Types of CPR Certification – Which is Best For You?


Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is critical in saving a life in an emergency. While the basics of CPR can be learnt from some websites, to be officially certified you need to attend licensed classes and be formally tested. Learning under expert supervision is the only way to ensure you can perform CPR correctly.

But not all CPR classes are the same. Some are for EMS professionals and doctors/nurses, others are for sporting and recreational organizations, while others still may be for general members of the public. So, which type of CPR certification is for you?

Types of CPR Certification

  • Standard CPR certification is a useful qualification to have for people working in high risk industries like construction, or for adults who supervise children or the elderly. Standard certification is appropriate for teachers, camp counselors, coaches, personal trainers or babysitters. It’s also usually adequate for daycare workers and general employees in nursing homes. You can receive this certification after attending classes provided by organizations like the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross.
  • Advanced CPR certification is a requirement for employment in many sectors of healthcare. This category covers most professional healthcare workers, including physicians, surgeons, registered nurses, dental professionals, paramedic/EMS professionals, physiotherapists and firefighters.

Child and Infant CPR

Your CPR course and certification should cover children and infants. The CPR technique used on adults is not appropriate for children or infants. Full force chest compressions can cause serious injuries to young children and babies. Proper training will teach you to apply a gentler form of CPR to children under the age of eight in order to maintain blood circulation and/or re-establish a heartbeat – without the risk of further injury.

Extreme care must be taken when performing CPR on babies. Chest compressions should be very gentle and tiny breaths administered. If your course does not cover this, go to a better one.

Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Training

Again, there are two types of certification for this CPR-related technique.

An AED is a portable item of equipment that analyzes irregularities in cardiac rhythm and uses electrical therapy to re-establish a regular heart beat. Many AEDs are designed for use by laypersons who have received adequate training in classes for first aid, basic life support, and/or CPR. You will often find AEDs in places where people congregate, like shopping malls, commercial centers, and office buildings.

More sophisticated manual and semi-automatic defibrillators are used by healthcare professionals who are trained to read electro-cardiograms. These AEDs are found in hospitals and healthcare centers, and also carried as standard equipment by paramedics.

Facilitators for CPR Certification

CPR certification by the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Red Cross (ARC) is widely recognized.

The AHA offers separate CPR courses for the public and for healthcare providers. All of its classes include training in using an AED. The AHA now offers hybrid training courses where you can learn the theory of CPR online and then make an appointment with a registered facilitator for skills testing and certification.

The ARC separates its classes and certifications between Adult CPR and Child/Infant CPR. These classes do not usually include AED training. The Red Cross has a course dedicated to training healthcare providers and rescue personnel in CPR and AEDs.

Attempting CPR

CPR certification is not a pre-requisite for carrying out the procedure ‘in the street’. In an emergency, any effort at CPR is better than none.

Of course, certification will give you confidence and clearer thinking. You never know, it could even be the thing that tips the balance in your favor when applying for a job.

Whatever type of CPR certification you need or want, you will be trained in amazing techniques, right down to how to use a CPR mask barrier in addition to the traditional mouth-to-mouth. You will have the power to save lives. You may even find yourself wanting to carry good first aid items wherever you go, just in case. Why not? Be both trained and prepared.

Just be sure you get the right type of CPR certification for your needs.

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