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How and Where to get Wilderness First Aid Training in Person and Online

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Many of us have found ourselves with a bit more time on our hands these days. What with no events to attend or travel plans to make or backpacking trips to take, we’re getting a little stir crazy over here in the Terradrift tiny house. Stir crazy and bored. And if you’re as sick of the endless Netflix scroll as I am, I’d say it’s high time to put that free time to good use. Say, with a bit of outdoor education. After all, what better time to learn a few things about surviving in the outdoors than when you’re sitting around all day long dreaming about going outdoors? So buckle up and get ready for some education, ’cause we rounded up a handful of wilderness first aid training courses you can either take online now or in-person when society is up and running again. Happy learning! And stay safe out there!

Online Wilderness First Aid Training

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AIM AdventureU Wilderness First Aid Basics

This online education platform brought to you by Backpacker magazine is brimming with lessons for outdoor enthusiasts of all stripes. But we’re particularly interested in this Wilderness First Aid Basics course. It’ll walk you through assessing an emergency first-aid situation, attending to basic wounds, and life-threatening injuries, and offers quizzes, videos, and other interactive content to ensure you learn your stuff. You can learn at your own pace in your own time, you can access the material forever, and you’ll even earn a Wilderness First Aid Basics certificate you can print and display after completing the course. The downside? It’s not a Wilderness First Aid (WFA) certification required by many organizations (if that’s what you’re after). For that, you’ll have to take an in-person class. $149

Base Medical

If all you’re after is a recertification of training you’ve already participated in, you can do it with Base Medical. That includes wilderness first aid, wilderness first responder, and wilderness EMT. The 100% online Wilderness First Aid Recertification course refreshes core knowledge, updated guidelines, and more, and can be taken at your own pace. However, you typically only have 6 months after your WFA Certification expires to take this course. Fortunately, Base Medical is not only extending that grace period to a year during the pandemic, but also offering 20% off courses with the code STAYHEALTHY. $125 (before discount)

Advance Wilderness Life Support (AWLS)

Because of COVID-19, there are more online learning options on the AWLS site than ever. You still can’t get fully certified online, but you can opt to learn very specific lessons about first aid, health, and safety in the outdoors, including wrist injuries, animal bites and stings, and water treatment. Their other AWLS courses are designed for medical professionals or med professionals in training. $45

Longleaf Wilderness Medicine

Located in Idaho, Longleaf Wilderness Medicine usually offers in-person courses all over the country when there’s not a pandemic on, but in the meantime, they’ve also started offering a fully online course. It’s all the same training and material as their wilderness first aid (WFA) certification course, but with an Outdoor First Aid Certificate instead of a full certification. $75

In-Person Wilderness First Aid Training

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REI Classes

If there’s an REI near you, chances are there’s an REI wilderness first aid training course available. You’ll probably find focus classes on breaks and strains or CPR, but there are also comprehensive courses (in partnership with NOLS) that come with certifications. Just enter your location and see what’s available! Fun fact: if you’re an REI member (find out more here), you’ll actually save more on the class than you’ll spend on the $20 lifetime membership! $245 member, $275 non-member (and you can even use an REI gift card if you book and pay in-store!)

Base Medical

While you can re-certify entirely online, Base Medical offers a combination online/hands-on wilderness first aid course for those who have never certified before. Online training comes with a deadline to keep you on-track, then practical training teaches hands-on skills. You’ll then take the assessment exam online. The caveat? You may have to travel to take the in-person portion of the training as it only takes place in designated cities at certain times of the year. If you happen to live near a city where training is taking place and don’t mind waiting for the scheduled date, it’s a solid option, and one of the less expensive ones. Plus, you can re-certify online when the time comes. ≈$150 (though the exact amount depends on the location of the in-person portion).

Wilderness Medical Associates

This organization works with “sponsors” to organize trainings all over the U.S. and Canada, so there are a plethora of options for in-person wilderness first aid training courses. You can simply pick the one that’s closest to you (or in a destination you’d like to visit, I suppose), and sign up. Each one will take 16 hours, usually spread over two days, and teach everything you need to know about CPR, hypothermia, burns and more, and upon completion, you’ll receive certification in Wilderness First Aid and Adult CPR. There’s also a Wilderness Advanced First Aid course for those leading trips or spending a significant amount of time far from emergency care. The downside? Because training is offered by so many different sponsors, prices are as wide-ranging as training locations. $200-$400


In case you weren’t aware, NOLS stands for “National Outdoor Leadership School.” And their kind of a big deal. The end-all-be-all when it comes to outdoor ed, you might say. So a wilderness first aid certification with NOLS is definitely going to be comprehensive. There are sessions available through REI, but also various other destinations and organizations, so check the list to see what might be near you and when. $240+


Based in New Hampshire, this wilderness education center offers first aid courses both at their home campus and at partnering locations around the U.S., so there’s likely one near you happening soon. You can take many with our without CPR training and they also offer more specialized training options and even packages that include room and board at some locations (like at their training facility) if you’re into that. $195+

There may also be wilderness first aid training options available near you, so check at local universities, guide centers or outdoor tour operators and the like. You never know what you might find close to home! But where you get your training isn’t important; just that you get training. ‘Cause we want you and your hiking buddies to stay safe out there. So wander on. And don’t forget the medkit!

Interested in first aid supplies for the outdoors? We wrote a whole post about what should be in a wilderness first aid kit!

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