CPR means Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation. CPR is a First Aid action performed on a patient who has become unconscious due to cardiac arrest. A CPR instructor leads a training program to equip individuals with the skills to perform CPR on patients and bring them back to consciousness.
A CPR instructor plans and customizes training classes to suit the students’ needs. They conduct the lectures in a motivating and efficient manner to ensure the students grasp the concepts well. They are also responsible for ensuring that the students are able to perform the practical components in the correct manner as this is vital for saving lives.
To be able to perform CPR is almost a basic necessity for anyone who interacts with people on a daily basis. Hence, the job of a qualified CPR instructor is equally important and of demand in a society. It is also a job that requires appropriate certification and re-certification at regular intervals.
Education and Training
The very basic requirements for becoming a certified CPR instructor are:
- Be at least 18 years of age at the time of completion of the course,
- Have a high school diploma.
- Obtain a Basic Life Support Certification.
Since there are levels and types of CPR certifications like CPR for Infants, CPR for Adults, First Aid, BLS, ALS, etc., if one wants to teach a specific skill, one is required to have the appropriate current valid certification for the same. These programs are available in classroom settings as well as online.
CPR Instructor training programs are not regulated by the government hence not every certification program is the same. Hence, it is advisable to train for the CPR certification from the same training center where you intend to obtain the instructor training from. This would ease the process of getting into the instructor program because the requirements for entry into the program vary from one institute to another.
The most well-known names in CPR training are the American Heart Association, American Red Cross and the National Safety Council. They provide certain guidelines that other training centers use. It would be important then, to choose a training provider that meets these guidelines.
Below are the requirements for the entry into the CPR instructor program by The American Heart Association and American Red Cross:
American Heart Association:
The first step is to complete the Instructor Candidate Application and be accepted in the local AHA Training center and enroll in the Instructor Course.
The AHA requires candidates to obtain the certification and proficiency in the discipline for which the instructor course is applied for. The disciplines include Basic Life Support, Advance Cardiac Life Support, Pediatric Advance Life Support and Heart Saver.
Once one has been accepted and completed the discipline specific classroom Instructor Course successfully, the individual is required to be monitored while teaching their first course within six months of completing the discipline-specific classroom Instructor Course. The candidate will be evaluated on their teaching methods, both in classroom and during practical sessions to ensure they have appropriate skills to impart CPR knowledge in both ways.
Based on the candidate’s performance and the training center coordinators, the candidate may require additional monitoring.
The AHA provides the most current emergency cardiovascular care science, course updates and training resources through their online AHA network. Once one qualifies as an instructor, they would have access to all their resources through their website.
The AHA certificate is valid for two years. To renew the certificate, the AHA instructor needs to complete a refresher course and pass the refresher examination.
American Red Cross:
The American Red cross requires the candidate to be at least 16 years of age on the last day of the Instructor course. They also require the candidate to have the Basic level American Red Cross Adult CPR/AED (or higher level) certification or equivalent.
Candidates will complete and pass an online pre-qualification test to be eligible to attend the CPR Instructor program. Once they pass, they can start the Instructor course.
The American Red Cross CPR Instructor training program is a blended learning course and the online material must be completed prior to attending the classroom activities.
The candidates will be monitored as to how they conduct a CPR training and accordingly receive their certification.
The Instructor certificate is valid for two years. In order to renew, the candidate can take their Blended Simulation Learning Course which allows them to study online and then complete the hands-on training in person.
CPR Instructor Certification renewal is important due to the fact that the CPR skill retention is known to decline within a few months of initial training and then continues to decline as time goes by. Hence regular trainings ensures one stays updated in their skills as well as knowledge.
A CPR Instructor Certificate can be obtained in as little as 6 months or even earlier depending on how soon the candidate can be monitored teaching their first class.
An important thing to note is that not all training programs are accredited and accepted by employers. It is vital that one chooses an AHA certified training center so as to have their options open for the perfect job!
A CPR Instructor may find a job in an accredited training center or college. This is one of the easiest options to start one’s career with and gain experience.
One may also find job openings with various Emergency Service Providers like the fire department, police or ambulance services.
The other option is to open one’s own center to provide accredited training. Both the AHA and the American Red Cross offer appropriate certifications to be able to run a training program through their certification and accreditation. One may obtain more information through their respective websites.
Salary and outlook:
According to surveys by indeed.com, pay scale and mymajors.com, a CPR instructor’s annual salary ranges from USD 31,000 to USD 57,000. The salary varies depending on the state one works in, and the type of employment they have that is own business, training institute, college or emergency service provider.
There is always room for growth in this field. One may study further to teach other Emergency Medical subjects and be capable of training EMTs and Paramedics. This will enhance opportunities in the long run.