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5 Reasons Your BLS/CPR Certification May Be Invalid

Updated: Jan 26, 2020

At work, you have policies and procedures you need to follow. So do CPR instructors that issue American Heart Association (AHA) certification cards. The AHA Program Administration Manual (PAM) - the policies and procedures manual for AHA Instructors - clearly states the criteria that must be met in order for instructors to issue certification cards to students. If you received an AHA Certification card under the following circumstances, your certification card was not legitimately earned.

You did not have your own copy of the course student manual

The PAM states that students must have a personal copy of the most current edition of the student manual for the course they are taking. Tests for ACLS, BLS, and PALS courses are now open book. Students should be able to take class notes in their own books and have them for reference after the class.

No hands-on practice on manikins

As per the PAM, "No AHA course completion card is issued without hands-on manikin skills testing".

Feedback devices to monitor compression rate and depth were not used in the class

As of January 2019, all AHA instructors who teach adult CPR must use devices that monitor compression rate and depth. This allows instructors to more accurately ensure that chest compression quality meets AHA Guidelines.

End-of-course exam was completed as a group, with the instructors help or not at all

Tests for ACLS, BLS, and PALS are pass/fail. Students must earn a grade of 84% or better to receive a certification card. The AHA Instructor Manual for these courses states that students who do not pass, must be remediated. It also states that the test must be completed without the assistance of the instructor or other students.

Your instructor did not show the appropriate AHA course video

To receive an AHA certification card, instructors must follow the curriculum for the course as outlined in the AHA Instructor Manual lesson plans and course video. The PAM states that,"Using the course DVD's is mandatory in classroom courses".


Remember, when you pay for a CPR class, you are paying to learn the high-quality skills to possibly save a patient, a loved one, or someone else's loved one. The certification card you receive is the icing on the cake. It should never be the only reason to attend a CPR class.

There are many "card factories" out there that are fast and cheap. Please support instructors who work hard to provide you with quality instruction and legitimate certification.

To report CPR certification fraud please contact the American Heart Association at: 1-877-AHA-4CPR (1-877-242-4277) or send email to


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