I saw a link to a news story today .... Firefighter accused of giving false CPR certifications. While it makes me sad in a way I'm not surprised. Occasionally I am asked to do group BLS CPR recert 'session' during employee's lunch hours (so maybe a 30-45 min 'class'). I use the quotes because it really isn't a class, or a session and during an employee's lunch break it just can't easily be done.
When you take a CPR or First Aid class it should include hands-on practical skills. In my courses you have to practice and perform all the skills; and for Healthcare Providers you must take and pass the AHA written exam. My goal is to make sure each person in my class can perform the skills as if it was myself or a member of my family you could be saving.
How long or how quickly can you learn or recertify in CPR? For Healthcare Providers who are experienced in CPR a renewal session can move very quickly. But you need enough time for each person to demonstrate all of the skills and take the required written test. One person could do it in 30-45 minutes - if they are fully prepared to test; but in a group setting it can take longer.
Be wary of instructors who can promise certification in just mere minutes or with minimal practice time. The American Heart Association, along with other certification agencies such as the American Red Cross and the American Safety & Health Institute, all use repetitive skills practice in their courses. This is because through studies they've determined that hands on skills practice is the best way to learn or renew a skill.