What Will I Learn in CPR Classes?

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a life-saving process that students can learn in CPR or basic life support (BLS) classes. These classes prepare individuals and aspiring emergency medical technicians to deliver timed compressions to a person's chest cavity when that person is in cardiac arrest. Schools offering Fire & Emergency Services degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You'll Learn in a CPR Class

One of the first things that you learn in a CPR or basic life support (BLS) class is the importance of this life-saving process. CPR doesn't restart a heart during cardiac arrest, but it can keep a person's blood flowing throughout his or her body until emergency medical assistance arrives. Learning this technique can also be a part of paramedic, firefighter and emergency medical technician (EMT) training.

Important Facts About This Field of Study

Online Availability Rarely available, in-person training required
Possible Careers Healthcare-related fields, like nursing
Prerequisites None
Continuing Education CPR certification needs to be renewed
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 15% growth (for emergency medical technicians and paramedics)
Median Salary (2018) $34,320 (for emergency medical technicians and paramedics)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

CPR for Adults

CPR training for adults will show you how to position a person to perform chest compressions, and you'll learn the exact process for properly administering the technique, including the amount of time you have to perform rescue measures. In addition to learning how to administer CPR, you'll learn whether or not you should. The AHA teaches that before beginning CPR, you should first check to see if the person is conscious or unconscious. You'll be taught how to use an automatic external defibrillator (AED) to deliver a shock to a patient before beginning CPR as well.

CPR for Children

The CPR administration process has to be modified somewhat for children (ages 1-8). In CPR classes, you'll learn the variations in chest compressions and AED use. There may also be differences in the amount of time you have to administer these techniques.

Where to Take CPR Courses

You can likely take CPR courses at your local community college or through a department of public health near you. Community-based courses follow standards set by the American Heart Association (AHA). These courses lead to a CPR certification, which lasts two years in most cases. Before enrolling in a class, it may be useful to check if the class is approved by the AHA or the American Red Cross.

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