According to the latest statistics, while 65% of US citizens have taken CPR classes at some point, only 18% are consistent with their training. If we’re to believe the numbers, this would mean that 82% of people would probably hesitate if they were in a situation to save someone’s life using CPR.
If performed correctly and within the first few minutes of a cardiac arrest, CPR can double or even triple a victim’s odds of survival. So it goes without saying that finding a credible CPR certification course is a must.
On that note, we created this guide to help you find a CPR class based on your needs, budget, and available time. To make your choice easier, we included the key elements you need to consider when making your final decision.
Keep reading to find out how to find a reputable CPR certification class.
Key Factors to Keep In Mind Before Choosing a CPR Course
You have plenty of options for CPR courses. However, you must choose the right one based on your needs, so here are some key factors you need to consider.
Level of CPR Training
There are 4 different CPR levels. They include levels A, B, and C, in addition to Basic Life Support or BLS. Since not all levels are intended for the general public, you must choose the level that suits your needs the most.
- CPR Level A – This is a basic CPR training level that’s recommended for lay rescuers. It includes learning CPR-related skills, such as choking, circulatory emergencies, and using an automated external defibrillator or AED.
- CPR Level B – This level deals with learning how to perform CPR on infants and how to use an AED on infants. CPR level B is recommended for people who are working in the childcare industry, like nannies and babysitters.
- CPR Level C – This level covers CPR training for adults, children, and infants. It’s recommended for firefighters, police, and lifeguards since it combines the skills from levels A and B.
- CPR Level BLS – This level is intended for healthcare professionals since it involves advanced CPR training.
Once you choose your training level, you need to consider your budget. Namely, CPR training can cost you between $14 and $100, depending on its type, provider, and location.
CPR cost by type:
- Adult CPR training costs between $20 and $55
- Pediatric CPR training costs between $25 and $40
- CPR & First Aid training costs between $40 and $60
- BLS training for healthcare providers costs between $60 and $80
CPR cost by location and provider:
- American Heart Association prices range from $15 to $30 for online courses, $40 to $60 for skills checks, and $17 to $30 for manuals.
- American Red Cross prices range from $60 to $115
That said, you can also attend CPR classes in groups. Health facilities usually offer this type of training. However, keep in mind that a larger number of participants usually means a higher cost. Group training usually starts at $35 to $45 per person.
You also need to keep in mind the following CPR class extensions:
- Infant training costs between $5 and $10
- Oxygen administration training costs between $15 and $20
- Bloodborne pathogen training costs between $15 and $20
That said, if you’re working for a company that requires a CPR certificate, you may take advantage of free CPR training. Namely, many employers encourage their workers to undergo basic CPR training at the company’s expense.
After selecting the course that suits you best, you’ll have to choose the format in which you want to attend it. On that note, you can attend CPR classes in three different formats:
- Classroom courses – These classes are led by an instructor who demonstrates performing CPR on dummies. These courses can last up to 5 hours.
- Online classes – They usually include pre-recorded video lectures and downloadable manuals. Online classes typically last between 1 and a little over 2 hours.
- Blended classes – They include online and hands-on skills sessions. Hands-on skills sessions can take anywhere between 25 minutes and 1 hour, depending on the course type.
Online CPR courses are most convenient because you can choose your own class schedule; however, not all employees will accept these types of certificates. Moreover, since performing CPR requires physical strength, hands-on practice is essential.
The length of the course can range from 2 to 5 hours, depending on its format. This means that you should choose a class format that fits your schedule. This can also vary from one provider to another, so keep that in mind when choosing.
The fourth key factor is to choose a provider accredited by a health organization like AHA and the ARC. This way, you’ll ensure that your class meets CPR and ECC guidelines. If your workplace requires specific accreditation, opt for a provider that fulfills your company’s standards.
Where to Find CPR Classes
You can book a CPR class in person, at local institutions, or via online forms. The American Red Cross and the American Heart Association are the best CPR certificate providers.
When it comes to online forms, you can use AHA’s course locator and ARC’s course locator tools to check the class availability in your location. These tools are easy to use. After entering your location and choosing the desired course, you will see a list of available physical, blended, and online courses.
On the other hand, you can find in-person CPR courses at your local schools and fire departments.
What Does the CPR Test Look Like?
To become a certified CPR provider, you’ll first need to pass the test.
- For classroom courses, you’ll need to pass a written test consisting of 10-30 questions in addition to a skills exam, where you’ll have to demonstrate performing CPR on a special manikin.
- Online exams also come with written tests, and they may include skills evaluations that are conducted via video meetings.
- Blended classes involve taking both online tests and demonstrating your skills in person.
The main difference between the AHA and ARC CPR exams lies in the percentage of the score required to pass. Namely, if you’re taking the American Red Cross exam, you’ll have to have a score of at least 80%, while the American Heart Association asks for a slightly higher score of 84%.
CPR Completion Cards
Once you complete the exams, you’ll get your CPR completion card within 20 days. The card will be valid for 2 years, after which you must recertify it. Depending on your completed course, you’ll get one of the following cards:
- Heartsaver CPR AED, Heartsaver First Aid, Heartsaver First Aid CPR AED, Heartsaver Pediatric First Aid CPR AED, Heartsaver for K-12 Schools, Heartsaver Instructor
- BLS Provider, Advisor: BLS, eCredential RQI BLS Healthcare Provider, BLS Instructor
- ACLS Provider, eCredential RQI ALS Healthcare Provider, ACLS Instructor
- ASLS Provider, ASLS Instructor
- ACLS Experienced Provider. ACLS EP Instructor
- PALS Provider, eCredential RQI PALS Healthcare Provider, PALS Instructor
- PEARS Provider, PEARS Instructor
- eCredential RQI Responder (Hands-Only CPR), eCredential RQI Telecommunicator CPR
In case of losing your CPR card, you can ask for a replacement card from the training center that provided your original CPR completion card. However, you may have to pay a replacement fee that will depend on the training center.
On that note, many CPR service providers started issuing digital or eCard CPR certificates, which you can print or look up online.
How to Find a Reputable CPR Certification Class – The Bottom Line
In your search for a reputable CPR certification class, you must first decide which level of CPR training you wish to learn – basic CPR training, CPR for adults, CPR for infants, or BLS.
Each course has different prices, with CPR training for adults being the least expensive, ranging between $20 and $55, and BLS the most expensive, ranging between $60 and $80.
Another important aspect to keep in mind is the course format. Namely, you can choose to attend classroom courses, online classes, or blended courses. However, since these classes can take up to 5 hours, choose the format that suits you the most.And lastly, make sure that your course is accredited by the American Heart Association or the American Red Cross since it must meet the CPR and ECC guidelines. To pass the test, you must score 80%-84%, after which you’ll receive a card that will be valid for 2 years.