CPR Certified Technician: How to Earn Your Certification

CPR certification is a required credential for many health care and public safety professionals. Get some quick facts about the training and other requirements necessary to become a CPR certified technician.

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CPR technicians earn their certification by completing training courses, taking a class, and becoming certified. Recertification occurs every two years after taking refresher courses.

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Essential Information

Many students who are interested in a health care career may find becoming a CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) technician an ideal choice. CPR technicians use mouth-to-mouth breathing and chest compressions to provide emergency medical care to patients. Read on to learn what it takes to earn CPR certification.

Required Education or Training 2-5 hour course
Required Skills Primary assessment, ventilators/bag-valve-masks, choking, one- and two-rescuer CPR, using an AED*
Renewal Requirements Renew every two years*

Source: *American Red Cross

Step 1: Find Training

Individuals interested in learning CPR can find courses offered through the American Red Cross (ARC) and the American Heart Association (AHA). Additionally, many community colleges, technical schools and local fire departments offer CPR training. Interested candidates can take general CPR courses, typically offered to the public, or specific CPR courses, usually geared towards healthcare professionals. CPR courses may also be offered online.

Step 2: Take a Class

The most common CPR courses are infant CPR, child CPR, adult CPR and CPR for healthcare providers and professional rescuers. Students often receive training in the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED). Professional rescuers and healthcare providers usually take the CPR/AED training. Some classes may be completed in a single session, while others may be broken up into two parts. Class duration depends on the course provider and may last up to eight hours.

In addition to learning chest compression and breathing techniques, students learn to recognize signs of choking. The curriculum includes lectures, videos and demonstrations using mannequins. The courses also teach how to use resuscitation masks and air bag valves.

Step 3: Get Certified

Once students have completed their training, they must become certified to become CPR technicians. Certification involves completing their training and passing both written and practical skills tests. Typically, within one month after passing the test, they receive their certification cards. Both the ARC and the AHA offer 2-year certifications in CPR and AED.

Step 4: Certification Renewal

To become recertified, CPR technicians must complete refresher courses and pass tests. The AHA and ARC require individuals to get recertified every two years. The American Red Cross also recommends taking a refresher course every three months to ensure that students are up to date on any changes in procedure or protocol (www.redcrossrefresher.com). The ARC offers refresher courses for various topics involving CPR, including chest compressions, recognizing cardiac problems and AED use.

Various schools and government departments provide training to CPR technicians, which they need in addition to classwork. Once this has been accomplished, certification is the last step to become a CPR tech. They must renew this certification every two years.

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