CPR certification is an essential qualification for anyone who wants to be prepared to save lives during emergencies. That said, being aware of how CPR works and having a tested skillset are two very different things. While you can get a working knowledge and general idea of CPR from reading any of our articles, you can only get in-depth theoretical and hands-on practical knowledge by getting certified in CPR.
However, there’s a reason why CPR certifications have an expiry date and require refresher courses. How long does a CPR certification last, you might wonder?
This is what we’re here to answer today. In our guide, we’ll explore every aspect of CPR certification, from the length of validity to the factors that can influence it. We’ll also address the recertification process and discuss the importance of keeping your knowledge up to date.
Why Everyone Needs CPR Certification
Having a CPR certification is important for several reasons, some more obvious than others. First of all, it allows you to provide immediate life-saving help to a victim in distress. During emergencies, every second counts, and having the ability to perform effective CPR without fumbling can greatly increase the chances of survival for the victim.
Secondly, many professions outside of healthcare (like lifeguards and teachers, for example) require CPR certification as part of the job requirements. This isn’t just something that you should do because you have to, though. Sudden cardiac arrest is called that for a reason – striking anywhere and not discriminating between different demographics.
Finally, a CPR certification gives you the confidence and peace of mind to handle medical emergencies effectively wherever you may find yourself. Knowing that you have the necessary skills to save a life is crucial in delivering not just timely but also potent resuscitation in the event of cardiac or pulmonary emergencies.
How Long Does a CPR Certification Last?
After you complete a CPR course and get certified, your certificate will typically stay valid for two years. The organization you choose doesn’t make a difference as long as it’s a reputable and accredited one. This predetermined period of validity stays the same, requiring a quick refresher to guarantee that your CPR skills and knowledge remain sharp and up to date.
While CPR certification isn’t legally required to perform CPR, it’s highly recommended to renew your certification every two years. This helps you stay up to date with the latest techniques and guidelines. However, certain professional standards or workplace requirements may call for annual renewal.
It’s crucial to be aware of the expiration date and ensure that you renew your certification within 30 days of its expiration. If you let more than 30 days pass, you may need to retake a full CPR course instead of renewing your certification.
Different Types of CPR Certifications
CPR certification is available through courses, which have different lengths depending on how deep they cover the subject. The one thing all of them have in common is that they start with a theoretical part and continue into a practical part, which involves working on mannequins and/or live partners.
When it comes to online CPR certification, it’s important to choose a reputable provider, one that adheres to legal regulatory requirements. Online certification is valid in most places across the US, but some organizations, such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), still don’t find online certification sufficient, particularly in the context of workplace CPR preparedness.
Regarding the materials covered in courses, there are various types of CPR certifications available, both online and in person, each catering to different needs and professions. A few of the most common ones include Basic Life Support (BLS), Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS), and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS).
BLS certification is mandatory for healthcare professionals, as well as most other workplace environments. ACLS and PALS, on the other hand, are more specialized certifications, usually aimed at professionals working in critical care and pediatric settings, for example. Choosing a certification that aligns with your goals and needs is an important aspect to consider.
A very convenient aspect of certification is that if you move to a different state across the USA, your CPR certification remains valid until its expiration date. That said, it’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the CPR requirements of your new location, as laws and regulations may vary slightly.
The CPR Recertification Process
Since the certification process has an expiration date, you’ll be required to refresh your knowledge by enrolling in a recertification course once your expiration date is near. This process is similar to the initial certification process, requiring you to take classes and pass a test to demonstrate your proficiency in administering CPR.
Depending on the type of certificate you have and the needs of your position concerning CPR, you’ll most likely be required only to take a shorter refresher course. In certain cases, like allowing your certification to run past the due date, you might be required to repeat the full course you initially took to get recertified.
Even if your CPR certification isn’t too close to expiring, you can refresh your skillset if you feel like you need to. The American Red Cross points out that CPR skill retention starts fading just a few months after you complete a course and earn a certificate. It’s a smart thing to keep going over the material received from the course to keep your knowledge at a competent level.
Nowadays, though, accessing educational materials and resources is extremely easy. Reputable certification agencies often provide online quizzes and tutorials that mirror certification tests, allowing you to assess your current skill level accurately and practice in the process.
Reasons to Maintain a Valid CPR Certification
Despite a mandatory certification requirement by an employer, there are several other reasons to keep your certification up to date. A few important ones include:
- Medical Advancements for CPR: The field of emergency medicine is evolving each day, and new advancements in procedures keep replacing old ones. By renewing your certification as per the state requirements, you’ll stay on top of all the new information prudent to the subject.
- Reaction Time for CPR: As time passes, your ability to react quickly and effectively in emergencies diminishes unless you’re facing emergencies every day. By keeping your CPR certification current, you improve your reaction time and efficiency in case you need to administer CPR. Certification doesn’t ensure that you can respond promptly and confidently when someone’s life is on the line. However, the closer you are to the last time you took a course, the better your performance is going to be in an emergency.
- Better Job Prospects: Many employers these days value personnel trained in CPR and AED, even if it’s not a direct requirement for the job. A valid CPR certification can set you apart from other candidates and help show that you are committed to safety and preparedness. It can improve your job prospects and open doors to various employment opportunities, plus make your coworkers feel safer around you.
As you can see, maintaining a valid CPR certification is crucial if you want to be prepared to act efficiently and purposefully in case of a medical emergency. Certification typically lasts for two years, but renewing it doesn’t mean you need to wait until the very last moment. You can recertify at any moment if you feel like you’re unsure of your knowledge.
The bottom line is that knowing how long a CPR certification lasts can help you schedule refresher courses in time, avoiding having to retake the full course. Remember, CPR certification isn’t just a requirement. It’s a valuable tool that equips you to make a difference when it matters most. If you’re not on point with your knowledge or want to get certified for the first time, all you need to do is make the first step of finding a CPR course in Sacramento.