I don't think its a bad idea to get your ACLS and PALS before you graduate or have an opportunity for an externship in an area that requires it (although you won't be using it). I know it can be done, but alot of people say not to if you aren't going to be using it. I will be doing them before I graduate (I'm just starting my nursing courses in the fall). Just keep in mind that if you get them, and don't end up using them for a while, then land a job in an area that requires them before your recertification, you may want to brush up on them. The certifications are definitely geared towards people with experience working in areas that require them. As for other certifications, I think most of them require you have work experience before gaining them.