What is online certification?

I received this comment on my posting of the video of the 2010 Guidelines on my Coastal CPR & First Aid Blog:  

The term “accreditation” is an often-misunderstood term in the CPR industry. No organization exists that provides a national endorsement or accreditation to any CPR course provider. The American Heart Association cannot approve, endorse, or give accreditation for CPR training for any other organization. Each first aid certification provider is free to construct their own curriculum, standards, and teaching methods based on the ECC/ILCOR guidelines. American Academy of CPR & First Aid, Inc, courses strictly follow the ECC/ILCOR guidelines.

So at first I'm irritated, but then again I get A LOT of spam on the blog. Since I moderate the blog I decided that in the interest of fairness I would post the comment, but added the following reply.

Thanks Gold Price, but consider this…. 

The American Heart Association, American Safety & Health Institute, American Red Cross, National Safety Council, and the Emergency Care & Safety Institute all also strictly follow ECC/ILCOR 2010 Guidelines. What makes their programs different than the American Academy of CPR & First Aid that you cite? 

All the programs I listed have classroom or blended online/skills courses. The program you mention is a website that lures people to pay money to read & take an online test and then print off a certification card that few employers or organizations will accept. Why are these online cards not accepted? …. because THERE IS NO HANDS ON SKILLS COMPONENT tied into the skills. But let’s look deeper into the ILCOR Guidelines as published in Circulation 2010; 122: S250-S275 This is a quote from Part 1: the Executive Summary of the 2010 International Consensus on Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care Science With Treatment Recommendations
There are multiple methods for delivering course content. This section examines specific instructional methods and strategies that may have an impact on course outcomes. Short video/computer self-instruction (with minimal or no instructor coaching) that includes synchronous hands-on practice in BLS can be considered as an effective alternative to instructor-led courses.
Please note the inclusion of the phrase “that includes synchronous hands-on practice in BLS”. Any online program can follow ILCOR ECC Guidelines by just citing the 2010 Guidelines. Heck, I could post them on this website. But how well can you learn and provide a hands-on skill in an emergent situation if you’ve never practiced it?

The term "online course" can be misleading, the AHA, ASHI, and ARC all have online programs. They are "blended" courses, meaning part of the course is taken online, but the participant must meet with an instructor for a hands-on skills session before the earn the card.

Anyone can take an online course, I could take it right now and pass. My friends could ask me to take the course for them and put their name on it and they would have a card. Because the emphasis in nationally recognized programs is on a skills component to the class, these online 'programs' and their certification card the participant prints off on their own printer, are not usually accepted. Thus the participant has paid to take a brief online course and print off a worthless card.

Just posting on a website that the course is meets ILCOR or ECC Guidelines is not sufficient. Hands-on skills practice is still the best way to learn a practical skill. You can find links to all the documents on the ILCOR website


  1. As as person who may be in need of these types of services, it makes me more comfortable knowing that the practitioner has actually had some practical experience and isn't just going by what they saw online LOL.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Climbing out of a well

Things happen for a reason and that's how I diagnosed duck itch

How long is a CPR class?