How Long Does CPR Training Take?

Sarah Jones
Hands performing CPR on a training dummy

Obtaining a CPR certification is a requirement for nearly every healthcare professional. “How long does CPR training take?” is a frequently asked question by nearly every employee who is trying to balance seeing patients, fulfilling job duties, and enjoying work/life balance. Unfortunately, it isn’t a simple question to answer. 

CPR training times can vary based on a number of factors, including:

  • Course type
  • Content depth
  • Certification requirements
  • Method of instruction
  • Instructor’s approach
  • Refresher vs. initial training

In this blog post, we’ll explore the various CPR training options available, delve into their respective durations, and help you make an informed choice based on your needs. Dive in as we unravel the timeline of this life-saving skill.

Choosing the Best CPR Training Option

When deciding on the type of CPR training to pursue, it’s essential to consider the specific requirements (personal, workplace, or regulatory) and the depth of knowledge desired. Some professions or activities might necessitate certification from recognized bodies, so it’s crucial to ensure the selected training aligns with those needs.

Before deciding between online and in-person CPR training, review the advantages and disadvantages of each option, the need for hands-on experience, certification requirements, and their specific circumstances. 

In-Person Training

Learners should evaluate the traditional method of delivering CPR training, and consider their learning preference, need for hands-on experiences, and certification requirements.


  • Hands-On Practices: In-person training typically provides practical experience using mannequins, allowing participants to get a feel for the actual techniques and ensuring they’re performed correctly.
  • Immediate Feedback: Trainers can observe and correct mistakes on the spot, ensuring that participants master the techniques.
  • Interactive Learning: Participants can ask questions in real-time and engage in discussions, enhancing their understanding of the subject matter.
  • Certification: Most healthcare professionals are required to obtain CPR certification and in most cases, some type of hands-on learning is required.


  • Time Commitment: Physical classes might require a more significant time investment, including driving time and adhering to a strict class schedule.
  • Cost: In-person training, especially those offering certification, can be more expensive than online options.
  • Less Flexibility: Unlike online courses, participants cannot pace their learning or choose when to engage with material.
  • Inconsistency in Instruction: While many instructors are excellent, if you have staff completing CPR training from multiple providers, there will be variability in learning.

Online Training

Online CPR training offers an alternative to traditional classroom settings, catering to the evolving demands and preferences of learners.


  • Flexibility: Online courses often allow learners to go at their own pace, which is perfect for those with unpredictable schedules or those who prefer to break up their learning into multiple sessions.
  • Cost-Effective: Online courses often tend to be more affordable than in-person training.
  • Convenient: In addition to being convenient for the employee, it is also better for the healthcare organization because there will be less scheduling issues and time spent away from patients.


  • Lack of Hands-On Practice: The most significant disadvantage is the absence of hands-on experience. CPR is a physical skill, and practice on a mannequin is critical for mastering the technique. 
  • Might Not Provide Certification: Some employers, organizations, or regulatory bodies might not accept or recognize online CPR certification, especially if it lacks a hands-on component.
  • Missing Real-Life Scenarios: In-person training often incorporates real-life simulations or scenarios that can better prepare participants for actual emergencies.

Blended Training

Combining online theory with in-person hands-on sessions (blended courses) can also offer a balance between convenience and practical skills.


  • Flexibility With Structure: The online component allows participants to learn the theoretical aspects at their own pace and convenience, while still getting the critical hands-on experience.
  • Immediate Certification: Like purely online courses, blended training often allows for quick certification, especially once the in-person component is completed.
  • Cost-Effective: While there’s a hands-on session involved, the overall course might be more affordable than traditional full-length in-person courses.


  • Technology Requirements: Participants need a reliable internet connection for the online portion, which might be a barrier for some.
  • Recognition Concerns: It’s essential to ensure that the blended course and its certification are recognized by employers or relevant bodies, as all might not accept this format.
  • Scheduling: While you will need to be in-person for less time, it will still require finding coverage in a healthcare organization and dedicated travel time.

Based on Course Type, How Long Does CPR Training Take?

Online CPR training is the shortest option, especially when you factor in the time it takes to commute to an in-person location. Typically an online CPR training course will take between four and six hours, usually closer to four.

A blended CPR training course will combine online and in-person training and will take approximately six hours to complete. The most lengthy option is a fully in-person training, largely because it is dependent on the instructor, the people in the class, the amount of questions, and more. In-person CPR training can take up to eight hours, not including the time it will take to commute back and forth.

More advanced life support training, such as Basic Life Support (BLS), Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS), and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) will take even longer, sometimes as much as two full days. Get more details.

Choosing CPR Training for Healthcare Employees

Deciphering the duration of CPR training isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. As we’ve explored, the length of CPR courses can vary greatly based on the type of training, the depth of content, and the format of the course. Whether you opt for in-person, online, or blended training, it’s essential to prioritize a program that ensures you’re well-equipped with life-saving skills. Remember, while time investment is a valid consideration, the ultimate goal is to obtain the required certification and be proficient and confident in delivering CPR when it matters most. 

Learn more about MedTrainer’s CPR/BLS First Aid training options.