Several sources already exist to explain the ins and outs of CPR. How to do it, what to do and why. But there are very few sources that explain how to spot the ‘shady trainer.’ You know the one. The trainer who takes your money and runs-leaving you without a certification. The trainer who cancels class at the last minute-often when you are already waiting for them to arrive. E-mails that are never returned. Phone calls that are never answered. An 800 number that is always answered by an answering service-a glorified voice mail system manned by humans instead of machines.
I am inspired to write this tonight after opening up my center last week to do an AHA Skills Session for a teacher. She needed this certification by Monday in order to keep her teaching license current. She had been registered (and paid for) a class offered at a wholly different company, in September-but, that class was cancelled 5 am the morning of class because the instructor didn’t have 9 people in class and it wasn’t worth their time to drive in to teach. That same trainer cancelled her class again two weeks later for the same reason. The teacher gave them a third chance, and this time, the trainer never showed up to teach. Just a few days ago, I had a student come to my class whose trainer–you guessed it–cancelled the morning of class (and yes-it was the same trainer as in the first example)
You might think this is a rare thing, but it is not. I hear similar stories at least once a week-the ‘shady instructor’ took your money and you don’t get a class. Now, accidents happen. Extreme circumstances exist. No one is perfect. But, here are some warning signs that you may wish to spend your money elsewhere for training:
1) You call the trainer and never talk to a person. While e-mail is great for communicating many things, nothing beats talking to a person to answer a question.
2) You call the trainer and end up talking to someone who doesn’t know anything about classes and if obviously only there as an admin assistant/answering service.
3) The trainer makes a big deal about ‘minimum students needed.’ This isn’t a big deal when booking a corporate/group training. BUT, if you are an individual looking for a class-please please please-run away from classes that will only run with a large number of students. Yes, instructors need to get paid, but, in my experience, it is rare to see an open-enrollment class top 7 students. Do you really want to depend upon your certification on someone being able to book 9 or 10 people at a time?
4) Class policies are not visible on the website and/or class registrations. These policies will often outline policies regarding late arrivals, extreme weather and class cancellations. Make sure you look them over and, if you ask for the policies and the trainer cannot send you a copy and/or a copy is not readily available on the website–RUN.
5) If you complain to the trainer and you are told that you are the only client who has ever had a problem, or you the client did something wrong, or you the client are at fault. Again, no one is perfect, but this is a business-the client may not always be right, but the do have the right to make a mistake too.
6) The trainer is not upfront about their status. By this, I mean that they do not reveal their supervisory training center. No one in the AHA training network is “independent.” Everyone has a boss. Everyone has to answer to someone. No trainer is an island.
7) Look out for websites that have several pages of “404-Not found.” I recently looked at a website for a local company where the “About Us” “Reviews” “Online Store” “Blog” and “Contact Us” pages all lead to “404-Page not Found.” But-you could pay for a class no problem. This tells me that this company is happy to take your money, but, not happy to let you learn anything about them, talk to them or see what other clients have to say. This is a big issue.
8) The trainer arrives to class dressed inappropriately for the environment. Let me explain: You wouldn’t wear heels to a construction site. Instead, you would expect khakis or even jeans. In a corporate office, you would expect business casual dress but frown upon jeans and a T-shirt. A “Professional rescuer” uniform is wholly inappropriate outside of that environment. You should not see EMT-wear in the corporate office, or Lifeguard uniforms away from the pool. Either one of those things tells you that the trainer is hoping you will be dazzled by their apparent awesomeness and not pay attention to the lessons and the fact that they do not know what they are doing. (On a side note-the CPR trainer that shows up in his/her EMT uniform, complete with walkie-talkie and flashlight really get on my last nerve. Wearing that much kit tells me you just came off shift and probably haven’t showered yet.
9) Your training class is cancelled-often with less than 24 hours notice. I promise my students that I will never cancel a class and the only time I have ever cancelled a class (in well over 15 years), was when the Governor declared a state of emergency and told people to not drive. And in that instance, I called each student and rescheduled them based on their schedule-not mine) It is the height of disrespect to call a student-frequently a teacher or healthcare worker who needs this certification to work, and say “sorry, I’m cancelling.” Too bad, so sad. That is a horrid way to treat the people who teach our children and care for our sick.
10) TRUST YOUR GUT. If you call/communicate with the trainer and don’t feel welcomed, respected and appreciated, find another trainer! I’m not saying that the trainer will kiss your feet, but a good trainer will be professional and a Great Trainer will make you feel like you are in good hands.