How Can I Become First Aid Certified?

Research what it takes to become First Aid certified. Learn about where to find training classes, certification requirements, and the types of jobs that require this certification to find out if this is a credential you need. Schools offering Fire & Emergency Services degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is First Aid Certification?

First aid certification is a common requirement for a variety of jobs. First aid courses prepare you to handle medical emergency situations until EMTs can arrive on the scene. There are a variety of courses available which prepare you for specific situations such as work emergencies, heart attacks, or pediatric emergencies. Careers such as health care worker, EMT, or police officer require workers to have first aid certification. Get the facts about specific certification requirements and training and find out more about careers that require this training.

Training Required Basic certification course, with additional training in specialized fields
Key Skills Assess and report injuries; stabilize sprains and broken bones; immobilize back or neck injuries; respond to sudden illness; stop or slow bleeding; prevent shock
Certification Term 2 years*
Continuing Education Requirements Abbreviated re-certification and continuing education courses available through the American Red Cross and other health organizations*

Source: *Red Cross

What First Aid Certification Can I Find?

You can find basic first aid training through various types of certification. If you work in a factory, laboratory or school, additional training is often required to address injuries common in those settings. If you're pursuing first aid training as emergency personnel, it may be more rigorous and require re-certification.

A basic certification course teaches you how to handle medical situations until emergency medical service personnel arrive. You will learn how to:

  • Assess and report injuries
  • Stabilize sprains and broken bones
  • Immobilize back or neck injuries
  • Respond to sudden illnesses
  • Stop or slow bleeding
  • Prevent shock

Certification coursework for health care workers and emergency responders covers similar topics, as well as training in:

  • Airway management
  • Pediatric and infant cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
  • Emergency oxygen
  • Epinephrine injections
  • Behavioral emergencies

CPR can be taken as a separate course or as part of a First Aid course which covers heart attack care. These will also train you to use automated external defibrillators (AED). Although your certification is good for two years, you can take refresher coursework in CPR every six months and every year to train for life-threatening emergencies.

Where Can I Find A Class?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides guidelines governing first aid training ( You can generally find classes that comply with these guidelines through organizations such as the Red Cross, American Heart Association and National Safety Council. You can find training in a classroom setting or at least partially online. The Red Cross offers a blended format for many of their courses, with an online learning component and examination by an instructor in person. Courses in your local area can be found on the American Red Cross website. The Red Cross also offers fully online First Aid and CPR courses, however, these do not meet OSHA workplace certification standards.

What Kind of Jobs Require Certification?

Depending on the state you live in, you may need first aid certification to work as a teacher or child care worker. If you work as a health care or public safety worker, such as a police officer, emergency medical technician or physical therapist, you may also need first aid certification. If your job brings you into contact with blood, OSHA requires special training provided by your employer to respond to exposure emergencies.

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