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How do I Earn a CPR Certification?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 17, 2024
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There are several ways to earn CPR certification and these may differ by location, type of certification needed, extra training required, and the requirements set forth by any agency that asks people to learn this. Three methods may exist offering some form of training, and these include learning in a classroom, taking online classes, and a hybrid of online study plus skills practice offline. It’s recommended that people avoid the second method unless their interest in CPR is entirely theoretical. Many employers require hands-on training and won’t accept a certificate that has not included this.

Most people who get CPR certification study adult cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, which may or may not include the sub-discipline of CPR in infants and children. If people have kids, this extra study is wise, and it’s also advisable for those who work in environments where children are present. This could include restaurants, schools, daycares, and et cetera. Many classes will blend both aspects of study so people are qualified to handle most CPR emergencies.

In places like the US, the two most respected agencies from which to earn CPR certification are the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross. Most countries with an established Red Cross suggest great likelihood of having classes available from this agency. Other private agencies could also offer CPR certification, but extremely well recognized organizations tend to be associated with highest degree of standards and certification acceptance.

Many times, people will get their training in a classroom setting, and training could take a day or longer depending on its structure. Some people do not have as much time to spend in the classroom, and a number of agencies offer people the option to study theoretical materials at home. This means they learn terminology, what to do, when to respond and other details by reading material at home and possibly taking quizzes.

This is not the end point for most people who want certification. They still will need to attend a practical class. Pursuing training in this manner can cut down on hours spent in class. Some time will still be required doing hands-on training, so that people will really know what it feels like to perform CPR. Once a person has completed online or offline classes and demonstrated skills through practice, they usually are awarded their certificate.

As mentioned, there are CPR certificates that aren’t as recognized because they don’t include practice in a classroom. These may be useful for a person who just wants to understand CPR, but they may not provide enough information for a person to perform CPR, especially in an emergency setting. Practice is considered extremely important and is more respected. Moreover, in order to maintain certification, people must periodically go through classes again to recertify.

CPR can be taught alone or it may be taught in conjunction with more extensive first aid courses. These, too, are often taught by the agencies listed above. They can range from teaching how to give basic first aid to very extensive first aid skills that might be necessary in specific situations. To confuse matters, sometimes first aid is taught alone or with only a theoretical knowledge of CPR. If a person wants to learn both subjects, but needs CPR certification, he or she ought to verify that any first aid course proposed actually meets such needs.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
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Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
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