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Wilderness First Responder Certification and Certificate Programs

Those interested in a career in the great outdoors will benefit from a wilderness first responder certification program. Students receive training in the handling of medical emergencies in outdoor settings.

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Essential Information

Certificate programs in wilderness first response are offered at many college and university campuses. While there are generally no formal prerequisites for certificate programs in wilderness first response, participants may have to be current students at the hosting institution. Additionally, participants need to be in good physical condition. Wilderness first response certification courses typically require 80 hours of training spread over 10 days. Online courses and programs are also available.


Certification in Wilderness First Response

Programs are sponsored by organizations such as the Wilderness Medicine Institute (WMI) of the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), www.nols.edu. Students are trained to react to and deal with medical emergencies in remote outdoor settings. Mostly completed outdoors, training can be intensive and is designed for those interested in careers as outdoor instructors, guides, or rangers. Certification is often required for employment at outdoor recreational organizations. Topics covered include:

  • Long-term patient care
  • Wound and burn treatment
  • Setting fractures and dislocations
  • Medications
  • Adult and child CPR
  • Head and spinal trauma

Popular Career Options

Certification in Wilderness First Response may be a requirement for many outdoor recreational careers. It is also essential for emergency response professionals who may work in remote areas. Positions which call for this certification include river guide, park ranger, emergency medical responder, ski instructor, outdoor travel guide, trail guide, rock climbing instructor, and camp counselor.

Certifications and Continuing Education

Completion of a course offered in conjunction with the WMI leads to certification as a Wilderness First Responder as well as CPR certification. Certified Emergency Medical Technicians are upgraded to Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician status. With continued education, individuals can become certified in wilderness first aid.

A 10-day certificate program in wilderness first response is ideal for students looking to embark on outdoor careers such as park ranger, river guide, and more.

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