How to Earn a CPR Certification

Learning CPR can help you save lives. If you enroll in CPR training online, then you can earn certification in a flexible way.
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Kasia Kovacs writes on a variety of higher education topics for BestColleges. With a master's in journalism and a background in newspapers, she also freelances as a news reporter and copywriter....
Updated on March 10, 2023
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Kelly Thomas is an editor with BestColleges and specializes in alternative education. She covers topics like coding bootcamps and the tech industry, as well as skilled trades and certifications. She holds a BA in political science from the University...
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  • CPR can train you to save the lives of people suffering from cardiac arrest.
  • A CPR certificate can help with careers in healthcare, social care, or childcare services.
  • You can earn CPR certifications through training from organizations like the Red Cross.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, is a valuable skill to learn — it could help you save the life of someone suffering from a cardiac arrest.

According to the American Heart Association, about 475,000 Americans die from cardiac arrest each year. Many of these instances occur outside of the hospital, which is why bystander CPR is so important. For that reason, many people who do not work in healthcare professions learn CPR as a precaution.

For those who do work in healthcare settings, mastering CPR and earning a certificate can be beneficial for career advancement. This credential shows potential employers that you possess training in emergencies.

Many organizations offer CPR training and certificates; this guide covers all you need to know about earning a CPR certificate.

What Are the Requirements for a CPR Certificate?

To earn a CPR certificate, you need to follow just three steps:

  1. Choose which CPR training you'd like to pursue.
  2. Enroll in a training course.
  3. Successfully complete the training.

You don't need to meet minimum education requirements or possess previous work experience. The American Red Cross, which facilitates training courses around the country and online, allows young teens to participate as well as adults.

What Skills Will I Learn With a CPR Certificate?

Students in CPR training learn several skills specifically to aid individuals in cardiac arrest. They use chest compressions that imitate how the heart pumps blood. They also learn how to carry out "rescue breaths" and the specific way to perform CPR on an infant, toddler, or small child.

People who master CPR learn other skills as well. They become more familiar with how the human body works, especially the heart. They may learn about body parts like the pulmonary artery or the aortic valve. Plus, they learn the importance of cardiac health.

Learning how to perform CPR can help you stay calm in high-pressure situations and make emergency decisions quickly. These are useful life skills to have in general, but they are especially valuable in healthcare settings where professionals make life-and-death decisions every day.

Is a CPR Certificate Worth It?

From a career perspective, a CPR certificate can be helpful in healthcare settings. This credential is official confirmation that job candidates know CPR and haven't just added it as a resume filler.

It can also be helpful for people who work in healthcare settings, but not necessarily as nurses or doctors. Assistants who care for older adults in nursing homes can certainly boost their job prospects. Even health IT or administrative workers may find CPR certification valuable since they work in facilities with many people vulnerable to cardiac arrest.

Additionally, CPR is a useful skill even if you don't work in the healthcare industry. Cardiac arrest can happen anywhere, so it's good to know whether you're saving the life of a loved one or a stranger.

What Jobs Can I Get With a CPR Certificate?

Many healthcare jobs require education beyond a CPR certificate, like postsecondary training, a bachelor's degree, or a graduate degree. However, some positions only require job candidates to possess a high school diploma or GRE certificate; a CPR certificate can give them an edge in applying to these positions.

Here are some roles you can apply for with a high school diploma and CPR certification:

  • Home Health and Personal Aides: These professionals work with people who may need assistance, like older individuals with mobility issues, people with chronic illnesses, or adults with disabilities. They help them with daily tasks, and they often work in their clients' homes. Since home health and personal aides work with dependent people, a CPR certificate can help them feel prepared to give their clients the best possible care.
  • Social and Human Services Assistants: These workers assist social workers in providing services to vulnerable people. They may work with older individuals, people with disabilities, individuals with mental health conditions, and those managing substance misuse. Although their jobs typically involve researching or coordinating services for clients rather than healthcare, CPR certification is helpful for these professionals as well.
  • Childcare Workers: This profession encompasses several jobs, including individuals who work at childcare centers like daycares, babysitters, and nannies. They take care of kids while parents attend to other duties. Many parents and daycare center employers like to hire candidates who hold CPR certification. This credential adds a level of security for parents who know they are leaving their children in safe hands.

How Much Money Can I Make With a CPR Certificate?

Salaries for people with CPR certificates range widely. Childcare workers and home health aides earned median salaries in the $27,490-$29,430 range as of 2021, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In 2021, social and human service assistants earned median annual pay of $37,610.

However, healthcare workers who earn a CPR certificate on top of additional education or training can expect higher salaries. In 2021, licensed practical and vocational nurses made a median annual salary of $48,070, according to the BLS. Registered nurses earned a median salary of $77,600, BLS figures show.

Frequently Asked Questions About CPR Certification

How long does it take to get trained in CPR?

CPR training courses do not take long to complete. That said, the specifics depend on the training course you take.

In-person classes offered by the American Red Cross can last one day or even just a few hours. Online Red Cross CPR training allows students to follow a self-paced schedule. This way, you can set a deadline for yourself. The American Heart Association states that its CPR training online course can be completed within a few hours, although students can spread this out over a longer period of time.

How can I learn CPR for free?

If you want to earn a CPR certificate, you will have to pay a fee to enroll in training.

However, you may be able to find a trained healthcare professional who can teach you CPR for free. Although you will not earn a certificate from this sort of private lesson, you can still master the skills for your day-to-day life.

If earning a certificate is important to you, reach out to the certification organization or any community or health center to check on financial aid. They may offer funding for circumstances like this.

How often do you need to complete CPR training?

CPR certification typically lasts two years, which means that you need to re-complete CPR training every two years. However, some programs may offer certificates that only last one year. If you need a personal refresher on the course, you can also re-enroll more often. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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