CPR Training Online: Overview of Online CPR Courses and Classes

CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, can save lives by restoring circulation and oxygen to the brain when someone's heart has stopped. Traditional classroom and online classes are available to instruct and certify individuals in CPR. Read on to see what these training programs entail.

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Online CPR Courses

The American Heart Association currently offers two online courses for individuals who are interested in CPR:

  • Heartsaver First Aid CPR AED: This course trains non-medical professionals to provide first aid (in compliance with the 2015 update of the American Red Cross standards), give CPR and use an automated external defibrillator (AED). Students learn to recognize a wide range of illnesses and injuries and provide basic treatment when possible. The course consists of a mixture of online and hands-on training.
  • HeartCode BLS: In this 1.75-hour course, students use eSimulation technology to evaluate and treat patients in a virtual medical setting. They learn to recognize situations where CPR or AED is needed, and they are trained to provide quality CPR care. In addition, they must learn all the steps of the Chain of Survival. An in-person demonstration of knowledge and skills is required.

Training Details

In addition to the online AHA courses, online CPR classes are available at a number of schools, particularly through community colleges' continuing education departments. These are open to the public and do not require individuals to be enrolled in a particular academic program at the institution. The courses feature online learning modules that allow students to learn at their own pace. Students need to have basic computer skills to participate in online CPR training. In addition, those who plan to pursue CPR certification should be sure to choose a course that has been accredited by the American Red Cross and American Heart Association and that follows their guidelines.

The academic and test portion of online CPR training typically takes 1-3 hours to complete. The academic component of the course consists of text and video demonstrations conducted by certified instructors. Students are allowed anywhere from 14 days to an unlimited amount of time, depending on the learning institution, to complete the academic portion. Once the online component is complete, they must contact the school to arrange for the on-site practice and skills assessment. The hands-on component is essential for CPR certification eligibility.

Certification Information

After completing the academic portion, a student is required to pass an online test. Students can take the test as many times as they need to pass. Certificates are available for immediate print-out, which individuals can then take to a school or other training location to prove eligibility for the hands-on portion of the training. The on-site skills assessment often needs to be completed within 30 days of passing the online coursework. Certifications are good for 1-2 years, depending on the certification level and the certifying institution. The three levels of CPR certification have increasing skills and responsibilities.

  • CPR for the community or Heartsaver CPR is for general lay persons wanting to learn lifesaving CPR skills.
  • CPR for the workplace is for daycare providers and others who are required by their place of employment to be certified in CPR.
  • CPR for the healthcare worker or first responder is for doctors, nurses, paramedics, police and firefighters.

Individuals who want to learn CPR can find courses through the AHA or individual postsecondary institutions. The AHA offers two courses, which provide training in CPR, AED use and/or first aid.

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