How long is a first aid certificate valid for?

keyboard button showing expiry date

How long does a First Aid certificate last in Australia?

REGULAR RENEWAL OF FIRST AID CERTIFICATES is recommended by experts in the industry.

Reasons for their recommendations are logical, and supported by both certificate holders and issuers.

The recommendations are:

Renew CPR certificates once a year.
This includes:
HLTAID001 Provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation and HLTAI009  Provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Renew Provide First Aid certificates once every 3 years.
This includes:
HLTAID003 Provide first aid and
HLTAID001 Provide first aid.

Renew Child Care First Aid certificates once every 3 years.
This includes:
HLTAID004 Provide an emergency first aid response in an education and care setting and
HLTAID012 Provide First Aid in an education and care setting.

Does First Aid expire?

First Aid certificates do not have expiry dates. 

If your First Aid certification is purely for personal reasons and not for workplace obligations, there are no regulations or codes that require you to update your certificate.

You would be wise to follow the recommended renewal intervals for the reasons that follow below, under the heading Does First Aid expire? 

A First Aider in the workplace is subject to Government-regulated guidelines in relation to their First Aid certificate. Following the guidelines is to ensure the associated business remains compliant with the First Aid in the Workplace Compliance Code.

A First Aider is a person “who has successfully completed a nationally accredited training course or an equivalent level of training that has given them the competencies required to administer First Aid” according to the Safe Work Australia First Aid Workplace Code of Practice.

An employer may require more frequent renewal of First Aid certification. It’s up to the needs of the individual workplace.

You can do First Aid training as often as you like. It would be perfectly reasonable to refresh your knowledge whenever you feel you need to. There is certainly nothing to suggest you could be over-qualified from doing too many courses.

It is logical to renew your First Aid certificate regularly for the simple reason that situations calling for First Aid are infrequent. 

For many First Aid certified people, years can go by without them needing to even think about their First Aid knowledge and skills. 

When the time comes for First Aid intervention, the procedures should not be a memory challenge, shrouded in mystery and uncertainty. Time is of the essence. Swift and sure action is needed. 

What is a First Aid refresher course?

A First Aid refresher course is the best way for a certificate holder’s knowledge to be brought into focus again. It not only serves as a reminder to refresh existing knowledge, it can, and often does, add new information to that knowledge. 

Then, when the call arises and, in keeping with the spirit of any First Aid effort, confident and competent First Aid action can be taken.

By attending a First Aid refresher course, a certificate holder is made aware of any changes and can confidently go into an emergency medical situation with knowledge that is current within reason.

When should you use a first aid refresher?

An employer may require more frequent renewal of First Aid certification than what is generally recommended. It’s up to the needs of the individual workplace.

You can do First Aid training as often as you like. It would be perfectly reasonable to refresh your knowledge whenever you feel you need to.

There is certainly nothing to suggest you could be over-qualified from doing too many courses.

Do you still give mouth-to-mouth during CPR?

Another critical reason for renewing First Aid certificates is that the field of emergency medicine is dynamic. As with other areas of medicine, there are breakthroughs and advances, as well as new challenges that bring about innovation and change.

An obvious example of this is the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to COVID, cardiopulmonary resuscitation was widely accepted as a cycle of 30 chest compressions followed by 2 rescue breaths. 

Since COVID, however, the need for rescue breaths is no longer advised. Face shields, artificial ventilation, and pocket masks (what is a pocket mask) still have their place in CPR, but otherwise, the current CPR method is chest compressions only.

Beyond the example of CPR during COVID, new products emerge in the medical arena, as well as new medications and new knowledge. First Aid treatment is often improved and advanced in line with these innovations. 

It’s easy to see the importance of First Aid refresher courses and the logic behind the recommendation to renew First Aid certificates regularly.

What is a pocket mask?

A pocket mask is designed to prevent the spread of potential pathogens during mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. It allows mouth-to-mouth ventilation to be done without direct contact with the patient’s mouth.

With the patient’s head tilted back to open the airway, the rescuer uses fingers to lift the patient’s jaw into the pocket mask and thumbs to secure it. 

The pocket mask has an inflated tube that seals airtight around the nose and mouth. The rescuer can blow air in through a one-way valve in the nozzle. A second unidirectional valve directs the patient’s expired air away from the rescuer.

The patient's body fluids cannot reach the rescuer but the masks are transparent, so any vomit or blood can be seen and quickly deal with. 

Recently published

Logo for Food Allergy Week Food Allergy Week 2022
Girl Allergic Reaction to FoodAnaphylaxis and Food Allergies
Olivia Rodrigo Singing Accidents on the Red Carpet
Doctor or Nurse Wearing Medical Personal Protective EquipmentFirst Aid Training During Lockdown
First Aid Kit With ContentsDIY First Aid Kit
Symptoms of Heat Cramp LeadFirst Aid for Heat Cramp
Helicopter rescue in the bushAustralian Bush needs to be treated with respect
Paralysis Tick bite causing an allergic reactionBest Way to Remove Paralysis Ticks
Group ExerciseAsthma and Exercise
Masks and Social Distancing for Coronavirus and First AidCOVID-19 UPDATE - 4 August