How Long Is CPR Training Good For?

Sarah Jones
CPR training class of learners

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training is an invaluable skill set, one that equips healthcare professionals and the public to help save lives in emergency situations. In order to keep skills in top shape, the certifications expire and most state licensing boards require the training to be completed every few years. Since expiration can vary, you might be wondering how long is CPR training good for.

Let’s dive into how long each type of CPR certification lasts before renewal is needed, reasons why certifications expire, organizational risks of having providers with expired certifications, and what healthcare facilities can do to help their staff stay certified. 

How Long Do Different Types of CPR Certifications Last? 

The validity of CPR certifications can vary depending on the issuing organization and the type of certification. Here’s a general overview of how long different types of CPR certifications typically last before renewal is required:

Standard CPR Certification (including Adult, Child, and Infant CPR) 

Most basic CPR certifications are valid for 2 years. Organizations like the American Heart Association (AHA), Red Cross, and other nationally recognized bodies follow this standard.

Basic Life Support (BLS) for Healthcare Providers

Similar to basic CPR certifications, BLS certifications generally need to be renewed every 2 years. However, some institutions may require more frequent refreshers depending on their policies and changes in guidelines.

Advanced Life Support (ALS) / Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) for Healthcare Providers

Typically, ACLS certifications last for 2 years. Healthcare professionals must complete a recertification course to renew their credentials, which often includes updates to treatment protocols.

Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) Certification

This certification also has a standard validity of 2 years. Healthcare professionals must undergo recertification, which can include new pediatric treatment guidelines and techniques.

It’s important to note that renewal time frames for each certification are subject to change, especially with advancements in medical knowledge and changes in resuscitation science. Always check with the specific certifying organization for the most up-to-date information regarding the validity of their certifications.

Why Do CPR Certifications Expire?

CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation), BLS (Basic Life Support), ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support), and PALS (Pediatric Advanced Life Support) certifications all expire after a certain period for several critical reasons:

Medical Guidelines Update: The protocols for life support and emergency care are often updated as technological advancements and scientific research yields new techniques or strategies. These certifications expire to ensure that all certified individuals are trained in the most current practices.

Skill Degradation: Life-saving skills, particularly those that are performed infrequently, can degrade over time. Regular recertification ensures that individuals maintain a high skill level and are ready to perform CPR and other life support techniques effectively when needed.

Compliance With Health Regulations: State licensing boards, accreditation organizations, and healthcare facilities require healthcare professionals to remain up to date on critical training, including CPR. Expiration dates force this refresher. 

Professional Standards: For healthcare professionals, maintaining certification is often a requirement for employment or professional practice, ensuring that all colleagues are equally prepared and knowledgeable.

Peer Review and Best Practices: Recertification courses provide an opportunity for peer review and learning of best practices from others, which can improve an individual’s approach to providing care.

How Expired CPR Certifications Increase Organizational Risk

Healthcare organizations face significant risks when their staff operates with expired CPR certifications. Here are the areas that expired certifications can have a negative impact and increase risk:

Patient Safety Concerns: The primary risk is to patient safety. Staff with outdated certifications may not be proficient in the latest CPR techniques, which can impact the quality of care and patient outcomes during cardiac or respiratory emergencies.

Legal and Regulatory Noncompliance: There are legal and regulatory standards that require healthcare providers to maintain current certifications. Noncompliance can result in fines, penalties, and legal action against the organization.

Accreditation Issues: Many healthcare organizations are subject to periodic reviews by accrediting bodies, such as The Joint Commission. Having staff with expired certifications can lead to violations, affect the organization’s accreditation status, and impact its reputation.

Increased Liability: If a patient is harmed and it is found that part of the care was provided by staff with expired certifications, the organization could face increased liability. This could result in costly legal battles and settlements, not to mention increased insurance premiums.

Company Culture Erosion: Allowing certifications to lapse may indicate an organizational culture that does not prioritize ongoing professional development and training, which can affect staff morale and patient perceptions.

Operational Disruptions: If a large number of staff are found to have expired certifications, there could be operational disruptions. Staff may need to be pulled from their duties to attend training, or there may be staffing shortages if individuals are not allowed to work until they are recertified.

How Healthcare Employers Can Help Their Staff Maintain Certification

To avoid complications, there are a few ways healthcare organizations can ensure their staff is compliant and certifications remain current: 

Track Expiration Dates: Healthcare employers should have a reporting system in place to keep track of all certification expiration dates and to share during inspections to prove compliance.

Send Reminders: Healthcare organizations can use a learning software with automatic training reminders and resources to help employees maintain their certification status. 

Provide Training: Healthcare facilities can offer their staff in-person, online, or blended training sessions to facilitate the renewal process. 

Maintain Policies: Organizational policies should convey expectations for CPR training and certification requirements so all staff are on the same page and held accountable.

Compliance Software That Keeps Your Staff’s CPR Certifications Current

MedTrainer Learning offers a variety of training options that cover CPR, BLS, ACLS, and PALS certifications. With courses that adhere to the guidelines of the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR) and the American Heart Association (AHA), you’ll know your staff is getting quality education. And with automated email reminders and customizable reports, you and your providers will never miss an expiration date again. Learn more about how to keep your staff’s CPR certifications current.