick with it long-term, because there is a high turnover. I can also explain the high turnover, but it's definitely nothing to sweat. It's certainly not because the job sucks, because it doesn't - I just think medics jump into it and they don't tend to recreate enough as a general personal hobby, so the job loses its romantic draw.

There was a documentary made about the RAT team while I was in the RAT academy, so I will look for that and post it up here. It was done by Oregon Field Guide, and it shows quite a bit of insider stuff that can help you see what the RAT team is about, at least partially.

Ask any question, and I will answer it. I understand the career change pathway. That's actually why I decided to join this forum. I myself am a science teacher in a Wyoming public school, which is a long way from my previous career in EMS. I intend to go back to school and, hopefully, push myself away from teaching.

Good luck and ask away!I

Hey, I am definitely new to the forum. I'll answer any questions you have, but I'll start by saying that the RAT team is a specialized component of the Clackamas County EMS system, and very, very few agencies offer that service at the private level. I don't know of any others that do what the RAT team does. American Medical Response, which is the largest private ambulance company in the US (and maybe the world, too, but I'm not sure) is most definitely a for-profit company, but it still manages to spend more than $1mil/year on the RAT team, even though the team sees much fewer patients than the regular 911 system - so, it's obvious that despite the huge expense and cut into AMR's profit, it still pays for the service. All RAT medics and EMTs do the same job as any other ALS crew (running traditional calls every day), but they do it in a more rural area of the county (particularly east county and the west side of Mount Hood). It also covers the ski resorts, which operate year-round on that mountain. So, response times and transport times are considerably longer (that's the reason why there is technically no limit to the amount of pain medication that the RAT crews can use for patient care during extended transport and scene times). I've been on quite a few RAT callouts (wilderness calls) and they were all interesting in their own ways. I have been on a call that lasted 14 hours, and I never even saw a single patient (that particular young man was killed in a terrible way, so it was a recovery, which the RAT team generally doesn't participate in unless under some circumstances).

There is quite a lot of hoop jumping to get onto that particular team, from start to "finish," but since it's the only one, you'd be better off if you understood the hoops. On another note, there is technically a RAT team in Josephine County (also for AMR), but they do far fewer callouts and the team is small. On a positive note, I know for certain that Clackamas County's RAT team is ALWAYS looking for people who will stick with it long-term, because there is a high turnover. I can also explain the high turnover, but it's definitely nothing to sweat. It's certainly not because the job sucks, because it doesn't - I just think medics jump into it and they don't tend to recreate enough as a general personal hobby, so the job loses its romantic draw.

There was a documentary made about the RAT team while I was in the RAT academy, so I will look for that and post it up here. It was done by Oregon Field Guide, and it shows quite a bit of insider stuff that can help you see what the RAT team is about, at least partially.

Ask any question, and I will answer it. I understand the career change pathway. That's actually why I decided to join this forum. I myself am a science teacher in a Wyoming public school, which is a long way from my previous career in EMS. I intend to go back to school and, hopefully, push myself away from teaching.

Good luck and ask away!
I definitely will be picking your brain. It would be cool to chat with ya outside of the forum. I'm trying to figure out a way for that to happen. Do you have discord or anything like that ?
 

Tigger

Dodges Pucks
Community Leader
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I have read about a number of EMT trail guides that offer guided hikes and back country trips that I have looked into in the past. Maybe not a full time gig, but a side gig that could supplement what you do for the "day job". Could get you that wilderness experience you are looking for, and put EMS skills to use (hopefully rarely ;)).

R
I think most of those folks already have significant backcountry skill and guide certifications. Training beyond WFR is a bonus, the true marketable skill here is boba fide guiding.
 

WyoRecast

Forum Probie
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I have read about a number of EMT trail guides that offer guided hikes and back country trips that I have looked into in the past. Maybe not a full time gig, but a side gig that could supplement what you do for the "day job". Could get you that wilderness experience you are looking for, and put EMS skills to use (hopefully rarely ;)).

R
Most of the "EMT" jobs that are related to trail guiding and similar activities are first and foremost, not primarily EMTs. This is something Tigger mentioned and he is correct here. In fact, most of these jobs are temporary summer opportunities where EMT-qualified individuals choose to work for troubled teenagers' behavior camps. Their primary role in those is to act more like a guidance counselor/teacher/authority figure, and much less like an EMT. A lot of these camps don't even have a medical director, so an argument can be made that the EMT certification is worthless in those environments. There are many public agencies (mostly federal) that mix wilderness environments with EMS. This is part of the role of a Ranger (SAR and lost hiker callouts are frequent), which seems to be more often the case even over law enforcement responsibilities. I don't have any first-hand experience in that job, but I used to have a paramedic partner when I was working for AMR who did that job as a seasonal employee during the summers and he was always willing to share his experience working for the feds. He told me he was always more of a paramedic than a cop while working there.
If EMS is your true passion, and wilderness work is a close second (or vice versa) I'd consider a job working for a rural EMS agency that operates within a wilderness area. This is exactly why Clackamas County's AMR Wilderness Reach & Treat Team even exists. Like I mentioned before, it doesn't make the company any profit. It's purely placed in the county contract due to the necessity of the area it operates in. There are many areas that I responded to within the county where NO fire response was available - yes, I wrote that correctly. The southeastern area of the county does not have a contracted fire agency, so if a fire agency is needed then it's always a mutual-aid scenario. Medical calls, though, there was never, ever a fire response - even cardiac arrest patients had to rely on nearby help until AMR arrived. So, look for those areas and you'll be good!
 

WyoRecast

Forum Probie
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I definitely will be picking your brain. It would be cool to chat with ya outside of the forum. I'm trying to figure out a way for that to happen. Do you have discord or anything like that ?
I don't use discord, but I can share my phone number and you can call or text. Will that work for you? I can also give you my email, or I can set up a Zoom or Google Meet if that works. Or, I can even download the discord thing, but I don't know much about it.
 

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