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CPR Instructor Classes and Courses Overview

Individuals who want to become CPR instructors need to be knowledgeable in first aid and CPR themselves, as well as know how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED). Courses for CPR instructors are normally standalone training courses.

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Essential Information

CPR instructor courses are available to be taken through a variety of organizations. Two of the most common providers of such training are the American Red Cross and the American Heart Association. The American Red Cross and the American Heart Association both offer blended training programs that are partially online and partially in the classroom. Such programs result in instructor certification and may include job shadowing.

A CPR instructor course often includes a review of basic first aid topics, including injury prevention, wound care and oxygen administration. Students then focus on the procedures for performing CPR on infants, children and adults. This includes a study of common conditions that cause problems with breathing and signs that such emergencies are occurring. Aspiring instructors learn rescue breathing techniques geared toward each age group, learn to control bleeding and learn to use resuscitation masks and an AED.

Graduates of CPR instructor courses will be able to teach the skill in their community. Those taking the course through the American Red Cross or the American Heart Association also gain access to additional training resources for instructors. The American Heart Association additionally monitors instructors during their first course.

Overview of CPR Instructor Classes

Descriptions of the components of a CPR instructor training course are below.

CPR Instructor Training Format

Depending on the level of training needed, a CPR instructor course may be 8-16 hours in length (16 hours broken into two days of training). Certification may also require students to shadow a current CPR instructor for up to two days after completing their initial training. Students in a CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) or BLS (basic life support) course review first aid and CPR and learn instructional methods. A certification course may be broken down into several subject areas.

Adult CPR

Adult CPR is a method used on people ages nine and older. Students learn special rescue breathing techniques and CPR for people in this age group. Instruction includes ways to reduce cardiovascular disease risks and methods of care for sudden illnesses. Students learn how to identify a heart attack, what do to in the case of choking, how to control excessive bleeding and how to apply splints.

Child and Infant CPR

Child and infant CPR is for children ages eight and younger. Techniques for treating children in this age group are different than adult CPR because these victims' airways and body structures are significantly smaller. Students will learn proper rescue breathing techniques for children and infants and what processes could lead to injury. Topics may also include choking, 2-rescuer CPR and resuscitation masks.

Automated External Defibrillator (AED)

An AED is a portable device used to diagnose and treat cardiac arrhythmias. AEDs are used by those performing CPR or basic life support in order to minimize the effects of a heart emergency on victims who haven't yet arrived at a hospital. CPR instructors must know how to operate an AED and other tools such as resuscitation masks or bag-valve resuscitators.

Basic First Aid

CPR instructor training courses may also cover blood borne pathogens, oxygen administration and injury prevention. The basic first aid portion of training will cover what to do in situations of sudden illness or emergency. Everything from burns and cuts to broken bones or allergic reactions may be covered. Basic first aid training covers victims of all ages and appropriate techniques in caring for each.

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