CPR Training for EMT - First Responders Overview

Sep 29, 2019

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training is required of emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and first responders. Continue reading for an overview of the requirements and training necessary for certification, as well as job growth and salary info for a few career options for certified professionals.

Emergency medical technician (EMT) first responder positions require the completion of a program or a related associate's degree as well as CPR training. Both CPR and EMT-First Responder certification is required. Both certifications include completion of coursework as well as passing a test.

Essential Information

Emergency medical technician (EMT) first responders are trained citizens who work alongside firefighters and police officers. Although these professionals do not have advanced training like higher-level EMTs, they may be first on the scene of medical emergencies and are able to provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to those in need. Becoming a first responder typically requires the completion of a certificate or associate's degree program in the field, along with attaining CPR certification. Read on to learn more about their CPR training.

Required Education Completion of a CPR course from the American Red Cross or the American Heart Association
Required Skills Ability to perform CPR on adults, children and infants
Exam Requirements Practical test; candidates must perform a successful demonstration of CPR techniques to earn certification
Job Outlook Projections (2018-2028)* 7% for all EMTs and paramedics
Median Annual Salaries (May 2018)* $34,320 for all EMTs and paramedics

Source: *United States Bureau of Labor Statistics

CPR Training Information for EMT - First Responders

First responders must be trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in order to be able to perform their duties. Students may look to their state licensing boards to find approved CPR course providers, such as the American Red Cross and the American Heart Association.

Coursework and Topics

The duration of the CPR class may vary depending on location, class size and instructor; however, these courses generally last between 3-5 hours. Students are trained to perform CPR techniques, such as single rescuer CPR and partner rescuer CPR, on dummies. They also learn to assess an individual's state as either conscious or unconscious, and apply the appropriate technique to the victim.

CPR courses may be divided into sections on how to help infants, children and adults, each of which may require a different technique. Additionally, students are trained on response strategies for specific medical emergencies like choking.


Upon successfully demonstrating CPR techniques and completing the class, students become CPR certified. Certifications are generally valid for one year, after which EMTs may be re-certified by taking a shortened, refresher course.

EMT - First Responder Training Overview

EMT - First Responders are trained to provide immediate help at the scene of an accident, injury or medical emergency. While not as advanced other EMTs, first responders receive instruction on assessing the overall situation and using medical devices and instruments, such as automated external defibrillators, resuscitation masks and bag valve masks, to stabilize and care for patients until an ambulance or further help arrives. EMT - First Responders may also be trained to apply bandages, splints and first aid, as well as administer oxygen.

Additional course discussion topics may include shock management, bleeding control and specific protocol when assisting certain populations like the elderly. Upon completion of coursework, students must pass an exam to become a first responder. Those who pass are issued a state card, which generally requires continuing education to keep current.

Salary and Career Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates a 7%, or faster-than-average, job growth for EMTs and paramedics between 2018 and 2028. These workers earned $34,320 as a median annual wage in May 2018, according to the BLS.

The basis for an EMT - First Responder's training is CPR, which must be re-certified annually. They must also know the basic actions needed to stabilize and care for patients until other help arrives on the scene. The employment forecast for this career field is quite strong.

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