Pet CPR & First Aid Certification Online

May 21, 2020

Information for Pet CPR and First Aid Certification

Pet CPR and first aid certification are not reserved for veterinarians or other animal professionals. While it can be useful for these careers, individuals seeking knowledge in the best first aid and CPR practices for theirs or others' pets can receive it as well, whether that be for professional or personal reasons. Certification is usually granted by an individual program once it's been successfully completed. These programs can be completed fully online, but students may want to consider testing their new skills in practical situations in order to gain hands-on experience.

There are several organizations that either offer certification directly or point individuals in the right direction to obtain it. For example, the American Veterinary Association of State Boards doesn't offer certification, but it does have a list of CPR and first aid courses it has approved through its Registry of Approved Continuing Education (RACE). The National Association of Professional Pet Sitters does offer certification directly through a course of its own. Certification can also be obtained through smaller organizations that are primarily focused on providing training for individuals.

Pet CPR and First Aid Certification Requirements

The requirements for earning certification in pet CPR and first aid may differ depending on an individual's goals. Aspiring veterinary professionals may be required to complete a program that is accredited by a certain organization, such as the Registry of Approved Continuing Education or the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care; they may also need to do this in order to receive training credit or for continuing education requirements. Individuals with other professional goals, such as pet sitting and training, or those who just wish to learn, typically just have to complete a course. Once a course is successfully completed, an individual usually receives the certificate by mail.

Course Information

Those taking a course in pet CPR and first aid can do so through online and hybrid instruction, depending on what each program offers. A few topics covered in these programs can include:

  • Tools in a pet's first aid kit and how to use them
  • How to check for vitals (pulse, temperature, etc.)
  • How to safely carry or transport pets during an emergency
  • How to recognize and treat common problems and emergencies such as choking, broken nails, or puncture wounds
  • Poisons
  • How to administer CPR
  • How to safely restrain and muzzle a pet when necessary

Careers That Can Benefit from Pet CPR & First Aid Certification

There are a variety of careers where pet CPR and first aid certification can come in handy. Besides veterinary professionals, pet sitters can use this certification to ensure their clients that their pets will be in the best care.


Veterinarians treat pets and other animals for injuries, diseases, and other common ailments. They also provide regular check-ups and may perform surgery. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for veterinarians in 2019 was $95,460. The profession is expected to grow by 18% from 2018-2028. Veterinarians need a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree and a state license to practice.

Veterinary Technologists and Technicians

Veterinary technologists and technicians assist veterinarians in the care of animals. They may run tests, administer medication, provide first aid, and perform grooming services such as clipping nails. Technologists usually work in laboratory settings in a research position while technicians usually work in clinical practices. The BLS states that the annual median wage in 2019 for veterinary technologists and technicians was $35,320 and that the profession is expected to grow by 19% from 2018-2028. Technologists need a bachelor's degree in veterinary technology while technicians need an associate's degree in the same area. Both must pass an exam offered by their state in order to practice.

Pet Sitters

Pet sitters look after people's pets while they are away. This can include feeding, bathing, walking, and spending time with pets. Experienced pet sitters may also train animals. Although it is common to look after dogs in this profession, other animals, such as cats, may also be looked after. According to Payscale, the average salary for dog sitters as of February 2020 is $28,000. The BLS reports that the animal care and service profession is expected to grow by 16% from 2018-2028. Pet sitters don't need any formal education, but some training can be useful.

Pet CPR and first aid certification can be useful for a variety of reasons, whether it be for trained veterinary professionals who face emergency situations, animal service workers who want to build trust with clients, or pet owners who want to know how to handle emergencies for their own animals. Certification can be obtained by taking a class online and may count towards credit or continuing education for veterinary professionals.

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