CPR classes are primarily offered for healthcare providers, such as doctors, nurses and paramedics. However, classes are also available to the general public. CPR classes can be taken through organizations such as the American Red Cross and the American Heart Association, as well as through colleges, universities and career training centers. Typically, completing one of these courses takes just one day and leads to certification, which is good for two years before it must be renewed. Before their certification expires, individuals need to take a re-certification course to renew their certification.
There are separate classes for the general public and emergency professionals and for those who want to become CPR instructors. There are courses available that teach just CPR or CPR and automated external defibrillation (AED). Healthcare professionals who want to teach CPR to others require advanced CPR and AED training to receive instructor certification. Individuals who want to know CPR techniques for helping friends and family members can take a non-certification course, which also includes instruction on helping choking victims.
Here are a few common concepts taught in CPR classes:
- First-aid emergencies
- Cardiac emergencies
- Disease transmission
- Basic life support
- Water safety
List of CPR Classes
Heartsaver CPR Course
This course is designed for emergency workers, such as paramedics and emergency medical technicians, who need to be able to identify warning signs of heart attacks and strokes. Heartsaver CPR classes cover methods for treating these problems and providing emergency assistance. These classes incorporate the use of dummies and videos so students can both see and experience the proper maneuvers.
Friends and Family Course
Typically, people taking this CPR class will use it to administer CPR in emergency situations to people they know; students are not usually emergency medical technicians or other health professionals. The course credits don't go towards a program, and the course doesn't result in certification. The course often includes basic first aid training and instruction on how to help adults, children and infants who are choking.
AED and CPR Training Course
This standard CPR training course leads to a 2-year certification and includes instruction on how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED) to perform rescue breathing on people of all ages. Common CPR procedures and measures for checking for airway obstructions are taught in this course. As with most CPR courses, students practice steps, such as checking for responsiveness, clearing airways, administering pressure and breathing techniques, on a dummy. By checking for unresponsiveness, calling 911 and breathing on someone's behalf, circulation can be restored so oxygen can flow to the brain, which can save someone's life.
Instructor Training Course
Healthcare providers, such as doctors and nurses, who want to instruct others in CPR need to take a certification course, typically offered by the American Red Cross. The course assesses the instructors' ability to perform basic life support and CPR techniques. Students complete more in-depth CPR, first aid and AED training, which allows them to train others to perform CPR. The course leads to a 2-year certification as a CPR instructor.
For people who want to keep their training up-to-date, including healthcare providers and instructors, CPR re-certification courses are necessary every two years. Typically, the course offers a review of techniques and procedures and offers an overview of any changes in CPR methods The course usually must be completed before the initial CPR certification expires.