How do I get CPR and AED Certification?

Completing the requirements of a certifying organization, association, or institution can lead to certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED). In most cases, you must first enroll in and pay for the required CPR and AED certification class or classes, as well as any associated fees. Attending class, completing hands-on skills practice sessions, passing a written test, and passing a practical test are all possible requirements. CPR and AED certification training is available in a variety of formats, including completely online courses, traditional courses that require in-person attendance, and blended or combination courses. A combination course entails completing the didactic portion of your studies online and then practicing your skills in person at the institution.

In most cases, self-training for certification is not an option. Residents of the United States can obtain the necessary certification training attending classes offered the American Red Cross, the American Heart Association, colleges, universities, and some community centers. If you are a high school student, you may be able to obtain CPR and AED certification attending school-sponsored classes. Not all high schools provide these opportunities, but those that do may allow students to complete the training at a different high school. In the United States, there is no central certifying agency for CPR and AED certification, and not all certifications are considered “legitimate” or professional.

In general, online AED training and certification are seen as inferior to personally attending classes where hands-on skills are practiced and practical and written exams are given. The entity that requires you to obtain such skills has the final say on whether or not to accept your CPR and AED certification. For example, certification is usually required for emergency medical technician (EMT) training, but online training and certification is rarely accepted EMT training institutions. This is a situation where you should know exactly what type of CPR and AED certification training is required. It is a good idea to take a course in person that requires hands-on skills practice and the passing of a written exam if you want to increase the chances of your certification being recognized internationally.

CPR and AED certifications come in a variety of forms. Adult resuscitation training differs from resuscitation training for children, infants, and newborns. It’s also important to remember that not all AEDs are created equal, and that healthcare providers must be certified in both CPR and AED.