Online only certification programs, again.

I've previously written on online-only training programs (see Certification Mills vs. Blended Learning and What is Online Certification?).  I've been seeing this happening a lot more recently and took a peek at one of the online-only programs that is becoming more popular.  I'm not going to name them because I don't want to get into a huge debate with them, but I'd like to point out why I'm uncomfortable with their program.

This site is like a lot of others.  You pay them, you take an online course that includes an exam and you print your card at the end of the course on your printer.  For the low cost of $39.99 - $49.99 it seems like the easiest way to get certified, right?  Their website even states that the course meets AHA Guidelines.

So I've spent $40-$50 bucks, took a course and printed my card.

But the AHA and ILCOR Guidelines require a practical skill component.  I can't do that in an online course.  Again, see What is Online Certification?

So the next option - they'll give me a list of instructors who can provide a skills check off for me.  That can cost up to an additional $50.  So... $39.99 for layperson CPR or $49.99 for healthcare provider CPR we're up to .... $89.99 - $99.99 for our certification card.

Okay, so now I've spent almost $100 buck for my certification card.

But what if there is no affiliated instructor nearby?

They have the option of doing your skills check via Skype or something similar on a webcam with a mannequin you can order and they will send to you. For an additional $39.95-$49.95.  From the image I can see on their website the mannequin looks like a cardboard box with a head.  How can you compress that and show that you can provide ventilation to a cardboard box?  How do I breathe into the head?  It looks like it is styrofoam or plastic and has no openings to breathe into.  This is looking way too odd, even for me.

At this point I've spent almost $100, got to play with a cardboard box with a plastic (or styrofoam) head on my webcam all the while realizing in my rush I never deep cleaned my living room and the examiner can see Lego's under my sofa.  And probably some killer dust bunnes.

You could have a taken a local course for half that.  And not stressed over the cleanliness of your living room or waited for your expensive cardboard box to arrive in the mail.

There are a lot of CPR AED instructors out there.  You can find a reputable course through your local FD, hospital or from the American Heart Association's CPR Class Connector or the American Safety and Health Institute's Find a Class webpages.  I'm sure the American Red Cross, Emergency Care and Safety Institute, and National Safety Council have similar pages.  Most of these large reputable organizations have links to connect you with a local instructor or training center.

It can be super confusing to know what is a reputable course and what is not.  The Health and Safety Institute has put up a very informative website to help.

What prompted this post?  I had 2 students who took an online course from the above referenced online-only program.  I suggested they call the program, since the program stated it would give refunds if the card was not accepted by the students employer.  In both cases the card was not accepted.  Surprisingly enough - they both got a refund.  I guess that's the only positive out of their situation.  Both were duped; they took a course, turned the card into their employer - and it was rejected.  I cannot provide a skills check off for a program I am not affiliated with, nor will I affiliate with this program.  They wasted valuable time and resources and then had the added stress when their card was not accepted.  Fortunately for both they got a refund, took a hands-on classroom course and were able to turn a valid card in to their employer.

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