How long is a CPR class?

I am often asked how long a CPR class is. Typically they can run anywhere from 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours. It depends on the size of the class and the material covered. My classes due to run the full length of time because I like to provide a lot of hands on time and I want to make sure everyone's questions are answered. Some instructors or training sites may list their classes as only 2 hours. My guess is that they have much smaller classes or a lot more CPR equipment than I have.

No matter what the length of the course. A good CPR class should have the following components:

  • Hands on practice. Just watching a demonstration of a skill is not the same as learning it. Each participant in the class should have hands on practice time.

  • Questions and answers. If you have a question the instructor should answer it. Keep in mind that while instructors do go through training to teach CPR, we aren't perfect and we don't know the answer to every question that could possibly be asked. Personally I like a good question that stumps me. It gives me something to research after the class and helps me to be a good instructor.

  • Time. This might sound odd, but I'm referring to is hands on practice time. The instructor should not rush you through the skills, the idea is that you practice and LEARN, not feel rushed to practice once or twice and then you're done.

  • Equipment in good working order. You can't learn how to do chest compressions or how to breathe into the mannequin if it doesn't work.

  • Enough equipment for the group. The courses are set up to have equipment shared. Usually up to 3 people can share 1 mannequin. However each participant should have their own barrier device - those are not meant to be shared. If the instructor wants 4 or more participants per mannequin then there will not be enough hands on practice time to learn the skills.

  • Evaluation. Most CPR programs have a course evaluation at the end. Don't worry about anyone's feelings here, be honest. This helps the instructor to improve if improvements are needed and gives them feedback if they're doing a good job.


No matter what the length of the course you should leave the class feeling confident that you can perform the skills of CPR if the need arose. If you don't then make sure you put that on the evaluation form or contact the training center or agency that offered the course.

Comments

  1. Thank you for the useful information!

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  2. Great information on what to expect in a good class. I took a class when my daughter was an infant. I felt much more prepared to deal with an emergency after the class. You've got me thinking that I should probably take a class again.

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  3. There are many very, very good instructors out there, and a few who like to cut corners. For anyone who really wants to learn find a good instructor. It can really make a difference in learning the skills.

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  4. This was an incredibly useful blogpost to run across! I haven't taken a CPR class yet and I only learned the basics through taking other classes when I was younger. I'm thinking I might want to take an actual class now that I'm pregnant so I can know what do to for a baby or small child if they need it. http://www.respondsystemsalaska.com/Classes

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