Wilderness Advanced First Aid

This 36-40 hour class is offers a more thorough discussion of a larger variety of topics and more hands-on practice for students than a typical wilderness first aid class. Normally taught over three full days, this course follows the recommended curriculum set forth by the Wilderness Medical Society, and has additional topics added to it which CWS feels are important, such as group leadership and communication.

Wilderness Advanced First Aid - WAFA
500 MegFullyPackaged 2
500 HikerDown 2

Why Take Wilderness Advanced First Aid?

Wilderness Advanced First Aid (WAFA) combines lecture with skills practice and role-playing to teach the response to various medical and trauma situations in locations 60 minutes more from definitive care. Time is the critical element distinguishing wilderness first aid from standard first aid. Students will learn to prioritize care, treat injuries, and create an evacuation plan.

When help could be an hour or even days away, separated from you by long hikes, long rivers, or miles of asphalt, the task of managing the injured and the ill will require the skills you will learn in this course. Conditions may be harsh, and the equipment needed for treatment and evacuation may have to be improvised. All these things are part of the world of WAFA.

Time is the essential element distinguishing wilderness first aid from standard first aid. When calling 911 is not an immediate option, or when help could be an hour or even days away, the task of managing the injured and the ill will challenge you beyond basic first-aid knowledge, and require the skills you will learn in this course.

The equipment needed for treatment and evacuation may have to be improvised from what’s available, and communication with the “outside world” may be limited—or even nonexistent. Remote locations and harsh environments may require creative treatments. All of this comes into play being a Wilderness Advanced First Aider.

What To Expect

This course is an intensive course which offers a lot of hands-on practice through scenarios, case studies and simulations. Students will constantly be both indoors and outdoors for simulations and practice, regardless of the weather, barring severe inclement weather. Come to class prepared for the weather, as we spend a lot of time outdoors training.

Cutting Away Clothing for a Scenario
  • General Info
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Course Length:
36–40 hours of instruction
Actual course may be longer, incorporating hands-on scenarios, skills practice & activities.
Course Format:
WFR is typically taught over 4 or 5 consecutive days (please see below).
Courses taught over 4 consecutive days are typically 8am–6:30pm daily (with a 45 min. lunch).
Courses taught over 5 consecutive days are typically 8am–5pm daily (with a 60 min. lunch).

Course Tuition:
$349 – $499
Actual course tuition may vary depending on course location, logistics, meals, accommodations, etc.
Wilderness Advacned First Aid (valid 2 years)
  • Be at least 16 years of age.**
    **The minimum age requirement to take Wilderness Advacned First Aid is 16 by the last day of the course.
  • Current Adult + Pediatric CPR/AED certification is NOT required, but is strongly recommended.
  • Complete the Two Required Forms (waiver & medical forms) prior to class.**
    **All Prerequisites MUST be completed at least 48 Hours prior to your course start date (if a course starts on Monday, they are due the Friday before at Midnight). Failure to do so will result in not being permitted to attend the course with no refunds.
NOTE: Access to these forms is granted once enrollment is complete.
Recommended For:

This intermediate wilderness medicine course is recommended for both front- and backcountry guides, canoe and rafting guides, private expedition groups, college/university outdoor education programs, hiking club trip leaders, wilderness therapeutic programs, EMTs and adventure race safety personnel. This course is strongly recommended for anybody in a position of leadership who may find themselves in a backcountry, remote, or austere environment, where help may be delayed for hours or even days.

The 36 to 40-hour Wilderness Advanced First Aid course incorporates many in-depth topics, including (but not limited to):

Allergies + Anaphylaxis Life-Threatening Conditions
Altitude Illnesses Lightning Safety
Anatomy + Physiology North American Snakebites
Backcountry + Sudden Illnesses Orthopedic Injuries + Dislocations
Bites + Stings Patient Assessment System
Body Substance Isolation Patient Care Documentation
Burns + Blisters Risk Management
Chest Injuries Scene Leadership + Control
Cold Related Injuries Shock + ASR
Common OTC Medications Soft Tissue Injuries
CPR in Remote Settings Submersion Emergencies
Epinephrine Auto-Injectors Suspected Spinal Injuries
Evacuation Considerations Tick Safety
Hands-On Practical Simulations Traumatic Brain Injuries
Heat Related Illnesses Venomous Spider Bites
Improvisation / MacGyvering Vital Signs
Introduction to Wilderness Medicine Wilderness First Aid Kits


Valid for two years, our Wilderness Advanced First Aid certification is nationally-recognized by the American Camp Association, Scouts BSA (formerly Boy Scouts of America), U.S. Coast Guard, JCC and many other organizations across the United States and Canada. The certificate earned by taking this course is accepted by Philmont Scout Ranch, Northern Tier, Florida Sea Base, Bechtel Summit, and all other Scouting programs.



Currently, your Wilderness First Aid certification can only be renewed by either taking another Wilderness Advanced First Aid course -OR- any standard Wilderness First Aid course, taught by CWS. Because wilderness medicine is constantly changing as science and medical research make greater and greater strides, there is no "refresher" course for Wilderness Advanced First Aid.


Center for Wilderness Safety's Wilderness Advanced First Aid course curriculum changes every several years, as new and improved techniques and science move forward to offer better ways of providing patient care.

Find a Course        Sponsor a Course

If your group or organization is interested in sponsoring a Wilderness Advanced First Aid course at your location, simply click the link above. Please note that we are scheduling courses out in advance (late Spring into early Summer) due to COVID-19 precautions.