List of Frequently Used AHA AcronymsReview a list of acronyms used for AHA CPR & First Aid (PDF)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Choosing a Course
Q: What is the minimum age to learn CPR?
A: The AHA does not mandate a minimum age requirement for learning CPR. The ability to perform CPR is based more on body strength than age. Studies have shown that children as young as nine years old can learn and retain CPR skills. Please speak with an AHA Instructor or Training Center if you have any concerns. Find an AHA Training Center near you.
Q: Why is AED training included in all your CPR courses?
A: The science in the official AHA Guidelines for CPR and ECC shows that victims have a greater chance of survival from cardiac arrest when high-quality CPR includes use of an AED.
Q: I need a general CPR course to prepare me to save the life of a loved one. Which course is best for me?
A: Family & Friends® CPR provides basic CPR training in a dynamic group environment using the research-proven practice-while-watching method. Find an AHA Training Center near you. You may also be interested in learning basic CPR skills using the AHA’s CPR Anytime kit, which you can share with family, friends and loved ones.
Q: I am not a healthcare professional and I need a CPR and AED course for work purposes. Which course should I take?
A: Heartsaver® CPR AED is probably best for you. The AHA offers this course in both AHA Training Centers offering Heartsaver classes, and hands-on skills sessions for blended learning courses.
Q: Are your courses OSHA compliant?
A: Our Heartsaver Courses are for anyone with limited or no medical training who needs a course completion card for job, regulatory or other requirements. While these courses are designed to meet OSHA requirements, OSHA does not review or approve any courses for compliance.
Q: Which CPR course should a "first responder" or “professional rescuer” take?
A: First responders or professional rescuers generally include fire, police, and emergency medical personnel. These types of prehospital professionals usually need to complete a Basic Life Support (BLS) course. Check with your employer or licensing authority and learn more about our BLS course options.
Q: Which course should a daycare provider take?
A: The AHA’s Heartsaver Pediatric First Aid CPR AED Course is designed to meet regulatory requirements for childcare workers in all 50 United States. The AHA offers this course in both blended learning and classroom-based formats. Find an AHA Training Center near you offering Heartsaver Pediatric First Aid CPR AED classes and hands-on skills sessions for blended learning courses.
Q: Can I take an AHA CPR course online?
A: For American Heart Association courses that include psychomotor skills such as CPR, students must complete a hands-on skills session to obtain an AHA course completion card. With AHA blended learning, students will practice and test skills to ensure competency during the hands-on skills session. The AHA offers a variety of blended learning and eLearning courses. Visit ShopCPR.Heart.org to learn more.
For blended learning courses, a student completes part of the course in a self-directed manner online, followed by a hands-on skills session in person with an AHA Instructor or using a Voice Assisted Manikin (VAM) where available. AHA eLearning courses are fully self-directed, and do not require a separate hands-on skills session.
Q: What is the cost for a hands-on skills session for a blended learning course?
A: The cost for hands-on sessions is determined by the AHA Training Center offering the session. Training Centers will be able to answer your questions about availability and fees.
Find an AHA Training Center near you.
Q: Do the AHA’s BLS courses include first aid?
A: No, first aid is not included in the AHA’s BLS courses. The AHA offers a variety of courses that will prepare you to respond to a first aid emergency, including
Find an AHA Training Center near you offering first aid courses and hands-on skills sessions for blended learning courses.
Q: Is BLS included in the ACLS Course?
A: No, BLS is not included in AHA’s ACLS courses. However, it is expected that healthcare providers taking an ACLS course come to class already proficient in BLS skills. However, the AHA has provided its Training Centers with sample agendas that allow BLS skills to be incorporated into advanced courses. Check with your Training Center about this option. View our courses or Find an AHA Training Center near you.
Q: Is BLS a prerequisite for ACLS?
A: Students in ACLS courses are not required by the AHA to have a current BLS Provider card, but they are expected to be proficient in BLS skills. Training Centers may require students to have current BLS Provider card. Find an AHA Training Center near you.
Q: For the purposes of AHA’s CPR and first aid training, what age constitutes an infant, child and adult?
A: In CPR and first aid training,
- An infant is younger than one year
- A child is older than one year and has not reached puberty
- An adult is anyone who has gone through or is going through puberty
Finding/Selecting a Training Center
Q: Can an AHA Instructor come to my office or home to teach a course?
A: AHA Training Centers are independent businesses that have entered into an agreement with the AHA to provide CPR, first aid and advanced cardiovascular care training, using current courses and products. Training Centers will be able to tell you if they can send an Instructor to you for on-site training. Find an AHA Training Center near you.
A: Training Centers set their own fees and schedules. You will need to contact Training Centers directly to inquire about their cost for training. Find an AHA Training Center near you.
Q: Do you offer courses in other languages?
A: Please contact a local AHA Training Center to inquire about courses in other languages. Find an AHA Training Center near you.
Preparing For Your Course
Q: How do I sign up for a class?
A: You can search for a class or local Training Center (TC) here. If the TC has listed its classes in our system, you will be able to register for that class online. You may also have to call the TC or visit the TC’s website to inquire about costs and availability, and to register and pay for the class. This is because AHA TCs are independent businesses that have entered into an agreement with the AHA to provide CPR and first aid training using our current courses and products.
A: Our CPR and first aid courses involve hands-on practice sessions, so wear something comfortable. If you have long hair, it is best to wear it back.
Q: How do I get the student materials I need (in the US)?
A: First, ask your Training Center (TC). The TC may offer the course materials to you as part of the overall course. The TC may also direct you to purchase training materials through the AHA directly.
Q: How do I get the student materials I need (outside of the US)?
A: The AHA publishes CPR, first aid and advanced cardiovascular care training materials in several different languages. Purchase international student materials at ShopCPR.Heart.org.
Q: May I use a copied manual/workbook?
A: No. Each student must have his or her own current and appropriate manual or workbook readily available for use before, during and after the course.
The AHA owns the copyrights to AHA textbooks, manuals and other CPR, first aid, and advanced cardiovascular care training materials. These materials may not be copied, in whole or in part, without the prior written consent of the AHA. To request permission to reprint, copy or use portions of CPR, first aid, and advanced cardiovascular care materials, submit a written request to the AHA at copyright.heart.org.
Q: May I translate your materials?
A: You can find information about the AHA’s guidelines for translating materials at the AHA’s copyright permission site.
Q: I am visually impaired. Am I able to obtain course materials in Braille?
A: The AHA does not produce materials in Braille. However, through the proper channels we can provide you a student manual/workbook in digital format for your use. Please contact a local AHA Training Center near you so they can assist you.Back to Top
Course Completion Cards
Q: When can I expect to receive my course completion card from the AHA?
A: Training Centers must issue course completion cards within 20 days of successful course completion. Please contact your AHA Instructor or Training Center Coordinator if you have any questions about your card. If you can't remember your Training Center or Instructor's information, visit our Lost Your AHA Completion Card page for more information.
Q: Can I laminate my AHA course completion card?
Q: How can I tell if my card is a valid AHA course completion card?
A: To check the validity of an AHA course completion card, contact the Training Center that issued the card. The Training Center’s information can be found on the back of the card. You can also check our Course Card Reference Guide.
Q: When do I need to renew my course completion card?
A: Course completion cards are valid for two years through the end of the month during which the course completion card was issued. For more information, please refer to the Course Card Reference Guide. If you can't remember your Training Center or Instructor's information, visit our Lost Your AHA Completion Card page for more information.
Q: My card is about to expire. How do I get a new one?
A: Contact an AHA Training Center near you to inquire about your options for renewing your course completion card. The Training Center will also be able to answer questions about class availability and cost. or contact the Training Center that issued your previous card using the contact information on the back of the card. If you can't remember your Training Center or Instructor's information, visit our Lost Your AHA Completion Card page for more information.
Q: I lost my course completion card. How do I get a replacement?
A: See information on how to find your lost card here.
Q: Is my AHA course completion card accepted in all US states?
A: Yes, AHA course completion cards are accepted in all US states.
Q: If I am an AHA Instructor, do I need to keep my provider card current?
A: The AHA does not require an Instructor to have a valid provider card. However, policy from different agencies or regulatory bodies may make this a requirement.
Q: Can I use my Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada course completion card for employment in the US?
A: The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada (HSFC) works closely with the AHA. The HSFC provider card is recognized by the AHA and can be used for admission to an AHA provider course (renewal or update) or Instructor course in the same discipline. The HSFC Instructor card is recognized by AHA Training Centers the same way as an Instructor card issued by an AHA Training Center.
We suggest that you show your employer the AHA Course Card Reference Guide to see pictures of HSFC cards and read about our relationship.Back to Top
Q: How do I become an AHA Instructor?
A: Visit the AHA Instructors page to learn about becoming an Instructor and for Instructor resources.
Q: What is the minimum age to teach a CPR, first aid or advanced cardiovascular care course?
A: The AHA requires that instructors be at least 18 years of age to teach Heartsaver and BLS courses. ACLS, PALS and PEARS Instructors must be at least 18 years of age and licensed or certified in a healthcare occupation where the skills are within the provider’s scope of practice.
Q: Can BLS Instructors teach first aid?
A: Yes, BLS Instructors are authorized to teach all Heartsaver-level courses, including Heartsaver First Aid, Heartsaver First Aid CPR AED and Heartsaver Pediatric First Aid CPR AED. Instructors must have a copy of the appropriate Instructor manual for the course that they are teaching. It is also highly recommended that BLS Instructors review a copy of the student workbook for each course prior to teaching the course.
Training Center Questions
Q: How do we become a Training Center in the US?
A: Thank you for your interest in becoming an AHA Training Center. At this time, the AHA is not establishing new AHA Training Centers. We are currently focused on enhancing quality within our current Training Centers.
Q: How do we become a Training Center outside the US?
A: If you wish to establish an International Training Center in your country, please take a few minutes to complete the International Training Centers form to begin this process.
Q: I heard you can do CPR without giving breaths now. Is that correct?
A: Hands-Only CPR is CPR without mouth-to-mouth breaths. It is recommended for use by bystanders who see a teen or adult suddenly collapse in an “out-of-hospital” setting (such as at home, at work or in a park). It consists of two easy steps:
- Call 9-1-1 (or send someone to do that).
- Push hard and fast in the center of the chest at a rate of 100-120 pushes per minute.
The AHA recommends that healthcare providers use conventional CPR with a combination of breaths and compressions. Conventional CPR should also be used for
- All infants (up to age 1)
- Children (up to puberty)
- Anyone found already unconscious and not breathing normally
- Any victims of drowning, drug overdose, collapse due to breathing problems, or prolonged cardiac arrest
Q: I heard that you can cough repeatedly and vigorously to perform CPR on yourself. Is this true?
A: The AHA does not endorse "cough CPR," a coughing procedure widely publicized on the Internet. As noted in the AHA Guidelines for CPR and ECC, “cough CPR” is not useful for unresponsive victims and should not be taught to lay rescuers. For more information, see the Cough CPR information page on Heart.org.
Q: Does my AHA course completion card certify me to do CPR?
A: No. The AHA does not certify people in CPR, first aid, or advanced cardiovascular life support skills; the AHA verifies that, at the time a person successfully completed training, he or she was able to perform skills satisfactorily.Back to Top