Online Courses in Wilderness First Aid
Here are some of the wilderness first aid courses available. Most are not offered online.
- Basic Wilderness Course: This type of course is typically two days long, and is geared toward beginners with no previous experience. Students in this course learn how to assess and examine patients, as well as provide proper treatment for a variety of injuries. Treatment of head and spinal injuries, wounds and burns, and fractures and dislocations are topics covered in this course.
- Advanced Wilderness First Aid Course: Advanced wilderness first aid courses usually run from 3-5 days, and are more medically comprehensive and detailed than basic first aid courses. This type of course is aimed toward those working in backcountry environments as guides or expedition group leaders. Students learn advanced splinting techniques for fractures and dislocations, lifting and moving extrication techniques and basic life support. CPR is typically only taught in advanced courses of this type.
- Wilderness First Aid for Marine Environments Course: In this course, students will learn the essentials of wilderness first aid training, as well as specifics about water safety. Special topics include marine insect bites and stings, nausea and seasickness treatment, and water-associated injuries or emergencies.
- Wilderness Hand and Wrist Injury Management Course: This online continuing education course focuses specifically on treating common hand and wrist injuries that occur in wilderness settings. Students learn about strategies used to treat these injuries in outdoor environments, including splint application and infection control. Some of the injuries covered include fractures, burns, tendon/ligament injuries and broken bones.
- Ticks Course: This online continuing education course offers a broad overview of the different types of ticks and the diseases they carry. Students learn how to avoid ticks in the wilderness, as well as how to remove ticks and treat tick-borne diseases.
Traditional wilderness first aid courses are generally open to anyone over the age of 15 or 16. Completion of courses results in certification that usually lasts for 2-3 years, after which recertification courses are required. Courses are offered at both basic and advanced levels and typically involve a written and practical application component. Fieldwork drills or exercises in wilderness settings are also typically part of the course. College credits or continuing education credits may be earned through completion of first aid courses. Some occupations, such as forest ranger, paramedic or rescue worker, may require certification in wilderness first aid. Courses usually take place partly in a classroom setting, with the rest of the time typically spent in outdoor locations practicing drills and scenarios. Manuals and textbooks are usually provided. Other materials such as medical supplies and equipment are usually provided in the course.
For individuals who want to study wilderness first aid, there are comprehensive training programs available, but they are not usually offered online. However, there are a few continuing education courses that cover specific wilderness health-related topics available in online formats.