Basic and advanced life support classes are taught by the AHA through their website and through contact classes held at hospitals and medical colleges. The basic life support classes are recommend for civilians while advanced ACLS and PALS classes are for medical professionals and paramedical staff. The AHA website has a separate database that lists the centers that offer the BLS, ACLS and PALS courses. Apart from the AHA website, we recommend that you take a look at our FAQs to understand how these courses can benefit you.
Do I have to take the latest BLS, ACLS and PALS courses?
Yes you do. The course content is changed every two years to reflect modern treatment protocols. As a result, if you have completed your course in 2005, you should take a refresher or a BLS certification online or a ACLS recertification online course to update your knowledge.
Are these courses recommended for civilians?
The BLS course can be done by civilians and by medical personnel. However, basic life support is already a part of medical curriculum and is taught in the first year of medical education. The ACLS and PALS courses are only for medical and paramedical personnel.
How I do take these courses?
You can start by going to the AHA website to search for locations that offer these courses. The website offers online as well as classroom versions. Please note that eligibility criteria for the courses will vary considerably.
What are the eligibility criteria for the courses?
The BLS course has no eligibility criteria and anyone can learn them. In fact, the AMA has started demonstration and training BLS classes in schools and colleges to ensure that students pick up the basics as early as possible. The ACLS courses are only for medical and paramedical staff. Some centers may require a BLS certificate from candidates before they are registered for the ACLS and PALS courses. Other centers have a mandatory pretest that evaluates the medical knowledge and clinical training of the candidate. Please inquire with the center before registration.
Once I do the ACLS course, I won't have to do it again, right?
Wrong, the ACLS course and the PALS course are only valid for two years. After completing the ACLS certification online, it will remain valid for two years. After two years, you will have to apply for an ACLS online renewal. The online ACLS course is shorter than the first course and takes half the time. The ACLS recertification online process is simple and you can apply through health education sites to get your ACLS renewal.
What about the PALS course?
The pediatric advanced life support course is for 2 days and it has a practical and theory aspect. The student has to sit for an exam and pass the exam to get his or her PALS certification online. The PALS course is only for medical professionals or candidates who have to take the course as a part of their job requirements.
Approximately, how long are these courses?
The BALS course takes about 4.5 hours to complete. The course has theory training and practical training on a dummy. The ACLS course is longer and takes about 10 -- 12 hours to complete. The PALS course is even longer and takes about 15 hours to complete.
Do I get a certificate after completing the course?
After completing the BLS, ACLS and the PALS course, you will be provided with a Course Completion Card that is valid for two years. Please note that you will have to reapply for the course and get yourself recertified after two years.
How much do these courses cost?
The actual cost will depend on the training center. On an average, the BLS course may cost anywhere from $20 to about $100. The ACLS course will cost about $200 and more while the PALS course costs about $150 or more. The center will provide course materials and books for the students and the fees includes the cost of the certifying card.
Are all of these courses offered in an online format?
We recommend that you check with the center to learn more about how the courses are presented.
Do I have to take an exam after taking the courses?
Yes you have to sit for a written and a practical exam after completing the course.
What is the format of the exam?
The format of the exam changes quite regularly. The ACLS and PALS exam papers consist of 50 multiple-choice questions. You have about 90 minutes to complete the exam, the questions are based on the theory, and practical training that you have been taught. Passing marks for the course are 84% and more. If you don't pass the exam on the first pass, you are allowed to take the exam two or three times till you pass.