Applied Leadership

Emergency Rescue Technician

Program Overview

Develop the character and the know-how to rescue people in trouble.


You're not the type to shy away when people need help. You like to dive in, get your hands dirty, and make a difference.

The Emergency Rescue Technician Certificate is a one-of-a-kind program. It brings together Bible college education with hands-on, action-packed, industry-standard first responder training. You'll experience eight months of learning that will shape every part of who you are: your worldview, your soul, your character, and your skills.

Our program has been developed with emergency service recruitment methods in mind. Many emergency services world-wide recruit on a points based system that awards credits for a variety of life experience, education, certifications and experiences. Our students are trained in a way that blends all of these methods into a well-rounded graduate that will score high with recruiters. We have many graduates who have successfully begun careers in Police, Fire, Ambulance, Military and Adventure Guiding as a result of the training they received at Columbia.





Special Notice - Fall 2021

Yes! The Emergency Rescue Technician program will go forward this September, with a few additional safety protocols to keep students healthy.


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Sean H Alum

Emergency Medical Response


Sean H Alum

Advanced Rope Rescue


Joel B Alum

Avalanche Safety Training


Ski lift rescue

Mountain Rescue Operations


Sean H Alum

Wilderness Operations


Joel B Alum

Search & Rescue


go way beyond hard skills



Develop Solid Christian Character

When crisis hits, you need to be grounded in what really matters. In the ERT program, you'll develop your mind and soul along with your skills. Your classes will deepen your faith and give you tools for following Jesus 24/7.



Become a Strong Leader

A core focus of the ERT certificate is helping you learn how to take the lead in a crisis. You'll finish your year with the confidence to make wise decisions that save lives, prevent injuries, and get the job done.


Experience Teamwork

Because we've packaged these rescue courses together, you'll train alongside the same people over eight full months. You'll learn how to collaborate, rely on each other, and push each other to reach your potential.


Outdoor Leadership Icon

Enjoy West Coast Training

There is no better place than the West Coast to learn emergency rescue skills. You'll experience terrain that ranges from mountains to ravines to rivers and oceans.


ERT Class of 2018-2019

Program Info

Program Schedule


Expect to be on campus Tuesdays and Thursdays, taking core Bible college classes like Old Testament Survey, the Church in Mission, and Spiritual Formation. You'll also be able to go to Thursday morning chapels and connect with the Columbia community.


Three eight hour days a week, and two 4 day overnight training operations, are set aside specifically for ERT training over an 8 month span. What this means is that our students, in one year, receive more face to face, hands on training in the field than all the classroom training combined. This allows us to not only train to some of the highest standards in medical, rope rescue and avalanche safety but to also put those skills to practice on the road to personal mastery.

Our year is composed of six, month-plus long training units as follows:

ERT 1 - Wilderness Operations:

This course covers ground search and rescue techniques, incident command systems, remote wilderness operations, communications, navigation and technology.

Rope Rescue Technician Level 2+:

This course certifies successful candidates in dual capability two tensioned rope systems for vertical and steep slope rescue operations. Students will be running technical raising and lowering systems as well as working “over the edge” in the hot zone managing patients in a vertical environment.

Emergency Medical Responder:

This course is the entry level Paramedic certification program developed for direct entry into the BC Ambulance Service as an entry level paramedic and/or into the Primary Care Paramedic Program. Students will learn how to manage critical medical and trauma calls and administer life-saving procedures and medications in a pre-hospital environment.

Avalanche Safety:

This course introduces students to operating in a mountain environment during the winter months. Successful candidates will earn three separate certifications issued by the Canadian Avalanche Center; Avalanche Safety Level 1, Managing Avalanche Terrain and Avalanche Safety Level 2. Focus will be on the avalanche phenomena, decision making in avalanche terrain, safe travel in avalanche terrain, and avalanche search and rescue operations. During this course students will spend some time with the professional ski patrol and avalanche safety department a local ski resort as well as some time in remote wilderness terrain.

ERT 2 - Wilderness Operations:

This course is entirely scenario based. Students operate as a fully equipped and trained mountain rescue unit and respond to scenario emergency callouts that provide hands on experience in real technical environments. Students will be challenged to combine multiple skill sets and work as a team to complete each rescue. This course provides valuable real-world experience to the skills and certifications already earned.

ERT Skills Evaluation:

This course is an extension of Wilderness Operations, it follows the same scenario based format but is an opportunity for students to manage critical incident call outs in a wilderness environment without instructor input. This course constitutes the final practical examination of student’s skill sets, successful candidates will graduate with their earned Emergency Rescue Technician Certificate. Students completing this evaluation successfully have the opportunity to enter the second year of the program to earn the Outdoor Leadership Diploma. This diploma focusses on outdoor adventure sports and guiding leadership.

You'll graduate with:

  • An Emergency Rescue Technician Certificate from Columbia Bible College
  • The following technical certifications:
    • Emergency Medical Responder - recognized by BC Emergency Health Services. To be licensed as a working EMR, you will need to take a licensing exam. EMR is the first step to becoming a BC paramedic.
    • Advanced Rope Rescue 
    • Avalanche Safety 1 & 2 (Canadian Avalanche Association)
  •  34 academic credits. You will be eligible to transfer into Year 2 of many of our diploma and degree programs, including the Diploma in Applied Leadership and Outdoor Leadership. You may also be able to transfer your credits to another institution.  (See our transfer guides.)

Program Costs

ERT students pay additional course fees to cover the costs of technical training and out-trips. Each student also needs to buy his or her own set of gear, listed in the equipment checklist below.


Program Tuition  $11,040
Program Course Fees $6,954
Program Total $17,994
(Note additional fees for all Columbia students on our Costs page)  














Video: A Look at the Emergency Rescue Technician Certificate


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This program has been approved by the Private Training Institutions Branch (PTIB) of the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training.