decoding cpr training

Decoding CPR

There are three main levels of CPR: CPR level A, CPR level C and CPR level HCP (Basic Life Support). While we receive many questions regarding CPR, the most common questions from those new to the field are: What do the A, C and HCP signify? And which level should I take? Broken down for your convenience are the answers below!


In this cardio pulmonary resuscitation class you will learn CPR, as well as management and prevention of choking for conscious and unconscious adult patients. We also cover signs and symptoms and treatment for heart attack and stroke. Finally, you will learn about and practise with the automated external defibrillator (AED). 

The focus of this class is adult patients so therefore the A stands for adult. Patients who are 8 years old and up are considered an adult for this basic level of CPR.  

People who would take this class include fitness instructors, personal trainers, and people who work with the elderly. If you are working with all age groups, then it would be best to level up to CPR level C.


This level of CPR covers all the same content as the CPR level A, but for all ages: adults, children and infants. This is the most common level of CPR and it is a requirement for many jobs including some lifeguards, nurses, teachers, daycare workers and summer camp counsellors.

*Note that both course options can be found on our CPR-A/C with AED Full Certification page – simply change the ‘Course Option’ setting when registering to change the level. 

CPR-HCP (Basic Life Support)

The HCP stands for Health Care Provider. In the HCP course you will learn all of the basic CPR-C content and more. In a HCP class you will practise good team dynamics and communication as well as the use of equipment that you would find in a health care setting such as the bag valve mask and oral pharyngeal airways (OPA). You learn how to perform pulse checks on your patients and artificial respiration (AR). Lastly we cover some differences in adult and paediatric CPR due to the importance of oxygen in younger patients.   

This class was originally designed for health care workers who are frequently expected to perform CPR. In recent years as the CPR-C standards have been simplified, more health care school and work programs have changed their requirement to HCP from CPR-C. Please check with your employer or school program to see if this is the right level for you or contact us for help deciding.  

*Note that CPR-C is not an appropriate prerequisite for an HCP re-certification. If you have only ever completed CPR-A or C you will need to take the full course to earn CPR-HCP certification.

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