Obtaining certification in ACLS begins with the ACLS Pretest. Online courses offer a variety of exam pretest options to help professionals practice key concepts and increase familiarity with the coursework. Professionals also have the option of studying alone by examining a current copy of the ACLS Provider Manual.
ACLS Pretest Exams
Taking pretest exams for ACLS certification can help healthcare providers prepare for the demands of cardiac life support coursework and the certifying test. Several websites — including ACLS-Algorithm.com — offer pretest exams and ACLS pretest answers updated with the American Heart Association’s revised guidelines. The majority of these websites require a registration fee for users to access study materials. Pretest exams cover the various heart conditions and algorithms that appear in different forms on the actual qualifying exam.
Attending an online or classroom course in ACLS certification is mandatory before a candidate can take the qualifying exam. Coursework usually involves at least several hours of training with lessons taken from the ACLS Provider Manual. This textbook details all the techniques a healthcare provider needs to learn to complete coursework successfully.
Upon class completion, healthcare providers must recall about 20 distinct arrhythmia conditions and a minimum six complex treatment algorithms from the ACLS Provider Manual, according to the ACLS Certification Institute. Arrhythmia conditions include tachycardia, bradycardia, pulmonary embolism, acute coronary syndrome and acute stroke.
The certification exam is between 50 and 75 questions in length when taken online or offline. If candidates take the test in a traditional classroom setting, a proctor times the test. The online version of the exam doesn’t usually have a time limit. Certification granted from successful exam completion lasts for two years.
ACLS Testing Locations
Deciding to take ACLS training online or through a traditional classroom setting also determines the type of certification exam a healthcare worker must pass. Classroom training courses for ACLS certification are available through community centers, technical schools, medical training facilities and community colleges across the country. All courses must carry the approval of the American Heart Association to grant valid ALS certification.
Taking online courses to earn ACLS certification allows busy healthcare works to access modules and lessons from home computers. The convenience of online coursework is particularly important for healthcare professionals working nontraditional hours.
Conversely, traditional classroom training sessions provide hands-on learning experiences not available with online training sessions. Feedback from instructors is also easier to receive in traditional classrooms than with online courses.
Cost of Training
The required coursework for ACLS certification isn’t free. Online and traditional classroom courses charge varying fees for training between $100 and $200 depending on location.
Online training is usually cheaper, but attendants may have to pay shipping fees to receive the ACLS card upon course completion. Choosing a website to take the exam may carry additional study benefits — unlimited practice exams, no time limits on tests and risk-free trials — not available with traditional classroom courses.
Continuing Education Obligations
Certification requirements for advanced cardiac life support can mandate healthcare workers to attend new training classes to keep active certifications valid. New classes update previous training modules for these professionals and provide refresher courses on resuscitation techniques.
Membership with online certification websites can include notifiers to warn when existing certifications are about to expire.
Attending continuing education classes may not be necessary to renew ACLS certification depending on the laws in given states. Consulting state medical boards for certification rules can give medical professionals definitive answers.
If required to attend continuing education classes, passing another certification exam is usually necessary for healthcare professionals to renew ACLS licensure.
Failing Certification Renewal
Failing to renew ACLS certification can cost an emergency care worker her job. A hospital or other medical institution can immediately suspend the healthcare professional until she takes the necessary steps to renew her certification.
Having unlicensed healthcare professionals presents a significant liability risk for hospitals and other critical care centers. In an era where awards from medical malpractice lawsuits rise into the millions of dollars, these institutions simply can’t afford even a hint of liability.