First Aid/CPR Training Options

First Aid and CPR/AED training courses are currently offered by various training organizations at various levels and within various disciplines. This page provides lists, comparisons, and resources of these differences so you can select the training that is right for you.

FACPR Training PyramidA Training Option for Everyone

First aid and CPR training courses are offered at various levels of complexity (see pyramid to the right).

  • At the bottom level, the most basic instruction is listed, including compression-only CPR. Everyone should have at least this level of first Aid/CPR knowledge. This level also includes basic courses/presentation taught to children and online courses with no classroom skills.
  • The Lay Rescuer level represents the training most people receive when they need a certification that includes skill practice with an authorized instructor. Components gives this level great flexibility.
  • The first Professional Level features basic life support (BLS) measures that are performed by non-EMT firefighters, lifeguards, peace officers, public safety personnel, athletic trainers, healthcare workers, etc.
  • The upper level of this pyramid is reserved for professional responders (e.g., EMT/paramedics, doctors, etc.) who need advanced cardiac life support (ACLS), pediatric life support (PALS), emergency medical response (EMS) training, etc.

Training Agencies

Several agencies provide first aid/CPR training courses in the United States and around the world.

US Agencies

The following agencies provide First Aid/CPR training in the United States:

These agencies provide similar training courses according to the latest ECC Guidelines. All certificates are valid for 2 years. For a comparison of the courses these agencies provide, download the Comparison of Training Courses by Agency.

The AHA Red Cross CPR Training and Education Statement explains that the AHA and ARC consider their courses to be equivalent. Water Safety Guy teaches American Red Cross First Aid/CPR courses, but we can also give AHA, ASHI/Medic First Aid, or EMS Safety Services courses upon request.

Training Agencies in Other Countries

Here are a few noteworthy training agencies around the world.

Special Disciplines of First Aid

Besides the standard first aid/CPR training levels suggested in the pyramid above, the follow special disciplines of first aid treatment exist or are emerging:

  • Aquatic/marine first aid - Care for emergencies that include drowning; drowning complications (including acute respiratory distress syndrome [ARDS], hyponatremia, pulmonary edema, etc.); spinal injuries; recreational water illnesses; etc.
  • Battlefield first aid - Care for emergencies caused by weapons of war, including gunshot wounds, injury due to explosions, hand-to-hand combat with small arms and cutting weapons, etc.
  • Equine First Aid - Care for horses, donkeys, and mules, especially in remote areas far from veterinarian care.
  • Hydrofluoric acid first aid - Care in chemical industries where this substance is used that involves the use of calcium gluconate.
  • Hyperbaric first aid - First aid for decompression sickness, etc.
  • Mental health first aid - Care for people suffering from a mental health problem or  crisis situations independent of physical injury.
  • Oxygen first aid - Care for hypoxic patients, which can be due to attitude sickness, drowning, suffocation, internal injuries, etc.
  • Pet first aid - Care for dogs and cats, including CPR, assessing vitals, and first aid treatment.
  • Wilderness first aid - Care for patients who are ill or injured in a remote location where help may be delayed.