How to Become a Certified CPR and First Aid Instructor


The most critical part of being able to intervene or save a life in the event of an emergency is to know how to do it. While many tend to look over this particular profession, CPR instructors are the heroes behind the heroes who teach everyday citizens and health care professionals the knowledge required to help another person in a time of need. Becoming a CPR instructor is fairly easy and very rewarding.

  • To become certified as a CPR instructor, you must first decide which certifying organization you would like to represent. The main organizations that offer certification are the American Red Cross (ARC), American Heart Association (AHA) and American Safety and Health Institute (ASHI). Each requires that you take a CPR instructor course and agree to its specific guidelines of what is required of you as an instructor.

  • Instructor courses can cost up to $600.00 depending on who you certify with. The ARC allows offers a waiver of its charge if you join as a volunteer. You must complete 70 hours of service in that first certification year, otherwise you will be charged the course fees. AHA requires that you become certified or are already certified in CPR and first aid before taking the instructor class. ASHI basis instructor eligibility on prior experience or other related credentials, such as being an EMT or certified as an instructor through another nationally recognized organization (like ARC or AHA).

  • Once you have signed up for your instructor course, you must participate in all activities and pass the course before you are certified. AHA requires you to be monitored in your first teaching class before certification, and some ARC chapters provide instructor students with a co-teaching class before their course is complete.

  • After you have taken and passed your instructor course, you are able to teach CPR and first aid courses on your own, depending on the agreement made with your certifying organization. ARC requires additional contracts to be signed in order for you to teach outside of your local chapter or as an independent business. You can possibly get hired as a paid instructor with ARC if it is hiring in your area or just volunteer to teach its classes at the chapter. Both ASHI and AHA require that you join a local training center or create one (ASHI allows you to register as a new training center with the instructor application) to teach classes.

  • Instructor certifications are good for two years. ARC automatically renews you certification as long as you teach at least one class during your certification period. ASHI charges a $25 fee every two years with re-certification.

Tips & Warnings

  • It is advisable to start purchasing the items you will need for your students, such as manikins, gloves and mouth barriers. You will have to order books for each student, as well as any videos or additional items as needed for each course.
  • If you choose to become certified for more than one organization, be sure to understand and learn the differences in how each organization would like its classes taught. Some of the information will be different between organizations, so you do not want to confuse one organization's teaching style with another.

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