Congratulations-you are a teacher (or soon to be), teacher with the State of Virginia, ready to take on the role of inspiration and intellectual GPS for thousands of students. But, don’t get too excited. As of July 1, 2013, all Virginia teachers must have First Aid, CPR and AED training. As a parent, I am overjoyed that now the people who have responsibility for my children for several hours each day will have the training to save their lives. I believe this is a change to the law long over due.
As a Virginia American Heart Association Training Site, I have received a lot of questions from teachers about this certification. Do I have to take a class? Is Online training OK? Do I have to see an instructor? Will the online class for $19.99 be OK? I have reviewed the law, reviewed the Department of Education of Virginia’s website, and all the FAQ documents and statements. Here are the answers all of my teachers have been looking for:
1) Do I have to take a class? Yes, you have to take some form of training, which the State of Virginia states “The certification or training program must be based on the current national evidence-based emergency cardiovascular care guidelines for cardiopulmonary resuscitation and the use of an automated external defibrillator, such as a program developed by the American Heart Association or the American Red Cross.” (see source 1) Virginia is basing it’s recognition of a suitable program on American Heart Association and/or American Red Cross standards. This vital piece of the puzzle will come into play later.
2) Is Online training ok? Yes, and No. Though the FAQ sent out by the Superintendent on June 7, 2013, states: “Online training or certification that includes emergency first aid, CPR, and the use of AEDs that is based on the current national evidence-based emergency cardiovascular care guidelines for cardiopulmonary resuscitation and the use of an automated external defibrillator, such as a program developed by the American Heart Association or the American Red Cross, may be accepted to meet this requirement.” (See Source 2) This is a grey area, namely due to the use of the word “may.” Remember that the law already states that it must meet American Heart Association or American Red Cross requirements. Both of these programs offer Online based training. However, taking only the course Online does not mean you are certified.
3) Do I have to see an instructor? Yes, you do. This question may also be presented as-do I have to do hands-on training. In order to meet American Heart Association and/or American Red Cross guidelines, you MUST take a hands-on component to all training. Whether part of the course was completed Online or not, until you have training with an instructor, you are not issued a certification card. But, let’s see what the superintendent has to say: “No. The legislation does not specifically state that the license holder must have “hands on” training.” (See Source 2) But, in order to satisfy the “current national evidence-based emergency cardiovascular care guidelines” “such as a program developed by the American Heart Association or the American Red Cross” Certification is not earned until you complete the hands-on component. Could you perhaps slip the Online Part 1 Completion Certificate past the authorities and have your training ‘recognized.’ Perhaps-but, on the bottom of your online print out, it says “This certificate does not constitute a successful completion of the full Heartsaver First Aid with CPR and AED Online course. A skills practice and testing session, conducted by an American Heart Association Instructor is required in order to receive an American Heart Association Heartsaver First Aid CPR AED Course Completion Card. Skills practice and testing must be completed within 60 days from the date below.” (See Source 3) Source 3 is a pdf of an actual Online Part 1 Completion Certificate (personal information blocked out to protect privacy).
Even beyond the American Heart Association and American Red Cross, OSHA does not recognize Online Only training as training. OSHA requires that students have a hands-on component to secure the physical skill of performing CPR. “Online training alone would not meet the requirements of these training standards. The word “train” is defined as “[t]o make proficient with special instruction and practice,” Webster’s II New Collegiate Dictionary, 1995, p. 1,169. These standards require training in physical skills, such as bandaging and CPR. The only way these physical skills can be learned is by actually practicing them. OSHA’s Best Practices Guide: Fundamentals of a Workplace First-Aid Program, 2006, p. 11, states that a first-aid training program should have trainees develop hands-on skills through the use of mannequins and partner practice.” (See Source 4)
4) Will the online class for $19.99 be OK? No. The courses that you see offered online for a tiny amount of money are fraudulent. Even though they may state that they are based on national American Heart Association Guidelines-the American Heart Association does not allow the use of their guidelines. Take a look at this fraud warning issued by the American Heart Association:
- “A number of websites claim to provide online training, including CPR training that is “AHA Compliant” even though the organizations are not American Heart Association-authorized training centers. These sites may claim to offer online training with no skills checks or instant electronic course cards available upon completion of the online training.
The American Heart Association does not approve training courses created by other organizations, does not allow its course completion cards to be given to students who do not complete the skills check portion of American Heart Association training, and there are no “AHA-compliant” training courses or “AHA-certified” professionals conducting training. An organization that has been approved to issue cards with the AHA logo upon successful completion of an AHA training course should display the “Authorized Training Center” logo to help you know they are authorized. You should check with your present or prospective employer about the course completion cards they will accept before paying anyone for training intended to gain or retain your training status.” (See Source 5)
So, in summary, take an actual training course (classroom or online based), by an actual instructor. Verify their credentials, ask questions. Don’t waste your money on a cheap imitation. Training the right way takes so little time and effort-why do people look for the short-cut? You are charged with protecting the lives of children-doesn’t it make sense to not cut corners and do it the right way?
Source 1: http://www.doe.virginia.gov/teaching/licensure/
Source 2: http://www.doe.virginia.gov/administrators/superintendents_memos/2013/156-13a.pdf
Source 3: https://docs.google.com/a/ses911.com/document/d/108mt0rp6peX-TBc0nFPPWmxe2blGNuojjYPFBz15hi8/pub
Source 4: https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=INTERPRETATIONS&p_id=28541
Source 5: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/General/Fraud-Warning_UCM_451200_Article.jsp#