Wilderness First Responder Courses

Wilderness first responder courses may be offered through short-term training programs or through associate or bachelor's degree programs. Find out more about what types of training programs are available, typical subjects covered in coursework and careers where you can apply wilderness first responder knowledge. Schools offering Fire & Emergency Services degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Are Wilderness First Responder Courses?

Wilderness first responder (WFR) courses train you to treat medical emergencies in isolated areas. These courses may last anywhere from 2-10 days and incorporate classroom lectures with intensive outdoor training. You might practice treating heat stroke or hypothermia, splinting fractures and evacuating patients. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and first aid training for children and adults are also covered.

These courses are similar to emergency medical technician (EMT) courses. In fact, current EMTs can use WFR courses to earn the continuing education credits required to maintain their licenses. There are no prerequisites for WFR classes.

Where Can I Take These Courses?

WFR courses are usually available through college and university recreation or physical education departments. Most of these courses are offered independently or as part of undergraduate degree programs. For example, associate degree programs in wilderness recreational leadership or outdoor education often include WFR courses as part of the curriculum. WFR courses may also be offered through bachelor's degree programs in outdoor adventure leadership or health promotion and education.

In many cases, WFR courses for these programs are offered in cooperation with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). This institution awards Wilderness First Responder certifications to students who complete approved WFR courses and pass a series of examinations (www.nols.edu).

What Can These Courses Prepare Me For?

If you complete WFR courses as part of an associate degree program, you may work as a camp caretaker, outdoor guide or assistant forest ranger. Graduates of bachelor's degree programs may find jobs as outdoor recreation coordinators, wilderness canoe guides, ski instructors or climbing coordinators.

Will I Be Able to Complete Any Courses Online?

Because much of the training for a WFR course takes place outdoors, there aren't many online options. You may be able to find a hybrid course, but these are rare. These courses may use DVDs, written materials and online testing to deliver course content. Once you complete the online portion of the course, you must then attend an on-site training session.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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