Wilderness First Aid (WFA)

If you plan to spend time in the backcountry you need to be prepared. Fast paced and hands-on, this two or three-day course covers a wide range of wilderness medicine topics for people who travel and work in the outdoors. This course is pre-approved by such organizations as: the American Camping Association, the United States Forest Service, and other governmental agencies.

The Wilderness First Aid (WFA) course will help you prepare for the unexpected. This fast paced, hands-on training is designed to meet the needs of trip leaders, camp staff, outdoor enthusiasts and individuals working in remote locations. It will introduce you to caring for people who become ill or injured far from definitive medical care. Classroom lectures and demonstrations are combined with realistic scenarios where mock patients will challenge you to integrate your learning. At the end of the course, you’ll have the knowledge, skills and ability to make sound decisions in emergency situations.

Taught by seasoned instructors in a two or two and a half day format, most WFA courses are held on a weekend. Learning takes place both in the classroom and in outdoor settings regardless of weather conditions. Come prepared for wet, muddy, cold or hot environments.

Course Length: 
2 or 3 Days

None. This course may be used to recertify Wilderness First Responder and Wilderness EMT (wilderness portion only) certifications for WMI cardholders who are current or in their recertification period. Upon successful course completion you will earn a NOLS Wilderness Medicine Institute WFR or WEMT certification. WFR cardholders from other wilderness medicine providers will be provided a WFA certification. We strongly recommend to ALL WFRs and WEMTs to attend a WFR Recertification course.

Primary Classification: 
Certifications Received: 
  • WMI Wilderness First Aid certification
  • WMI Adult & Child CPR certification (*Select courses only)

Certifications are current for two years.

Continuing Education: 

The 16 to 20-hour Wilderness First Aid course includes many advanced topics that other programs leave out such as reduction of dislocations and epinephrine administration.

Topics include:

  • Patient Assessment System
  • Evacuation Plans and Emergency Procedures
  • CPR (on some courses)
  • Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Shock
  • Head Injuries
  • Wilderness Wound Management
  • Athletic Injuries
  • Fracture Management
  • Dislocations
  • Cold Injuries
  • Heat Illness
  • Altitude Illness
  • Lightning
  • The Medical Patient
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Wilderness First Aid Kits

Listed below are items that you will need to bring with you to your course. We try to be outside as much as possible regardless of the weather. Please come prepared so that you are comfortable.

  • Positive attitude ready to share and take in information
  • A Watch!!!
  • One set of clothes (shirt and pants/shorts) to completely destroy with moulage and shears
  • Rain gear tops and bottoms
  • Layers of clothing (so you can take a layer off if you are hot/put one on if you are cold, + extra items for your “patient”)
  • Hats
    • one warm (not made of cotton)
    • and one for the sun
  • Mittens or gloves if it will be cold out
  • Footwear for the environment (close toed shoes for being out doors/inside sandals are o.k.)
  • Light (flash light or headlamp)
  • Ground cloth or small tarp (6X4 sheet of plastic is fine)
  • Sleeping pad (ensolite, ridgerest, thermarest, Crazy Creek Chair)
  • Bandanas or cordage of any kind
  • You are welcome to bring your toys to improvise with (pfd’s, skis/poles, paddles, harnesses, climbing rope)
  • Water bottles (1qt or 1 liter) for drinking water
  • Food to snack on to keep your energy up (we’ll have big days)
  • Backpack or knapsack to put all this stuff in

*** A WFA course can be used to recertify a WMI WFR cert that is in date or in its grace year.

*** If you are a WFR planning to recertify with this course, you MUST bring copies of your current WFR and CPR certifications to the course for instructor review.

The WFA course is ideal for guides and trip leaders on 1-2 day outings. This 2-day course (with optional evening of CPR) gives 16 hours of contact time in a learning setting. Teaching methods include an emphasis on didactic lectures and hands-on, experiential workshops and scenarios. Your rescue gear needs to be packed and ready to go at any moment throughout the course. Please refer to and follow the WFA Rescue Gear Checklist closely, and contact us with any questions you may have. Either AHA or WMI CPR for adults and children can be available the evening before the WFA begins for an additional cost, if arranged by the course host. Both courses follow the 2010 curriculum guidelines set by the AHA. The AHA course is street-based in content and skills taught. WMI’s CPR course bridges the AHA curriculum to skills needed in a remote setting. CPR is not required in order to complete the WFA course or to make your WFA certification valid – it is a complimentary certification that will enhance your WFA experience.

Bad things happen outdoors and usually in bad weather! So, be prepared for the weather...dress in layers that you can remove indoors or in the sun, and layer up when we go outside. Full rain protection is a necessity, both rain tops and pants. Your comfort and ability to pay attention during this intense course will be helped if you stay well-hydrated and have snacks on hand to munch during class. There is no exam for this course. Certification is based on student participation and instructor observation. WFR Recerts will be required to take a 50 question test and must score 70% or better. WFR Recerts will also need to complete a practical exam during the course. The course ends near 5PM on the last day with any required exams, student evaluations of the experience, and graduation. Please do not make travel plans that require an earlier departure or you will have to make alternative testing arrangements at a later course.

Recertication: The best method to recertify a WFR, WUMP, or WEMT is through a WFR Recertication course. If you choose the WFA option, please prepare by visiting the recertification resources on WMI’s website at www.nols.edu/wmi, click on Admissions and then on Recertification to access them.

*As of Sep 1, 2011, the option to recertify through a WFA is for currently certified/in grace period WMI card holders, only. Current WFRs from other providers must utilize the WFR Recertification course.*


St. Louis, Missouri

Sat, 2017-08-05 to Sun, 2017-08-06

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Morehead, Kentucky

Sat, 2017-08-12 to Sun, 2017-08-13

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Emory, Virginia

Sat, 2017-09-09 to Sun, 2017-09-10

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Boone, North Carolina

Sat, 2017-09-23 to Sun, 2017-09-24

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Flat Rock, North Carolina

Sat, 2017-10-21 to Sun, 2017-10-22

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Lynchburg, Virginia

Sat, 2017-10-21 to Sun, 2017-10-22

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Elon, North Carolina

Sat, 2017-10-28 to Sun, 2017-10-29

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Dahlonega, Georgia

Fri, 2017-11-03 to Sun, 2017-11-05

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Columbia, South Carolina

Sat, 2018-01-27 to Sun, 2018-01-28

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Boone, North Carolina

Sat, 2018-02-24 to Sun, 2018-02-25

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Greensboro, North Carolina

Sat, 2018-03-24 to Sun, 2018-03-25

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