CPR Refresher Courses: How Long Does a CPR Certification Last? 

Knowing the life-saving techniques involved in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CRP) is invaluable. The techniques do not take that long to master, and at the end of your training, you get a certificate proving that you have learned the needed skills.

But that certificate does not last forever, and there’s a good reason. For one, there are constant developments in the field that require you to learn some new skills. It can also be useful to have a refresher course now and again just to go over the basics one more time.

Knowing that a CPR certificate won’t last you a lifetime, you are probably wondering how long does a CPR certification last? This article aims to provide definite answers by exploring the recertification process in-depth, along with the different types of CPR courses available online and live, the cost of renewals, and certification requirements in the workplace.

How Long Does a CPR Certification Last?

When you get a certificate in CPR from any accredited US organization, that certificate will last two years. Organizations considered to be authorities in the field, like the American Heart Association (AHA), the American Red Cross, and the American Safety and Health Institute, are responsible for setting the parameters of the validity period of CPR certification.

The two-year certification period ensures that you maintain your CPR skills and stay updated with the latest advancements and potential changes in CPR protocols and techniques. Two key considerations define the time frame of this particular two-year certification period: skill degradation and protocol updates.

    • Skill Degradation: Research shows that CPR skills deteriorate as early as six weeks after training. By renewing your certifications within the given validity period, you benefit from reinforcing your skills before degradation becomes critical. Performing CPR during real-life emergencies is very stressful and can make you feel overwhelmed. If you frequently take refresher and recertification courses, that will help keep your skills sharp.

    • Technical updates: CPR protocols exist to ensure everyone follows the right techniques, but they are subject to change, which is reflected in the need for regular refresher courses. When you attend a refresher course, you can improve your existing skills by adding the latest. The more up-to-date your knowledge is, the greater your confidence in your skills to provide effective life-saving care.

Types of CPR Courses

Several CPR training courses are available, each tailored to specific audiences and applications. These courses include:

    • Basic Life Support (BLS): BLS is the fundamental CPR class designed for the general public. Throughout this curriculum, you’ll gain a theoretical and practical introduction to all the crucial skills that define CPR. These include performing chest compressions, rescue breaths, and operating automated external defibrillators (AEDs). BLS is an excellent option if you work in public service institutions, like schools, offices, and community settings.

    • Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS): A CPR course of a more advanced level, ACLS is usually a certification that healthcare teams and first responders undergo. Every fundamental aspect of CPR included in BLS is also a part of ACLS, along with deep coverage of various skills like cardiac rhythm recognition and intravenous medication administration. Certification in ACLS is mandatory for healthcare professionals, but you can also sign up for one if you are already certified in BLS.

    • Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS): PALS is a specialized CPR course covering first aid techniques for infants and children. It teaches child-specific CPR protocols and helps build crucial skills in those regularly interacting with children, such as school nurses, camp counselors, childcare providers, and pediatricians.

Renewal and Recertification Options

If you need to renew your CPR certificate soon and want to do it before the expiry date, you should know that the refresher course will be much shorter than the original one. If you let the validity run its course, you’ll have to retake the CPR certification course you did in the first place.

Whichever option you opt for, you will have to make time for the classes. The recertification will likely take at least the better part of a day or a couple of days, during which you’ll need to demonstrate your understanding of CPR. That said, CPR recertification is as easy as enrolling in a CPR course using a method of learning that fits you best:

    • In-Person Training: The best option is to get comfortable with the practical application of your CPR skills. Attending a live CPR class held by an accredited instructor allows for developing and practicing your CPR skills along with professional feedback. Such classes and courses are widely available at healthcare facilities, community centers, and specialized certifying organizations.

    • Online Courses: The most time-efficient type. With such courses, you can review the material whenever you have the time. The covered material is the same as in-person courses, including final exams.

    • Blended Learning: The best of both worlds. With blended courses, you get to do the theoretical part of CPR recertification online while you do the practical work in a classroom supervised by an instructor. This is a very effective way to balance convenience and practical skills development.

The Cost of CPR Certification and Renewal

The cost of CPR training depends on the organization providing the certification, the type of course you choose, and instruction method used throughout the course. Basic Life Support CPR courses range from $25 to $75 for online renewal and $50 to $100 for initial in-person training.

More advanced CPR courses, such as ACLS or PALS, range from $75 to $150. Your blended learning options are usually around 10-30% less expensive than in-person training. When you need a CPR certificate for your job, the employer covers the recertification, usually done in teams.

While the costs should not deter you from acquiring and improving the skills that can save somebody’s life, it is worth exploring options for free or reduced-cost CPR courses. Some community programs offer such opportunities to raise awareness of the importance of CPR and provide the necessary knowledge and skills. If you are on a tight budget and cannot afford any other option, these are great ways to stay up-to-date with the latest CPR techniques.

Workplace Requirements and Certification

A valid CPR certificate is mandatory for many professions, apart from the apparent mandate of such training for any healthcare professional. Basic Life Support (BLS) certification is the minimum requirement for most organizations, and everyone should know it.

Many facilities, like schools, gyms, and care homes, require current CPR credentials, expecting their employees to be able to provide first aid in specific emergencies. If you allow your certification to run out, you might face disciplinary action or employment termination.

That said, if a workplace requires CPR renewal and recertification, the employer has to provide the training to employees within the certification validity period.

Final Thoughts on the Expiry Frames of CPR Certificates

CPR certification is a valuable credential that provides you with the skills to save lives in cases of emergency. The official answer to “How long does a CPR certification last?” is two years. However, re-certifying before expiry ensures you can improve your skill set.

Renewing your current CPR certification takes a few hours each year (or biannually) to review any changes in CPR techniques and protocols. Refresher courses can help you stay well-informed and confident in your practical resuscitation skills.

Taking a refresher course each year is a great way to keep your skills sharp and your knowledge up to date rather than waiting until the expiry date. For convenient online, in-person, or blended renewal classes, contact us to schedule your CPR certification renewal in West Palm Beach today!