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Looking for a CPR certification?  AHA vs. Red Cross CPR Certifications – are they all the same?

Whether for work, school or personal knowledge, you have lots of options when looking for a CPR certification course. You will find two organizations will come up more than the others, those are the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross. Though the two organizations offer a variety of courses ranging from Basic Life Saving (BLS) or CPR for the Professional Rescuer to First Aid and both provide courses in adult CPR/AED, pediatric CPR/AED as well as infant CPR/AED, there are some important differences between the two that could make the difference between whether your certification is accepted by your employer or school or not.

The similarities between the AHA and Red Cross CPR Certifications

Both organizations use the guidelines for CPR training that have been established by the American Heart Association. The AHA is responsible for the research as well as setting the guidelines for high quality CPR that are accepted and used throughout the country.

  • The Red Cross adheres and teaches the principles of these guidelines.

  • Both organizations offer both online and in-person courses, otherwise known as “blended” courses.

  • Both also offer First Aid certifications and CPR/AED certifications to laypeople as well as healthcare professionals.

The differences between the AHA and Red Cross CPR Certifications

The AHA CPR Certification is more widely accepted by healthcare professionals as it is considered slightly more extensive as well as more challenging.

  • While the Red Cross allows an 80% or higher on their exams as passing, the AHA requires a score of 84% or greater.

  • The AHA certifies their students for two years where as the Red Cross certification is good for one or two years, depending on the level of CPR certification.

Be sure to check with your employer or school to see if either are acceptable or if one is preferred over the other.


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