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What does a First Aid Instructor do?

Nicole Madison
Updated May 17, 2024
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A first aid instructor teaches people how to provide first aid in an emergency situation. A person in this field may teach individuals and groups how to treat burns and abrasions as well as a range of wounds. A first aid instructor may also provide instruction in how to help a person who is choking or having trouble breathing. Sometimes, a person in this field also provides training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). An individual with this job may work as an independent instructor, providing first aid lessons to individuals, organizations, or businesses that wish to hire him, or he may work as an employee of a company that offers first aid instruction.

Typically, a first aid instructor works to give his students the skills they need to avoid panic and provide effective emergency treatment when needed. His job is to prepare people to react effectively to a range of common emergencies. For example, he may teach his students how to perform the Heimlich maneuver on a person who is choking as well as the steps they should take after performing the technique. He may also teach his students how to help a person who is unconscious but appears to have something lodged in his throat. If CPR is included as part of first aid instruction, he may also teach his students how to breathe into a person’s lungs and keep his heart beating until help arrives.

Usually, a first aid instructor also teaches his patients such things as how to check a pulse and place a victim in the standard recovery position. He may teach his patients how to handle burns, cuts, and deeper wounds as well as how to tie a tourniquet. A first aid instructor may also prepare his students to provide emergency care for a person who is bleeding excessively, having a seizure, or suffering from shock.

In most cases, a first aid instructor focuses on providing the training a person needs to help preserve a victim’s life and keep him safe until other help arrives. First aid isn't usually intended to replace medical care. Instead, it is intended to sustain the victim until an ambulance or other emergency responder can arrive and take over.

A person who wants to become a first aid instructor typically has to enter a program to become certified in first aid. After earning first aid certification, he typically has to enroll in an instructor training program. Finally he may have to submit to an evaluation before he can begin training others.

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.
Nicole Madison
By Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a WiseGeek writer, where she focuses on topics like homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. Her passion for knowledge is evident in the well-researched and informative articles she authors. As a mother of four, Nicole balances work with quality family time activities such as reading, camping, and beach trips.
Discussion Comments
By golf07 — On Oct 03, 2012

My daughter became interested in going through a first aid instructor training course after she worked as a life guard for several summers at the pool. She saw more than one situation where emergency first aid needed to be given, and she enrolled in the course.

I have gone through the training and am so thankful I have never had to put it into practice. I worry about whether I would remember how to do things properly if I had to, but I guess that is why we are required to go through the training on a continual basis.

By honeybees — On Oct 03, 2012

My son went through a first aid instructor course and became certified to teach first aid. He feels that he has an important and rewarding job. Even though everyone he instructs hopes they never have to use CPR or the Heimlich maneuver, they know how important it is to understand how to do it.

By John57 — On Oct 02, 2012

@LisaLou-- It is true that sometimes it can be a matter of life or death. My husband runs a construction crew so there is always a lot of risk with his job. He is not a certified first aid instructor, but has sat through many classes they have taught.

One of his workers was electrocuted one day on his job and he had to give him CPR until the ambulance got there. In those kinds of situations, you just do what you need to do, and he is so glad he received the proper training.

I wonder if the first aid instructors have any idea how many lives they have saved because they taught someone else how to save a life.

By LisaLou — On Oct 01, 2012

When I worked at a day care I had to go learn CPR and first aid. We went to classes every so often to stay up to date with things. I am not sure who they contracted with to give this instruction, but it was always worthwhile.

This is one of those things you hope you never have to use, even though you know how important it is. Sometimes it can be a matter of life and death. I am so thankful I never had to perform CPR on any of our kids. Once in awhile some basic first aid needed to be given, but it was never anything really serious.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a WiseGeek writer, where she focuses on topics like...
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