Becoming an American Heart Association Instructor with CPR Seattle
If you are interested in becoming a certified American Heart Association (AHA) Instructor through CPR Seattle, there are a few things that you will need to know. There are certain criteria specified by AHA guidelines, as well as policies and procedures that CPR Seattle employs to ensure that Instructor candidates are well-prepared to complete Instructor training requirements.
Each American Heart Association Training Center follows AHA guidelines but may have varying policies of their own about Instructor Training and administration (including fees). We encourage all candidates to become fully aware of all fees, costs and requirements before enrolling in a course.
CPR Seattle offers two instructor training classes: Heartsaver First Aid and CPR Instructor, and BLS Instructor. This training consists of three parts: completing all pre-requisites and online course(s), an in-person class session at CPR Seattle, and a monitoring/teaching practice session at CPR Seattle.
Heartsaver Instructors provide ‘lay-rescuer” or “bystander” training, i.e. the classes taken by those who are not healthcare professionals or professional rescuers. The Heartsaver programs include First Aid, Adult CPR/AED, Child CPR, and Infant CPR.
BLS Instructors provide training in the BLS Provider program (often referred to as CPR for Healthcare Providers) and are also authorized to teach all of the Heartsaver programs.
There are also two other programs that any instructor can facilitate – Bloodborne Pathogens, and Family & Friends CPR.
First, we’ll look at the checklist of prerequisites for the Heartsaver Instructor Training Course:
- A current American Heart Association Heartsaver First Aid and Adult, Child & Infant CPR provider certification. In order to effectively teach an AHA class, an Instructor must be very familiar with the course content they will be teaching. The certification must be from an AHA program; Red Cross, ASHI, or any other agency’s certification is not valid for this requirement.
- A current copy of the Heartsaver Instructor Manual
- Completion of the online AHA Heartsaver Instructor Essentials course. This course covers the AHA teaching materials, policies, student learning objectives, coaching skills, and performance evaluations.
- Perfected knowledge of the Heartsaver First Aid and CPR skills. Instructor candidates will be required to successfully perform the CPR and First Aid skills at the in-person, Instructor Trainer-led portion of the course. These consist of:
- Adult CPR/AED
- Child CPR
- Infant CPR
- Removing Gloves
- Finding the Problem
- Using an Epinephrine Pen
- Stopping Bleeding and Bandaging
- Perfected knowledge of the Heartsaver First Aid and CPR course content. Candidates will need to pass a written exam on First Aid and CPR procedures, as covered in the Heartsaver courses. This exam is multiple choice and consists of 30 questions. Candidates must score at least 84% to pass this exam.
- Perfected knowledge of the Heartsaver First Aid and CPR Instructor course content. Candidates will need to pass a written exam on the information covered in the online Heartsaver Instructor Essentials Course. This exam is multiple choice and consists of 25 questions. Candidates must score at least 84% to pass this exam.
- Alignment with an AHA Training Center. Instructors are required to join the AHA Instructor Network and request alignment with an AHA Training Center. Instructor will have their alignment approved during their Instructor Course.
The prerequisites for the BLS Instructor Course include all the above, plus the following:
- A current American Heart Association BLS Provider certification. As noted, the certification must be from an AHA program; Red Cross, ASHI, or any other agency’s certification is not valid for this requirement.
- A current copy of the Heartsaver Instructor Manual (if teaching Heartsaver classes)
- Completion of the online AHA BLS Instructor Essentials course.
- Perfected knowledge of the BLS Provider skills. Instructor candidates will be required to successfully perform these skills at the in-person, Instructor Trainer-led portion of the course. These consist of:
- Adult 1 and 2-rescuer BLS
- Infant 1 and 2-rescuer BLS
- Perfected knowledge of the BLS Provider course content. Candidates will need to pass the written exam for the BLS Provider course (candidates will have previously taken this exam during their BLS Provider class). This exam is multiple choice and consists of 25 questions. Candidates must score at least 84% to pass this exam.
- Perfected knowledge of the BLS Instructor course content. Candidates will need to pass a written exam on the information covered in the online BLS Instructor Essentials Course. This exam is multiple choice and consists of 25 questions. Candidates must score at least 84% to pass this exam.
Getting Ready for the Course
How best to prepare? Thoroughly read the student manual for each course you are going to be teaching. Review the course DVD for each course you are going to be teaching. Pay special attention to the skills sheets and make sure to know those intimately. Read through the Instructor Essentials Candidate Workbook (this document will be emailed to you after your enrollment). If you already have your provider certification(s), we highly recommend auditing a class at CPR Seattle into get familiar with our teaching style and requirements. Contact our office to arrange an auditing appointment.
The last part of the training process involves each instructor candidate teaching part of a class while being monitored by a member of the Training Center Faculty. This gives each candidate a chance to experience teaching a course under the supervision, direction and assistance of an experienced instructor. The monitoring sessions are conducted at CPR Seattle and will be attended by actual students – the teaching is for practice, but it’s for real! From 1-4 instructor candidates at a time may be monitored during this session and will be assigned specific portions of the class to teach. Criteria that the Training Center Faculty will be using to evaluate the candidates include (but are not limited to):
- Delivers content that is consistent with Lesson Maps and agenda
- Promotes retention by reinforcing key points
- Tests students by using AHA course materials according to instructions in the Instructor Manual
- Provides timely and appropriate feedback to students
If the instructor candidate successfully completes the monitoring requirement according to AHA guidelines, they are then issued the applicable Instructor certification.
So now you’re an Instructor – what’s next?
Go forth and teach! As an active CPR Seattle AHA Instructor, you are authorized to teach classes wherever and whenever you like. Some of our aligned instructors teach for their employers, some teach independently, and some do both. You’ll need the required equipment in order to teach classes – student manuals, mannequins, AED trainers, and more – so if you need help sourcing your gear, be sure to let us know. If you want to save some time and effort, we can even put together an Instructor Starter Kit Quote for you!
After teaching each of your classes, and in order to have certification cards issued to your students, you’ll be filling out and submitting the course paperwork to the Training Center via our online CPR Seattle Instructor Portal. All required paperwork will be scanned to a file and uploaded with your roster information. The Training Center Coordinator will review the course paperwork for completion and accuracy, and then issue the certification cards directly to each student. As each instructor is required to maintain copies of all class paperwork for at least three years after the class date, the CPR Seattle Instructor Portal serves as a backup for this requirement.
The AHA now uses online certification cards, referred to as eCards. An email will be sent to each student with the link used to claim their eCard(s) and set up their AHA eCard account. Online eCards can be printed, emailed, or verified online via a 12-digit code. No more lost cards!
Instructors will purchase these eCards upon submitting each roster to the Training Center. This is done via credit card or by invoicing (available to companies/organizations that have set up a billing agreement with CPR Seattle). As of 11/21/18, the current costs for eCards are:
- BLS Provider - $5.25 plus tax
- Heartsaver First Aid, CPR/AED, or First Aid & CPR/AED - $19.50 plus tax
- Heartsaver K-12 CPR/AED or First Aid & CPR/AED - $5.25 plus tax (this eCard is available for students, faculty, or employees of a K-12 school)
Note that Bloodborne Pathogens and Family & Friends CPR classes do not need to be submitted to the Training Center.
Maintaining Instructor Status
Your instructor certification will be valid for two years, at which time, you will be required to renew your Instructor certification. The requirements for instructor renewal are:
- Maintain current provider status. This is satisfied by renewing your provider-level certification(s) by taking a class at CPR Seattle.
- Earn four credits during the previous two years by teaching at least four classes, classroom portions for blended learning students, or (for BLS instructors) BLS skills testing during an ACLS, PEARS® or PALS course
- Complete any required AHA instructor updates
- Attend one of our scheduled Instructor renewal sessions. This Instructor renewal session will consist of retaking the appropriate written exams (provider and instructor) and retaking the skills tests for each discipline. Instructors are required to attend a renewal session no later than one month after expiration of their previous Instructor certification.
- Be monitored while teaching part of a class at CPR Seattle. This class will immediately follow the renewal session and will be in the same format as the original monitoring. Additional monitoring criteria for renewing instructors includes:
- Uses student and Faculty feedback to improve teaching performance
- Secures and protects testing materials
- Complies with the current, appropriate version of the Program Administration Manual
- Ensures that AHA course completion cards are issued in a timely manner
Keep current and informed
Instructors will continue to receive updated information on programs, courses and AHA guidelines via the ECC Beat newsletter, sent out on Thursdays by the AHA. Important information pertinent to the teaching or administration of classes will be re-sent with any comments by the Training Center Coordinator in order to ensure every Instructor is aware of the information.
The AHA Instructor Network also has an online forum for Instructors to share ideas, comments and issues with the Instructor community. Questions can be posed to other instructors and to AHA administrative staff. We encourage instructors to make use of this community.
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Published on November 27, 2018