NOLS Wilderness First Aid

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.

NOLS Wilderness Medicine Communicable Disease Disclosure (English)

The NOLS 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 Outline

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.

WFA Schedule Jan 2024

Packing List

We try to be outside as much as possible regardless of the weather. Please come prepared so that you are comfortable.

WFA, WMPP Gear List

General Information

Course Length

16 hours / 2 days


None. This course may be used to recertify Wilderness First Responder and Wilderness EMT (wilderness portion only) certifications for NOLS Wilderness Medicine cardholders who are current or in their recertification period. Upon successful course completion you will earn a NOLS Wilderness Medicine 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 they attend a WFR Recertification course.

Certifications Received

NOLS Wilderness First Aid.

ASHI Adult/Child CPR may be available if the course is offered in conjunction with the WFA.

Course Length

Course Expectations

The WFA course is ideal for guides and trip leaders on 1-2 day outings. This 2-day course (sometimes accompanied by an 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 Gear List, and contact us with any questions you may have. Either ASHI or NOLS 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 2015 curriculum guidelines set by the AHA. The AHA course is street-based in content and skills taught. NOLS’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 ans WEMTs will be required to take a 50 question test and must score 70% or better, and need to successfully 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.

Additional Details

Recertification: The best method to recertify a WFR, WUMP, or WEMT is through a WFR Recertification course. If you choose the WFA option, please prepare by visiting the wilderness medicine resources on NOLS’s website.

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