How Many Hours Is CPR Training?

Sarah Jones
Hands performing CPR on a dummie

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, commonly known as CPR, is a lifesaving technique that’s crucial in emergencies such as cardiac arrest. While it is an essential skill for all healthcare professionals, those pressed for time often wonder, “How many hours is CPR training?” 

What seems like a simple question, opens the door to a range of answers. The duration of CPR training varies based on several factors. As a healthcare professional, or the person responsible for training at a healthcare organization, understanding the time required is key. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the nuances of CPR training durations, so you know just what to expect.

How Long Does a Typical CPR Class Last?

Most standard CPR classes last between three to four hours. However, the length of a CPR training will vary based on the desired certification, the course’s content, and the instructor’s teaching pace. 

Generally speaking, the time comparisons for CPR training for the public and professionals are:

  • Basic CPR: For the general public, these courses are shorter, usually around three hours.
  • Professional CPR: For healthcare professionals, these may last four to five hours due to added complexities.

Advanced courses, such as Basic Life Support (BLS), Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS), and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) include more content and can last up to 16 hours and be split across multiple days. Refreshers on any of these certifications, however, are significantly shorter in duration, usually lasting no more than four hours.

What Does CPR Training Cover in Those Hours?

There’s a lot of vital information packed into one CPR course. A typical class covers:

  • Theory of CPR: Understanding when and why CPR is necessary.
  • Techniques: Proper hand placement and compression depth.
  • Breathing: How to give rescue breaths.
  • Practice Sessions: Hands-on sessions with manikins.
  • Evaluation: A test to gauge your understanding and skills.

Do Online CPR Courses Take as Long as In-Person Training?

Online CPR courses tend to be the most time-efficient, particularly when considering the commute for face-to-face sessions. Typically, such a course ranges between four to six hours, with many wrapping up around the four-hour mark.

A hybrid CPR course, integrating both online and face-to-face components, usually spans about six hours. In contrast, an entirely in-person course often lasts longer. The duration hinges on the instructor’s pace, class participants, the number of questions, and other factors. Such a session can extend up to eight hours, excluding travel time.

Training for more intricate life support skills, like Basic Life Support (BLS), Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS), and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS), can be even more time-consuming, occasionally requiring up to two days.

Difference in Training Hours Based on Certification

Adult vs. Pediatric CPR

While the foundational principles remain consistent, Pediatric Advanced Life Support, or PALS, addresses the unique needs of infants and children. Pediatric courses might be slightly longer, often by an additional hour, due to these specific nuances.


BLS is more comprehensive than basic CPR. It encompasses CPR skills, use of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED), and other life-saving techniques. BLS courses can range from four to six hours, depending on the depth of the curriculum.

How Often Do I Need to Renew My CPR Certification?

Most CPR certifications are valid for two years. After this, you need to renew your certification. Recertification courses are often shorter, focusing on updates and reinforcing skills. In addition to recertification every two years, it’s best practice, as recommended by the Red Cross, to refresh staff on CPR skills every 6 to 12 months.

Complete CPR Training Through Your Organization’s LMS

Offering CPR training for healthcare employees helps to ensure compliance and is a great benefit for employees as CPR courses can be expensive. MedTrainer offers various options for healthcare organizations to provide CPR training to employees, with benefits such as flexible scheduling, online options, and refresher training. Remember, the time you invest in CPR training today could make a world of difference tomorrow. Explore the options.