Becoming a CPR Instructor: Job Description & Salary Information

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Read about a cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) instructor's job description, salary and training requirements. Get straight talk about the pros and cons of a CPR instructor career.
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Pros and Cons of a CPR Instructor Career

CPR instructors must be able to teach groups how to perform life-saving techniques. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) classifies CPR instructors as self-enrichment education teachers. Read the pros and cons of becoming a CPR instructor to decide if it's the right career choice for you.

Pros of a CPR Instructor Career
Average job growth expected from 2012-2022*
High school diploma and minimal formal training needed to apply*
Opportunity to help others and work directly with students*
Could also be certified in First Aid as part of CPR training program**

Cons of a CPR Instructor Career
May need additional certification aside from CPR***
Following CPR certification, specific instructor training is necessary*
Must be able to work with a variety of students****
Scheduling may involve nontraditional days and hours****

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **National Safety Council, ***CareerBuilder.com, ****Monster.com.

Job Description and Salary Info

CPR instructors teach individuals about how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation to save people's lives. As a CPR instructor, you may teach in a variety of settings, including classrooms and various worksites. The students may vary from individuals entering the medical field to those training to become lifeguards or teachers. Teaching via telecommunications may also be part of the job.

The BLS reported in May 2014 that the median wage for self-enrichment education teachers was approximately $36,020. According to the most recent job outlook information available, the BLS reports that the self-enrichment teaching field is expected to grow by 8%-14% in the 2012-2022 decade.

Career Skills and Requirements

Training Requirements

You must become certified as a CPR instructor to pursue a career in the field. You could earn certification as a CPR instructor from several professional organizations, including the National Safety Council, American Red Cross or American Heart Association. In these certification programs, you can learn how to respond in a CPR-related emergency as well as learn how to teach life-saving procedures to adults.

You may be able to gain certification in First Aid as well, such as through the instructor program offered through the National Safety Council. You'll learn how to prevent the transmission of diseases and to care for bleeding, illness and injuries. In addition to formal training, CPR instructors must be able to communicate effectively as the presenter of a group. They should have knowledge of adult teaching strategies.

Job Postings from Real Employers

CPR instructors could work in a number of settings, such as medical centers or community organizations. Below are a few job postings advertising for a CPR instructor in May 2012:

  • A nonprofit organization in New York is looking for a CPR instructor to teach under the supervision of aquatic staff members. You must be certified in CPR as well as First Aid.
  • A medical center in Iowa advertised for someone to take on the role of both a CPR and First Aid instructor. In addition to being certified as a CPR instructor, you are required to hold Basic Life Support certification and preferable have experience in healthcare delivery.
  • A career training company with a base in Florida is looking for a CPR instructor to coordinate and oversee CPR classes. You should have Basic Life Support certification that has been awarded by the American Heart Association.

How to Make Your Skills Stand Out

Many employers are looking for a CPR instructor who is certified in Basic Life Support or First Aid, so you might consider training in those areas separately if they're not already part of your skill set. Any experience in a medical or healthcare field can also prove to employers that you have an interest in and knowledge of handling potentially critical situations. Lastly, speaking and teaching skills are crucial; you may want to take additional written and oral communications sessions to show that you can accurately relay information to others who will need to access it in critical scenarios.

Alternate Career Paths

Alternative careers in the medical field can allow you to help to save lives in a hands-on way. You can consider a career as an emergency medical technician (EMT) or registered nurse (RN).

EMT

An EMT provides medical assistance to people in need of care for sudden illness or injury. As with many careers in the medical field, there is an increased risk of injury and illness, and you may need to work overnight and weekend shifts. According to the BLS, the median wage for EMTs was close to $31,000 as of 2011. Although this is slightly lower than the median for CPR instructors, the BLS also anticipated greater job openings for EMTs from 2010-2020. You must complete formal training and then must pass an exam administered by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians.

RN

Nurses typically work under doctors to provide medical care for patients. To become a registered nurse, you need to complete an associate degree program in nursing in addition to passing the National Council Licensure Exam. The median salary for an RN, as reported by the BLS in 2011, is significantly more than that of a CPR instructor, at about $66,000. The same source also expected a 26% job growth from 2010-2020 for RNs. Although you could work nights and weekends as an RN, a job in an office setting could come with standard business hours.

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Kaplan University

  • MPA - Fire and Emergency Services
  • Bachelor: Fire and Emergency Management
  • AAS in Public Safety and Security
  • Medical Assisting

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Strayer University

  • Master of Science in Health Services Administration: Clinical Care Management
  • Master of Health Services Admin
  • B.S. in Criminal Justice: Homeland Security and Emergency Management Concentration
  • Bachelor of Business Admin: Health Services Admin Concentration

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Capella University

  • PhD: Emergency Management
  • Master: Emergency Management
  • BS - Health Care Administration Leadership

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Ashford University

  • B.A. - Health Care Admin

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Everest

  • Medical Administrative Assistant
  • Medical Assistant

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Herzing University

  • MBA Dual Concentration: Project Management and Public Safety Leadership
  • MBA Dual Concentration: Healthcare Management and Public Safety Leadership
  • Diploma: Medical Assisting

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Keiser University

  • RN to BSN
  • Associate of Sciences - Medical Assistant

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Grand Canyon University

  • EdD in Organizational Leadership - Health Care Administration
  • MBA: Health Systems Management
  • BS in Health Sciences: Professional Development & Advanced Patient Care

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