Outdoor Emergency Care is the National Ski Patrol's education standard for First Responders that are trained to respond in an outdoor, mountainous, winter or wilderness environment.  The training applies equally to those patrolling in ski and mountain bike resorts, cat and heli-skiing guides, river rafting guides, Nordic skiers, rangers, hikers, rock climbers, and those adventuring in the backcountry.  OEC Courses involve a mix of self-study and hands-on practice sessions that together typically take 120 hours to complete.

Outdoor Emergency Care courses serve as the entry point for people wishing to join a patrol, either as a volunteer or as paid staff.  Courses may be taught on-site at ski areas or at metropolitan areas that are near to resorts such as Salt Lake City and Idaho Falls.  While courses are usually organized to need the needs of a specific patrol or resort, in general, they are open to and welcome people interested in patrolling at any neighboring areas and resorts.