• Facebook
  • OSPI on Twitter
  • OSPI Medium
  • OSPI LinkedIn
  • OSPI YouTube
  • OSPI on Flickr
  • Subscribe to OSPI GovDelivery

You are here

Home » Student Success » Resources by Subject Area » Health and Physical Education » Requirements for CPR/AED Instruction

Requirements for CPR/AED Instruction

Requirements for CPR/AED Instruction in High Schools and Guidelines
for Medical Emergency Response and AED Program Implementation

In 2013, the Legislature passed HB 1556 to create initiatives in high schools “to save lives in the event of cardiac arrest.” Every school district that operates a high school must offer instruction in CPR to students. Beginning in the 2013-14 school year, instruction in CPR must be included in at least one health class necessary for graduation.  

OSPI, in consultation with school districts and stakeholder groups, must develop guidance for a medical emergency response and automated external defibrillator (AED) program for high schools. This response and program must comply with current evidence-based guidance from the American Heart Association or another national science organization. OSPI will work with the Department of Health to assist districts in carrying out these programs and provide guidelines and advice for seeking grants for the purchase of the AEDs. OSPI may coordinate with local health districts or other organizations in seeking grants and donations for this purpose.

Learn more:

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the requirements of the law?
There are specific requirements outlined in RCW 28A.230.179:

  • Every school district that operates a high school must offer instruction in CPR to students.
  • Beginning in the 2013-14 school year, instruction in CPR must be included in at least one health class necessary for graduation.
  • The instructional program must be developed by the American Heart Association, American Red Cross or a nationally recognized program based on the most current national evidence-based emergency cardiovascular care guidelines for CPR/AED.
  • Instruction must include appropriate use of an AED, which may be taught by video.
  • Instruction must incorporate hands-on practice in addition to cognitive learning.

What kind of certification is required for instructors?
School districts may offer CPR instruction directly or may arrange for instruction by community-based providers. CPR/AED instructors are not required to be certified teachers. Instructors may be from the fire or police department, etc. Certificated teachers providing CPRIAED instruction are not required to be certified trainers of CPR/AED.

Does the student need to earn certification?
No, students are not required to earn CPR/AED certification to successfully complete the instruction.

How will compliance be enforced or monitored?
Each district will be responsible for monitoring and enforcing the implementation and compliance of the legislated instructional requirements for cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillation (AED) instruction in high schools and guidelines for emergency medical response (EMR) and AED program implementation.

What if a student moves from another district and did not receive CPR/AED instruction? Will the new district need to provide CPR/AED instruction? (For example, the student is a senior but we offer health in 9th grade.)
Students who have successfully completed the health course are not expected to add CPR/AED instruction. The requirement is for school districts to incorporate CPR/AED instruction in health courses beginning in the 2013-14 school year. The student must take health education for high school graduation requirements. The high school graduation statute is WAC 180-151-067.

What is the high school graduation requirement for health education?
High school graduation requirements for health and pysical education include .5 credit in health and 1.5 credits in physical education. Minimum requirements for graduation are outlined in WAC 180-51-067.

Does the CPR/AED instruction need to take place in the health and physical education class?
Yes. The law specifically states “in one health class.” CPR/AED instruction is found in the Washington K-12 Health and Physical Education State Learning Standards under grade level expectation (GLE) 2.4.2: Evaluates emergency situations, ways to prevent injuries, and demonstrates skills to respond appropriately and safely. Chooses and demonstrates first-aid procedures that are appropriate for basic life support and automated external defibrillation (AED), caring for bone and joint emergencies, caring for cold and heat injuries, and responding to medical emergencies.

Who can I contact for more information?
Rebecca Cavanaugh, Interim Health Services Supervisor, (360) 725-6040, rebecca.cavanaugh@k12.wa.us
Marissa Rathbone, Health and Physical Education Specialist, (360) 725-4977, marissa.rathbone@k12.wa.us

Resources for Implementing CPR/AED Instruction in High Schools

American Heart Association (AHA)


  • Risk Management AED Manual and Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) Information Sheet
  • Nick of Time Foundation – NoTF has done great work with trainings at their school screenings.
  • American Red Cross Trainings
  • Local EMS or Fire Departments – If a school is not already familiar with their local EMS or Fire, they could likely reach out to the state/county health department to find contacts. The Washington State Council of Fire Fighters is very supportive and would undoubtedly connect a school with their local department.
  • Local Hospitals - especially public hospital districts looking to expand their community benefit impact.

Over the course of the school year AHA and OSPI would like to collect success stories. As schools begin implementation, please share with Marissa Rathbone, Health and Physical Education Specialist, at marissa.rathbone@k12.wa.us or (360) 725-4977.