Many May Not Be Able to Recertify Due to COVID-19

There are not enough classroom seats to meet the coming recertification demand.

All major wilderness medical schools suspended training this Spring and extended all expiring certifications to November 2020.  Thirty-eight percent of all WFA certifications will expire in November and another twenty-four percent will expire between November 2020 and May 2021.

Chances are increasing over the next few months that you may not be able to secure a seat before your current certification expires. If you are earning a WFA certification for the first time, you may not be able to be certified at all due to a lack of seats.

The traditional two-day, 16-hour WFA certification course is limited by location and the number of seats available per course. Most schools will not have the resources to meet the demand for courses due to the after-effects of COVID-19.

The solution is to remove the barriers and limitations that come with a traditional, two-day, onsite WFA certification course. By taking advantage of technology, eliminating the requirements for the student to sit through eight or more hours of lectures onsite and enhancing the skills assessment, more students can be reached, students will enjoy cost savings and skills retention will be increased.

COVID-19 has caused schools to think outside the box of traditional training. Two training models have emerged – Blended Learning Wilderness First Aid Certification and Virtual Wilderness First Aid Certification.

Blended Learning Wilderness First Aid Certification Course

The blended learning WFA course consists of two portions – the online portion of the course and an in-person, one-day Skills Assessment.

The online portion of this course consists of all thirty-three lectures, demonstrations, videos and graded quizzes found in the traditional, onsite, two-day, sixteen-hour Wilderness First Aid certification course. Additional bonus content to include downloadable handouts and checklists are made available to you in this course. You will have the opportunity to test your new knowledge with graded quizzes and practice your skills in scenarios provided in this course. You will be able to enjoy the classroom portion of the class at your pace and review lectures.

The Skills Assessment portion of this course consists of eight hours of hands-on skills assessment where you will demonstrate splinting skills, primary and secondary assessment skills and identifying and treating patient illnesses and injuries.

Instructor Office Hours are held weekly starting three weeks before the Skills Assessment via Zoom to answer questions and assist you in your learning Wilderness First Aid. Office Hours schedule and registration information will be shared via email to all registered students. And of course, your instructor is always available by email.

You can learn more about the Blended Learning Wilderness First Aid Certification Course here.

Virtual Wilderness First Aid Certification Course

This course shares the same online portion as found in the Blended Learning version of the course. Upon successfully completing the lectures, demonstrations, scenarios and graded quizzes, you will be issued a completion certificate and invited to schedule a virtual skills assessment to earn a two-year WFA Certification. The Skills Assessment takes place online using Zoom and you will demonstrate the skills you learned in the course through a series of virtual scenarios. And just like in the Blended learning course, Instructor Office Hours are held weekly starting three weeks before a virtual Skills Assessment via Zoom to answer questions and assist you in your learning Wilderness First Aid.

You can learn more about the Virtual Wilderness First Aid Certification Course here.

I wish you the best in earning your WFA certification for the 2021 season.


Jeffrey S. Imel is an Emergency Medical Services Educator, a National Registry Emergency Medical Technician, Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician and author of four books on emergency first aid. He holds instructor certifications in First Aid, CPR/AED, First Responder and Wilderness First Aid. Imel’s life mission is to teach people with no medical background how they can save lives in the first critical minutes of a medical emergency. 

Online Wilderness First Aid – Free Resources

We have many resources for Wilderness First Aid graduates and future students available for free. Check them out and also check out our Online Wilderness First Aid courses here.

  • Scenario Saturday. Almost every Saturday I release a new scenario that enables you to practice your first aid sleuthing skills. Check out this week’s scenario, “The Pale-Red Runner.”
  • Patient Care Flow Diagram. I’ve updated the Patient Care Flow Diagram and added bonus content accessible with hyperlinks and for the printed version, QR Codes. Bonus Content includes video demonstrations and lectures from the WFA Course that you can view on your cell phone or computer.
  • Bleeding Control Course. Review the Day 2 Bleeding Control lectures and demonstrations by viewing the free Bleeding Control Course. Included is a downloadable, updated Bleeding Control Flow Diagrams (with Bonus Content) and Wound Packing and Hemostatic Dressing demonstrations that I began including in my 2020 classes
  • Splinting. Review arm and leg splinting viewing the arm splinting demo and leg splinting demo. If you attended my classes before 2020, please check out the step-by-step, downloadable checklist for arm splinting and leg splinting.
  • YouTube Channel. View WFA lectures and demonstrations on our YouTube Channel.
  • Even More Resources. More resources to include downloadable blank SOAP Notes and links to more WFA lectures and demonstrations can be found here.

Online Wilderness First Aid Will Give You One Extra Weekend This Year.

You’ve been looking for a Wilderness First Aid (WFA) Certification Course and in your search you discovered:

  • The closest Wilderness First Aid course is on a weekend you are not able to attend.
  • The WFA course that does have open seats is a three-hour drive away.
  • There are no courses available before you have to be certified.

The Virtual Wilderness First Aid Certification Course will give you a weekend back and allow you to earn your certification on your own terms.

Virtual training allows you to learn on your own schedule.  You don’t have to give up an entire weekend, drive hours to a course and pay for a hotel and meals.

Online WFA training reduces the frustration that all students feel. Information is being thrown at them so quickly that they feel like they are drinking from a firehose and attempting not to drown. In an online WFA course, you can view all the lectures and demonstrations and view them again if you like. You have the time to study handouts and bonus content downloadable throughout the course. Online WFA training reduces stress and anxiety.

The Virtual Wilderness First Aid Certification Course meets the Wilderness Medical Society Guidelines. All thirty-three lectures and demonstrations are available to view and review. Additionally, bonus content is downloadable throughout the course. Plus, you benefit from a teaching method that illustrates patient assessment and care, making it easier to retain what you learn during your two-year certification.

Learn more about online Wilderness First Aid here.

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