Frequently Asked Questions about First Aid Certification and Re-Certification

Frequently Asked Questions about First Aid Certification and Re-CertificationFirst aid training is a very important skill that can come in handy for a number of important life situations. Most of the time, people take first aid and CPR courses because it’s a requirement for their job but this is a skill that everyone should be encouraged to learn. For those who’re interested, here are some answers to frequently asked questions about getting a certification.

1. How long will a Red Cross certification remain valid?

It would depend on the type of certification you have. Certifications for CPR/AED and First Aid are valid for up two years, while Lifeguarding and First Aid certifications are good for up to three years. However, you should be aware of your State and Local Department of Health directives. In some areas, lifeguards have to get re-certified every year.

2. How can I renew my expired Red Cross certification?

Before being given a certification renewal, almost all Red Cross courses would require that you take a Review or Challenge course. A former is just a simple review course and a test while the latter is completely a test course with no teaching or reviewing. There are specific guidelines to the re-certification that you’re planning to take.

  • First Aid & CPR/AED and CPR/AED for Professional Rescuer:

The applicant should have a current Red Cross certificate or its equivalent; those without one can’t join the review course. You can join a review course until a year after your certificate expires, but not anymore if it’s been expired for more than a year. In this situation, you’re required to go through either a full course or the challenge course.

  • Lifeguarding/First Aid:

Lifeguards can participate in a review course if one’s Red Cross Lifeguard certificate is still current. Those with a current certificate or an expired one that’s not more than a year old can take the challenge course.

3. Can a nurse or doctor who’s not currently certified just take a review course since they already have intensive on-the-job experience?

No. Review courses are exclusively for those whose certification is current. But taking the Challenge course will certify a nurse or doctor.

4. It has been years since I studied CPR. Can I just take do a Review?

Similar with nurses or doctors who are not certified, you can’t take a Review course unless your certification is current.

5. I studied CPR with the American Heart Association. Can I take a review course under the American Red Cross?

Yes, if your certification still falls within the first year of issue. Certifications under the American Heart Association are valid for two years but the American Red Cross is just for a year.

6. I got my CPR certification while I was living abroad but it’s from that country’s Red Cross chapter. Will it be recognized in the US?

Unfortunately, certifications received from Red Cross chapters abroad aren’t recognized in the US. However, if you feel that you can pass the written and practical test, you can enroll in a Challenge course to be American Red Cross certified.