Wilderness Medicine Certification

Overview & Frequently-Asked Questions.

Many people wonder how wilderness medicine certification works. Which course is best? How expensive is it? How long does it take? How long does your certification last? Do you have to take an in-person class?

Survival Med’s Wilderness First Aid, Wilderness First Responder and Basic Wilderness Survival courses teach the same curriculum taught by in-person live classes.

History of Wilderness Medicine Certification

Wilderness medical care has unique requirements and requires special expertise.

Providers care for patients in remote areas far from conventional emergency and medical resources. They often face weather, terrain and wildlife hazards. The ability to improvise medical care is essential, since resources are limited to the gear and equipment on hand. Often they must make quick treatment and transport decisions without any means of communication or ability to consult medical experts or other professionals.

Standardized Wilderness Medicine Curriculum

Given these unique requirements, experts in the field have agreed on a common body of knowledge.

Today, virtually all schools of wilderness medicine, including Survival Med, teach this standardized curriculum. What sets each school apart is the expertise of its faculty and the ease, efficiency, effectiveness and cost of learning for the students.

Standardization means that you can confidently choose the course that best fits your budget, schedule and learning style, knowing that the core curriculum is the same whether you choose an in-person or live course.

Who issues Wilderness First Aid certifications?

Although there is no national accrediting body, all wilderness medicine schools issue their own certifications to their students based on the standardized curriculum discussed above.

For example, Survival Med and NOLS both issue certifications to their learners. 

Can I get certified with an online wilderness medicine course?

Yes. You can earn the following certifications through our online courses:

  • Wilderness First Aid certification
  • Wilderness First Aid 16-hour certification
  • Wilderness First Responder certification
  • Wilderness EMT certification

Our certifications are widely accepted by numerous organizations.

They’re also the only online course certification that counts towards the University of Utah’s Associate in Wilderness Medicine program, which offers free enrollment exclusively to Survival Med students.

Will I really learn what I need to know?

Here’s a link to unedited feedback from Survival Med students.

Our online classes blend lectures with live or offline Q&A, videos, podcasts, interactive scenarios, medical cases and hands-on practical skills training. Our Wilderness First Aid classes include both general wilderness first aid plus your choice of a specialized regional wilderness first aid module, so you get even more in-depth coverage. 

Students in Wilderness First Responder and the 16-hour Wilderness First Aid certification option (included at no extra charge) also upload photos and videos demonstrating their practical skills mastery for review by their physician-instructor.

Class cost & length?

We intentionally chose to launch an online wilderness medicine school because we believe that everyone everywhere deserves easy access to first aid, survival and personal safety know-how at an affordable price.

Wilderness First Aid

In-person Wilderness First Aid classes usually start around $400 and require that you master the material and take the exam before leaving.

Survival Med’s self-paced Wilderness First Aid course costs $35.  We’re able to charge less because we don’t have the facility and overhead costs of an in-person course.

Our WFA course is self-paced and you take the exam for your 3-year certification when you’re ready. Retakes are included. Most people complete the course within a single day, but that’s not a requirement.

Wilderness First Responder

In-person Wilderness First Responder classes usually start around $1000 and average around $3000, plus the cost of travel and multiple days of food and lodging. They often require 3-10 days away from work and home to complete. 

We’ve heard many students say that they felt incredible pressure in their live classes to master everything and take the exam before they had to head home.

Our WFR course is self-paced. Cover the material at your own speed and take the 3-year certification exam when you’re ready. Retakes are included.

Who accepts Survival Med certifications?

Many organizations accept Survival Med Wilderness First Aid and Wilderness First Responder three-year certifications. 

A partial list includes:

National Association for Search & Rescue (NASAR)

NASAR is the premier credentialing organization for search and rescue volunteers across the United States. NASAR accepts Survival Med’s Wilderness First Aid certification for SARTECH Level 3 and our Wilderness First Responder certification for SARTECH Level 2.

U.S. National Park Service

The Park Service accepts Survival Med’s Wilderness First Aid or Wilderness First Responder certification for employees and volunteers whose positions require emergency wilderness medicine expertise.

U.S. Forest Service

The Forest Service requires Wilderness First Aid or First Responder certification since many of its operations occur in remote areas and involve potentially hazardous activity. Survival Med’s certifications are recognized by the Forest Service.