Are online CPR certificates valid?

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If you enter the term "CPR" into any search engine on the Internet, you will probably find several websites that promise CPR certification online. For a small fee, they will allow you to print an official card confirming that you are CPR certified.

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This may save you time, but the reality is that it really is not possible to learn CPR effectively with an online course. You can learn the facts, but a skill like cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or any basic life support (BLS), requires hands-on training.

The challenge of online CPR training

Any motor skill is difficult to master without performing movements.

When it comes to CPR, you need to feel where the end of your sternum is in order to position your arms correctly.

The compression should be firm and at least two inches deep, according to the American Red Cross, and only after testing is it understood .

If you don't get down on the floor and push the doll's chest under the guidance of an instructor to give constructive feedback, you are not learning CPR properly.

The goal of CPR training is to know exactly what to do in an emergency to potentially save someone's life. Learning is meaningless if it is not completed.

Will employers accept online training?

Many employers require that the people who work for them be certified in CPR. Eligibility for an online course will depend on whether your employer is subject to OSHA regulations.

For employees who require CPR training, OSHA standards state that online certifications alone are not acceptable .

Many employers, especially health care organizations, only accept certifications from the American Red Cross or the American Heart Association. They cannot be obtained from the Internet.

For this reason, it is important to check your employer's requirements before registering and paying for any training course.

Is CPR training regulated?

CPR certification and first aid training are not regulated. This means that companies can offer some type of unsupervised CPR training, even if their certifications are not accepted by OSHA regulated employers.

OSHA does not specify who can provide CPR training, online training alone is not enough. There is no national CPR accreditation to guarantee legitimacy. This is true for the American Red Cross, the American Heart Association, and course websites.

However, in the United States, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) tracks deceptive advertisements. Advertising laws can also apply to Internet businesses.

The Institute for Health and Safety recommends filing a formal complaint if you find that a company misleads people about CPR training.

However, this is not the case for healthcare professionals. If you want to become a doctor, you must complete the training at an accredited medical school and complete the board.

The same goes for nurses , emergency physicians, and paramedics . The laws of all 50 states define what it means to be licensed for any of these professions.

Find a Trusted Certification Course

Whenever you are considering taking a CPR certification or BLS course, it is best to turn to a reputable organization.

The American Red Cross and the American Heart Association are the best known sources for this type of training, and you can find the course closest to you on their websites.

If you are considering another course, the National Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Association has a helpful checklist on what to look for. Answers many of the most common questions about online learning.

In some of these organizations, you can take a blended course that offers some online classes, as well as time in face-to-face classrooms. Your employer may agree to accept a certificate of completion for such a course.

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While online training is convenient, it is important to complete the appropriate training to meet certification requirements.

Still, it's not a bad idea, even if you don't need an OSHA-approved certification. The biggest benefit of taking a CPR course in a secure organization is that you walk away with the confidence that you can simply save a life.

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