How to Start a CPR Business

Though it's difficult to make a full-time living as a CPR instructor, it's a good way to make some extra money while filling a legitimate need in your community. This article assumes that you've taken care of the generic aspects of starting a business (licensing, corporate structure, bank accounts, etc), and focuses on the unique aspects of starting a CPR business. It also assumes that (at least to start), you'll be doing the teaching. Once your business starts rolling, you can add additional instructors as opportunity allows.

Getting Certified

Read the contract. Both the American Red Cross and the American Heart Association (the two largest certifying organizations) have contracts you must sign if you want to teach as a certified instructor. Samples are available before you sign up for classwork. This is your ticket to the show, so be certain you're okay with abiding by these requirements before you spend any more time or money.

Fulfill prerequisites. Before becoming certified as a CPR instructor, you need to fulfill the basic prerequisites. For the American Red Cross, this simply means completing a basic CPR course. Other organizations may have other requirements.

Get certified. A CPR instructor certification course usually requires several hours on a string of successive weekends, plus several hundred dollars in tuition. Most organizations will teach you advanced theory, legal ramifications and a basic script for teaching classes.

See to continuing education. All legitimate certifying organizations will require additional coursework every year or two.


See to traditional marketing efforts, just like with any other small business.

Send a flier to local schools and government offices. Many government jobs (and all teaching jobs) require current first aid/CPR certification. Somebody needs to teach those refreshers, and it might as well be you.

Contact local health clubs. Like schools, they usually require their staff to be first aid certified.

Check with churches, martial arts studios, benevolent associations and scouting organizations in your community. They might be willing to host a class for little or no money, and have the added benefit on an existing population who may attend your class.


As your business grows, consider bringing on additional instructors so your business can serve more clients.

Once you can afford it, seriously consider bringing on a marketing and sales person. Professional sales staff will grow your business faster than you can imagine.

Consider the up, up and out strategy. First, promote yourself out of teaching and into management. Second, promote yourself out of management and into executive duties. Finally, hire an operations manager and regard the whole thing as passive income.


  • CPR instruction carries some liability risks. Be sure to look into liability insurance when considering this business option.