Teachers and child educators need to be knowledgeable in many areas, both in terms of teaching and looking after the students in their care. It should be no surprise that teachers quite often find themselves caring for students and children with minor injuries, whether it’s in the classroom or on yard duty. They can also – on rarer occasions – sometimes find themselves as the first responder to a child who has suffered a serious injury. So it’s no surprise that teachers are a common sight at first aid training courses.
It’s fair to ask, though… What IS the standard for teachers? There are many different levels of first aid courses on the market. So what first aid training are teachers required to attain, and do the standards vary in different places?
What Are The Standards On The Market?
To start, it’s worth briefly looking at what different types of First Aid training there are. For most first aid training, the standard is set by the government – specifically, by the National Register on Vocational Education and Training in Australia. It defines a range of official, government-approved first aid training modules suitable for various professional contexts.
Australian RTOs that provide first aid training almost always follow these standards – meaning a consistent standard of first aid training across Australia.
Some of the most well-known training modules for first aid are:
- HLTAID009 Provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) – This course covers the basics of resuscitation and CPR (on both an adult and an infant), as well as things like correct use of an automated defibrillator (AED).
- HLTAID010 Provide basic emergency life support (BELS) – This course includes the content of HLTAID009 but also trains participants to recognise and respond to common issues like Asthma, Anaphylaxis, choking and shock.
- HLTAID011 Provide First Aid – This is the standard for many work contexts, providing basic training for responding to a wide variety of common medical incidents and emergencies.
- HLTAID012 Provide First Aid in an education and care setting – This course is custom-built for those in an education and care setting. It includes all the content of the HLTAID009, HLTAID010 and HLTAID011 modules, and also adds additional training for educators and teachers – including CPR specifically on a child, more comprehensive Asthma & Anaphylaxis training, and supporting administration tasks such as risk assessments and incident reporting.
- HLTAID014 Provide Advanced First Aid – This is one of the most comprehensive first aid courses on the market. It covers far more than is generally required for a corporate first aid officer. Taking place over multiple days, it covers the whole course content of HLTAID009, HLTAID010 and HLTAID011, and significant amounts of other content – including bites, ear and eye injuries, poisoning, seizures, diabetes, crushing injuries, sprains, hypothermia and more.
What Are The Requirements For Teachers?
Although the standards above give us a good sense of what first aid training modules are available, some of these are more advanced than a teacher or educator would need – teachers may be the first responder to a medical emergency, but they’re not expected to be medical professionals themselves. It’s also the case that the exact first aid requirements from state to state, and from school to school.
Not every state requires first aid training to renew your teacher’s registration. But that doesn’t mean you won’t need it to be able to teach. In South Australia, for example, you don’t require first aid training for teacher’s registration, but you do need to be certified in BELS & CPR (HLTAID010 and HLTAID009) to be able to work for the department of education as a teacher in a public school. Many private schools also have their own requirements – the Catholic school system also requires HLTAID010 (which includes HLTAID009), for example. And often, higher level First Aid qualifications will be preferred when it comes to schools interviewing and hiring teachers.
Generally speaking, to work as a teacher in an Australian school, as a minimum, you’d want to have certification in BELS & CPR, including some training in responding to Anaphylaxis and Asthma. That means HLTAID010 at the very least. And realistically, you’d probably want to have more.
What’s Advisable For Teachers?
Even in circumstances where HLTAID010 is acceptable as a bare minimum standard, the education department recommendation is to do higher-level training. HLTAID011 is generally regarded as a good standard but falls a little short in terms of Asthma & Anaphylaxis training. If you already have this training and it’s current, you might only need a little supporting training in those areas to come up to spec.
As a general rule, the gold standard for teachers is thought to be HLTAID012 Provide First Aid in an education and care setting. Most government departments and state schools regard this as meeting all criteria required for working in schools (which is how it was designed).
HLTAID014 Provide Advanced First Aid is generally regarded as far over and above the standards required for Australian schools – it’s more designed for full-fledged medical professionals. However, if you’re on the hunt for teaching employment and you’re hoping to stand out from the crowd, HLTAID014 would certainly look good on a teaching resume – suggesting you have particularly useful first aid skills, and you’re willing to go above and beyond the call of duty for working requirements.
How Long Does First Aid Certification Last?
This depends on what component of the training you’re referring to. Most First Aid training is good for three years after the completion date of your course. So many teachers make it part of the routine of renewing teacher’s registration (some states don’t require it, but both are due every three years).
The exception to this is the CPR component of the First Aid training – HLTAID009 Provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation. The Australian Resuscitation Council (ARC) guidelines are that you should refresh your CPR training (specifically) every year to remain current.
This would potentially be pretty frustrating if you were obliged to do an entire first aid training course every year just for that one component. Fortunately, HLTAID009 can be done as a standalone course, meaning you only need to do one first aid topic on an annual basis. The rest can wait till your three-yearly refresher course.