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What Do You Learn in CPR Classes? 


If you witnessed someone going into cardiac arrest, would you know what to do? Every year, hundreds of thousands of American lives are lost to cardiac arrest. When the heart stops beating, it’s unable to circulate blood and oxygen throughout the body. In just a few minutes, the victim can experience permanent brain damage or death.

However, if a bystander is trained and certified in CPR and takes action, the survival rate dramatically improves. Simply enough, if more people were trained in CPR, more lives would be saved. But what exactly goes into a CPR training course and what do you learn in CPR classes? In this blog, we’re taking a closer look at the exact skills you’ll gain and the information you’ll learn by earning your CPR certification or CPR recertification.

At the American Health Care Academy, we’re dedicated to providing comprehensive and accessible CPR training and certification with our 100 percent online classes. Everyone should have the skills, knowledge, and confidence to take action in the event of a medical emergency. With CPR training and certification, you’ll be prepared to potentially save a life.


CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, is a common life-saving procedure that anyone can learn. Through a combination of chest compressions and rescue breaths, a bystander can keep a cardiac arrest victim stable until medical personnel arrive. CPR mimics the functioning of the heart when a victim goes into cardiac arrest. Chest compressions keep blood and oxygen circulating throughout the body while rescue breaths deliver much-needed oxygen to the victim’s lungs.


Some people might think that only nurses and doctors need to know CPR.  In reality, everyone can benefit from learning this life-saving skill. After all, you never know when a medical emergency will occur. By being trained and certified in CPR, you’ll have the confidence to make a difference.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of lives are lost to cardiac arrest. Because so many of these emergencies happen outside of a hospital, most victims don’t receive proper medical care in time, and as a result, don’t survive. In fact, according to recent statistics, the survival rate for out-of-the-hospital cardiac arrest is only around 10 percent. But if more bystanders were trained and fully certified in CPR, this number could significantly increase.


CPR certification courses primarily focus on teaching students to safely and effectively perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation. However, many programs also include critical instruction on using an AED, what to do in choking emergencies, and the differences between adult CPR, child CPR, and infant CPR.

Here’s a look at the skills and information you can expect from a CPR certification course:

1. Course introduction.

Most CPR classes begin with a general introduction. This includes foundational information about the human body and what occurs when someone goes into cardiac arrest. This introductory information helps you first understand why CPR is important before you learn how to perform the procedure.

2. Assessing the situation.

Before providing any type of medical assistance, it’s important to first assess the scene of the emergency. This will keep yourself and others out of harm’s way and ensure that the situation doesn’t get worse. You’ll also learn what signs to check for to determine if the victim needs CPR.

3. Compressions-Airway-Breathing (CAB).

A common acronym in CPR training, CAB stands for Compressions, Airway, and Breathing and helps you remember the core sequence of steps for performing effective CPR.

4. Adult CPR.

A core part of any CPR training program, adult CPR is the standard for CPR instruction. Why is this? Compared to children or infants, adults have a much higher rate of cardiac arrest. In fact, the average age of a cardiac arrest victim is 60 years old. Adult CPR training will teach how to assess the scene, check for breathing, and if necessary, provide CPR through a combination of chest compressions and rescue breaths. Some programs may also include instruction on hands-only CPR, which focuses solely on giving chest compressions.

5. Child CPR.

While many of the key steps are similar, there are differences between performing adult CPR and child CPR. For example, it’s recommended to call 911 after you’ve provided five sets of CPR to the child. Additionally, you may only need one hand when giving chest compressions. A CPR certification course will help you identify and understand these key differences.

6. Infant CPR.

There are also important differences for performing CPR on an infant. The key difference here is how you give chest compressions and rescue breaths. Additionally, you need to be careful opening the airway as tilting the infant’s head too far back could actually block their airway.

7. Using an AED.

CPR training classes may also teach you how to safely use an automated external defibrillator (AED). These small electrical devices can be used to assist someone undergoing cardiac arrest. When the AED detects an irregular heartbeat, it emits a small electrical shock that essentially resets the person’s heart. It’s common to see AEDs hanging on the walls in schools, hospitals, and other public buildings (just look for the small red box).

8. Choking emergencies.

While cardiac arrest is one of the leading reasons someone needs CPR, there are several other medical emergencies that call for this rescue procedure. In addition to cardiac arrest, CPR can be effective for choking, near-drowning incidents, smoke inhalation, electrocution, and poisoning emergencies.

9. Coronavirus guidelines.

In response to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, the AHA guidelines have been updated for 2020. Certain modifications have been made to the guidelines to ensure safety and limit the potential transmission of COVID-19. Some of these modifications include reducing provider exposure, limiting the personnel, using personal protective equipment (PPE), and encouraging hands-only CPR.


While everyone should learn CPR, many of us don’t have the time to drive out to a rec center a couple of evenings each week. Luckily, many CPR certification and CPR recertification programs take advantage of digital tools and eLearning by providing 100 percent online classes. What does this mean for you? Imagine learning how to perform CPR and becoming fully certified without ever leaving the comfort of your own home.

In addition to saving you from traffic, there are many other benefits to learning CPR online. With online classes, you can begin immediately and start and stop any lesson whenever you need. This means that you can earn your CPR certification at your own pace, which is ideal for anyone already working full time. Additionally, since online CPR training doesn’t require traditional overhead costs, they can pass on the savings to you. By bundling your training courses (like taking a CPR/AED certification course) you can save even more.


Without a doubt, CPR certification classes are for everyone. But what exactly do you learn in these courses? While adult CPR is the core focus for most CPR training programs, you’ll also learn how to perform CPR on children and infants. Additionally, you may learn how to safely use an AED and how to respond to choking incidents and other related medical emergencies. You’ll also learn how to assess the scene of an emergency before taking action.

Here at the American Health Care Academy, we’re dedicated to training as many people as possible in CPR and other life-saving procedures. Over the past 11 years, we’ve trained and certified over 700,000 students. With our online certification classes, it’s never been easier to earn your CPR certification. We look forward to working with you next.

For more information on our classes, browse our 100 percent online CPR Certification courses or give us a call at 1-888-277-7865. In addition to CPR certification, we also offer classes in First Aid, bloodborne pathogens, and a combination CPR/AED course.

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