Becoming an American Heart Association Instructor


Whether you are an individual wishing to become a CPR instructor or a company wondering if it is cost effective to conduct in-house CPR training, the information in this article will provide you with a good idea of the time and monetary commitment necessary to become or develop a CPR instructor.  


Instructor Course Time Commitment

The total time for CPR Seattle to train an individual as a CPR/first aid instructor (including the time it takes to prepare for the instructor course itself) is about 22 to 32 hours depending on which instructor program is enrolled in (Heartsaver or BLS) and if prerequisites have been met.

To become an American Heart Association Heartsaver CPR & First Aid instructor, potential candidates must have a current American Heart Association Adult, Child & Infant CPR/AED & First Aid certification card. If they do not have a current card, the training to obtain a new one takes 4.5 hours to complete. They must then complete a home study course (the AHA Heartsaver Instructor Essentials Online course) which takes approximately 8 hours total to complete. Instructor candidates must do additional preparatory work for their instructor course by insuring they are both proficient with their own skills and able to effectively evaluate the skills of others (this prep time would not exceed more than a few hours). CPR Seattle encourages instructor candidates to audit additional CPR and first aid classes conducted at our facility at no extra charge.  The instructor class itself is an 8 hour program. After the instructor training classroom session, candidates complete the third part of the training requirements by being observed teaching a full class. This monitoring session takes approximately 4.5 hours.

To become an American Heart Association BLS Instructor, candidates must fulfill all the requirements above, and in addition have a current AHA BLS Provider certification card (a 3.5 hour program) and have exemplary BLS skills. Again, instructor candidates are welcome to audit a BLS course at CPR Seattle to help develop confidence in their skills.


Class Preparation and Administrative Time Commitment

The time it takes for a CPR instructor to prepare for each class taught takes between one and two hours. Instructors must ensure that they have the appropriate class manuals available for each student, and that all the class paperwork is printed out ahead of time. They must physically set up for the class by preparing the manikins, getting out supplies, and setting up the audio/visual equipment.  After class, they are responsible for cleaning the equipment, filling out and scanning all their class paperwork, and uploading the class rosters and associated paperwork to their Training Center (CPR Seattle). Post-class administrative time can require one to two hours.  The total time commitment required to teach a Heartsaver CPR/first aid class once the instructor is comfortable with teaching is about 6.5 to 7.5 hours.  The total time to prepare for, teach, and complete administrative work for an AHA BLS for Healthcare Providers class is about 5.5 to 6.5 hours.


Instructor Renewal Training and Instructor Update Time Commitment

Every two years an instructor must renew their credentials. Please visit our Heartsaver Instructor Renewal page or our BLS Instructor Renewal page for current rates. The renewal is a 4-8 hour course depending on instructor skill proficiency.  Between renewals Instructors must read all correspondences from their Training Center as well as from the American Heart Association throughout the year. Instructors must teach at lerast 4 classes during the two-year period to be eligbile for renewal. Also, every five years instructors may be required to take a mandatory online guidelines update when new CPR and first aid protocols are released by the AHA.


Financial Investment

The total cost of an AHA instructor training course (after initial prerequisites have been met), including all the necessary course materials (instructor manual, instructor DVD, etc.) is approximately $700 - $750 (please visit our Heartsaver Instructor page or our BLS Instructor page for current instructor training rates – approximate amounts for these classes are included in the quote above).  An instructor teaching an American Heart Association course will also need additional equipment including, but not limited to, adult manikins ($50 - $200 each), infant manikins ($50 - $100 each), AED trainers ($200 - $350 each), face shields ($0.50 each), pocket masks ($15 each), gloves ($0.50 each), mats for students to kneel on ($20 each), a projector and DVD player ($400 - $900), bag valve masks (BLS courses only: $30 for one infant and one adult mask).  CPR Seattle recommends one set of equipment per student for optimum efficiency and maximum practice time. Note: equipment prices listed are for example only; prices vary according to manufacturer.


Certification cards

CPR Seattle issues digital certification cards, or "eCards", for all classes taught by our affiliated instructors. Please inquire as to the current cost of our BLS and Heartsaver certification cards. Cards are paid for after your class roster is submitted to CPR Seattle.

If you have questions about our instructor training programs you can download more detailed information on our Heartsaver Instructor and BLS Instructor training pages. In addition, feel free to give us a call at 206-504-3280, or email us at