Our mission is to provide you with everything you need to know about CPR certification. You may have lots of questions about getting CPR certified and by the end of your research on this site you should be well on your way with the knowledge to make the right decisions.

What is CPR and Who Needs It?

CPR, short for cardiopulmonary resuscitation, is an emergency medical procedure that is used to keep a person’s lungs flowing with oxygen and their heart beating if they’ve entered cardiac arrest. It has been around for over 50 years and has saved many lives every year. Anyone can benefit from learning this skill and many choose to go through a training program and are awarded with a CPR certification. Many people choose to learn CPR for their own benefit but there are many who are actually required to get certified for various reasons and will need to take specific classes accordingly:

  • CPR for Workplaces, Schools, and Individuals: It’s increasingly common for workplaces and schools to require individuals to be certified. If you fall into this category, you will need to take a class tailored for nonprofessionals.
  • CPR for Healthcare Providers and Medical Professionals: If you need CPR as a skill for your job, such as firefighters or EMTs, you will need a certification that is designed for people in the medical profession.

Where should I get my CPR Training and Certification?

There are several options for you to consider. The traditional places for people to get their certification are with the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross. Online CPR certifications are a new alternative that have been rising in popularity over the past few years. Review the following options to learn about the pros and cons of each:

What are the Courses Like?

CPR certification


In-person training courses traditionally take place in a classroom. You will learn from a qualified CPR instructor and will be provided with a course manual. During the course students will have dummies to practice the application of CPR. This allows students to experience a “real” experience of how to deal with a victim requiring CPR.

The first thing that will be taught in CPR certification classes is to remember that your role in saving a victim’s life is to keep them alive until the medical response team arrives. During the CPR course, students will be assessed on their competency and skill level and those that show that they have learned the ability to apply the necessary skills, will receive their certification after their final written and practical exams.

Classes often take 4-6 hours if you go with the classroom courses or quite a bit shorter if you do an online e-learning based certification. Online courses have a lot of different variation in their course formats but typically are a much more time efficient way to go about getting certified. But be careful, not all online programs are created equal. To make sure you choose the right online course, make sure to read our guide to getting certified online.

CPR Testing

The standard CPR test is made up of two parts:

  • Written Test: The written CPR test includes a series of question on the basics of CPR. This part of the test is to ensure that students understand when to perform CPR and how to perform CPR, and also know how to deal with various situations. The test is a multiple choice question test.
  • Skill Test: The second part of the CPR certification test involves applying the skills which students have been taught during the course. The instructors provide a dummy or manikin for students to demonstrate their CPR skills. This allows the instructors to verify that students have learned the proper technique of CPR, are able to follow protocol and know how to administer breaths and compression.

How Long is CPR Certification Valid?

CPR certification typically is valid for two years. When an individual wishes to get their recertification they will be required to take the written test and the skill test to ensure that they have retained the proper knowledge, techniques and skills. When protocols have been changed, it may be necessary for the individual to retake the course.

Get Your Certification

There are two ways to get your CPR certification: You can either go through the traditional route by taking a 4-6 hour classroom course given by organizations such as the AHA or Red Cross or, alternatively, get your CPR certification online.