HomeCPRJust how long is a CPR AED or First Aid class?

Every now and then I get a call from someone who seems surprised by how long a class is. Today was no exception.

A CPR AED course is about 3 hours long. It can run shorter if everyone is renewing their card or if it is a small group. Since I teach both AHA and ASHI I find the full course is about 2.5-3 hours long. Renewal courses that I offer through the ASHI program can be as short as 2 hours.

A First Aid or Pediatric First Aid course is also about 3 hours long. Sometimes I plan on 3 1/2 hours for a class if I know the group is large or if it is a first class for most of the group. The AHA video has a lot of information on it and I just can’t make it play any faster than it is supposed to. With the ASHI program I do a mix of video, lecture and scenario-based practice. But still, it takes time. Even if everyone is renewing their cards there are key topics I am required to cover and have participants practice.

So you can guess that a First Aid CPR AED course, covering both First Aid AND CPR AED can be anywhere from 4-6 hours long. Shorter if it is a refresher or renewal course, longer if there are folks who have never taken a course before.

I guess I should not be amazed when someone calls and tells me that they need a course for their staff, the person who used to provide their courses is no longer teaching, and … they did the entire First Aid CPR AED course in 2 1/2 hours.

Part of me wants to say…. maybe that’s why they are not teaching anymore. But I don’t. It’s just not worth it. Instead I have to explain why the course is as long as it is. I give them lots of info, how much it will cost, how to schedule a class with me and sometimes some dates that I am available to teach. But I know they probably won’t call back. All I can think after the call ends is that you get from the course what you put into it and what is provided to you. What can you learn about adult, child, infant CPR AED, choking and first aid in just 2 1/2 hours? Is there time to practice any of the information provided? For the staff who needs this for work & state licensing I question how well prepared they will be to handle an emergency in the workplace when they’ve not been provided with enough instruction and practice to know what to do.


Just how long is a CPR AED or First Aid class? — 8 Comments

    • For community and wockplare CPR you are not trained to take the pulse. This was done away with in 2005. If you are a medical professional or professionally trained to take a pulse you can still do so. The pulse check was removed and replaced in 2005 with look/listen/feel. In 2010 it was? again changed to a visual inspection. They did away with the pulse check and simplified the technique. Again medical professionals and healthcare providers still check pulse but this community/wockplare vid.

      • Hi Tatenda,

        Actually Look, Listen & Feel for breaths has been part of CPR for much, much longer. I can’t remember how far back but I’m thinking its been there since I was first trained in the 80’s. The pulse check was removed because they found most layperson were actually feeling their own adrenaline-induced pulse and then not starting chest compressions.

        The 2010 Guidelines changes have made CPR even easier than before to learn and remember.

  1. The Red Cross offers onsite training, train-the-trainer courses, as well as online/blended learning classes to meet your organization’s needs. Learn more about training for your employees .

    • Yes, there are many great blended learning class that are a mix of online and classroom practice. Just make sure any online course you look into has an skills or classroom component to allow for hands-on skills practice.

  2. i don’t how anyone could say 6 hours is a long time to learn how to save a life. i was originally under the impression it was at least a week long class.

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