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How Long Does a CPR Class Take?

How Long Does a CPR Class Take

Did you know, In one year alone, 436,000 Americans die from cardiac arrest. It’s a staggering statistic that underscores the critical need for CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) training. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a really important way to save someone’s life if they stop breathing or their heart stops. It involves chest compressions and rescue breaths to keep oxygen flowing to the vital organs until medical help arrives.

CPR is essential because it can mean the difference between life and death in emergencies like cardiac arrest or drowning. Imagine you’re in a park and someone suddenly falls down. Would you know what to do? That’s why it’s good to learn CPR. Learning CPR teaches you what to do in these situations so you can help until doctors come.

In this article, we’ll explore a common question: How long is a CPR class? Understanding the time commitment involved in CPR training can help individuals plan their schedules and prioritize learning this life-saving skill. 

Duration of CPR Classes

A CPR class teaches people how to perform CPR effectively in different emergency situations. The duration of CPR classes can vary depending on the level of training and the specific skills being taught. Here’s what it involves:

1. Standard CPR Classes

Standard CPR classes are for anyone who wants to learn the basics of CPR. They teach how to do chest compressions and rescue breaths. These classes usually last 2 to 4 hours

They’re good for people who want to know how to help in an emergency but don’t need a lot of detailed training. 

So, if you want to learn CPR without spending too much time, a standard CPR class is a good option.

2. Certification Courses

Certification courses offer more detailed training in CPR along with topics like first aid and using AEDs. These courses are for people who want official certification, like for a job requirement or personal satisfaction. They typically last longer, usually around 4 to 8 hours, to cover everything thoroughly. 

Certification ensures that participants have the necessary skills and knowledge to perform CPR confidently in real-life situations.

These courses provide a deeper understanding of CPR techniques, making participants better prepared to respond to emergencies and potentially save lives.

3. Advanced CPR Classes

Advanced CPR classes are for people like doctors or paramedics who need to learn more about CPR. These classes are longer, usually taking 8 to 16 hours. They teach advanced ways to help in different medical emergencies. 

They cover tricky situations and how to handle them well. For example, they might learn how to use special equipment or work together in teams during emergencies. 

These classes are super important for pros who deal with tough situations a lot. They make sure these pros have the best skills to save lives when people need help the most.

4. Healthcare Provider CPR Courses

Healthcare Provider CPR Courses are for doctors, nurses, and other medical workers. They teach CPR skills for hospitals or clinics. 

These classes cover advanced techniques, checking patients, and working in teams. They’re longer, usually taking 16 to 20 hours, because they go into more detail about medical stuff and safety. 

Doctors and nurses need this extra training to handle emergencies well and help patients. So, if you’re a doctor or nurse, taking this course is really important for being ready to help in your workplace.

Factors Influencing Class Duration

In most cases, regular CPR classes take about three to four hours. But when you say “How long is a CPR class”, it can change based on what kind of certification you want, what the class covers, and how fast the teacher goes. 

Let’s take a look at what can make CPR classes shorter or longer:

1. Curriculum Complexity

The complexity of what’s being taught affects how long a CPR class lasts. Basic classes, with just the essentials of CPR, tend to be shorter. 

But if the class covers more advanced topics, like using an AED or First Aid, it’ll take longer. So, think of it like this: the more things you need to learn, the more time it’ll take to teach them. If you’re just starting out with CPR, you might be in and out of class pretty quickly. 

But if you’re diving into all the ins and outs, expect to spend more time in the classroom.

2. Class Format

The format of a CPR class—whether in-person, online, or blended—affects how long it takes. In-person classes often run 3-4 hours as they include hands-on practice and real-time feedback. 

Online courses, which you can complete at your own pace, typically take 1-2 hours but may lack practical experience. 

Blended courses combine both, with around 1-2 hours online and 1-2 hours in-person for skills practice. According to a study, over 70% of participants preferred blended learning for its balance of convenience and practical training, reflecting a growing trend towards flexible learning options.

3. Skill Level of Participants

The skill level of participants influences the length of a CPR class because people learn at different speeds. If the class includes both beginners and experienced individuals, the instructor may need to spend more time on basic concepts to ensure everyone understands. 

For example, beginners might need extra practice and explanation, while those with some experience might move through the material more quickly. 

This means that a class with varied skill levels can take longer to complete compared to a class where everyone has the same level of knowledge and experience with CPR.

4. Class Size

The number of people in a CPR class can change how long it takes. In a smaller class, each person gets more one-on-one time with the instructor, so you can learn and practice faster. 

With a larger group, the instructor needs to make sure everyone gets enough practice and understands the material, which takes more time. Imagine trying to learn something new: in a big crowd, you might have to wait your turn more, which makes the whole class longer. 

So, more students often mean the class lasts longer because everyone needs enough practice and attention.

5. Demonstration and Practice Time

Demonstration and practice time are crucial for learning CPR because it’s a hands-on skill. 

During the class, the instructor shows how to perform CPR on a manikin, demonstrating the right way to do chest compressions and rescue breaths. After watching, students get to practice these skills themselves. This practice helps them understand and remember the steps better. 

The time spent on these demonstrations and practice can vary depending on how many skills are being taught and how much practice each student needs. The more practice time included, the longer the class may take.

6. Accessibility of Training Equipment

The availability of training equipment, such as manikins and AED trainers, influences the duration of CPR classes. If there are enough manikins and AEDs for everyone, students can practice skills simultaneously, making the class more efficient. 

However, if equipment is limited, students must take turns, leading to longer practice times and extended classes. Having adequate training tools ensures each participant gets hands-on experience without waiting, speeding up the learning process. 

Thus, classes with well-equipped training setups tend to be shorter, while those with fewer resources might take longer due to the need for sharing and rotating equipment.

7. Breaks and Refreshment Periods

Breaks and refreshment periods can lengthen a CPR class. These pauses give participants time to rest, absorb information, and stay engaged, especially in longer or more intensive sessions. 

Classes lasting several hours or more usually include scheduled breaks for snacks, meals, or just stretching. This downtime helps prevent fatigue, keeping everyone focused and ready to learn. Though essential for maintaining energy and concentration, these breaks add to the total time needed for the class. 

So, the need for breaks means the class isn’t just about teaching and practicing CPR—it also includes time to recharge.

What Does CPR Training Cover in Those Hours?

CPR  training covers a wide range of topics to prepare individuals to respond effectively in emergency situations. Here’s what you can expect to learn during a CPR training course:

  • Understanding CPR: You’ll learn what CPR is, why it’s important, and when it should be performed.
  • Basic Life Support (BLS): This includes learning how to perform high-quality chest compressions, deliver appropriate ventilations, and provide early use of an AED.
  • Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS): This is more advanced training, often required for healthcare providers and first responders.
  • Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS): This training focuses on the specific needs and challenges of pediatric patients.
  • First Aid and AED Training: You’ll learn how to use an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) and basic first aid techniques.
  • Heartsaver Courses: These courses are designed for anyone with little or no medical training who needs a course completion card for job, regulatory (e.g., OSHA), or other requirements.
  • Training for Specific Populations: Some courses focus on providing care for specific populations, such as children or the elderly.
  • Hands-On Practice: Most courses include hands-on practice to help you feel confident in your ability to perform these life-saving procedures.

Remember, the specific curriculum may vary depending on the organization providing the training and the level of the course (basic vs. advanced). 

Do Online CPR Classes Take as Long as In-Person Ones?

Online CPR courses and in-person CPR training differ significantly in terms of duration. Online CPR courses offer the advantage of flexibility, allowing learners to complete the training at their own pace. On average, an online CPR course can be completed in one to two hours. This is because online courses are designed to be self-paced, and learners can access the course materials anytime and anywhere.

So basically, in-person CPR training follows a fixed schedule, typically spanning a single day or several hours over multiple days. In some cases, in-person courses can take a whole day or more. This is due to the hands-on nature of the training, which often involves practical demonstrations and direct feedback from instructors. 

Therefore, in terms of duration, online CPR courses generally take less time than in-person training. However, the choice between the two often depends on individual learning preferences and requirements.

Who Needs CPR Classes?

CPR is a basic life-saving skill useful for resuscitating someone who is choking, drowning, or having a sudden cardiac arrest. Acting quickly with CPR or Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) can be the difference between life and death. The faster CPR starts, the better the chance of survival.

Anyone can learn CPR, though certification usually requires you to be at least 16 years old.

Certain jobs require CPR certification, including:

  • Healthcare workers
  • Fitness trainers
  • Teachers and childcare workers
  • Lifeguards
  • Volunteers and community members
  • Sports coaches

Additionally, most U.S. states require high school students to take a CPR class to graduate.


Knowing how long a CPR class takes is important for planning, but what truly matters is the impact it can have on saving lives. CPR training equips ordinary people with the skills to respond confidently and effectively in emergencies. By investing just a few hours in learning CPR, you can become a crucial link in the chain of survival, potentially saving the life of a loved one, a friend, or even a stranger. So, take the time to learn CPR—it’s a small commitment with the potential for enormous impact. Be prepared, be empowered, and be a hero when it matters most.