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Outdoor Certifications

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Wilderness Medicine Courses | Single Pitch Instructor (SPI) Course | Avalanche Fundamentals - Level 1 | Swiftwater Rescue | Leave No Trace (LNT) Trainer | CPR and First Aid Certification


The Outdoor program believes that the certifications offered at Westminster College are fundamental in developing safe, professional, and competent leaders and backcountry enthusiasts. Certifications provide a degree of professionalism, discipline-specific skills, and risk management practices that add invaluably to personal and institutional ventures.

To further develop outdoor skills, the Outdoor Program also recommends taking academic courses available through the Outdoor Education and Leadership (OEL) Program.

Wilderness Medicine Courses

Wilderness First Responder (WFR) Certification

Mar. 6-10, 2020

The WFR certification is the industry standard for wilderness medical training for outdoor professionals. This certification is designed to meet the needs of wilderness guides, expedition leaders, and outdoor instructors, as well as anyone interested in gaining practical, in-depth knowledge of wilderness expedition medicine.

Westminster offers the hybrid WFR certification course through the Wilderness Medicine Training Center, which requires approximately 40+ hours of online pre-course work before the 5-day hands-on in-person practical session.

If you hold a current Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certification, you can take the WFR certification course along with an online Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician (WEMT) study and testing module to certify as a WEMT.

To take this course for 2 credits, register for OEL 145A as you would normally register for courses. To take this course as non-credit, fill out the WFR certification form.

Wilderness First Responder (WFR) Recertification

Nov. 16-17, 2019

WFR certifications from the Wilderness Medicine Training Center expire after 3 years. Discounts for recertification are offered for those who took their original WFR certification through Westminster.

Westminster offers the hybrid WFR re-certification course through the Wilderness Medicine Training Center, which requires online pre-course work before the 2-day hands-on in-person practical session.

To take this class for 1 credit, register for OEL 245B as you would normally register for courses. To take this course as non-credit, fill out the WFR recertification form.

Wilderness First Aid (WFA) Course

For those who spend time in less remote areas with quicker access to help, or who want basic first-aid knowledge, the Wilderness Medicine Training Center's WFA Course is a great option. Westminster often offers WFA courses that can also serve as Wilderness First Responder/Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician re-certification courses.

Other Courses 

Single Pitch Instructor (SPI) Course

The American Mountain Guides Association's (AMGA) SPI program teaches climbing instructors to proficiently facilitate and instruct the sport of rock climbing in a single pitch setting. The course is a 27-hour training usually run over 3 consecutive days. After completing the course, you can take the SPI assessment during a separate 16-hour session to receive your certification. SPI certifications last for 3 years with a current AMGA membership and first aid certification.

Avalanche Fundamentals - Level 1

The next Avalanche Fundamentals – Level 1 course will be taught in the Spring 2020 semester. Students who are successful in this course will leave with a certificate of completion (not a certification) stating that they have met the following American Avalanche Association learning outcomes:

  • Select a safe route and minimize exposure using travel protocols
  • Recognize instabilities in snowpack using observations and tests
  • Interpret and draw elementary pit profiles (hand hardness, basic grain type, and stability tests)
  • Apply simple decision tools in avalanche terrain
  • Conduct a mock companion recovery

To receive credit, register for OEL 162 as you would normally register for courses. If there is still space after registration, the course will be additionally offered as a non-credit course.

Swiftwater Rescue

River rescue training is offered through Wilderness Rescue International as part of the Outdoor Education and Leadership Field Semester in Fall 2020. If there is space available, the course will be opened up for others to register. Topics covered include: 

  • River rescue principles
  • Knots
  • Swimming
  • Throwbags
  • Shallow water crossings
  • Contact rescues
  • Spinal precautions
  • Managing entrapment
  • Anchors
  • Mechanical advantage
  • Scenarios

Leave No Trace (LNT) Trainer

Students who take OEL 210 during May Term for the Outdoor Education and Leadership Field Semester have the opportunity to receive their Leave No Trace Trainer Certification. Through the LNT Trainer curriculum, participants will learn skills and ethics as well as techniques for effectively sharing low impact practices with others.

CPR and First Aid Certification

CPR and first aid courses are offered through the Westminster Fitness, Wellness, and Recreation Department.