CPR Certification and Certificate Program Information

Whether it's for professional healthcare, educational, or individual reasons, the American Red Cross and the American Heart Association offer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification classes via local non-profit organizations and hospitals.

Essential Information

Programs for cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification are typically divided between those for the general public and ones for healthcare professionals. These short classes are provide basic and advanced techniques for saving lives for individuals of varying ages and health conditions. Some portion of the course may be available online. There are generally no educational requirements to enroll in these non-credit programs; rather other than a registration form and a fee. Healthcare professionals may require a sponsor letter.


CPR Certification for Non-Healthcare Professionals

CPR certification for non-healthcare professionals is a class that teaches students the basics of cardiac resuscitation and rescue breathing. Usually conducted over a 2-day period, most courses consist of instruction in proper chest compression techniques and special resuscitation circumstances concerning the young and the elderly. The American Red Cross offers CPR training in hands-only CPR and full CPR. Instructors demonstrate CPR methods on a mannequin, which students are expected to be able to replicate on the test day without help. Candidates for certification must also pass a written exam. Other topics covered include:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Emergency scene assessment
  • Adult CPR
  • Child CPR
  • Infant CPR
  • Hands-only CPR

CPR Certification for Healthcare Professionals

Certification for healthcare professionals differs from the general public CPR course in that instruction also covers the use of automatic external defibrillators (AEDs), respiratory equipment like oxygen masks, and multi-rescuer CPR techniques. Beyond basic cardiac and rescue breathing techniques, professional healthcare CPR courses cover slightly more advanced skills and the use of additional equipment related to basic life support. To pass the class, students must perform techniques on a mannequin without assistance and pass a written examination. CPR certificate holders must generally re-certify every two years. Topics covered include:

  • Adult and pediatric CPR
  • Two-rescuer CPR
  • Bag mask and oxygen administration
  • Clearing airway obstructions
  • Automated external defibrillation

Popular Careers

Emergency medical technicians (EMT), paramedics, firefighters, first responders, and medical personnel like sonographers are universally required to hold a healthcare professional CPR certification. There are a variety of careers, mostly in the medical profession, that require a CPR certification. These careers include respiratory therapists, firefighters, and nurses.

Those interested in learning lifesaving techniques can enroll in a 2-day CPR certification class, while healthcare professionals can pursue advanced certification. This credential is a requirement for various careers in the healthcare industry.


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