What does it take to be a certified CPR instructor?
People who have taken a CPR class think I can do this I know how to do CPR I can teach another person. Every instructor class I have taught to date has been more like, wow, I did not know it was going to be that hard. Most instructors make it look really easy.
People get the ideology that teaching CPR on the side is great, but it is not for everyone because the behind the scene information is too great to go through to do this on a part time or as needed gig.
So what does it take . . . Let me tell you some basics first and then we will move into some more complicated aspects of being a Certified CPR Instructor.
The first step is making sure you are CPR certified. You cannot teach CPR if you yourself are not certified. Once you have become CPR Certified and ideally it is in the curriculum in which you are going to teach (if you are going to teach American Red Cross you need to be certified in Red Cross and if you are going to teach American Heart you need to be certified in American Heart etc). You also need to be certified in the level of course you are going to be teaching. Lay responder is one class but here are BLS for Healthcare Providers etc. . . You need to be certified in each curriculum and level course you wish to teach. OK, well that in itself can be a little overwhelming, I teach nine different CPR classes and I am certified in each on of those so certifications can get a little crazy.
Now you have your certification, the second step is finding an instructor course for the course you are wanting to teach. We are going to take American Red Cross for example. You find an American Red Cross Instructor Course and you sign up (instructor courses can range in price form $250-$500 usually). You will be sent a link to do a pre-course lesson via online which takes about two hours to complete. You will need to take that completion certificate to be in the classroom session.
The third step in becoming a lay responder certified CPR instructor is to attend the face to face class. During this class you will be taught the critical eye, things to watch for when your students are demonstrating and practicing skill sessions. You will learn how to create an inviting learning environment, classroom set up, manikin decontamination and many other tools to help you conduct yourself professionally in a learning environment.
The fourth step depending on what curriculum you are learning, you will have to do a teach back session. American Heart Association and American Red Cross do the teach back a little differently. In Red Cross you are teaching back to the class of instructors and the instructor trainer will sign off on your abilities and send in the paperwork to the American Red Cross to set you up as an instructor in their computer system. The American Heart Association requires you to co-teach with another certified instructor as they evaluate your teaching ability and sign off on your abilities as to whether or not your are capable of teaching. A check sheet is provided by both to ensure that the points in class are not skipped and they assess you are using the critical eye to ensure the students you are teaching are doing the skills correctly.
Now assuming you have completed the online portion, attended one or both the sessions for the face to face instructor training an teach back, you have been approved to be a certified CPR instructor. . . are you ready to instruct?. . well not quite.
The next step is the paperwork. As an instructor for American Heart Association, Red Cross and National Safety Council, there is a lot of paperwork involved depending on what you are wanting to do with your instructor certification. For American Heart Association you will need to find a training center to align with. American Heart does not easily open training centers but you can find one that is accepting new instructors to align with. And what does this mean? You will need to find a training center accepting new instructors to align with in order to get your CPR cards issued for your students as well as they will monitor you to ensure you are teaching to the standard during your certification period. This means you do not have full control over when your students get their official CPR cards. You will have to submit paperwork and payment for those cards to the training center and they will then turn around and issue those cards to the students. The process can take up to 20 business days to get those cards issued but with the new digital certificates, the process seems to be speeding up just a little. Depending on your level of instruction, it maybe required that you carry general liability insurance. For the American Red Cross you will be required to choose an Authorized Provider or a Licensed Training Provider. The Authorized provider is someone who works for a corporation and they are providing the training for the employees of this organization. In that case AP paper works, including but not limited to general liability insurance and organization information, is filled out and submitted to the Red Cross for processing and a payment method is setup for the instructor to be able to log in and issue the cards directly to the students they teach. For the Licensed Training Provider, you are required to submit a business plan, general liability insurance, workers comp insurance in terms set forth by the American Red Cross and once all the proof of insurance and paperwork is submitted it goes to a review committee for approval of trainer center status.
In 2019, feedback devise manikins are going to be required by both the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross. If you cannot provide these manikins for training many instructor re-certifications may likely not be renewed. One of the best things you can do for yourself as an instructor is stay on top of the changes and what is required. I have known a few people who were not able to comply, and they did get their instructor certifications revoked.
Once you put down the multiple steps on becoming a certified CPR instructor it seems a little overwhelming but if you have the passion to teach, it can be well worth it.