First Aid and CPR Classes and Courses Overview

Emergency responders, healthcare providers, teachers and caregivers of young children are the primary attendees of first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) classes and courses. Continue reading to learn what these courses cover.

Essential Information

Most first aid and CPR classes culminate in certification of skills, and they're commonly offered through community colleges, vocational schools and private organizations, like the Red Cross. Standalone courses usually take less than one day to complete and include class lectures and hands-on training in life-saving techniques.

Students in these courses learn how to provide basic care to both children and adults during choking incidents and cardiac emergencies. Some first aid and CPR classes are available through certificate or associate degree programs in emergency medical technology or fire technology. Certification courses must be Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) approved to be valid, and are usually effective for two years.

First Aid and CPR courses cover these fundamental concepts:

  • Basic Life Support
  • Bloodborne Disease Transmission
  • How to Heal Burns, Cuts and Injuries
  • Identifying Risks in the Workplace
  • How to Use an Automated External Defibrillator (AED)
  • Pediatric Caregiving
  • Responding to Heart and Respiratory Emergencies

List of Courses

Basic First Aid Course

Students of first aid and CPR courses typically enroll in a basic first aid course for their initial certification. Students learn appropriate care measures for themselves and other adults in the event of sudden illness and injury, acting until medical professionals can step in. The proper treatment for conditions like hypothermia, hyperthermia, bleeding poisoning and bone, joint and muscle injuries are covered.

CPR/AED Course

After completing a basic first aid course, people certified in first aid usually enroll in a CPR/AED course. Course participants learn to perform rescue breathing for adults experiencing breathing problems, cardiac event or choking. Students are also trained in the appropriate situations and procedures to use an automated emergency defibrillator (AED). Watching demonstrations of CPR and AED use and hands-on practice of these skills is fundamental to the coursework.

Infant and Child Course

Students in infant/child CPR courses are typically parents and caregivers of young children. This course may be taken after completing first aid and CPR classes but this is not usually required. In this course, rescue breathing for children and infants is taught. Students learn what to do in the event of respiratory emergency, choking or cardiac event until professional emergency help arrives on the scene. Students practice on infant and child manikins.

Lifeguard and Water Safety Course

In a lifeguard and water safety course, students are trained in water emergency first response procedures, including first aid, CPR and AED use. Coursework includes observation of techniques and practice on manikins. This course is frequently an elective. Basic first aid and CPR/AED courses are often prerequisites.

Babysitter's Course

Aimed at young adults who are babysitting for other children, this course teaches basic first aid skills, including infant and child CPR. This is usually a first certification opportunity for young adults. Their training includes witnessing demonstrations of first aid and CPR techniques, followed by practice on infant and child manikins.


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