as the following information was copied from previous posts i have made regarding basic life support (bls) training some of the links might no longer be valid.
the subject of bls certification and what programs are acceptable seems to appear fairly regularly. the following is provided to hopefully clarify questions regarding which program and format to choose, as well as contact information for some of these programs. i am an american heart association (aha) bls instructor and am familiar with their programs. i am not affiliated with any of the other programs listed, therefore have no personal knowledge regarding any of them.
the international liaison committee on resuscitation (ilcor) is an international organization comprised of eight resuscitation agencies, of which the aha is a member. in 2000, ilcor published the first international resuscitation guidelines. the 2010 international consensus on cardiopulmonary resuscitation and emergency cardiovascular care science with treatment recommendations are the most recent to be released.
although the aha does not sanction bls courses in the usa, they did publish the 2005 american heart association guidelines for cardiopulmonary resuscitation (cpr) and emergency cardiovascular care (ecc). from these guidelines, they subsequently developed their bls programs. this is probably why most of us think of the aha when we think of bls training. it is important to remember this as any class not in accordance with these guidelines is not likely to be accepted. the 2010 american heart association guidelines for cardiopulmonary resuscitation and emergency cardiovascular care science have recently been published as well, and the aha is in the process updating all of its programs over the next few months. the new bls material has been released and should be taught in all aha training centers as of april 1st.
other agencies were then free to develop their own courses based upon these guidelines, and several have. i am aware of the american red cross (arc), american safety and health institute (ashi):, procpr and american aed/cpr association, and there are probably others that i am not aware of. some of these programs are offered in the traditional classroom setting while others are offered in a blended format.
there is no official or preferred bls program to satisfy the joint commission (jc) requirement. joint commission standard pc.02.01.11 reads: resuscitation services are available throughout the hospital lists the following as one of the elements of performance: "an evidenced-based training program(s) is used to train staff to recognize the need for and use of resuscitation equipment and techniques."
using this standard, each facility is free to determine which program or programs that they will use to satisfy this requirement. some facilities are specific as to which program they will accept (i.e. only aha or arc, etc.) while others will accept any program as long as it is compliant with the 2005 aha guidelines for cpr and ecc. if the posting does not specify that only a specific program is acceptable it might be prudent to contact someone to determine exactly which programs are accepted.
after determining which program that you are going to take, you then need to determine the program format to take. basic life support training is currently offered in three formats: traditional, blended, and online.
using the traditional format, you go to a training center and spend four to eight hours watching videos, doing skills review and evaluation, and complete the written test. at the end of the day you receive a course completion/certification card. this is probably what most people are familiar with.
the blended format is exactly that, it is a combination of both online and classroom training. in a blended program you will complete the cognitive/didactic portion on line, as well as completed the written test on line. upon completion of the test you print out your course completion form to take to an instructor where you then complete the skills review and testing portion. upon completion of the skills review/testing you are issued your course completion/certification card. there is generally no distinction between completion of either a traditional or blended course.
online courses, as the name implies, are offered totally online. these programs consist only of the cognitive/didactic portion, without a skills review/testing. while i personally would not take an online course without skills review/testing it might be accepted by some schools/agencies.
the aha offers their bls for health care provider course in both the traditional and blended format. aha elearning bls is offered in two formats: heartcode bls part 1 and bls for healthcare providers part 1. successful completion of either course results in receipt of an aha bls for health care providers course, the difference is in how the online portion is presented. upon completion of part 1, the participant must schedule with an approved aha instructor to complete parts 2 and 3, skills review and evaluation. you can then use the aha ecc course connector to locate an approved training center and schedule a skills review/evaluation. the aha ecc course connector can also be used to locate a traditional program as well, if that is preferred.
although the arc previously offered their cpr professional rescuer & aed for healthcare providers in both the traditional and blended format, i am unsure whether the blended format is still an option. you can then use the arc online training skills map to locate an approved training center and schedule a class. the aha and arc recently renewed their statement of understanding. in this revised statement of understanding, the "aha and arc agree to recognize the other's student level cpr, aed and first aid training programs as equivalent in content, as shown in the following table of courses" although it is unclear how the upcoming revisions will affect this agreement. the entire statement of understanding between the aha and the arc is available for download.
the ashi cpr for the professional rescuer is currently available as a traditional program. the cpr for the professional rescuer program standards states that this programs intended audience includes "healthcare providers, first responders, and professional rescuers in and outside the hospital or for those needing professional-level basic life support training as a job requirement."
procpr offers a blended online/hands-on cpr certification option ($29.95). i was unable to find any information regarding time limits. upon completion of the online portion, you can then contact a procpr skills evaluator for your skills review/evaluation, and there may or may not be an additional fee for the skills evaluation. the following was taken from the procpr statement of accreditation and compliance "procpr is an accredited program that satisfies the requirements for cpr training according to the latest ecc/ilcor and the american heart association guidelines."
the american aed/cpr association's onsite cpr/aed training classes site states they do have a blended course. their website contains the following statement: "our cards are widely accepted since the american aed/cpr association follows the same guidelines (ecc 2005) as mandated by most states for cpr and aed card requirements." although i was unable to find information regarding location of their training centers, the site states they will bring the class to your location.