BLS Certification

Basic Life Support, also referred to as BLS is a type of medical care used to sustain life while waiting for paramedics to arrive on scene or full medical care to be provided to a person. Although basic life support is a skill taught to first responders but it is also something that anyone could learn. However, for professional law enforcement personnel, firefighters, and people in certain jobs, such as day care and teaching, BLS certification would be required. In fact, BLS certification in these and other situations are usually mandatory.

While there are some professionals required to secure BLS certification, this type of training is highly recommended for everyone, especially parents. As most people know, accidents and other emergency situations arise out of nowhere so having the ability to take charge and save lives is a wonderful gift.

Services Associated with BLS

As a part of BLS training, an individual would gain knowledge about dealing with drowning victims, people choking, heart attack victims, and other forms of trauma until emergency services arrived and transported the person to a hospital for medical care by a licensed physician. In addition, many organizations that provide BLS certification now offer training for an Automated External Defibrillator or AED for heart attack patients.

Once a person has achieved BLS certification, if wanted they could move up to complete Advanced Life Support training and certification, otherwise referred to as ALS. Typically, both a BLS certification and ALS certification would include Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation training, more commonly called CPR. One important note is that with research and education, methods for providing lifesaving skills change so even if someone had received training and/or certification only a few years prior, it would be critical to stay current.

Learning the ABCs

The primary focus with BLS certification is teaching people the ABCs of emergency care prior to a person being taken to the hospital. Each letter has a distinct meaning as outlined below:

  • A is for Airway – In this case, a person’s air passageway must be protected and maintained, allowing proper exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide to sustain life. When conducting CPR, the person’s head and chin would be lifted back to keep the passageway open. In some cases, an Oropharyngeal airway device would be used for the mouth and a Nasopharyngeal airway for the nose.
  • B is for Breathing – Using the open airway, the lungs would need to be inflated and deflated for proper respiration. Depending on the situation, emergency oxygen might be offered to the person as a part of the breathing phase.
  • C is for Circulation – This means providing the person with adequate blood flow to tissue, most importantly, major organs so oxygen could be delivered to cells but to also aid in the elimination of metabolic waste. Along with CPR being performed to aid in blood supply, sometimes methods of controlling bleeding would also be used.

Tips for Achieving BLS Certification

Several organizations and government entities provide all necessary training for BLS certification. The one best known is the American Red Cross although the American Heart Association is also an excellent source. In addition, a person could talk to a local fire department or law enforcement department, hospitals, or community colleges to check on scheduled classes. Sometimes as a part of workplace health and safety, free classes are provided by employers as well.

The training involved for BLS certification is highly effective yet simple enough to learn that even a smaller child could comprehend. One of the best things a person could do for themselves, their family, and even the community would be to learn these lifesaving skills. To show just how valuable BLS is, consider that if a person were provided with CPR immediately after suffering a heart attack, survival rate would increase by 50% minimum.

Steps for BLS Certification

Some people get BLS and CPR confused and while the two are similar, they are different forms of emergency medical care. Actual steps needed to complete BLS certification might vary somewhat from one instruction facility to another but overall, they are quite similar. Obviously, the first thing would be to find where classes are being offered. Typically, a small fee would apply although there are situations in which training would be free.

Once the training facility had been chosen, the next step would involve getting hold of materials for studying. This material is usually offered prior to training where classes would be held. Taking time to study the information would make training easier but also more enjoyable. The primary topics covered in this material include CPR, as well as choking and drowning victims.

After going through training classes, a written test would be administered although actual formatting varies. With a passing score and the practical or hands-on test completed to include performing CPR on a specially designed mannequin, BLS certification would be confirmed.

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ACLS Renewal- Are Online ACLS Courses a Good Fit for You?

Recertification for ACLS

Whether you are a doctor, a nurse, or a paramedic, regardless of how many hours of time you have in practice, every medical provider has to renew their ACLS regularly. The renewal process can be time consuming and finding a class is not always convenient. Because of those facts, there are more people today electing to take their ACLS renewal online rather than trying to find a physical class to attend.

Getting the Continuing Education Credits that you Need

People who are taking their ACLS recertification online will get the same con-ed credits that they would if they were to take a physical class. The renewal typically gives you 4 ceu’s for the recertification. The main or the original certification will give you 8 continuing education credits. The continuing education credits are the same number that you would receive for original certifications in BLS or in PALS when you certify.

Is Online Certification a Legitimate Way to Accomplish ACLS Renewal?

Some medical providers are concerned about online certification. Rest assured that the process is nearly the same as that which you would take in a physical recertification class. In addition, the credits are acceptable from your online certification for nearly any kind of medical provider who offers services in the United States.

Sample and Practice Testing Methods

When you are working on and completing the ACLS course for an online certification, you’ll find some of the same tools that you are given in a physical location. These tools will make it easier for you to pass the certification class. They include things like practice examinations and timed quizzes to enable you to get accustomed to the testing situation. A certain type of person finds the testing to be difficult, no matter what the test is for. It’s very helpful to have test exams to take to get you ready for the real test scenario.

The Best Reasons for Taking the ACLS Renewal Online

Taking your ACLS renewal online is often better for people who are a little shy of testing scenarios as well as for those people who are busy and unable to find a class on their schedule. The reason for this is that they can select the time that they take the course. They can also select the testing time on their own schedule. All of that is done in the comfort of their own home. That alone makes it much more appealing. You can take the test when you have the time and when you are most comfortable, which usually makes it easier to pass.

Last, and perhaps most importantly is the fact that if you do not pass your online ACLS recertification test the first time that you take it, in most online certification classes, you are able to retest multiple times for the same price that you originally paid. That means if you need to retest, it won’t cost you more to accomplish that. Every health professional has to recertify for ACLS. It may be that online ACLS renewal is the best means for you to recertify to get the CEU’s that you need and the certification that your job requires.

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Online ACLS Certification

As a healthcare provider, whether you are a physician, a nurse, or a pre-hospital care provider such as an EMT or a Paramedic, you know the importance of staying current in your field. That means continuing education and recertification is of paramount importance to your professional growth and to the safety of the patients in your care.

The Health Care Field is Changing Rapidly

Healthcare professionals today are seeing rapid-fire changes in nearly every aspect of the field. They are faced with the pressure of staying abreast of those changes and working to keep their knowledge current. To do otherwise means the difference between life and death for their patients and clients. Many professionals today do not have the time to wait for a local class and to work that into a schedule that is already too full of continuing education.

Could Online Classes Be an Answer For You?

Online classes for PALS and ACLS permit them to seek out the current knowledge and skills and to certify in their own time. Online classes offer the same information that is available in a physical class, but provide for a higher level of convenience. Online ACLS classes allow the busy professional to take the class at any time day or night when they are at a computer.

Are Online Courses Legitimate?
In most cases and specifically in the case of the American Heart Association, the ACLS courses adhere to all of the new standards that were set in place recently. They were created and are continuously monitored by physicians to have the necessary clinical expertise to give online ACLS training.

Online ACLS classes can give you the means to certify or to recertify in relative comfort and on your own schedule. You may complete the course in one sitting or on a schedule that is convenient and doable for you. Keeping your skills current is imperative but it doesn’t have to be inconvenient or difficult to schedule.

Is Online ACLS Certification Complete?
Several companies and organizations today offer online ACLS certification, including the American Heart Association. It is available entirely online and is complete in every detail. The core components of ACLS are covered in the study guide that is a part of the course. Everything that you need to learn and/or study to recertify in ACLS or PALS is provided to you as part of the course.

Do I Get CEU’s for Completing the Course?

You will be learning from the most complete collection of ACLS information available. The certification that you receive will be complete in every detail. You’ll receive your card sent to you digitally as well as sent to you via the postal service. You will also be awarded the standard 8 continuing education credits (CEUs) that you would receive from any physical class for the initial certification. For renewal you will be awarded 4 CEU credits.

If you are a health care provider who is finding it difficult to schedule a class or finding that most classes conflict with your work or duty schedule, online ACLS or PALS certification is the answer that you’re looking for.

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PALS Certification NYC

New York City is a hotbed of activity in everything you can imagine. This density of action is just as prevalent when it comes to medical training. For PALS certification NYC offers over 30 different centers which have been approved by the American Heart Association scattered throughout the 5 Boroughs.

This high number of training facilities is provides for great convenience, but is out of necessity, also. More people are trained in AHA BLS, PALS, and ALCS in New York City than anywhere else in the world. Even if you found out the class you wanted to take was filled up on these 30 locations you would still be within easy distance of dozens of additional sites in the surrounding metropolitan areas and in New Jersey.

A few of the training centers for PALS Certification in New York City include the following:

  • NYU School of Medicine – NYU Langone Medical Center – Bellevue Hospital
  • Monroe College – Bronx
  • Richmond University Medical Center – Staten Island
  • Regional Emergency Medical Services Council of New York City
  • New York Downtown Hospital
  • St. Barnabas Hospital – State Island
  • St. Vincents Hospital – New York City
  • University Hospital of Brooklyn
  • Wyckoff Heights Medical Center – Brooklyn
  • Mount Sinai Medical Center – New York City
  • Maimondes Medical Center – Brooklyn

This small sampling of sites highlights the training offered through local universities and medical centers. There are a high number of training opportunities for PAL certification in New York City through businesses, too. A few of those would include:

  • CPR123 – Offering classes in the Bronx, Brooklyn, New York City, Flushing, Mineola, and many other New York locations.
  • Training for Life – Manhattan
  • Universal Emergency Care – Brooklyn
  • Rescue Training Institute – Staten Island
  • Emergency Care Consultants Inc. – New York City
  • B&G Medical Staffing Network Inc. – Brooklyn

You can get a complete list of approved training facilities on the American Heart Association website.

Should You Consider Training from Alternative Sources?

All of the locations we listed above offer the AHA PALS Provider training based on the 2010 AHA Guidelines. You may discover other companies and training facilities offering PALS courses which are not AHA approved. Many of these courses may be of very high quality, but you need to exercise a little caution as you consider them.

You will discover hospitals, nursing homes, emergency response companies, city, state, and federal jobs often specify certification by the American Heart Association. Alternative certification programs are often accepted by the corporate world for people wishing to work in their security and safety departments. Before enrolling in a course verify if it is using AHA materials and provides you with AHA certification. Additionally, check with your employer, or desired employers, and ask which certifications they accept. You do not want to waste your time studying and achieving a certification which does not lead you to your goals.

The Advantage to Multiple Choices

PALS students in New York City have a big advantage over students in many other parts of the USA. The competition between this high number of facilities helps to keep the costs low and class availability high. You can find classes at almost any hour of the day. If you are concerned about cost contact several facilities and ask about their pricing. The AHA does not establish prices and you will discover prices vary substantially. The one consistent cost will be for the AHA PALS Provider Manual which can be purchased through most training facilities, bookstores, and online.

There are no good excuses for avoiding the class. Do some quick research on the PALS certification NYC options and get started today

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Online BLS CPR Certification

Getting an online BLS CPR certification may present you with a couple mild challenges.  It is not difficult to find courses which provide you with the certification, but they may not be from the organization you most want.

As you probably already know the American Heart Association is considered the premier trainer and certifier in basic life support (BLS), cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and pediatric advanced life support (PALS).   The AHA offers several methods of getting an online BLS CPR certification with one catch.  You must either go through a combination of hands-on skill practice and testing, or at minimum pass a skills assessment with a certified trainer or evaluator from the AHA.

The courses offered by the AHA which can help you acquire your certification online include:

  • BLS for Healthcare Providers Part 1
  • Heartcode BLS Part 1
  • Heartsaver CPR AED Online Part 1
  • Heartsaver First Aid CPR AED Online Part 1

As you notice, all of these programs refer to part 1 of the course.  This is due to the fact other sections of assessments must be done in person.  The AHA is focused on making sure you have skills you are ready to apply in the field, not just in your mind.

The AHA system of allowing you to simplify your studies and shorten your classroom time, while still giving you the hands-on training you really need is a great system.  If you want the training with no hands-on training or in-person skills assessments you will need to check into alternative programs, but first let us look at the second most recognized training.

Red Cross Training Blends Online BLS CPR Certification and Skills Assessment

The Red Cross provides similar programs to the AHA.  Their courses are available in classroom settings or in a blended online format.  This blended format allows you to complete all of the knowledge skills online and then finish with skills assessment with a Red Cross certified trainer.

While neither the Red Cross or AHA program is 100% online BLS CPR certification programs, they are the most recognized and highest quality programs available.  The American Red Cross is just as insistent that your skills be practiced and assessed to prepare you for real life situations before they certify you.

Faster Training with Complete Online Options

If you are not being required to have your certification through one of the two premier providers, then your options for online BLS CPR certification increase dramatically.  There are many companies who offer self-certified programs which require no hands-on skill training or instructor proctored assessments.

Many of the products offered by these online training companies can be completed in just 2 to 3 hours, including taking your examination.  If you pass their examination you are immediately certified by their company.  You will receive a certification card and certificate of completion from their organization.

Many of these programs are recognized by insurance companies, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and by local government offices.  If your needs are focused on meeting the requirements of these governing organizations, then these courses can save you money and time.

If you are approached by your employer about getting certified in BLS and CPR as them an important question.  Is it more important to get it done fast and cheap, or more important to develop your skills?  If they want you to acquire skills which stick with you and you can perform in a crisis, then stick to the programs offered by the AHA and Red Cross.  Utilize their options for online BLS CPR certification training reinforced with hands-on skill training and assessments.  You will be glad you did.

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American Heart Association ACLS Algorithms

AHA 2010 Guidelines for ACLS included updates to the American Heart Association ACLS algorithms. If you have been trained using older algorithms and guidelines it is time to consider upgrading your training. If you are currently certified in ACLS you should have been trained on the 2010 guidelines since your initial training or latest renewal will have occurred since the guidelines were released.

If you are seeking ACLS certification for the first time or have allowed your certification to lapse, then you should double check to make sure your algorithm cards are the latest. Do not trust algorithm cards which are in your facility will be up to date. It is not uncommon for older materials to remain attached to rescue equipment or in file folders long beyond their expiration.

If you discover outdated cards in your facility please ask for them to order updated ACLS algorithms from the AHA or a third party supplier.

For students the easiest place to find the algorithms is in your ACLS Provider Manual from the American Heart Association. Alternatively you can order Emergency Crash Cart Cards or the Pocket Reference Cards from the AHA which includes the complete set of ACLS algorithms, also.

Do You Understand What the Algorithms Include?

We may be jumping ahead of new students with our discussion of where to acquire the algorithm cards. Do you fully understand what the algorithms provide for you?

The algorithms provide a graphical flowchart of the steps to follow during a resuscitation effort. Here is a list of 6 of the cards you will find:

  • Cardiac Arrest Circular Algorithm
  • Doses and Details for Cardiac Arrest Algorithms
  • Cardiac Arrest Algorithm
  • Immediate Post-Cardiac Arrest Care Algorithm
  • Bradycardia with a Pulse Algorithm
  • Tachycardia with a Pulse Algorithm

These algorithms provide you with an easy way to stay focused on the proper care when you are in the midst of treating a cardiac or respiratory arrest victim. It is easy for the mind to become overwhelmed during a crisis and these simple graphical guides help us stay on track.

Let us step through the steps covered in the Cardiac Arrest Circular Algorithm to give you an idea of what you will be using.

The steps listed on this circular chart should be followed immediately upon coming upon a cardiac arrest victim. The steps include:

  • Shout for help or activate emergency response signal.
  • Start CPR and attach AED or monitor.
  • Check rhythm.
  • Provide continuous CPR
  • Monitor CPR quality.
  • Recheck rhythm every 2 minutes.
  • If spontaneous circulation occurs proceed to Post-Cardiac Arrest Care algorithm.

The card provides includes information on drug therapy including recommendations for IV access, epinephrine and amiodarone use. Reminders of considering advanced airway management and treating reversible causes is included, also.

The circular algorithm includes a secondary card with in depth information on drug therapy dosage, CPR quality guidelines, shock therapy recommendations, and a list of reversible causes to watch for.

The other algorithm cards include procedures to follow for specific types of cases. The Cardiac Arrest Algorithm steps you through maintaining CPR, drug therapy timing, and points at which a defibrillation may be recommended.

The Importance of the Algorithms

If you have been completed your certification you may be filled with confidence that you are ready for anything. Do not become over confident. The AHA algorithm cards will be your guide when you stumble upon situation where the world seems to falling apart. They assist you in maintaining focus while family members scream, other rescuers deal with other situations, and the action is fast paced. You will be happy to have those little cards handy as your reminder.


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American Heart Association ACLS Book

Are you planning on doing some studying ahead of time before you take your AHA ACLS training? The American Heart Association ACLS book series comes in a variety of packages for you to consider, but there are some other high quality guides on the market, also.

Books Offered by the AHA for ACLS Certification and Training

The preferred materials for most individuals are the books directly from the American Heart Association. The following list shows some of the bundles they currently offer for ACLS training.

  • ACLS Provider Manual – This is the American Heart Association ACLS book most people will probably be interested in. It was written for healthcare professionals. The book is highly targeted for emergency responders, emergency room staff, intensive care and critical care employees.
  • ACLS Instructor Manual – The AHA produced this manual to be used by instructors who provide training to people seeking certification. It is designed to prepare the instructor to work with students on first time certification, renewal courses, and people who have completed the HeartCode ACLS Part 1 online program.
  • ACLS Instructor Package – The complete bundle an instructor will need including DVD training materials, algorithm cards, and more.

For most of you the only book you will be interested in is the first one, the ACLS Provider Manual. If you are planning to train other individuals in your company, facility, or community then consider the other two options.

All of the AHA materials are based upon the 2010 American Heart Association Guidelines for BLS and ACLS. Verify before purchasing your books they are the latest edition and not materials based on the 2005 guidelines.

Other Options for ACLS Books

There are other options you can consider for your ACLS training materials. These alternative guides provide an alternative method of teaching and can be a great addition to your library. You need to be aware that any publication not produced by the AHA may not cover all materials you will be tested for.

Let us take a look at two books which are very popular as alternatives to the American Heart Association ACLS books.

  • ACLS Study Guide, Edition 4e by Barbara J Aehlert – Barbara has produced an excellent book. The book covers all of the basics from the AHA 2010 guidelines. The book is packed with illustrations and case studies to improve learning. The guide includes a removable quick reference care with the ACLS algorithms you can carry with you. Barbara includes a 50 question test for you to take prior to reading the book and at the completion of your studies to help you assess your understanding.
  • ACLS Review Made Incredibly Easy 2nd Edition by Lippincott – This book is another good alternative for your library. It is not as comprehensive in scope as either the AHA guide or the ACLS study guide, but the material is presented in much easier terms.

There is one advantage you may appreciate on these two alternative books. They are available in e-reader formats for the Amazon Kindle and other reading devices. If you prefer to have your materials in digital format these two guides are excellent options.

Using Common Sense to Choose Your ACLS Materials

We need to step back from our list of books for just a moment and revisit your purpose. If you are working towards certification it is highly recommended you consider the American Heart Association ACLS book as your first choice. It is the one book which is designed to follow the certification course outline. This can help make it easier for you when you take your certification class, skills sessions, and skills test. Consider the other two alternatives as great additions to help you learn if you find the AHA guide hard to digest.

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American Heart Association ACLS Guidelines

Every five years the AHA reviews their guidelines and algorithms and publish an update informing us of changes which can help save lives. The latest American Heart Association guidelines were published in 2010 and made some significant changes from the 2005 guidelines. It is important you keep these changing guidelines in mind as you seek ACLS certification or renewal of your certification. Let us take a quick look at a few of these updates.

2010 AHA ACLS Guideline Changes

A few of the major changes to the ACLS guidelines include the following:

  • The AHA no longer recommends using atropine to manage pulseless electrical activity or asystole.
  • A change appreciated by all ACLS students is the new simplified cardiac arrest algorithms. They reduce confusion and put more emphasis on high-quality CPR techniques.
  • The use of chronotropic drugs is now recommended for unstable or symptomatic bradychardia. This has been added as an important alternative to pacing.
  • For some cases of monomorphic wide-complex tachycardia the use of adenosine has been added as a recommended for of treatment.
  • The guidelines published in 2010 stress the importance of physiologic monitoring to improve the quality of CPR and to monitor the return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC).

One thing which stands out in these changes is how rapidly the use of drugs can change within the rescue community. As research continues into new drugs and further data is collected on existing medications the guidelines must be adjusted. This is one of the reasons renewing certifications every two years is essential. It is the only way to guarantee rescuers stay up to date on the latest technologies available to improve survival rates.

The Importance of the Guidelines While Becoming Certified

It is imperative when you are working on your ACLS certification to make sure your materials are based on the latest issued guidelines. This may seem apparent to you but you will quickly discover bookstores, online book sellers, and other informational outlets still carry a wide variety of training materials using the 2005 guidelines.

Make sure you buy only materials which are based on the 2010 guidelines which will be replaced in 2015. The simple mistake of studying the wrong materials would very likely lead you to have a failing score on your certification examination. The changes to the guidelines for both BLS and ACLS in 2010 were dramatic enough to cause you to answer many questions improperly if you are using a book based on 2005 information.

Remember, this is not as simple as looking at the date of publication on the training materials. Books published between 2005 and early 2010 are probably based upon the 2005 information. The safest way to avoid this issue is to attend training classes or use the AHA online HeartCode program for your training. Their materials are always kept up to date and often include information on bulletins and more recent findings.

The Number One Resource for Up to Date Rescue Information

If you want to stay up to date on the latest news on rescue information and what changes will likely be implemented in the 2015 guidelines the AHA is your best source. It is recommended you, or your company, sign up to receive their mailings and email bulletins to keep up to date with the latest announcements. You can stay on the cutting edge of rescue techniques instead of waiting for the next guidelines to appear. SUK7QJTQBY22

The American Heart Association ACLS guidelines are a dynamic set of rules. Technology advances, pharmacological discoveries, and research lead to changes we need to implement. Keeping up to date is one of the best ways to increase your ability to save lives.

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American Heart Association ACLS Certification

Are you trying to land a job which requires ACLS certification? Before you sign up for a course you need to ask an important question. Is any certification alright, or is only the American Heart Association ACLS certification accepted?

When you do a search online for ACLS certification you are going to discover over 3 million pages of information. Many of these websites are offering certification programs which have these characteristics.

  • Not AHA approved.
  • Requires no physical skills practice.
  • Requires no physical skills testing.
  • Some certification programs require zero training only successfully passing their test.

Think Like An Employer When Choosing Your ACLS Program

Take a moment and think like a prospective employer. Do you want to hire someone to add to your emergency response team who has limited or no skills practice? Do you want to hire someone who has never been tested or observed practicing their skills? Would you hire an individual who has only studied materials enough to pass a test?

Your likely responses, if you are thinking like an employer, are you do not want someone who is certified under those guidelines. What you want is an individual who has taken the time to study materials which cover all of the criteria established by the AHA advanced cardiac life support guidelines. You want to hire someone who can save lives immediately and will not need added training and hand-holding.

The American Heart Association ACLS certification path is tough on purpose. It is designed to challenge people to learn and practice the skill necessary to save lives while under stress. You have two paths for getting certified by the AHA, but both are equally challenging. The two methods include:

  • Traditional 2 day ACLS classroom training.
  • AHA HeartCode ACLS online training part 1, combined with instructor proctored skills training and testing.

Do not make the mistake of believing the online training is any easier than the classroom lectures and materials. The online training requires 10 hours of intensive study covering lessons and simulated scenarios. The simulated cases require you to formulate the right treatment plan. The online course includes a final examination just like you take in the classroom.

The classroom training and the online training become identical during sections 2 and 3 of the AHA program. These two sections cover the important areas of hands-on skills training and your final skills test. This is the area where you will transition from having knowledge in your head to having skills you will need in the real world.

The skills training and testing required by the AHA is what makes their program standout as the best options available. It is the same reason that a high percentage of private employers, cities, states, and federal agencies require the ACLS certification to be from the AHA and do not accept substitutes.

A Critical Question About Your ACLS Certification

Usually people who choose to investigate other programs are seeking one of the following benefits:

  • Want to save time.
  • Need to save money.
  • Wish to avoid skills testing.
  • Class schedules are not convenient.

The critical question is very simple. Can any of the alternative programs provide you with a better option?

Some of the programs will save you time, since they do not require skills practice, testing, or any classroom time. Most do not save you any money. The AHA option for taking the part 1 of your American Heart Association ACLS certification training online reduces the schedule inconvenience down to less than one day.

The most important factor is acceptability. If you want to make sure your certification will be accepted by every prospective employer there is only one option. Make the right choice because in the end you will save time, money, and have greater success.

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American Heart Association ACLS

Have you noticed how many healthcare positions, firefighter, ambulance, and other job opportunities which now require ACLS certification? The American Heart Association ACLS skills and certification help assure these employers you are prepared for extreme emergencies with skill far exceeding basic life support skills. If you are already trained and certified in basic life support what else will you learn in your ACLS training? What skills will you be required to practice?

What Will You Learn in Your AHA ACLS Training?

The AHA has published a list of the objectives for their ACLS training program. They expect all participants to master the following areas of study in order to obtain their certification.

  • Single rescuer CPR.
  • Single rescuer AED operation.
  • Working as part of rescue teams both as a member and team leader.
  • Care for respiratory arrest including multiple forms of airway management.
  • Immediate care procedures for cardiac arrest victims.
  • Emergency care for stroke patients.
  • Treatment for megacode victims.
  • Acute coronary syndromes (ACS)
  • Understanding peri-arrest rhythms including tachycardia and bradycardia.
  • BLS and ACLS surveys.

The above skills are trained using a combination of instructor demonstrations, lectures, media presentations, and reading material.

Along with the classroom training you will engage in intensive skills sessions which cover the following areas.

  • Airway management.
  • Rhythm recognition.
  • Defibrillation techniques.
  • IV access. (Note: This skill is not practiced hands-on during the training sessions.)
  • Use of medications.
  • 1-rescuer CPR and AED using a rescue manikin.
  • Team resuscitation techniques and procedures. (Note: You will be required to act as both a team leader and team member during the training.)
  • Immediate post cardiac arrest care.
  • Cardioversion
  • BLS and ACLS surveys.

As you probably noticed the skills sessions closely follow what you will learn in the classroom sessions. You learn the materials and then do hands-on skills sessions to reinforce the information and prepare you for action during a crisis.

This course is an intensive course which will either be presented in a lengthy single day format or covering two days. On average the course takes 12 hours to complete. The time in the classroom can be reduced by using the American Heart Association HeartCode ACLS Part 1 online program. This program is designed to replace the classroom sessions but still requires you attend sessions for skills training and testing.

If have been previously ACLS certified your renewal course only requires approximately 6 hours to complete.

What are the requirements to become certified?

To become certified by the AHA for ACLS requires more than just attending the training. You must show proficiency and understanding of these core items.

  • Must demonstrate understanding and competency in all skills stations.
  • Successfully pass the bag-mask ventilation test.
  • Pass your megacode skills test.
  • Complete the written examination with a score of 84% or higher.

This is not an easy certification to obtain and rightfully so. Being certified in ACLS shows you are ready to handle a life threatening situation. You must be prepared.

Preparing for American Heart Association ACLS Training

ACLS training is not something you can walk into without a solid background. Ideally you should already be certified in basic life support by the AHA. Additionally you should already by familiar with reading heart rhythms, airway management techniques, and have a basic understanding of drugs used in emergency situations. The ideal candidate has usually worked with someone previously certified in ACLS. It is highly recommended you spend some time prior to your certification course in studying terminology and techniques.

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American Heart Association ACLS Online

Learning advanced cardiac life support is becoming easier with the advent of online programs to alleviate the time constraints of classroom participation. The American Heart Association ACLS online program is the most comprehensive program offered today covering the critical lessons you need to learn. What does the program offer and what will you still need to do in a more traditional setting? We will attempt to answer those questions for you in the next few paragraphs.

What is covered in the AHA Online ACLS program?

The online course offered by the AHA covers part one of their 3 part ACLS program. The course is designed to replace the classroom lecture and media presentations along with providing intensive scenario based training. A few of the highlights covered in the online materials include:

  • Section covering key changes which were implemented in the 2010 AHA Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care.
  • One basic life support case featuring an adult patient.
  • Seven electronic simulation cases covering cardiovascular, respiratory, or stroke emergencies involving adults.
  • Two electronically simulated mega code cases to challenge your diagnostic and planning skills.
  • Materials covering the recognition cardiac and respiratory arrest and the proper early management procedures.
  • How to recognize and manage periarrest conditions including cases involving symptomatic bradycardia.
  • Airway management techniques.
  • The role of pharmacology in treating cardiac and respiratory arrest emergencies.
  • Management of stroke victims and victims of acute coronary syndrome.
  • Communication skills.
  • Leadership skills for managing a resuscitation team.

The course is comprehensive covering all of the skill you are likely to need in a rescue situation.

How does the online ALCS course save me time?

The online course takes an average of 10 hours to complete. At first glance it appears this will not save you any time. It takes approximately the same amount of time to complete the online training and eSimulation cases as it does to attend the classroom training.

What saves you time is the reduction in travel time plus you ability to work on the course at your own pace. You are not required to finish the course in a single sitting. You can break up the materials into manageable chunks of time. You could conceivably do one hour of training per night over the course of two weeks instead of losing an entire weekend day in a classroom.

Keep in mind; you will not be able to completely eliminate the classroom. Sections 2 and 3 of the AHA ACLS program are skills practice and skills testing. Those two sections must be completed in a setting with an AHA trained and certified instructor.

Will the online training for ACLS certification save me money?

It is hard to predict if the American Heart Association ACLS online training will save money for you or not. The AHA HeartCode ACLS Part 1 course is currently priced at $110 which is comparable to many classroom rates. The difference is classroom sessions are a variable price since the AHA only recommends pricing. Each local trainer has the right to set their price higher or lower.

Where the HeartCode program helps is in reducing your other costs. You will not be required to spend money to go out for lunch. You will not incur the costs of driving to the classroom and back. You will not miss time from work. In the end the real advantage to the online program is convenience.

If you are considering taking your ACLS training online it is recommended to stick with the AHA online ACLS program. It is the only program guaranteed to meet every AHA requirement, since it is created, approved, and administered by the AHA.

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