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NOLS vs. SOLO for WFR course
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By elg0086
Nov 12, 2012
Gmoser Route
Anyone have a recommendation on WFR courses? Is SOLO or NOLS better? Or are they both the same?

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By Zach Wigham
Nov 12, 2012
My qualifications: EMT-Basic, Wilderness Medicine Upgrade for medical professionals through WMI (of NOLS), WFR through WMI. No SOLO courses taken.

I recommend the Wilderness Medicine Institute and would recommend against SOLO. I am currently an undergrad studying adventure therapy in the northeast - many of my peers have taken SOLO WFR courses due to it's location. Having led professional trips with them, worked together in class, and gone on personal trips, I'd say that overall their wilderness medical skills and experience are not as good as other peers who have taken WMI or WMA courses.

As an organization, SOLO seems to be well-natured and respectable, but judging by the WFR-certified adventure professionals they've put out to the world, I'm skeptical of their educational quality.

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By Josh Kornish
From Missoula, MT
Nov 12, 2012
Humboldt Bouldering
You're not going to get an unbiased answer. I really doubt anyone has taken a woofer through both NOLS and SOLO.

I'll throw you another great option. Aerie Backcountry Medicine

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By T.L. Kushner
Nov 12, 2012
Josh Kornish wrote:
You're not going to get an unbiased answer. I really doubt anyone has taken a woofer through both NOLS and SOLO.


I haven't taken the full course with both, but i have taken a full WFR course with NOLS and i've done recerts with both groups. I happen to prefer NOLS. the instructors that i've worked with were better teachers. due to their locale in the rockies they tend to deal with people in more 'extreme' guiding scenarios. don't get me wrong. SOLO is an excellent program and they will give you a fantastic experience from knowledgable instructors.

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By Medic741
From Pittsford, New York
Nov 12, 2012
When I was a bum at Frey
Remote medical if you want to really be able to manage bc emergencies

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By Stephen Ackley
From Flagstaff, AZ
Nov 12, 2012
I got my WFR with SOLO and was very pleased. A couple trips ago I was a first responder to a car accident on the way to the climbing and then took part in my first real evacuation/litter cary a couple days later. Felt very prepared. I'd like to get my WEMT at some point and would certainly go back to SOLO.

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By Stephen Ackley
From Flagstaff, AZ
Nov 12, 2012
either choice you make, its all about continued studying and practice to keep first response second nature. You never know when you'll need it, back country or otherwise.

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By Taylor-B.
From CO & AK
Nov 12, 2012
Mountain Bandito
Say good bye to the WFR because of "Standardized Health Care." WMI and WMA are not on the same page(standards) or recognized by a governing body, therefor insurance companies can not honor the WFR certification. Same goes for the OEC. This means that insurance companies that cover Guides, SAR, and Dr./Medical Directors will be unable recognize WFR's as health care professionals.

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By Rogerlarock
From Nedsterdam, Colorado
Nov 13, 2012
Question is what is your reason/use for the cert.?

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By Medic741
From Pittsford, New York
Nov 13, 2012
When I was a bum at Frey
I believe it is all up to the medical director of the governing body? Re an emt can't do anything without medical direction even though the cert is recognized but anyway... Dunno if I'd consider a wfr a healthcare professional...

Nols has an excellent program. While lacking in certain areas its not a bad thing. And I agree with earlie comment, you're only as good as your practice is

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By Keith Robinson
Nov 13, 2012
Fitzroy09
I have taken full length WFR courses from SOlO, WMA and WMI NOLS and also recerts with all three. I took my EMT with a NOLS provider and did my upgrade with SOLO...

For what it is worth the materials provided; books, lecture notes etc for the courses were much more organized on the NOLS courses. I thought the professionalism, experience and instructing skills were better with NOLS and WMA instructors.

It also seems like the SOLO courses are usually cheaper, though I haven't looked at prices recently.

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By Morgan Patterson
Administrator
Nov 13, 2012
A Very Not Snowy Christmas...
Rowdy Wrangellian wrote:
Say good bye to the WFR because of "Standardized Health Care." WMI and WMA are not on the same page(standards) or recognized by a governing body, therefor insurance companies can not honor the WFR certification. Same goes for the OEC. This means that insurance companies that cover Guides, SAR, and Dr./Medical Directors will be unable recognize WFR's as health care professionals.


So what's different about right now? WFR is accepted by insurance companies but some random words you quoted now means it isn't? So WEMT would be the default and everyone that's a guide would need to upgrade? Isn't that better for everyone anyway?

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By Zach Wilson
From Aurora, CO
Feb 11, 2015
Just wanted to bump this thread and see how people feel about the Aerie Backcountry Medicine WFR course. I can't find anything as far as reviews for Aerie. I'm from Missoula, and it would be nice to go home and stay with family while taking the WFR course. My other option is to just stay in Denver and take a NOLS WFR course. So... Aerie vs NOLS WMI. Pretty much the same?

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By D.A.L.
Feb 11, 2015
I have taking a full WFR course through both WMI and SOLO, I recently did a re-cert through WMA. I would suggest WMA, Wilderness Medcical Associates, above WMI, although WMI is a close second in my opinion. I would stay away from SOLO. SOLO CAN teach good course but they lack consistency and their course materials are GROSSLY outdated. WMA has the most up to date curriculum and best consistency among instructors. They teach a great course!

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By Max Forbes
From Burlington, VT
Feb 12, 2015
I work with a lot of people who have taken their WFR through one or the other. Based on this I would recommend WMI. They across the board tend to be very complete and provide constant quality courses. SOLO seems to vary and be less constant.

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By DavisMeschke
Feb 12, 2015
Topping out in Digital Delight
FWIW.. I took my WFR through SOLO and I wish I would have taken it through NOLS or some other organization. I'll echo some of the other comments about inconsistency in teaching. I will say I had a fantastic teacher who was climbing-centered so that was a big help. But I took my course through SOLO because it was cheaper than WMA, WMI, NOLS, etc...

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By muzik311
From moab, ut
Feb 12, 2015
bends of horseshoes
NOLS- WMI.

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By Zach Wilson
From Aurora, CO
Feb 12, 2015
Does anyone have any experience with Aerie Backcountry Medicine courses?

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By jaredj
Feb 12, 2015
YOLO

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By Brandon.Phillips
From Double Springs, AL
Feb 12, 2015
El Classico V0
I'm an EMT-B and WEMT through SOLO. I would recommend them highly, and would also recommend WMI(NOLS). For what it's worth, I have some input:

First, the caliber of individuals you meet leading college outdoor programs probably has more to do with them as people, rather than a direct reflection on the quality of their training. I'm sure plenty of space cadets take WFRs through all the organizations.

Second, I would avoid Aerie. I have a friend who got a WFR through them, and later applied for a job that did not recognize it as a valid organization, because it wasn't one of the big three. This is not a reflection of the quality of organization or training, but a hang up you may run into because they are not as well know.

Third, I had some coworkers that told me about some questionable protocols from a WMA class in regards to giving hyperglycemics field injections of insulin. I don't know if this has more to do with their training, or that they don't pay attention well.

I have done WFA, WFR, WFR recert, and WEMT through SOLO, at both the Conway and NC campuses. I'm sure that makes be biased, but I have never been disappointed. The instructors have always been great and well organized. I also have never heard of anyone being disappointed with WMI. I just live in the Southeast, so SOLO offers more classes in the region.

And here's your Wilderness Medicine trivia for the day: SOLO created the WFR curriculum and certification. Buck Tilton, a graduate of one the first SOLO classes went on to found WMI with NOLS and SOLO sold them all their contracts for the Western states.

FLAG


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