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Wilderness FAQ:

Find out if the Wilderness First Responder (WFR) or Wilderness First Aid (WFA) course is right for your students:

What certifications can a student earn and what value is it to them?

Students would be eligible to gain a Wilderness First Responder or Wilderness First Aid Certification. The value of one of these certifications is immense- especially in the northeast where there are numerous jobs available in the summer camp, ski, and trail maintenance industries.  These jobs are all available to high school students and recent graduates… with the proper qualifications including WFR, WFA, and CPR!  


Who are these courses for?

These courses are for students who are interested in outdoor and health care careers. They are  physically and mentally engaging courses from start to end and best suit those who are looking to participate in a practical, skills-based course.  There are medical concepts that will be taught but the primary goal is to offer industry-standard, applied skills and scenario-based-learning to students. If students are interested in learning more about pathophysiology once the course is over, they will be encouraged to take an EMT course (one of our courses, or one that you may already offer at your school), or enroll in their school’s Health Science Program.  Students who take a WFR and continue in EMT will be able to become a Wilderness-EMT (upon successful completion of the NREMT and State Practical psychomotor exams).  Students who continue in Health Science will have enhanced skills and critical thinking as they pursue their journey to a Licensed Nursing Assistant.   

What jobs require a Wilderness First Responder Certification? 

Jobs that require a WFR certification include most outdoor related fields including (but not limited to) Fish and Game, trail crews, guiding, search and rescue (SAR), summer camp counselor or trip leader, ski patrol, and wildland fire-fighting. Also, this is an important certification for any person working in remote areas including as a field scientist, geologist, or archeologist. A Wilderness First Responder is the industry standard certification (80 hours) and a WFA is for people who want to feel more prepared when going into the woods with family and friends, for recreation, or as an introductory course (16 hours).



  • WFR- 16 years of age

  • WFA- 14 Years of age

  • A desire to learn in an outdoor classroom- regardless of the weather!

How long is a Wilderness First Responder course and what options do we have for running it at our school?


The total hours required for a Wilderness First Responder course  is 72-80 hours. This course can be run over an 8 day period or adapted to fit your existing school schedule.  We do run courses over school breaks with the exception of the December holiday break.  Students must be in attendance a minimum of 72 hours to be able to take the final exam and gain certification. Courses that have a less traditional time line may have a “Wilderness  Weekend” which will be a time for all acquired skills to be put into action. This is a 2- 3 day workshop full of mock scenarios and team rescues in a wilderness setting. Wilderness Weekend could account for 16- 24 hours of the course and could be organized to line up with other schools or programs as a collaboration effort. If students opt out of the Wilderness Weekend they would earn a Wilderness First Aid certification in place of a WFR Certification.  

What are some of the topics and skills a WFR course covers?  

  • BLS CPR Certification 

  • Critical thinking and problem-solving 

  • Teambuilding and communication 

  • Knot tying

  • Rescue litter building and carrying

  • Shelter building

  • Environmental emergencies including bites and stings, hypothermia and heat stroke

  • Building splints

  • Wound care

  • Patient assessment

  • Caring for the critically injured or ill patient in a remote setting

  • Plus many more survival skills!

How does a Wilderness First Responder (WFR) course compare to a Wilderness First Aid (WFA) course? 

A WFR Certification is an industry standard certification for professional outdoors people. It is 80 hours of intense medical information and hands-on wilderness scenarios aimed to prepare leaders in charge of a group. A WFA course is a shorter, 16 hour course, containing basic first aid improvisations and scanario-based learning. It is a great option for families or outdoor enthusiasts that want to feel more prepared when exploring the outdoors. 

What does the cost of a WFR course include? 

  • All technical equipment 

  • 72-80 hours of instruction

  • WFR test and certification fee (The Kane Schools, Wild and Rescue Medicine)

  • AHA Basic Life Support CPR

*Minimum enrollment is 5 students.

*Payment for 5 students is due upfront but additional students can be added up to one week prior to course start. 

*Wilderness Weekend (WW) will be an additional cost for food and board, but an attempt to keep the price as low as possible will be made. The final price for WW will depend on enrollment but a school can host the WW if there is an appropriate "outdoor classroom" which would remove the extra cost of room and board.

*Each student will need to have appropriate clothing and a day-pack plus a few other items that will be listed on a gear sheet prior to course start- including (but not limited to) items like a water bottle, sleeping bag, and notebook/pencil.

*A WFR course may fit into already established programs at your school.  It is a desired certification for those in Healthcare, Environmental, and Natural Resource programs of study.  We will be happy to discuss running the course after school, on weekends, or over break as well! 

*If you are interested in having us Coordinating your school's EMT program, please reach out to us to discuss the possibility. 

*Wilderness courses are run in collaboration with 

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