How To Become an Independent CPR Instructor

Updated January 26, 2023

Many employers require their team members to be CPR certified. Becoming an independent CPR instructor can provide you with a high-demand job opportunity to pursue for extra money or as a full-time position. Independent CPR instructors have more flexibility than traditional instructors since they're self-employed. In this article, we explore what an independent CPR instructor is, explain what they do and discuss how to become an independent CPR instructor.

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What is an independent CPR instructor?

An independent CPR instructor is a professional who teaches cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) procedures to individuals and groups. Unlike traditional CPR instructors, they are self-employed and work separately from an organization. This allows them to set their own class prices and have more flexibility in their schedules.

Independent CPR instructors may also teach other life-saving classes, such as first aid. These individuals often provide training for those working at daycare centers, swimming pools, corporations and medical facilities. There are two different types of independent CPR instructors:

  • HeartSaver instructor: HeartSaver instructors target their training for those who may need to know CPR for their job but work outside of the medical field, such as preschool teachers.

  • BLS instructor: A basic life support (BLS) instructor teaches those in the medical field and shares more advanced techniques and skills, such as how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED).

Related: 13 Jobs for Nurses After Retirement

What does an independent CPR instructor do?

An independent CPR instructor provides instruction on how to use CPR in emergency situations. They outline steps to take to bring someone back to consciousness after they experience a cardiac arrest or stop breathing. Some common job duties of an independent CPR instructor include:

  • Giving demonstrations of techniques on the mannequin

  • Asking students to try techniques on the mannequin

  • Creating training materials and workbooks

  • Teaching CPR practices and steps

  • Evaluating and recording performance of students

  • Coordinating classes and programs with groups in the community

  • Transporting, cleaning and maintaining equipment items

Related: What Is Self-Employed Work?

How to become an independent CPR instructor

Here are some steps to take to become an independent CPR instructor:

1. Meet instructor requirements

Some programs require CPR instructors to have at least a high school diploma. They may also want instructors to be 16 years old or older. Because there are many different organizations that offer instructor certifications, research to see the requirements for the program you wish to pursue.

2. Earn your CPR certification

Independent CPR instructors must have current CPR certifications in order to teach CPR to others. Earn a provider card for the type of CPR training you plan to instruct. For instance, if you plan to teach HeartSaver instruction to lifeguards, make sure you have a valid HeartSaver provider card.

Related: The 20 Most-Requested Certifications by Employers in 2020

3. Connect with a training center

Independent CPR instructors receive approval from an American Heart Association (AHA) approved training center before taking their instructor course. The training center serves as a resource for instructors to obtain certification cards for students and renew their certification. For approval from a training center, search for a local one on the AHA website and submit an instructor candidate application.

4. Complete an instructor course

Take an instructor course to learn about different teaching styles to help others understand CPR. During this time, you discover ways to help others identify an emergency. To pass the course, earn at least an 84% on the written exam.

Related: How To Become an EMT: Education, Skills and Requirements

5. Be monitored while teaching

After completing your training, you can complete your first class under supervision. Your instructor or another training center faculty member monitors your instruction. This occurs within six months of completing your instructor course. Instructors monitor your training for criteria, such as allowing adequate time for content delivery and usage of the program video or other materials.

6. Begin instructing

Begin gaining experience by teaching CPR techniques to others. Before becoming an independent CPR instructor, you may want to work for an organization. Once you feel comfortable training, you can consider providing your own services.

7. Obtain a business license

In order to become an Independent CPR instructor, earn a business license. This allows you to start your own CPR instruction business within your geographical area. Contact your county clerk's office to obtain your business license.

Related: How To Get Your Business License

8. Renew your certification

Because the CPR certification lasts two years, renew your certification every other year. To do this, retake a CPR class either online or in person. You may also have to renew your CPR instructor certification every few years by being retested on your CPR knowledge.

What skills help independent CPR instructors?

Some skills that help independent CPR instructors excel include:

  • Passion: Independent CPR instructors have a passion to save lives and share their knowledge with others through facilitated learning.

  • Motivation: To help encourage students, independent CPR instructors motivate and provide positive feedback to them.

  • Presentation: CPR instructors must be able to teach and help share complex topics in easy-to-understand formats and demonstrate how to perform CPR.

  • Communication: Part of being an instructor involves being an excellent public speaker and having active listening skills to understand what students are asking.

  • Management: Independent CPR instructors are leaders and know how to manage a classroom to keep students engaged and participating.

  • Marketing: Since independent CPR instructors work for themselves, they need to be able to promote their services to communities that may be interested in their instructions.

Related: Top 6 Teaching Skills That Employers Look For

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What's the work environment like for independent CPR instructors?

Independent CPR instructors may own or rent their own building for classes. Others work in their clients' facilities, community centers or in rented spaces. Since they teach those working full-time jobs, independent CPR instructors often work in the evenings or on the weekends. Their job may require physical strength when lifting equipment and setting up classrooms. Hours vary depending on how many classes an instructor chooses to teach.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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