Online vs. classroom CPR courses

As our culture continues to trend towards tech, it’s no surprise that online education is becoming standard in some industries. But how do online classes in CPR, First Aid, and life support stack up against hands-on training?

If you’re deciding between online and classroom CPR courses, we encourage you to consider a few factors. In this post, we’ll cover the available course types and our recommendations for different learners.


Let’s start with a model that actually combines online and in-person training. Many healthcare professionals like blended-learning because it offers a convenient way to earn required AHA certification. This model lets students train online at their own pace, and then demonstrate skills to an instructor later. It can be efficient and effective, especially as a refresher or recertification option. The reason blended learning works so well for medical personnel is because life support skills are a part of their everyday work. 

Classroom training

But for those who don’t work in the healthcare sector, saving a life doesn’t usually come as second nature. For these students, a more comprehensive, instructor-led training is appropriate. 

First of all, CPR and First Aid are what we call “use it or lose it skills.” Most lose the knowledge before they need to use it, and online courses don’t offer what these learners need to regain (and retain) it. Secondly, CPR and First Aid require hands-on skills. It’s vital to have an experienced instructor guiding students in real-time as they learn and practice skills on manikins. We’ve found that what students practice in the classroom is what they perform in real life. Simply put, these are skills you really want to know you’re doing right, and you can only ensure that by training with a good instructor.

Online classes

You may have seen discounted online classes, some as cheap as $20! Watch out. These classes are so inexpensive because they’re completely video-based. That means they don’t include instructor interaction or the opportunity for students to practice hands-on skills. 

These classes do not offer American Heart Association certification, so they don’t meet the requirements healthcare professionals need for work. Additionally, OSHA does not accept online-only CPR certification. And most other employers know about the shortfalls of these online-only classes, so they won’t accept certification from them either. As one of our clients put it, “I own a mechanic shop; I am a real mechanic. I’m not qualified to fix your car just because I watched a YouTube video.”

When you’re ready to book your training

We hope this guide is useful as you look at training for yourself or your staff. If you’d like to learn more about the classroom and blended learning courses we offer, get in touch.