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Advanced Cardiac Life Support

   by American Heart Association


All ACLS students must purchase a current AHA ACLS book prior to the course.  The American Heart Association requires all ACLS students to complete a Pre-Course exam and print out a certification of completion prior to the course. 


Course Description:

The ACLS course builds on the foundation of lifesaving Basic Life Support (BLS) for Healthcare Providers skills, emphasizing the importance of continuous, high-quality CPR. This advanced course highlights the importance of team dynamics and communication, systems of care, and immediate post-cardiac arrest care. ACLS also covers airway management and related pharmacology.

Skills are taught in large-group sessions and small-group learning and testing stations where case-based scenarios are presented.


The ACLS course covers:

  • ACLS algorithms

  • immediate post-cardiac-arrest care

  • airway management

  • rhythm recognition

  • high-quality CPR

  • 1-rescuer CPR AED

  • effective resuscitation team dynamics

  • science overview (update course)

  • BLS and ACLS surveys

  • ACS

  • Mega code treatment

  • Identification and initial care of other life-threatening clinical situations (such as stroke).

ACLS training is intended for healthcare providers who either direct or participate in the resuscitation of a patient, whether in or out of the hospital, including:

  • physicians

  • nurses

  • emergency medical technicians

  • paramedics

  • staff in intensive care units and emergency or critical care departments

  • other professionals who may respond to a cardiovascular emergency.


Students must pass a written exam and skills test to qualify for an ACLS Course Completion Card.

To be successful in any ACLS course, students should be able to identify ECG rhythms and should know pharmacology specific to cardiopulmonary arrest and other cardiopulmonary emergencies before beginning the course. It is strongly recommended that students review the ACLS course materials and complete a pre-course self-assessment using the tools in their student materials before starting the course.


Course Length:

Course length is approximately 10-12 hours for the initial course, and approximately 5-6.5 hours for the renewal course. Part 1 (cognitive portion) can be taken in an instructor-led training session or on a self-directed basis as an online eLearning course.

Students then practice their skills (Part 2) and are tested (Part 3) with a certified American Heart Association ACLS instructor.

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