CPR certification is a requirement for many professions and strongly recommended for many other people like babysitters or primary caregivers of loved ones with compromised health. My brother’s first baby was born with some birth defects, and for the first two months of her life he performed infant CPR on her as often as he changed her diaper. CPR is an extremely valuable skill for arguably everyone.
CPR certifications aren’t valid forever though. If your workplace requires you to become CPR certified, you will need to continuously renew it. Depending on who the provider is through who issued your certification, it will most likely be valid for one or two years. When your certification is within six months of expiring, it’s time to think about your options for renewal. If you are not required for work to maintain a CPR certification, you may think that just taking one CPR course and learning the procedures once is sufficient. Here are a few reasons why you may want to consider a renewal.
The American Heart Association (AHA) has led the initiative of keeping CPR performance standards and guidelines as up-to-date as possible. As a result, when new research shows that current CPR practices should be modified to improve their effectiveness, this information is included in all courses moving forward. However, anyone who has taken a CPR class previous to when those changes were implemented into the curriculum will most likely not be notified of the changes unless they attend another training course.
For example, the original “ABC’s” of CPR (airway, breath, compressions) was recently reordered and is now taught as “CAB” (compressions, airway, breath). Additionally the number of breaths and compressions was also changed in the CPR training curriculum to better reflect what research had shown to be most effective. Both of these changes are clearly important updates that the AHA would want all people trained in CPR to be aware of.
Another reason to consider renewing your certification is simple: memory. How confident are you about your performance of a skill you learned and practiced for an hour 1-2 years ago? Probably not very confident! The fact is that CPR, despite being an extremely valuable tool, in most cases is not used very often. And you’ve heard the phrase “use it or lose it.” Taking a renewal course gives you the opportunity to practice the skill all over again, just to refresh your memory on the concepts and physical components of CPR. This is valuable practice so that in an emergency situation you won’t have to do as much thinking and struggling to remember.
You may now be convinced that it’s a good idea to renew your CPR certification. But where do you do so? And what if yours is already expired? Or what if you’ve moved to a different state than where you received your current certification? These are all important questions, so let’s talk about some of the logistics involved here.
Where can I renew my CPR certification?
If your employer requires you to be CPR certified, they will offer a selection of renewal courses that you can attend. Even if your job doesn’t require you to be CPR certified, your company may still offer CPR courses to employees who are interested, as part of their disaster preparedness planning. Talk with the Human Resources department to find out more details.
If CPR courses aren’t offered in your workplace, you have a few other options:
- Take an online course. There are a number of online renewal courses available. If you choose this route, take the time to research the quality of the provider to ensure you’re receiving the most accurate information.
- Check with the local fire department, Chamber of Commerce, or hospital to see if they offer renewal courses to the public.
What if my CPR certification is already expired?
If your certification is more than 30 days expired, you are no longer eligible to take a renewal or challenge course, but rather will need to take a full certification course again either in-person or online.
I moved to a different state after receiving my CPR certification. What should I do?
CPR certifications from countries outside the US are not recognized in the US, but if you were certified in one US state and moved to another US state then your certification is still valid up the expiration date.
Also important to mention are the two different kinds of renewals that are available. There are renewal courses which, as the name indicates, include an abbreviated review of the information from a standard course. Another option is a challenge course, which has no review, but rather is just a test of your knowledge and ability to perform the skill correctly.
Stay current on your CPR certification. It won’t take much time, and when faced with an emergency situation, it will pay off BIG!