WEMT Cert - usefulness of...

TomTheDancingHobo

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Hi everybody,

I'm a total newbie here, so I'll probably monkey up the jargon...

A little background - I'm 24, fit, in college part-time, and trying to find a certification of some sort that will help me get through the next 2-5 years while I 'get my career on.' If it could be something that adds to whatever I eventually end up 'doing', all the better! I've considered Commerc. Driver's Lic, SCUBA instructor, urban EMT, some sort of NOLS cert, professional assassin (joke! joke!), etc. But most of them sound boring, anti-social, overly time-consuming, and/or soul-numbing (driving truck).

A friend mentioned RMI's WEMT/MPIC as being a very good pathway to expedition/outdoors(SAR, wildland firefighting, oilrig, etc.) employment. I have done SAR, love the outdoors (work in forestry), and have always been interested in doing first responder work, so it sounds great. From what she said there are temporary jobs that I could take and supplement with part-time UrbanEMT work.
Since I am also very interested in working with NOLS or other wilderness programs as an instructor/guide, the work like that also sounds like it could be a good stepping-stone.

I am trying to get an idea of...
What kinds of jobs (both temp/seasonal and long-term) are actually out there - she said they were readily available to those with flexible schedules -
Whether they pay enough to justify a relatively expensive course, and
Whether most of them require additional training (Underwater Helicopter Escape Training, Paramedic Cert, Basic Offshore Survival Training, random agency-specific governmental certs, etc.) - which sounds interesting, but which I couldn't pony for right off the bat.
All of these questions apply equally to the USCG MPIC Cert.

I enjoy working with people and tactical-type situations, but have never been the military type, so from my friend and the looks of the RMI website this sounds great, but I'm trying to get a picture of what it's really like.

Thanks for your time everybody!
Tom (TomTheDancingHobo)
 
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zmedic

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Certain jobs like the WEMT, but their mainly outdoor leadership/education positions like leading groups of teenagers. SAR likes the WEMT, but SAR is a job for very very few people. Places like oil rigs might like to see that you have wilderness training, but they tend to want medics because if someone gets hurt they want someone who can give pain meds, start IVs etc, not just improvise a splint.

So you'd most likely either end up working as an urban EMT who is able to use your wilderness skills off duty hiking or doing SAR, or you could be a full time wilderness instructor who has medical training. Some places like NOLS require you to take a leadership course (expensive), others will train you but they expect that you have a fair amount of wilderness experience.


I think the best reason to get the WEMT is because you are active in the outdoors, and want to know what to do if someone gets hurt while you are out climbing/boating etc.

The other nice thing about the WEMT is you get your national (urban) cert in a month. I liked that much more than taking classes a few nights a week for months. That's one of the reasons it's so expensive, because you are there full time and getting food and board.

I think the WEMT tends to have better teachers because it is taught by full time educators rather than medics who teach a night or two a week.


Hope that helps. Just so you know where I'm coming from, I kept my WEMT for about 7 years, and in that time did SAR, ski patrol, urban EMS, lead whitewater kayaking trips and am now in med school.
 
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TomTheDancingHobo

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Thanks for your advice!

That is sort of what I expected. I am really interested, though, in doing things like ski patrol and outdoor group-leadership. I don't know much about their requirements, but I would like to know more. It seems like they are both things you could do seasonaly, but that wouldn't pay very much. Do you know anything about the USCG MPIC Cert?

Thanks again,
Tom
 

Mountain Res-Q

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Although I have expressed my opinions on Wlderness Certs before, here are some links to a subject that has been talked about before.

WEMT: http://www.emtlife.com/showthread.php?t=15131
WEMT: http://www.emtlife.com/showthread.php?t=12115
WEMT: http://www.emtlife.com/showthread.php?t=10943
Ski Patrol: http://www.emtlife.com/showthread.php?t=16235
SAR/Medical: http://www.emtlife.com/showthread.php?t=12602

However, I will say again that in my opinion, WEMT is overrated. The focus of any wilderness medical course is not to dramatically increase you scope or your medical knowledge, but to put you into a frame of mind that will allow you to better operate in an environment that differs greatly from what we are taught in Urban Medicine. Add to that the fact that Wilderness Certs are not recongnized by most EMSA’s and you realize that your wilderness cert is useless; the information IS NOT useless, but that is knowledge that can be obtained at a much reduced cost elsewhere even if you do not get that pretty W to add to your eye chart or credentials. Plus, there are very few paying gigs that you could ever hope to obtain with that W; i.e. SAR, Park Services, and other Private Outdoor “Guide-Type” Companies. That said, SAR is 98% vollie in the U.S. (and most SAR teams out my way don’t care if you have a W, we want to see your county EMT card, since that is all that is recognized and your Wilderness Scope is useless) and the Park Service is unlikely to be overly impressed with the WEMT by itself (locally, for wilderness rescue/SAR in Yosemite they are more focused on Technical Rescue, Swiftwater, and Medical Certification that has a larger scope that EMT or WEMT). So that leaves very few other paying avenues where a WEMT matters; unless you have a solid plan to become an instructor in wilderness stuff.

In the end, IMHO, the cost of WEMT is not justify in light of the above reasoning. That said, if the class was offered for free to me, yes I would take it for the fun of it; but having worked with people with WEMT certification, I am unimpressed and believe that anything they are taught could have been obtained simply by joining a SAR Team and training with them; I love wilderness medicine and love discussions/trainings with team members on the "hot items" in Wilderness Medicine. Sure, you get no W to add to the EMT, but when it comes to the members on my team, your ability and knowledge means more to me than what certifications you have. But if you have the money to spend, go for it... I would if I was rich... but then again, if I was rich I would go get a license that trumps a Wilderness Upgrade.
 
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TomTheDancingHobo

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Ski patrols tend to want the OEC certification (outdoor emergency care). Some may let you challenge the test with your EMT, but it tends to require a fair amount of additional training on things like running sleds, mountain ops etc.

Here is a link to info about the MPIC, but you might want to spend some time on a google search for more info:

http://www.remotemedical.com/wilderness-medicine-training/Medical-Person-In-Charge

Thanks!
I have seen that page. I feel like I understand pretty well what WEMT and MPIC are - I'm just trying to get a feel for their usefulness. I will definitely check out that OEC cert, too.
 

TomTheDancingHobo

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Although I have expressed my opinions on Wlderness Certs before, here are some links to a subject that has been talked about before.
...
But if you have the money to spend, go for it... I would if I was rich... but then again, if I was rich I would go get a license that trumps a Wilderness Upgrade.
Thanks!
I had seen a few of the threads you mentioned, but others are new, and I'll definitely have to read them over.

So what I'm hearing from you guys, and what I'm reading elsewhere... is that WEMT is pretty eye-candy in most cases unless accompanied by other certifications. Kind of what I figured - if there were a free lunch everybody would be eating it, and so on.

So maybe I should post a new question. I've got a pretty decent chunk of dough coming from an insurance company. Given that I dont want to spend a year or two in tech school, what's the best use I can put that dough to, in terms of a cert/course/bribe/whatever that will yield me a decent paying line of work (benefits not nesc) for a couple of years while I complete other studies part-time?
 

zmedic

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A better question might be want to do you want to do, and therefore how do you get there. Do you want to work on an ambulance? Work on a ship? Teach kayaking? Go into finance? Certs get you qualified to do something, but you have to tell us what your goal is.
 

TomTheDancingHobo

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"A better question might be want to do you want to do, and therefore how do you get there. Do you want to work on an ambulance? Work on a ship? Teach kayaking? Go into finance? Certs get you qualified to do something, but you have to tell us what your goal is. "

Indeed!
My goals are two-part. Part-one, the long-term part, the non-emt related part, is to continue school, with the idea of working in journalism.
Part-two is to find a trade or skill that I can study on the side, that will make me at least a semi-skilled worker and help garauntee something other than minimum-wage slavery while I finish school and search for a job. Given the world economy, it might have to last me a fair bit longer than I anticipate, so I'd like it to be something I basicaly enjoy. I don't mind investing a few thousand bucks and taking several months off of school to get said skill.

I am interested in the WEMT cert because it meets three of my four criteria: interact with people, and/or make things, and/or help people, and/or outdoors.
I considered doing a firefighter residency here in washington, but it seems that basically all stations work on something besides a seven-day schedule, making it very hard to simultaneously interact with institutions that do, like school.
I have also considered a CDL (good pay, boring), welding (my second choice at this point), scuba training (not lots of work from it), timber cruising (takes 1 year+ to train), and a few other avenues.

It sounds like WEMT might not be it - I'm going to keep investigating, but it's mostly back the old drawing board from here.
I am interested in anybody's suggestions.
 

wildrivermedic

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I decided to go with the WEMT program (1) to get my training immersion-style the way I learn best and (2) to bump myself up the list of applicants for all the outdoorsy type jobs around here and (3) to provide care for myself and friends while doing the outdoorsy type things we do, like daily life two hours from definitive care.

(1) Worked out well. It was pricey, but I thought the level of teaching was excellent (and I qualified for their scholarship program).

(2) Also seems to be working out. It's no way to get rich but it is a way to piece together a living in the place I want to live. Just after certification I was the lead medical person for a group of 17 teenagers in the backcountry... and I felt confident in that role. If I go through river guide school, the WEMT cert will get me jobs even as a newbie guide. And I'm about to start teaching wilderness first aid through a big-name university -- not bad for a hillbilly.

So yes, you can do something with the cert, but you kinda have to hustle and piece together a lot of temporary seasonal jobs. The EMT-B work in my town is all volunteer. NOLS has a jobs email list you can get on as a graduate of their programs. In all honesty, most of the outdoor ed/adventure guide jobs will be satisfied with a (much cheaper) WFR cert.

(3) Hasn't really been tested yet, but I feel prepared. As a volunteer EMT I'm just going off the same protocols I could have learned in any course. But in those backcountry situations, I'm glad my training covered long term care, more A+P than usual (judging by posts here), decision making skills, and basic bedside manners.
Again, most of that you could learn in a WFR course.
 

khorosho

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Tom,
Thanks for posting re: RMI and WEMT/MPIC. I'm new. Have been considering specifically RMI long time. After kicking it around and picking it apart forward and back long time, cannot find reason not to enroll, except the price tag, and I'm almost at peace with even that, considering they feed you/put you up for a month. Another possible is Landmark in NC, similar but sans MPIC skills. Something about getting extra knowledge "just in case." care to keep me posted on your WEMT progress? Keep on dancin', hobo.
:)
 

NomadicMedic

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I'm curious why everyone seems so hyped up over the MPIC cert. For many, this is simply an "add on" for an EMT or Medic that is already working on a fishing or other commercial vessel. Having this certification does not enable you to perform any skills, it only says you have completed a class. For a newbie, finding medical direction to oversee these "advanced skills" (foley caths, anyone?) will be extremely difficult, as will be finding a job as the "Medical Person In Charge" on a vessel with no experience.

You may want to read this post. I think RMI has a decent program, but it is VERY expensive and seems to be packed with "add ons" that have little real world value. If you're interested in simply becoming an EMT-B, Community Colleges in the Seattle area offer the EMT-B program for around $600, compared to the WEMT class at RMI, which is $3,145. Yikes.

Also, it's important to remember, in Washington, you can NOT function as an EMT unless you are affiliated with an EMS agency. That means getting a job as an EMT or volunteering with an EMS agency.

Unless you have a real woody for making splints out of sticks in the woods, save your money and take a regular EMT class.

If you have questions, send me a PM. I'm happy to help.
 
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khorosho

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Thank you. I get your points. Surely there must be SOMEplace it is useful besides oil rigs. Maybe the familiarity with those skills would make it a little easier in paramedic training later? I do have a good mind to go ahead and do it anyway and let this forum know what develops thereafter. Pardon me for keeping the topic going. I'm new. Patience please.
 
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NomadicMedic

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Thank you. I get your points. Surely there must be SOMEplace it is useful besides oil rigs. Maybe the familiarity with those skills would make it a little easier in paramedic training later? I do have a good mind to go ahead and do it anyway and let this forum know what develops thereafter. Pardon me for keeping the topic going. I'm new. Patience.
Hey, it's your money. :) The general gist of the MPIC is this: Commercial vessels must have an MPIC. It's usually a deck hand or a member of the Engineering Crew who is already a crew member. It's not a cert that will land you a job unless you already hold a rating. If you're dying to get on a ship, you may want to try this path: http://www.seattlecentral.edu/maritime/

I know at least 6 people who have attended the RMI WEMT program. All, with the exception of one have been unable to obtain jobs and consequently have been unable to obtain certification as a Washington State EMT.

I hear the RMI program is a lot of fun, and the food is great. It should be for 3 grand. :) No matter where you go, you'll get the EMT-B curriculum.

Just go into this with your eyes open.
 

mycrofft

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It's your money.

Generically work in the mts or other attractive areas is seasonal, ill-paid when considerd as a career, and hiring is largely from one's personal network rather than a cattle call (unless your place is the rat's patoot to work at and no one wants to come back).

Look into getting into a company or agency which will find your jobs for you and pay you directly, at least at first, rather than freelancing. THEN meet their educational requirements.
 

Luno

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I don't know much about the MPIC, but I would say that the WEMTs that we've hired have worked out much better then the regular EMTs. It could very likely be the fact the they went for the WEMT rather then your stock and standard EMT, and have an interest in wilderness med. Personally, from the WEMTs that we have, I think that they are more inclined to think outside of the box, which makes them much more valuable than most EMTs that cannot. As far as OEC goes, if I were you, (and I was like you many years ago...) I'd take at least the EMT, and just challenge an OEC course if it were mandated for a Ski Patrol job. OEC is a great curriculum for the lay responder, however, I would question how applicable it is to a competant WEMT. The scope of practice is definitely lower. It also is a hit or miss for state certification. That all being said, I've never taken the W course, but have several employees who have, and they are highly motivated, hard working, thinkers who are comfortable outside of the box. If money is truely not an issue, why wouldn't you get further education?
 

zmedic

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I just remembered that there are module upgrades as well. So you could do the EMT at the local community college and then do like a 10 day upgrade that gets you the WEMT. It would take a lot longer than just doing the month long WEMT, but would probably be cheaper because you are paying for less time at NOLS/SOLO etc.
 

8jimi8

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I don't know much about the MPIC, but I would say that the WEMTs that we've hired have worked out much better then the regular EMTs. It could very likely be the fact the they went for the WEMT rather then your stock and standard EMT, and have an interest in wilderness med. Personally, from the WEMTs that we have, I think that they are more inclined to think outside of the box, which makes them much more valuable than most EMTs that cannot. As far as OEC goes, if I were you, (and I was like you many years ago...) I'd take at least the EMT, and just challenge an OEC course if it were mandated for a Ski Patrol job. OEC is a great curriculum for the lay responder, however, I would question how applicable it is to a competant WEMT. The scope of practice is definitely lower. It also is a hit or miss for state certification. That all being said, I've never taken the W course, but have several employees who have, and they are highly motivated, hard working, thinkers who are comfortable outside of the box. If money is truely not an issue, why wouldn't you get further education?
He wants a stepping stone/meal ticket while he get's his "education"

If you are interested in medicine, or emergency medicine, continue down this path bro, but if you are just looking for an easy mindless job that you don't have to try at, go drive a bus or something. EMS is not for dabblers :) (unless you are just some sort of medical prodigy)
 

khorosho

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He wants a stepping stone/meal ticket while he get's his "education"

If you are interested in medicine, or emergency medicine, continue down this path bro, but if you are just looking for an easy mindless job that you don't have to try at, go drive a bus or something. EMS is not for dabblers :) (unless you are just some sort of medical prodigy)
Neither is communicating like a human being and a gentleman for dabblers, tough guy, so get over yourself.
 

Luno

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Seriously? Not for dabblers? C'mon, my barber needs more of an education... And he can't sustain life, only my social life... It is entirely adequate for dabblers, there is not a "holy calling" or whatever else some people seem to believe about this field. I only took an EMT class to get a free ski pass... That doesn't mean that you don't do everything that you take on with 110% commitment, but this isn't rocket surgery. Maybe when we make an EMT-B a 2 year degree, and an EMT-P a 4 year degree, similiar to LPN/RNs... But right now? It's kinda like getting a certificate for welding...
 
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