Aerie Backcountry Medicine

AmeriCorps Awards and Aerie

Aerie Backcountry Medicine strongly values the service contributions of those who’ve received AmeriCorps Awards.  Such service is at the core of Aerie Backcountry Medicine.

To acknowledge that contribution, Aerie allows students to register for a class under the auspice of using their AmeriCorps Awards to pay for tuition.  This process is different from regular student enrollment and it involves the University of Montana. 

To help guide students through this, we’ve created this ’how-to’ document.  We don’t want this to replace regular conversations and detailed communication between students and the Aerie Office.  So, please call or email us!


AmeriCorps Awards can be used for the following Aerie courses:

  • Wilderness First Aid

  • Wilderness Advanced First Aid

  • Wilderness First Responder

  • EMT

  • Wilderness EMT

  • Semester in Wilderness Medicine

Note: Only courses that are offered for University of Montana credit are eligible for AmeriCorps Awards.  Students are required to pay the credit registration fee to the University of Montana (more detail below). 

How It Works

AmeriCorps has strict rules on how funds are released.  Funds are released directly to the University of Montana, which then refunds the student; Aerie cannot receive these funds.  Half of the funds are released at the start of the course and the second half are released halfway through the course.  If this process is not initiated well in advance of a course, students might not receive the funds until after the Aerie course is over.

Ultimately, students may need to pay out-of-pocket for the Aerie deposit/tuition and the University of Montana credit fee ($155, $465 for Semester programs).  The AmeriCorps Awards then end up being more reimbursement to students who have already paid for their course and credits.


1.     Students must register for their desired course with Aerie Backcountry Medicine and indicate that they wish to pay some or all of their tuition balance using AmeriCorps Education Awards.

        a.     To secure their spot in a course, a deposit is needed from the student.  Oftentimes, that is an out-of-pocket cost.

        b.     Students may register online and pay for the class online or students may contact the Aerie Office to be added to a class if they can not pay immediately online.  Note: Some form of non-refundable payment is required to secure your spot in class.

2.     Before the University of Montana can approve the AmeriCorps request, students will need to register for the academic credit associated with the course with one of the forms below and pay the $155 ($465 for Semester programs) credit registration fee out of pocket. Return the completed UM credit form and payment to Aerie Backcountry Medicine.

3.     Students must request AmeriCorps Education Awards using the My AmeriCorps portal at Education award funds should be released to the University of Montana in Missoula. This is selected using the drop-down menu after requesting to release the funds. Education Awards can be utilized for reasonable costs including the Aerie course fee, UM credit fee (from step 2), books/supplies, etc. 

4.     Once requested and approved, the Education Award funds will be sent to the University of Montana Business Office from which students will receive a "refund" check. Once this process is initiated the student will receive an email from Holly Kulish at the University of Montana prompting students to choose a refund method. Students may select direct deposit or mailed check. Selecting direct deposit will significantly decrease the waiting period for refund payments.

5.    Students are ultimately refunded in two installments by whatever refund method selected (half at the beginning of the course, and half partway through the course). Once the refunds are received students will need to settle any remaining balance with Aerie Backcountry Medicine. 

It is the student’s responsibility to ensure this process is initiated and followed through upon.  Aerie and the University of Montana will be able to assist students, when needed. 

Course Payment and Certification Cards

Aerie will not distribute certification cards or course completion letters until full payment is received.  While rare exceptions exist, please anticipate this when payment is not made in full.


Key Contacts

University of Montana

Holly Kulish

Program Manager, Extended Credit Courses

James Todd Building

32 Campus Dr, Stop 1728

University of Montana

Missoula, MT  59812


Aerie Backcountry Medicine

Joe Blattner

Management Director

100 North Ave. West

Missoula, MT 59801



Common Questions

Do I need to sign up for university credits to use my AmeriCorps Awards?

Yes.  You must register for University of Montana credits in order for your AmeriCorps Award reimbursement to be processed.  There is no workaround for this requirement.

Can I request the credit fee (usually $155) as part of my award reimbursement?  

Yes! The credit fee amount can be added to your requested reimbursement through AmeriCorps.

I am not a college or university student; does that impact that I apply for these credits?

No.  Any person can register for the University of Montana credits.  Upon successful completion of class, grades will be made available via your transcript.  Look here for more information about access grades and transcripts.

My AmeriCorps Awards status says pending, what does this mean?

This might mean a variety of things.  It could be the application is simply still processing or there are paperwork items still to do.  The best course of action for ‘pending’ applications (ones that stay that way for several weeks) will be to contact one of the two ‘Key Contacts’ noted above.