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    Nine Things You Should Expect From Your Online CPR Certification Program.

    Dr. Mary Williams, RN, DC

    About the author

    Dr. Mary Williams, RN, DC

    Dr. Mary Williams, R.N., D.C is a Doctor of Chiropractic with an extensive background as a Registered Nurse and experienced Core Instructor for the American Heart Association. She has over 30 years of hands-on medical and instructional experience.

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    If you’re looking to study CPR online, you have a wide range of choices. There are plenty of programs out there providing a large number of classes and certifications. Not every online CPR certification program is created equally; however, if you’re looking for an online CPR program, here are the baseline requirements you should look for.

    aha logo

    It should be based on AHA guidelines

    The American Heart Association provides CPR, AED, and first aid training and certification for both laypeople and medical professionals. It’s also a research organization that continually evaluates and refines the curriculum for both performing and teaching CPR. There are countless CPR training schools and organizations that are not affiliated with the AHA, but most do base their training programs on AHA guidelines.

    Your employer should accept it

    Not everyone takes CPR classes because of a work requirement. But for those who do, the employer should accept the card. Not all CPR training programs are accepted by all employers. If you aren’t sure, double check with your employer and ask for a list of approved training programs, if possible.

    Owners at a few CPR training programs are willing to discuss their classes with employers if they aren’t on the approved list. Because there are so many training programs, it’s often impossible for employers to be aware of all of them—so just because a certain school isn’t on the list doesn’t mean it doesn’t offer high-quality classes. If the school is willing to have an expert discuss the issue with your employer if needed, that’s a good sign that they are knowledgeable and confident in their classes.

    physical exam

    Your state licensing board should accept it

    State licensing boards often require CPR certification for people in the medical and dental industries. In these cases, the state may or may not accept online training—or may accept it, but only with a hands-on assessment or training component. An online CPR training program needs to comply with the certification requirements in every state. Check with your state licensing board to be sure whether the program you are considering falls on their accepted list.

    teacher at front of class

    Teachers should be qualified

    When considering a CPR training program, it’s fair to ask who developed the content—the videos, training documentation, and other materials. Ideally, the training and curriculum should be delivered by a medical professional with hands-on knowledge in the field. Even though CPR is simple and easy to learn in its most basic form, it’s still important to study under a medical professional—especially if you’re going for certification. If you aren’t sure, ask the school about the qualifications of its teaching staff.

    You should get your test results quickly

    Online CPR training programs are all about convenience, and it’s not convenient to wait. One of the drawbacks of studying CPR online can be that it takes a little time to get your permanent certification card in the mail. But many people get CPR training for work, and busy professionals often don’t have time to wait for a CPR training school to send a card. If you need your CPR certification for work, time can often be of the essence whether you’re going for a new certification or a recert.

    Your test results should be delivered immediately, so you can be sure whether you need to arrange further training to get your certification. You should be able to print a temporary card as soon as you get your positive test results, with a permanent card coming in the mail in a timely manner. If the school doesn’t advertise fast test results, ask how long it typically takes to find out—and to get your card in the mail.

    woman on headset

    You should be able to talk to a person

    Good customer service can be difficult to find. If something goes wrong, does the website have a phone number where you can reach a live representative, or does it just offer an automated phone tree and an online FAQ page? Are the people on the other end knowledgeable about CPR, state and employer certification requirements, and other issues important to you? A quick phone call can be a worthwhile step in narrowing down your search for a good CPR training program.

    Bonus requirements

    The above are baseline requirements any online CPR training provider should offer. The following aren’t absolutely necessary, but it’s a plus if the company offers them.

    A diverse number of CPR classes

    Does the program offer first aid training, BLS and AED training, and CPR for different types of learners—including the casual student and those who need the certification for work? It’s a good sign if the company offers a wide range of classes—it demonstrates in-depth expertise, and it’s also more convenient for those who need more than one type of certification.

    Group and multiple class discounts. Discounts are always a good thing. Some online CPR training schools work with companies and are used to accommodating employer needs for certification—and pay less if they certify large groups of employees. Others offer discounts for people who want to take more than one class.

    A history of success

    There are some great CPR training companies out there that are new—online training in CPR is still a relatively new field. However, some established organizations known for their in-person training are also getting into online instruction—even the AHA and Red Cross offer online CPR training these days. When in doubt, look for organizations that have been around for at least a few years, if not more.

    A variety of training methods

    Not everyone learns the same way. Hopefully, your online training program should provide instruction in a method that suits you best. Ideally, you should have a range of training methods, including video, written materials, online testing and interactive components. If you need an online skills assessment or training component, your program should offer hybrid instruction.

    There are a large number of CPR training schools available—but not all of them will meet your needs. Look for an organization with a good reputation that meets your employer and state requirements, that’s based on AHA guidelines, that offers responsive customer service, and that provides training content developed by medical experts. If you do, you’re much more likely to have a good experience.


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