Is Basic Life Support a Requirement for Health Care Providers?

Basic Life Support

Basic life support, or CPR as it is more commonly known, is the most basic building block for any medical professional or person in the community who wishes to help someone. Basic life support is the broad term given to most CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) programs. There are actually many types of CPR programs administered by a number of different agencies including the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross.

Types of CPR

Typically there are multiple levels of CPR training aimed at different types of providers. Looking at one of the largest providers of CPR training in the country, the American Heart Association offers several different programs: basic life support for health care providers, which is designed for medical professionals; heart saver CPR, which is designed for businesses and industry or anyone who needs a card; heart saver AED, which is designed for businesses or industry but includes use of an AED; and family and friends CPR, which is designed for people who like group training with no pressure and who would like the information but do not need certification; heart saver CPR in schools, which is designed for middle and high school students.

Health Care Providers

Health care providers must have CPR training in order to enter most programs. The CPR training class is the foundation for almost everything else they do. This class teaches adult and child CPR, adult and child conscious and unconscious choking and the basic chains of survival. Health care providers must take this class for about eight hours and pass practical and written tests to show proficiency in all areas. This class is required for doctors, nurses, paramedics, EMTs and any other medical treatment type job such as nursing home employees, etc.

Getting Training

Getting certified in basic life support will be taken care of by the program you are entering into. Having the training before you start your nursing program or EMT class will always be of benefit to you, however it is not necessary to have it. Most people entering the health care industry either need to be recertified, have never taken it before, or don't have the correct version of the program.


Once you are certified in health care provider CPR, you must renew every two years. The card you will be issued will have the date you completed the program and the date that your certification expires. Make sure you get your renewal prior to that date, so you don't have to take the class over again. The renewal class is usually a quicker version normally between eight and four hours long, just to update any changes in CPR and to make sure you still have the proper skills. There are many types of health care providers in the medical industry. From doctors, to nurses, to paramedics and EMTs, each level of medical provider has certain certifications that they must have to effectively be able to treat patients during an emergency, but everyone must have basic life support.