First aid instructor

A first aid instructor and students


First aid instructors teach students immediate lifesaving emergency measures, such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation, the recovery position, and injury care. They provided practice materials such as a specialised manikin.

The duties of first aid instructors include, but are not limited to:

  • researching, planning and developing first aid syllabus
  • organising training course times and venues
  • providing beginner, intermediate and advanced course participants with detailed first aid information
  • delivering high-quality and comprehensive course materials in a way that all trainees can understand
  • showing trainees how to administer emergency first aid treatment
  • introducing various pieces of first aid equipment and demonstrating their operation
  • assessing trainees’ capabilities and certifying those who meet the requirements
  • keeping training resources and equipment clean and maintained
  • managing course bookings, payments and attendee records
  • providing potential participants with course information
  • evaluating ongoing first aid training requirements
  • monitoring the outcomes of the training courses they deliver
  • taking part in first aid development and
  • implementing first aid policies

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to first aid instructor:

educator in first aid
instructor in first aid principles
trainer in first aid
first aid educator
instructor in first aid
instructor in first aid techniques
first aid trainer

Minimum qualifications

To teach first aid, candidates are usually required to have a minimum of an entry-level teaching qualification. Then, the next step is to become first aid qualified. Some first aid training institutions provide the emergency response knowledge needed as part of on-the-job training. In all cases, a first aid certification is necessary. The level required depends on the jurisdiction in which the certification is delivered.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

First aid instructor is a Skill level 3 occupation.

First aid instructor career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to first aid instructor.

lifeguard instructor
sports coach
outdoor activities instructor
flight instructor
vessel steering instructor

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of first aid instructor. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of first aid instructor with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

nursing lecturer
adult literacy teacher
hospitality vocational teacher
digital literacy teacher
further education teacher

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of first aid instructor.

  • Health, safety and hygiene legislation: The set of health, safety and hygiene standards and items of legislation applicable in a specific sector.
  • General medicine: General medicine is a medical specialty mentioned in the EU Directive 2005/36/EC.
  • Resuscitation: The emergency procedure applied to individuals with no pulse to restore them to consciousness.
  • Acute care: The type of care administered to patients for a brief and critical sequence of illness such as trauma or recovery from surgery.
  • Human anatomy: The dynamic relationship of human structure and function and the muscosceletal, cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, endocrine, urinary, reproductive, integumentary and nervous systems; normal and altered anatomy and physiology throughout the human lifespan.
  • Emergency cases: The emergency cases with different disease patterns and syndromes, the special emergency cases and their appropriate interventions.
  • Curriculum objectives: The goals identified in curricula and defined learning outcomes.
  • First aid: The emergency treatment given to a sick or injured person in the case of circulatory and/or respiratory failure, unconsciousness, wounds, bleeding, shock or poisoning.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of first aid instructor.

  • Guarantee students’ safety: Ensure all students falling under an instructor or other person’s supervision are safe and accounted for. Follow safety precautions in the learning situation.
  • Prepare lesson content: Prepare content to be taught in class in accordance with curriculum objectives by drafting exercises, researching up-to-date examples etc.
  • Compile course material: Write, select or recommend a syllabus of learning material for the students enrolled in the course.
  • Observe student’s progress: Follow up on students’ learning progress and assess their achievements and needs.
  • Apply teaching strategies: Employ various approaches, learning styles, and channels to instruct students, such as communicating content in terms they can understand, organising talking points for clarity, and repeating arguments when necessary. Use a wide range of teaching devices and methodologies appropriate to the class content, the learners’ level, goals, and priorities.
  • Ensure equipment availability: Ensure that the necessary equipment is provided, ready and available for use before start of procedures.
  • Assess students: Evaluate the students’ (academic) progress, achievements, course knowledge and skills through assignments, tests, and examinations. Diagnose their needs and track their progress, strengths, and weaknesses. Formulate a summative statement of the goals the student achieved.
  • Assist students with equipment: Provide assistance to students when working with (technical) equipment used in practice-based lessons and solve operational problems when necessary.
  • Teach first aid principles: Instruct students in the theory and practice of first aid, more specifically in emergency treatments of minor injuries or illness including respiratory failure, unconsciousness, wounds, bleeding, shock, and poisoning.
  • Adapt teaching to target group: Instruct students in the most fitting manner in regards to the teaching context or the age group, such as a formal versus an informal teaching context, and teaching peers as opposed to children.
  • Demonstrate when teaching: Present to others examples of your experience, skills, and competences that are appropriate to specific learning content to help students in their learning.
  • Provide advice on safety: Educate people on safety measures for a certain activity or location.
  • Give constructive feedback: Provide founded feedback through both criticism and praise in a respectful, clear, and consistent manner. Highlight achievements as well as mistakes and set up methods of formative assessment to evaluate work.
  • Perform classroom management: Maintain discipline and engage students during instruction.
  • Develop course outline: Research and establish an outline of the course to be taught and calculate a time frame for the instructional plan in accordance with school regulations and curriculum objectives.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of first aid instructor. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Health care legislation: The patients` rights and responsibilities of health practitioners and the possible repercussions and prosecutions in relation to medical treatment negligence or malpractice.
  • Assessment processes: Various evaluation techniques, theories, and tools applicable in the assessment of students, participants in a programme, and employees. Different assessment strategies such as initial, formative, summative and self- assessment are used for varying purposes.
  • Human physiology: The science that studies the human organs and its interactions and mechanisms.
  • Adult education: Instruction targeted at adult students, both in a recreational and in an academic context, for self-improvement purposes, or to better equip the students for the labour market.
  • Nursing principles: The ethics, the codes of conduct, the philosophy of nursing, the philosophy of human rights and nursing theories and concepts.
  • Primary care: The regular, routine medical care provided to patients, usually performed by a physician or a nurse, that leads to a decision on the following course of action required to solve the health problem of the patient.
  • Teamwork principles: The cooperation between people characterised by a unified commitment to achieving a given goal, participating equally, maintaining open communication, facilitating effective usage of ideas etc.
  • Innovation in nursing: The methods and tools used to bring about innovative changes and quality improvement in the nursing field.
  • Nursing science: The factors that influence human health and the therapeutic interventions that promote health with the purpose to improve individual`s mental and physical health.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of first aid instructor. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

ISCO group and title

3253 – Community health workers

  1. First aid instructor – ESCO
  2. What Is a First Aid Trainer? – Australia
  3. Featured image: Photo by Martin Splitt on Unsplash
Last updated on January 23, 2023

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