Equivalency Information for First Aid Badges

Equivalency for Wilderness First Aid (WFA) and Wilderness First Responder (WFR)

Thank you for your interest in obtaining equivalency for one of our First Aid badges. Many of the Mountaineers technical courses have a First Aid requirement; either a Wilderness First Aid or Wilderness First Responder certification will meet that requirement. This page describes the requirements and the process for obtaining equivalency.

Please note: Medical training that is focused solely on care in the front country where definitive care is available within one hour’s time is rarely eligible for equivalency status, no matter how advanced.

Wilderness First Aid (WFA)

This badge represents successful completion of the Wilderness First Aid Course.Wilderness First Aid is a 16-hour industry standard course that provides introductory medical skills to individuals working or playing in remote and wilderness environments, whose primary role is not emergency response.  The most common route to equivalency is via a Wilderness First Aid course completed elsewhere. However other wilderness or remote first aid training may be applicable; examples include Red Cross WFRA, WAFA, OR Wilderness Medicine CME credits for medical providers. 

Non-recertification WFA Classes (a.k.a. "Full WFA") must include interactive hand-on training with a live instructor in order to be accepted for equivalency.  Hybrid classes with a mix of online and in-person training are usually accepted.  Fully remote classes are not.

WFA Recertification classes can be either in-person or online.

In order to meet the equivalency requirement, any certification that has a limited time period must be valid for at least 6 additional months at the time of the request.

Wilderness First Responder (WFR)

This badge represents successful completion of our Wilderness First Responder Course, a week-long, in-depth course in wilderness medicine aimed at guides and wilderness educators.The Wilderness First Responder certification is an 80-hour wilderness medicine course, but the equivalency badge is also used to indicate wilderness medical training beyond the basic 2-day (16-18 hours) Wilderness First Aid course. It is conveyed to Mountaineers members holding a current Wilderness First Responder certification from an accredited organization, e.g., NOLS, WMTC, etc. OR who possess equivalent or greater wilderness medical training. Examples include, but are not limited to, Wilderness or Remote – EMT, NSP Outdoor Emergency Care, Remote First Responder, Remote Medicine for Advanced Provider, FAWM.

In rare circumstances, a combination of front country medical training + extensive backcountry experience or basic remote first aid may qualify for WFR Equivalency. However, it is more likely these situations will be referred to Wilderness First Aid Equivalency. If you think you qualify, please submit any documentation for education and certifications you hold.

In some cases, we may request additional information, including course outlines or syllabi, or ask that the candidate participate in a hands-on skills review.

In order to meet the equivalency requirement, any certification that has a limited time period must be valid for at least 6 additional months at the time of the request.

Equivalency Application Process

Equivalency applicants should submit proof of completion of wilderness medicine training to Mountaineers Member Services and Wilderness First Aid course leader. Applicants who believe they possess extensive experience that could substitute for a current valid wilderness medicine certification should outline the experience in their application email.