Certified First Responder Job Duties and Education Requirements

Mar 24, 2021

The purpose of a first responder is to be the first to arrive on the scene to assist victims until a paramedic arrives, so they must be skilled in assessing injuries, caring for immediate wounds, and even assisting in childbirth. A typical first responder certification course runs 60-90 hours and recertification is needed every 3 years.

Essential Information

The certified first responder (CFR) profession was developed to address the lag between the time an accident happens and the arrival of an emergency medical technician, such as a paramedic. Many certified first responders are trained firefighters, lifeguards, athletic trainers, police officers or park rangers. To become a certified first responder, one must complete an approved training course and pass a state-administered certification exam.

Required Education 60-90 hours of certified first responder training
Other Requirements State certification
Median Annual Salary (May 2019)* $35,400 (Emergency medical technicians and paramedics)
Job Outlook (2019-2029)* 6% growth (Emergency medical technicians and paramedics)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

First Responder Job Duties

A certified first responder is typically the first to arrive at the scene of an accident. Thus, he or she must be able to assess a patient's condition and be competent in delivering basic first aid. The situations a certified first responder might experience range from childbirth to major accidents where individuals may have lost a large amount of blood.

A certified first responder is trained in controlling blood loss and securing broken limbs. Some serious accidents may call for a certified first responder to stabilize an individual who has significant spinal damage. They also have training in patient removal and transportation.

Education Requirements

States govern the educational requirements for becoming a certified first responder. Typically, a course of study requires the completion of 60-90 hours of supervised training.

State Certified Training Course

Certified first responder training courses vary according to the states in which they're offered. Training typically combines lectures with laboratory work so that trainees gain practical experience. Programs usually begin with a brief overview of the human body, as well as discussion of some of the legal and ethical issues of concern to first responders. Other topics covered in a certified first responder course generally include illness and injury, cardiac arrest, childbirth, patient assessment and oxygen administration.

After completing a CFR training course, a student must pass a state-administered written examination, and, in some cases, a practical exam as well, to receive certification. CFR certification typically must be renewed on a 3-year basis. This process often includes completion of a refresher course or continuing education classes, as well as passage of a recertifying exam.

To become a certified first responder, one must complete an approved training course and pass the related exam. First responder courses include training on the human body, cardiac arrest, and oxygen administration. Firefighters, police officers, athletic trainers, and lifeguards are some of the individuals who may pursue certification in this field.

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