What is an ACLS Certificate?

ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) is a certification program that teaches healthcare professionals advanced techniques for managing cardiovascular emergencies, such as cardiac arrest and stroke. The certification is typically required for healthcare professionals, such as paramedics, nurses, and physicians. The course includes both instruction and hands-on training, and upon completion, participants receive an ACLS certification card. The certification is typically valid for two years before it needs to be renewed.

Who should become ACLS certified?

ACLS certification is typically recommended or required for healthcare professionals who work in critical care or emergency medicine settings, such as:

  • Paramedics
  • Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs)
  • Nurses
  • Doctors
  • Respiratory Therapists
  • Anesthesiologists
  • Cardiologists
  • Pulmonologists
  • Intensive Care Unit (ICU) personnel
  • Critical Care Transport personnel

However, any healthcare provider who may be responsible for the immediate management of adult victims of cardiac arrest or other cardiovascular emergencies in a wide variety of in- and out-of-hospital settings should consider getting an ACLS certification.

It’s not recommended for non-healthcare providers and is not a basic first aid class.

What material does an ACLS class cover?

The ACLS certification course covers a wide range of topics related to the management of cardiovascular emergencies, such as:

  • Basic life support (BLS) skills, including CPR, AED use, and airway management – learn more about BLS here
  • Recognition and management of cardiac arrest and arrhythmias, including the use of defibrillators and advanced airway management techniques
  • Recognition and management of acute coronary syndromes (ACS), such as myocardial infarction (heart attack)
  • Recognition and management of stroke
  • Management of peri-arrest conditions, such as severe hypertension and respiratory distress
  • Team dynamics and communication during a cardiac emergency
  • Review of pharmacological interventions used in ACLS
  • Hands-on practice and skills testing to ensure proficiency in ACLS techniques.

The class is taught by an instructor who is certified to teach ACLS. Classes involve hands-on and instructional training. Participants must pass a written exam and skills test as part of the certification process.

How long does an ACLS course take?

The length of an ACLS certification course can vary depending on the provider, but typically the course takes about 16-20 hours to complete. This time is usually divided into two parts:

  • Part 1: The instructional portion of the course, which covers the theoretical aspects of ACLS and is usually completed in a classroom setting. This portion usually takes about 12-14 hours.
  • Part 2: The hands-on portion of the course, which includes practice and skills testing and is usually completed in a laboratory or simulated clinical setting. This portion usually takes about 4-6 hours.

Can you get an ACLS certification online?

Yes, it is possible to get certified for an ACLS certificate online but it comes with a caveat. Some providers offer an online version of the instructional portion of the course, which allows participants to complete the theoretical aspects at their own pace and on their own schedule. However, the hands-on portion of the course, which includes practice and skills testing, must still be completed in person.

It’s important to note that not all providers offer an online version of the ACLS course, and not all online courses are accepted by every employer. Make sure to check with the employer or regulatory body that requires the certification to ensure that the online course will be accepted.

Also, it’s recommended to check the accreditation of the online course provider to ensure that the course is of good quality, and meets the standards set by the American Heart Association (AHA) or American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) which are the leading organizations that provide the guidelines for ACLS courses.

What is the cost of an ACLS class?

The cost of an ACLS certification course can vary depending on the provider and location. The cost can range anywhere from $150 to $400, however, the average cost is around $225. Some providers may include the cost of the ACLS manual and certification card in the price of the course, while others may charge additional fees for these materials.

Some providers may also offer discounts for groups or organizations that send multiple participants to the course. Additionally, some hospitals and health systems may offer the course to their employees at a discounted rate or even for free. It’s recommended to check with different providers and compare costs before enrolling in a course.

How long does an ACLS certification last?

ACLS certifications are valid for two years. After two years, healthcare professionals must renew their certification by taking a renewal course or by retaking the full certification course. Some providers may also require healthcare professionals to take a certain amount of continuing education to renew their certification.

It’s important for you to check with the provider that issued your certification to confirm the specific expiration date of your certification and the requirements for renewing it. It’s also recommended to renew your certification before the expiration date to avoid any lapses in certification that might affect your ability to work.

Where can I renew my ACLS certification?

You can renew your ACLS certificate by taking a renewal course or by taking the full certification course again. The options for renewing your certification will depend on the provider that issued your original certification.

Most providers will offer a renewal course specifically designed for recertification. These courses are usually shorter in duration than the full certification course and are intended to review and update the participant’s knowledge and skills on the latest guidelines and techniques.

You can also renew your certification by taking the full certification course again. This option is usually recommended for healthcare professionals who have not practiced their skills for a long period of time and may need a refresher.

You can check with the provider that issued your certification for the specific options available for renewing your certification.

To find an official ACLS course, visit the AHA Class Connector website here.

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