Obtaining a BLS Certification through the American Heart Association

To prepare for a travel contract, there are a few things nurses will need – an updated resume, professional references, medical documentation, and of course, Basic Life Support (BLS) or Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS).

There are several organizations that offer BLS or ACLS certifications. However, receiving these through the American Heart Association is preferred (and typically required) by healthcare organizations nationwide. It is critical that medical professionals learn how to perform early CPR and other lifesaving techniques from a trusted, accredited provider.

Before enrolling in a BLS class, double check with your employer to ensure that you’re taking the appropriate course. For example, if you are a healthcare professional who would focus on caring for infants and children, you will need to enroll in a pediatric advanced life support course, more commonly referred to as a PALS.

Weekly Job Updates

What is the American Heart Association website?

Is BLS different than CPR?
Yes. Basic Life Support (BLS) teaches students how to properly perform CPR, as well as how to use automated external defibrillator (AED). In a BLS class, participants will learn how to perform CPR on adults, children, and infants.

What does CPR stand for?
CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation. CPR is a lifesaving technique that is most often used in emergency situations, like when someone is having a heart attack. When someone’s breathing or heartbeat has stopped, performing timed chest compressions can be lifesaving. CPR includes both chest compressions and rescue breathing, which is often referred to as “mouth-to-mouth.”

Is there a course test?
To pass the AHA BLS course, a score of 84% or higher is required. Students must pass a skills test and a written exam. Prior to the test, students will receive a course handbook. Through AHA, students who successfully complete the course(s) become certified for two years.

How long does the AHA BLS course take to complete?
A full BLS provider course takes about 4.5 hours. This includes skills practice and skills testing. A BLS renewal course takes about 3 hours to complete.

How do I find an AHA class near me?
The AHA website has a  Find a Class tool that uses an interactive map based on your location. Just enter your address, and the search results will show you a list of AHA-approved training centers within a 100-mile radius.

What is the cost?
Cost varies by training center. Depending on the location, BLS students can plan to pay around $40-$50 for their initial course.

Does my BLS expire?
Yes. Participants will receive an AHA course completion card that is valid for two years.

Still have additional questions? Check out the FAQs about AHA training courses.

Ready to find your next travel contract? Take a look at our Job Board to find direct care assignments in long-term care and acute care settings.

healthcare recruiter jobs


Contact Us

LeaderStat specializes in direct care staff, interim leadership, executive recruitment, travel nursing and consulting for healthcare organizations nationwide.