Wilderness First Aid

Wilderness First Aid - WFA

This two-day introductory Wilderness First Aid course teaches participants the assessment of, and treatment given to an ill or injured person in the backcountry. In this type of setting, access to definitive care such as a hospital or clinic, as well as emergency transport may delayed for hours or even days. Course participants will learn how to assess, treat, and when possible, prevent medical and traumatic emergencies within the scope of their training.

We Now Have TWO Formats to Choose From!

We are proud to announce that we now offer this course in two formats: a two-day in person version, and an online/hybrid version. What’s the difference? While they are both fundamentally the same, the big difference is actually the length of each format.

With our new online/hybrid format, since the course is online and does not have the traditional time constraints of the standard 2 day in-person class (and can be done at at your own pace), this online course includes a significant amount of extra, and often more in-depth coverage of the same topics that are covered in the two-day in-person course. Because of this, the actual length of the online portion of this course is over 16 hours. After the online portion is completed, students must attend either a one-day (in person) hands-on session or the second (full) day of a pre-existing scheduled in-person WFA course.

Our 100% in-person Wilderness First Aid course is roughly 20 hours in length (due to hands-on practical scenarios), and can be completed in a single weekend (typically all day Saturday and Sunday). Those who take the in-person format of this course can have access to the online course materials for an additional fee.

Scouts BSA Logo

A Scouts BSA Approved Course

Center for Wilderness Safety is a nationally-recognized provider of wilderness medicine programs, and is an approved provider of Wilderness First Aid by Scouts BSA (formerly Boy Scouts of America). This Wilderness First Aid course meets the requirements set forth for all BSA High Adventure programs, such as Philmont, Sea Base, Northern Tier, Summit (including the National Jamboree), Goshen’s Len’Hoksin program, Maine High Adventure, and more.

Tooth of Time, Philmont Scout Ranch, NM
Students Checking a Map

Why Take Wilderness First Aid?

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.

Long hikes, extended lengths of rivers, large expanses of ocean, and miles of asphalt may separate the patient from a medical facility. You may have to endure heat or cold, rain, wind, or darkness.

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 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
  • Course Outline
  • Qualifications
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Course Length:
16 hours of instruction
Actual course is longer, incorporating hands-on scenarios, skills practice & activities.
Course Format:
WFA is typically taught over two consecutive days (typically a weekend; 8am to 7pm both days).
This course may also be taught over three consecutive days and weekdays upon request.
Course Tuition:
$199 – $249
Actual course tuition may vary depending on course location, logistics, etc.
Wilderness First Aid (valid 2 years)
A digital certificate is available upon successful completion of course.
This certification is accepted by the BSA and is ACA approved.

  • Be at least 14 years of age.**
    **The minimum age requirement to take Wilderness First Aid is 14 by the last day of the course, however younger participants may be allowed to take the course on a case-by-case basis.
  • 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 Saturday, they are due the Thursday 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 introductory wilderness medicine course is recommended for everyone age 14 and up. It is strongly recommended for anyone who spends any amount of time in the great outdoors, including "weekend warriors" Scouting and youth program leaders, teachers leading school trips, backcountry guides, canoe & rafting trip guides, private expedition groups, college/university outdoor education programs, hiking club trip leaders, wilderness therapeutic programs, and adventure race safety personnel.

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. A sample list of topics covered in this course include (but are 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 Substnce 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 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 taking another Wilderness First Aid course. Because wilderness medicine is constantly changing as science and medical research make greater and greater strides, there is no "refresher" course for Wilderness First Aid.


Center for Wilderness Safety's Wilderness 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 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.