Where can I find Good Quality CPR training?

Not Just a Place to get My Card

CPR Hand Placement
Place hands on breastbone between the nipples. (c) Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Question: Where can I find CPR training?

There are two reasons to find CPR training classes: to get a CPR certification or to actually learn CPR. Unfortunately, not every CPR class will satisfy both goals. Ideally, CPR training is always going to be about learning to do CPR well. Where do you go to find good CPR training?

Answer: If your goal is simply to get a CPR certification, then finding CPR training is very easy: Google it.

There are hundreds of schools, hospitals, fire departments and private CPR training companies available to give you a card suitable for your purse or wallet (and suitable for any job requirement).

CPR Training Programs to Avoid

I call CPR training programs that only want to provide you a CPR card certification mills. They are production factories, churning out as many CPR certified folks as possible to earn a buck.

The problem with these certification mills is they don't actually provide any true CPR training. Often they simply have participants show up to the CPR training facility, sign in, pay the tuition fee and maybe complete an open-book exam. True understanding isn't on the agenda and there isn't any desire by the instructors to teach or most of the students to learn.

If you find yourself going to a program like this with the intent of learning to do CPR, you'll be disappointed. To actually learn CPR, you'll have to find a proper CPR training program that takes pride in passing on this life-saving skill.

How to Find a Good CPR Training Program

My first bit of advice is to start with instructors who've actually done CPR. While you may be able to find experienced emergency medical providers acting as instructors at private CPR training programs, it's much more likely that your instructor has as much experience in emergency medical services as you do.

To find the best instructors, stick with EMS providers like ambulance services, hospitals and fire departments.

Find the right class for you. Believe it or not, getting the best CPR training might mean starting with the most basic class: adult CPR. It doesn't include child or infant CPR, but adult CPR training covers all the basic mechanics of CPR and provides a great foundation for learning child and infant later on.

CPR Saturday is a good example of quality CPR training. Most EMS organizations and hospitals host CPR Saturdays -- aimed at lay rescuers who don't plan to use their CPR card to get a job in healthcare. These classes are all about learning how to do CPR and aren't concerned with granting certifications. Many don't provide CPR certification at all.

What CPR Training Should Include

A proper CPR training program can't happen without a CPR training manikin. You simply cannot practice proper CPR on a live human, so don't let anyone try on you and don't try it on anyone else. The manikin allows you to practice pushing on the chest as hard and as deep as you need to go to actually save a life.

A decent CPR training program needs adequate space to practice. You'll need room to spread out and really practice moving from the victim's head to his or her chest. Don't participate in CPR training if the room isn't big enough.

Mostly, a good CPR training program needs a passionate and knowledgeable instructor. Your CPR training class may have a video and it may seem the instructor is there only to pause the video at the proper time for you to practice. In fact, the instructor is there to answer questions. Ask as much as you need to understand the material and don't let that one guy in the class bully you into not asking questions just so he can go home sooner.

CPR is the most important medical skill most of us (me included) will ever learn. It's not a good idea to skimp on your CPR training, even if you only think you need a card for your job. If your boss (or the public you serve) thinks it's important for you to know CPR, you should get the best CPR training you can.

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