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We frequently get asked if there is an online AHA approved certification. In short, no. The American Heart Association requires hands-on skills practice and testing for all students. This requirement is what sets AHA apart from other organizations – and is the reason why AHA certifications are the most widely accepted. Many companies advertise “AHA compliant” certifications but the truth is there is no such thing.
The American Heart Association approves certain businesses who meet criteria to become Training Centers to issue official AHA certifications, and they’re responsible for following AHA guidelines and curriculum standards. AHA Training Centers train and certify instructors under them to issue official AHA certifications and are responsible for the quality of courses taught by their aligned instructors.
“The American Heart Association does not approve training courses created by other organizations, does not allow its course completion cards to be given to students who do not complete the skills check portion of American Heart Association training, and there are no “AHA-compliant” training courses or “AHA-certified” professionals conducting training. An organization that has been approved to issue cards with the AHA logo upon successful completion of an AHA training course should display the “Authorized Training Center” logo to help you know they are authorized. You should check with your present or prospective employer about the course completion cards they will accept before paying anyone for training intended to gain or retain your training status.” – (excerpt from the American Heart Association Fraud Warning, 2021)
Why do I see AHA classes being offered fully online?
There are unethical people in all industries – including CPR training. If an AHA instructor is offering a completely online certification class, they’re in violation of AHA policies. The certification card they issue to you might be fake, or they may just be hoping they’ll never get caught. Either way, you should be very cautious about anyone offering an AHA certification without meeting them in-person to complete skills testing.
Why do I need hands-on skills?
All AHA instructors are required to use automatic feedback device manikins during skills practice and testing, meaning the manikins provide students with auditory (usually a click when hitting the right depth) and visual prompts (typically in the form of lights when compressions are at the correct rate). Using automatic feedback device manikins during training has been shown to improve CPR skills and capability (Gugelmin-Almeida, 2021). If you skip out on practicing these critical competencies, you’re depriving yourself of essential skills you need to know if you’re ever faced with responding to an emergency situation. Online learning can be incredibly beneficial for many different topics – but learning and perfecting your physical CPR skills is just something that can’t be done with a 100% online course.
I’m an experienced healthcare provider. Do I really have to sit through an entire in-person class?
AHA understands that sitting through an in-person class may not be feasible for every student. We’re all busy, right? As an alternative, the American Heart Association offers a hybrid option for obtaining an AHA certification. The AHA Heartcode (Skills Session) option is where students can complete the self-paced cognitive portion of the class online, and then complete only the skills testing portion of the class afterwards with a certified AHA Instructor to obtain their AHA certification. Good CPR training is critical – someone’s life is in your hands. If you’re an experienced healthcare provider, you should be able to perform your skills confidently and correctly.
Before you sign up for a class from someone claiming they can offer online only AHA classes, think about if the risk is worth it. At Mid-Florida CPR, our in-person classes are stress-free, hands on, and you’ll walk out with the confidence to be able to perform CPR if you ever find yourself in an emergency situation.
American Heart Association. (2021). Fraud Warning. Retrieved from https://www.heart.org/en/about-us/statements-and-policies/fraud-warning
Gugelmin-Almeida, D., Tobase, L., Polastri, TF., Peres, HHC., Timerman, S. (2021). Do automated real-time feedback devices improve CPR quality? A systematic review of literature. Resuscitation Plus. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.resplu.2021.100108